For a mountain bike destination to bucket-list worthy, there should be high-quality, purpose-built trails, places to stay or camp close by, and plenty of choices for eating after a ride.
Whistler, Moab, and Crested Butte have all topped mountain bikers’ lists for decades. Ten years ago though, places like Arkansas would have been the last place on a lot of mountain bikers’ minds for a vacation, but things are changing.
With mountain bike advocates getting very smart about trail building, partnering with local businesses, and coordinating with land managers, great bike trails are growing like weeds. These days, the newest mountain bike destination might be a lot closer to home.
Yet, there’s good reason to travel farther afield and experience something different, like the trails in Montana that could be impacted by Wilderness designations in the future, or damp, scenic trails across Scotland or Washington state.
We’ve gathered a few timely mountain bike destinations across the world that we think deserve a place on any traveler’s agenda for 2019. Some may be close and some may be far, but all are worth visiting to experience new sights and new trails, even if it takes effort to get there.
See what a new IMBA Silver-Level ride center looks like
We sent Patrick Goral to visit Roanoke last year to learn about what the town has been building. It turns out Roanoke has plenty of classic, prime, east coast riding to satisfy mountain bike visitors.
Mountain bikers will find shaded trails in the woods with rocks and roots that create challenging lines. Roanoke was named an IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center last year following an application and assessment of the city. This means that Roanoke has an extensive network of well-rounded trails, from the 280-mile RockStar bikepacking route to flow trails like the one found at Mill Mountain.
Ride new singletrack built through passionate advocacy
We’ll just leave the city blank here because it’s easy to find somewhere great to ride pretty much anywhere in this small state. I checked out the work the Vermont Mountain Bike Association has been putting in across the state in the fall of 2018 and left impressed. During the trip I rode everything from rough bike park trails in Killington to new-age flow and jump trails in Stowe.
The only thing that rivals the mountain bike trails in Vermont is the farm-fresh food and beer that are within an arm’s reach of most singletrack trails. Look for a new Singletracks ride guide to the state later this year.