The 5 Best MTB Destinations in the USA

This Top 5 Mountain Biking Destinations in the USA is based purely on my personal experience I have gained while traveling around the USA for the past 5 years riding the trails.

What is a Trails Destination?

This Top 5 is put together with the following in mind. If you had a weeks vacation, and would like to ride at least FIVE different trails in that week, all within a 20 mile radius, then in my books these are the best places to use as a base to get the best rides.

This list is NOT a list of Best Trails ( for the Top 15 Best USA Trails 2011 click here) and as I mentioned above it’s based on my personal opinion and based only on the places I have been.





First Henry W Coe State Park – Gilroy / Morgan Hill – CA


The Henry W Coe State Park offers miles and miles and miles of the sweetest fast flowing singletracks a mountain biker could ever wish for.

The trails are well maintained and marked, but definitely not over done, and a map is definitely needed. All the trails start in the valley, and no matter what trail combination you choose, you will spend the first couple of hours climbing, and I don’t care how fit you are, you will be walking your steed quite a bit on the way up. However, the trails are so fantastic, even the brutal climb puts a smile on your chops, Why?.. ‘cos you know the downhill is gonna be out of this world!, and worth every second of the strenuous climb.

These are rolling hills, so it’s definitely not just an up & down trail network, however even the rolling hills start up high.

Looping, lollipopin’, out & back, you name it, the world is your oyster on the Henry Coe, and you can easily spend days exploring these fantastic trails.


Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town : Gilroy – Morgan Hill

Length: Your call, but remember a Coe mile is very strenuous

Trail Type: Loops, Lollipop, Out & Back.. you name it!

Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically *challenging. Physically demanding – mental

*Note – I say technically moderate, ‘cos although there are no technical obstacles, the big problem is speed. The trails are very narrow, and extreme speeds are possible. Certain sections of trails are very bumpy, and 2 ft ruts appear out of nowhere.. and if you get caught out at high speeds, it ain’t gonna be beneficial to you!

The Pro’s :

  • fantastic singletracks
  • well marked trails
  • very scenic
  • trails are very low impact, chances are you will see nobody else.
  • Trail Head easy to get to
  • Free trail map at Hunting Hollow TH

The Cons :

  • It can get VERY hot – early start is recommended.
  • In the summer “stickers” are manic
  • LOTS of fluids needed on these trails

Henry Coe Trails Review




Moab – UT

I’m a huge Moab junkie, I love the Moab trails, and for 5 years running I have spent the month of October on the Moab Trails.

You could easily spend a couple of weeks here, and ride a different trail every day.

The Moab trails aren’t just fantastic, they are unique, and not just in the USA, but in the World.
A handful of my all time favorite trails are Moab Trails, Hidden Valley, Porcupine, Poison Spider, Gold Bar and Amasa Back and the world famous Slickrock Trail are just a few.

Riding on slickrock is a fantastic experience every mountain biker should at one point experience. Moab is without any doubt the Mountain Biking Capital of the World, and attracts more than 150,000 mountain bikers from around the world each year.



Trail Stats & Info

Town : Moab

Trails : some of the worlds best trails ( in my opinion) can be found in Moab. Some of my fav. trails are Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim, Porcupine Trail, Poison Spider down Gold Bar, Amasa Back – Rockstacker and the Flat Pass trail.

Pros :

  • Moab is a funtastic town, manic for MTB’ers
  • Trails are ALL unique
  • Trails are very scenic
  • Trails are technical
  • Huge choice of trails to choose from, from beginners to advanced, Moab can accommodate.
  • Good trail maps available at the bikeshops

Cons :

  • A lot of people that know me, will actually be quite surprised that I put Moab on the second place, ‘cos everyone that knows me, knows I’m a self confessed Moab Junkie. Although I love the Moab trails, there is also a lot about Moab that I don’t like. The main reason Moab is in second place, is probably the same reason I put Henry W Coe at the first place… CROWDS!
    Moab trails (can) get VERY busy, I would never hit a Moab trail during a weekend, and in Moab I always get a very early start. I’m an un-sociable bastard, and although I don’t mind meeting fellow MTB’ers on the Trails, in Moab it can be bang out of order.
  • A lot of the Moab Trail Heads are pretty remote, and you definitely need a shuttle or drop off and pick up.
  • Expect to pay over the odds at the bike shops, I always try and “stock up” with parts before arriving in Moab.





South Lake Tahoe – CA

The South Lake Trails are in three words FAN TAS TIC !

Probably my all time favorite trail is in South Lake Tahoe the Cold Creek – Star Lake – Armstrong Pass – Corral Trail is the “Viagra” of MTB Trails, if this doesn’t do it for you, then nothing will.

The thing I personally like about the Tahoe trails, is you have to earn your reward, the saying “No pain no gain” definitely goes for these trails.

The trails are brutal, technical, scenic and damn right fun.

The majority of the Tahoe trails are fairly technical, and physically demanding with a lot of climbing.


Trail Stats & Info

Town : South Lake Tahoe

Trails : If like me you like pretty technical and demanding trails, then Tahoe is definitely for you. The section from Freel Pass all the down Armstrong and Corral is probably the best ride you will and can ever experience. 100% pure mayhem and adrenalin pumpin’ fun on a mtb.

Pros :

  • Fantastic technical Trails
  • Many of the better trails ( in my opinion) can be looped
  • Trails are very scenic
  • Good trail maps available at the bike shops

Cons :

  • South Lake Tahoe has a very short mtb season
  • The timing of these trails is pretty essential for a great riding experience – weekends can be manic on the trails.





Sedona AZ

Sedona offers some fantastic and unique trails, for all levels of experience.

The scenery Sedona has to offer, is fantastic, and Sedona is perfect for mountain bikers.

There is a large choice of trails in Sedona, suited for all levels of experience.

Some of my favorite Sedona trails are – the Highline Trail, Munds Wagon down Schnebly Hill and the Slim Shady- Llama -broken arrow loop.

All the above trails I mention are pretty technical and very demanding. If you prefer to takes things a lot easier on the trails, no problem, there are a lot of easy trails to choose from.


Trail Stats & Info

Town : Sedona

Trails : A wide range of trails to choose from, from very easy ( Bell Rock) to very challenging (Munds Wagon Trail)

Pros :

  • Fantastic technical Trails
  • All trails can be looped and most can be combined with other trails to make longer or shorter
  • Trails are very scenic
  • You don’t have to travel far to reach the trails
  • A lot of the trails can be done from downtown Sedona

Cons :

  • Trails can be very busy and over run by hikers and tourists
  • Helicopters and (pink) jeeps can ruin the experience on certain trails.
  • some of the better trails are not marked, and can be very confusing
  • You need a “Red Rock Pass” to park at the majority of the Trail Heads



5thBozeman and Missoula MT

Bozeman and Missoula in Montana are just 120 min. from each other, and they both offer some fantastic trails, so in my my books they count as one.

Missoula has the Rattlesnake Recreational Area that offers some nice technically easy but very strenuous trails, well worth a day or 2 of trail riding.

Bozeman also offers some fantastic trails in the Hyalite Peaks area. These trails are scenic, and some of the trails are very strenuous and very technical, the The Hyalite to South Cottonwood Trail is a prime example of this.
Another fantastic MUST DO trail in Bozeman is the 28 mile beauty “Bangtail Divide” a trail that should be on every mountain bikers list.


Trail Stats & Info

Town : Bozeman & Missoula

Trails : Two destinations for the price of One. Fantastic range of mtb trails, all levels from Easy to Mental

Pros :

  • Fantastic technical Trails
  • Variety of trails
  • Trails are low impact and scenic

Cons :

  • For a lot of these trails ( Bozeman) you will need a drop off and pick up
  • Very short season


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