You Told Us: The Best Places to Mountain Bike
April 11, 1997
Last week, we ventured off the slopes and into the
woods to ask, "Where's the best place to mountain bike?" The mailbox
bulged in response, with suggestions ranging from Ecuador to Utah to
several refrains of "don't publish the best places to mountain bike."
Print out the list below and use it as you see fit, but first take a
moment to answer next week's more civic-minded question, What
topics should we cover after ski season ends?
Anywhere in Ecuador?
Ecuador in South America is the best place to go mountain biking.
Darwin E. Zabala
I live in Tucson, Arizona and we are so lucky here to have some of the
best mountain biking in the Southwest. I'm a ride leader for the Southern
Arizona Mountain Biking Association (SAMBA), which is based out of Full
Cycle on Speedway Blvd. If interested in Tucson mountain biking, you can
call Full Cycle at (520) 327-3232 or e-mail me and I will do my best to
help you out.
David A. McClutchy-Gale
Good place for kids in Virginia
The Virginia Creeper Rail Trail is a wonderful and beautiful trail to bike
with children. It is 17 miles downhill from Whitetop Mountain to Damascus,
Virginia, with a second 17 mile flat leg from Damascus to Abbington,
Virginia. I highly recommend it for all who love old railroads.
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz, California offers an amazing range of riding, as well as an
active and friendly local community and plenty of good shops. The only
downside is increasingly restrictive laws on mountain biking. The upshot
is hours of open, seemingly neverending, singletrack amid gorgeous
Just outside of Moab, Utah
The coolest place to mountain bike is on the Slickrock -- just outside of
Moab, Utah. It's totally brutal! The view from the trail makes the danger
factor fade as you pump up the next hill....
See you on the Slickrock!
Advice for Tennessee?
My dad, brother, and I are planning a 4 to 5 day mountain-biking trip this
summer, and my dad and I are amateur bikers. We need a place to go that's
close to Tennessee and wouldn't be too hard on us greenies. If anyone can
help us out, please e-mail me.
The Black Hills of South Dakota
As an avid mountain biker myself, I appreciate terrain that varies and is
neither a long uphill or downhill for the entire trek. I've biked in
the Canadian Rockies to the Black Hills of South Dakota. By far, I've been
most impressed with the Black Hills.
Here you find terrain for abilities and the natural beauty of the Hills.
It doesn't get too humid or hot. Most days of the summer are sunny and
rain doesn't last too long.
To find a trail in the Hills is easy. The South Dakota Board of Tourism
can provide them if asked for. The Hills have hundreds of trails, so
nearby access to one is just about guaranteed.
James R. Blaszkowski
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in southwest Virginia offers some
good singletrack and endless gated fire roads. The Ranger's office in
Marion has trail maps and info on camping.
Nevada City and Downieville, California
Nevada City and Downieville, California have some of the best singletrack
trail in the world! Many ski resorts up in the Sierras allow mountain
bikers in the off-season. North Star and Kirkwood are two that still do, I
Moab is by far the best place I've ever been. The Porcupine Rim Trail was
like my first sexual experience. I'll never forget it.
Mo' Moab, Utah
I have been mountain biking for some time now and have been all over the
country. But I think the best mountain biking I have every done is in the
Moab, Utah area. There several bike shops there that rent bikes. I
recommend going in the fall to early spring. In the summer, it is blazing
I'd love to help you out with the list of best places to mountain bike,
but then they'd soon cease to be the best places.
My suggestion: Enjoy where you mountain bike now and take some risks by
exploring new places on your own.
Within 45 minutes of downtown Vancouver
In beautiful British Columbia, the mountain biking is technical,
challenging, and not for the faint at heart.
Within 45 minutes of downtown Vancouver, the options are far too numerous
to count. For a leisurely ride, the UBC Endowment Lands offer a great ride
right in town. On the North Shore, Cypress and Seymour offer some of the
gnarliest singletrack around. Muddy, rocky, and lots of exposed roots on
some very steep terrain. Beautiful.
San Bernardino Mountains, Southern California
By far, the best place to mountain bike is in the San Bernardino Mountains
in Southern California.
Trail riders can choose from popular locations such as Big Bear and
Arrowhead, both which support the Summer Extreme Games. If this is too
overbearing, just 30 minutes away are many other excellent popular and
"secret" trails, that most SoCal riders enjoy.
So, my vote: Southern California
California: Ride up, bike down
A lot of ski resorts in California and around the country are trying to
bring in some summer income by offering mountain bikers rides up the
mountain on the ski lift. I know that in California Squaw Valley, Mammoth
Mountain and Snow Summit at Big Bear Lake are among the resorts that offer
this service. It costs about $20 a day for unlimited lift rides. It is a
lot of fun for those cyclists who like to go downhill but hate to climb
hills. Rental bikes are available but tend to be of relatively low
quality, so bring your own bike if you can. And don't forget to always
wear your helmet! For purists, there are also some excellent places to
ride in the Lake Tahoe area for free; trail maps are available at local
I live in Maryland, but have been all over the country mountain biking.
Since I live in Maryland, I can tell you that we have some great tech
trails throughout the region. Schaffer Rd Trails is my favorite. That is
in Germantown, Maryland. Patapsco State Park near Balto is a great trail.
Sugarloaf Mt is also great, but you can only ride on weekdays April thru
November. No weekends! Bummer!!
Greenbrier State Park in Fredrick County, also Gambrill, is cool. There
seem to be a lot of good places in Maryland, and, since the state is not
that big, everywhere is easy to get to.
I just got back from the Guanacasta region of Costa Rica and the mountain
biking was incredible. One advantage is that many of the locals use bikes
for primary transportation and as a result are very bike-friendly on the
South of Saratoga, California
Big Basin, south of Saratoga, California. There is a fair variety of fire
trails and long, steep downhills to rip through. In addition, the trails
are very wide and easy for a beginner to conquer. Bring lots of water
since the trails are quite long.