Top 15 Biking Trails in the USA For Mountain Bikes

As a bicycle enthusiast, you know how much fun it can be to take to the open road on your bike with just the wind in your face and a destination in mind. To get the full experience, however, you have to ride round in nature so that you can see the beautiful sights while also getting the benefit of riding a bicycle.

You’ve probably done a bit of exploring around your hometown, but when it comes to vacation time where is an excellent place to go with your mountain bike? Fortunately for you, we have found fifteen spots that are not just beautiful on their own, but downright transcendent when experienced on the back of your bicycle. So strap your ride onto your car and hit one of these locations on your next trip.

#1 Banks-Vernonia Trail, Oregon

The Pacific Northwest is always full of natural beauty and exquisite scenery, but this particular trail is memorable for bike riders of all ages and skill levels. The whole twenty-one-mile excursion is fully paved, so don’t expect to have to manage rough or rocky terrain. That can be a good or bad thing depending on the type of experience you prefer to have.

Nonetheless, the whole of the BVT is breathtaking for its verdant landscape and its calming tranquility. You will only hear the sounds of the forest and your bicycle as you ride through, making it a much more serene trip than most.

One of the great things about this trail is that it dates back to the 1920s, meaning that you can see some old bridges and trestles along the route that make it seem like you’ve traveled back in time. Also, camping is allowed on various parts of the BVT so bring your tent and sleep under the stars if you want to make the journey more relaxing and casual.

#2 American River Bike Trail, California

Staying on the West Coast, we are now in Northern California where the Redwoods are king, and you don’t have to worry about the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles traffic. This route goes from Sacramento to Folsom, but the best way to do it is to end up in the state capital rather than the other way around.

That means that you’ll start at the lake in Folsom and wind up in Discovery Park in Sacramento, following the river almost all the way up. The whole trail runs for thirty-two miles, so plan on taking a couple of days to do the whole thing, unless you want to push yourself and ignore all of the sights.

#3 Moab, Utah

As you’ll notice, we aren’t singling out a particular trail here, but that’s only because there are so many from which to choose and they all link together anyway, meaning that you can experience each one without having to pack up and head over to a different spot to do so.

Moab is a mountain biking paradise with a plethora of both extreme and mild trails that are perfect for any rider of any skill level. The terrain is also unique and breathtaking at the same time, as it is vast and expansive so as to make you feel like you’re all alone in the universe (in a good way).

The best time to come is in Spring and Fall, but just know that you’ll be riding with a lot of other bicyclists as this is a Mecca of sorts for all kinds of riders. That being said, the whole city caters to mountain bikers, so you can find everything you need and more to make the experience a lot of fun (not to mention memorable).

#4 Park City, Utah

Staying within the Beehive State, we arrive at the world famous Park City. This is where the internationally renowned Sundance festival is held every year, and it is one of the rare gold-level status locations designated by the International Mountain Biking Association.

You have over four-hundred miles of trails to bomb around on, not to mention a culture of biking that is receptive and friendly. Simply put, if you want to make the most of your cycling trip, come to Park City.

#5 Mount Evans Climb, Colorado

Going from one square state to the next, we now find ourselves in Colorado. Most people think of skiing or hiking in the Centennial State, but the fact is that you can find some fantastic mountain biking as well. The Mount Evans Climb is a paved trail that is the highest in the US, topping off at 14,271 feet to the summit of the mountain.

If you’ve ever wanted to climb a peak on your mountain bike, this is the best way to do it. It will be an exhausting ride up, but going down will be legendary. Plus the views don’t get any better than the ones at the top of Mount Evans.

#6 Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Speaking of mountains, this vast and winding trail is one of the most spectacular in the country, covering a span of 469 miles and taking you through Shenandoah National Park all the way to the Great Smoky Mountains.

The views are picturesque, and the landscape is unspoiled by man, meaning that you can find a lot to appreciate on this route. Due to its longevity you probably won’t be able to experience the whole thing in one trip, so if you have to pick a side, our money is on the Smoky Mountains. Go in autumn when you can see the fog-covered peaks from which their name derives.

#7 Island Line Rail Trail, Vermont

At just fourteen miles, this trail is one of the shortest we’ve seen thus far, but it’s also one of the most unique. The road takes you over Lake Champlain so that you have water on both sides of you and nothing but the big blue sky overhead.

Riding on this trail makes you feel like you’re right on the water, which is something that you won’t find anywhere else. Just be sure to leave enough room to let people pass so that you don’t wind up getting knocked into the drink by accident.

#8 San Juan Islands, Washington

Sticking with the island theme, we go from one coast to the other. There are three islands from which you can choose, and each of them is bike friendly. If you want something flatter and easier to do, then we suggest Lopez for you.

Orcas has two different mountain trails, and San Juan has rolling hill country, so choose according to your preference and skill level.

#9 Paseo Del Bosque Trail, New Mexico

This sixteen-mile route in the American Southwest is memorable for a couple of reasons. First, you get to enjoy the desert weather and scenery, and second, you get to follow the Rio Grande for part of the way, which is always breathtaking.

This trail connects to the downtown area of Albuquerque and is affectionately known as “the Bosque.” Just in case you need to ask any locals about how to get there.

#10 Union Pacific Rail Trail, Utah

The Beehive State is full of endless natural wonders, which is why it is such a premiere destination for bikers of all kinds. In this case, you will be riding along the historic Union railroad where two tracks met back in the 1800s.

This is a rather leisurely ride that takes you through downtown Park City and beyond, exposing you to incredible views and various wildlife.

#11 Crater Lake, Oregon

As one of the bluest and most pristine lakes in the world, Crater Lake in Oregon is a sight to see regardless of how you do it. However, experiencing it on the back of a bike is one of best ways to go about it, so why not take advantage?

This loop is 32 miles of paved paradise that will give you breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding area. It’s best to go during the summer so that the lake isn’t shrouded by clouds, assuming that you want to be able to see it during your ride.

#12 Sea to Summit, California

When most people think of San Francisco, they imagine steep streets and trolley cars. However, there is an incredible sixty-mile trek that starts in the heart of the waterfront district and takes you over the landmark Golden Gate Bridge, through the Marin Headlands, into the Redwoods, and up to Mount Tamalpais.

It’s an intense trail that will leave you breathless in more ways than one. Just be sure to stop regularly to take in the sights as they are spectacular.

#13 Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, Idaho

When most people think of Idaho, they imagine long stretches of prairie fields and the occasional potato farm. However, if you visit the idyllic and picturesque town of Coeur d’Alenes, you will find one of the best bike trails in the country.

For 72 miles you will see all kinds of views, from pristine wild lands to 19th-century silver mills and the towns that sprung up in their wake. If you want a ride through history that is both dreamy and memorable, this is one of the best around.

#14 Road to Hana, Hawaii

Any biking list wouldn’t be complete without one trail that is both incredibly scenic and luxurious. A visit to Hawaii is always a pleasurable experience, but if you can do it on the back of a bike, then you are getting something even more fabulous.

This fifty-mile trail weaves around the edge and center of Maui, taking you through gorgeous rainforests and small villages that will make you feel like you’re a great explorer in the golden age of Magellan and Columbus. Although, you know, without the exploitation of the natives.

#15 A Good Ride Near the Badlands, Montana

Although the name of the trail sounds like a bad Die Hard movie, this route is both breathtaking and tricky. There are numerous hairpin turns along the 68-mile journey, but the experience is more than rewarding enough to make it all worthwhile.

You can ride along some amazing open spaces and see plenty of wildlife, as well as make a stop at Mount Rushmore to do a little sight-seeing. Overall, this ride is ideal for skilled bikers who want a beautiful challenge.

About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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