The warmer months are upon us in the northern hemisphere, and that means it’s well past time to get outside. If you’re a mountain biker, you might be considering where to go to scratch your riding itch. There are dozens of top class locations to choose from, but if you’re looking for the best, here’s what mainland Europe and North America have to offer.
Although the Alps generally bring to mind countries like Switzerland, France and Italy, Slovenia has its own share of beautiful terrain, perfect for some downhill action. Only one-third of Petzen lies in Slovenia (where it’s called Peca; the rest is in Austria), but there’s no better example of quality over quantity. The area boasts the world’s longest flow trail, known simply as the Peca flow trail, which is a whole 10 kilometers long. A 20-minute run will fly by as you navigate the ramps, tables and bends, practically free from braking bumps. A cable car will take you to the top of the trail, then it’s fun all the way down.
As a bonus, there’s a unique experience nearby where you can cycle through the mountains in 5km of abandoned mine tunnels.
Serfaus Fiss Ladis, Austria
When the skiers are away, the mountain bikers will play, and at this bike park you can find a play area for all ages and levels of experience. Open from June to October, it offers a kids’ zone alongside the downhills and slopestyle courses. After your riding, you’re sure to be a bit peckish, so there’s also a Chill Area where you can get drinks and snacks.
For beginners, there is plenty of support and various sources of advice: lifts to get you and your bike into position, bike and gear hire, and trained guides. The trails feature huts and alpine meadows that provide a perfect break for weary legs.
For experts, Hill Bill will provide the challenge you’re looking for, in the form of a 2450-metre Enduro trail with numerous obstacles and exhilarating ramps.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Anyone who has been to Colorado probably has their own favorite among the many great mountain biking spots, but Crested Butte is hard to beat. It has over 700 miles of single track which are open from May to October, in a landscape that is dominated by wildflowers in summer. Give yourself plenty of time to explore the trails – a few days here won’t be enough.
Beginners can enjoy The Lupine trail, which is popular with the locals for a quick ride; it has stunning views and is easy to reach from town. It also has one of the longest riding seasons in Crested Butte.
Intermediate to advanced riders will love exploring Doctor Park. From the trailhead parking lot, you can choose to ride it as a loop or shuttle, but the best part is on the way down. There are some awesome rock features to test your technical skills followed by a smooth section that’s all fun.
The 401 is one of the most famous trails in Crested Butte, and something for advanced riders to make the most of. It has beautiful views along its 1,500-foot descent, which follows a narrow single track that’ll bring you closer to nature than ever before.
Most of the trails are managed by the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association. Check out their website for trail guides and conditions. They also hold the oldest mountain bike festival in the world, Bike Week.
Park City, Utah
It’s not a small achievement to be the world’s first Ride Center awarded gold-level status by the IMBA, but then again, there’s not a lot that’s small about the trails here – there are over 450 miles of them. Even if you don’t usually travel to any biking destinations, make Park City your exception, because it’s worth it. Whatever ride you’re looking for, cross-country single track to downhill trails, you’ll find it here.
Beginner/Intermediate: Lost Prospector is just an out-and-out enjoyable ride, with spectacular views and easy access. You can turn it into a loop by linking to the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail or join another trail along the way for a longer trip.
Intermediate: For flexibility and fun, you can’t do much better than the Mid Mountain Trail, a designated Epic Ride. Out-and-back or loop, long or short, this single track is anything you want it to be and ends right in town.
Intermediate/Advanced: From the Mid Mountain Trail you can reach the Flagstaff Loop for a greater challenge – steeper climbs and technical elements. Enjoy the stunning scenery of meadows and mountains as your reward.
After working up an appetite, you can make the most of the many dining options in the area, too. This website has all the info you need, from lodging and bike rentals to an interactive trail map.
East Burke, Vermont
Another award-winning trail network can be enjoyed in East Burke. It was an honor awarded by riders themselves, which gives you an idea of its popularity. Darling Hill provides high-speed thrills that remain open in all weather, from May to October. Burke Mountain’s steep trails don’t drain as well, but they do have exciting technical elements over 2,000 feet of descent. Whichever part of the 100 miles of single track you go for, expect cool forests, lush meadows, and a supportive local community. Visitors must buy a one-day pass to ride.
Thanks to John T Lyons at Moment Bicycles for sharing these superb looking trails. For more information on what Moment Cycles are all about, check them out at www.momentbicycles.com.