Best Trails for Mountain Biking This Summer & Fall

Few outdoor activities are as exhilarating as mountain biking. Providing instant thrills and some of the best views imaginable, this is an amazing way to explore some truly remarkable destinations.

Finding a trail for mountain biking is the easy part. Choosing just one route is far more challenging. With so many amazing trails available in every corner of our great nation, you could remain firmly affixed to your bike at all times and still fail to cross a fraction of the possibilities off your bucket list. You'll never do it all, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't explore.

When in doubt, prioritize the best mountain biking trails with the most impressive views. Need a little guidance? Start with these essential routes:

Doctor Park

This Crested Butte gem is largely regarded as one of the best mountain biking trails in the USA. Spanning over fourteen miles, it provides its fair share of challenges in the form of roots and sharp corners - but these obstacles only add to the thrill of the journey.

This is mostly a test of stamina, as you'll travel along an old Jeep trail that involves a steady incline. After switching to singletrack, the ride gets fast and exciting. Many visitors prefer to shuttle with vehicles during the first portion so they can concentrate on the downhill section.

Government Trail

Another essential for your Colorado mountain biking list, this famed route reaches nearly twenty miles and takes at least two hours to navigate. It links two of the state's most beautiful tourist towns: Aspen and Snowmass Village. If, like many visitors, you prefer to only bike one way, you can easily take the RFTA bus back to Snowmass Village - but you'll need to pay a small fee for bike transportation.

Gridley Trail

Be prepared for your legs to burn on this singletrack journey, which delivers some major elevation gain along the way. Beginning in Ojai, this route takes you through the most stunning portions of the Los Padres National Forest. Heavy sun exposure makes this trail a scorcher in the summer, but it's unbeatable the rest of the year.

Pisgah Area SORBA Beginner's Loop

If you're new to mountain biking and eager to improve your skills, you'll definitely want to explore this beginner-friendly loop near Asheville. The largely hard packed trail can be found within the lovely Bent Creek Experimental Forest.

Despite its designation as a beginner trail, this loop has enough challenges to keep intermediate and advanced bikers happy. Thankfully for newcomers, there are also numerous ride-around options that help novices remain confident throughout the course.

Duluth Traverse

Known locally as the DT, this Minnesota marvel consists of an interconnected series of local trails. When linked together, these provide over 85 miles to navigate.

If you can only tackle a short segment of the system, take in the gorgeous overlooks at Lester Park or explore the famed Spirit Mountain. Although popular among local bikers, this is technically classified as a multi-use trail - so be on the lookout for hikers or joggers as you turn corners.

Mckenzie River Trail

Crossing several mountain springs, this Oregon trail will take you through a lovely old-growth forest while exposing you to trademark Pacific Northwest views. It's over twenty miles, and often rugged, so intermediate and advanced riders will probably prefer this particular route.

Use a shuttle from the McKenzie Bridge if you don't intend to ride both ways. Otherwise, you're in luck, as this is one of the best mountain biking trails for testing your endurance.

Black Rock Loop and Saguaro Vista Trail

When temperatures drop near Tucson, there's no better way to celebrate than by exploring the local Sweetwater trail system. The trailhead is easily accessible from Sweetwater Preserve, where you'll enjoy access to various exciting routes.

If you're short on time, you'll find the best views as you meander along the Black Rock Loop and Saguaro Vista Trail. These are popular routes, so be prepared to encounter plenty of fellow bikers along the way.

Bear Basin

Loved during the winter as a skiing destination, Bear Basin transforms into a beautiful mountain biking spot during the summer months. Offering dozens of short trails, this versatile system truly has something for everyone.

The Lower Drain route is a must-visit for experienced bikers, who often repeat it multiple times to enjoy the jumps. The Upper Drain trail is also highly technical but should be more manageable for intermediate riders.

Elm Ridge

Owned by the state of New York and located near Windham, the Elm Ridge trails provide a spectacular introduction to the Catskill Preserve Wild Forest.

An area known as the FUN Loops should provide a gentle introduction to new bikers, while the Levitate route will delight anybody searching for a challenge. This rugged experience could include riding on the ridge or diving into a quick descent that will surely heat your brakes. Either way, you'll be in awe of the scenery.

Flat Rock Ranch

If you hit up Flat Rock Ranch near the charming town of Comfort, you'll quickly discover why mountain bikers adore Texas Hill Country. The ranch spans over 1,300 acres and provides 27 miles of singletrack trail. Keep an eye out, and you may spot the cattle or goats raised there.

If you're interested in Enduro biking, this is a great place to give it a try. No matter your preferred style or level, you can stop by on a Wednesday evening for a free ride - followed by dinner if you bring something to grill.

Canaan Valley

West Virginia's Tucker County has an appropriate motto: get tuckered. This is easily accomplished when you ride the Canaan Valley trails, which are largely accessible from the town of Davis. These trails are home to some of the region's most notable races and astounding views of spruce forests and cranberry bogs. For a short but pleasant ride, try the Dobbin House trail, which will take you to the Instagram-worthy Pase Point overlook.

No matter where you travel - or when - you can find amazing opportunities to explore on two wheels. Hop on your bike and discover the great outdoors through fresh eyes. And pick up a copy of Adventure Cyclist or one of our outdoor magazines to bring on your trip.