Cycling is one of the best activities for overall health and fitness. But while road cycling is a low-impact, joint-friendly sport that can take place basically anywhere there’s pavement, mountain biking requires something extra. Namely, a mountain.
Sure, you can hop on your trusty steed and go off road wherever it suits you. But all across the country — and world — you’ll find mountain bike parks that feature a variety of trails and terrain, and specialize in providing riders with downhill thrills.
So whether you’re a veteran mountain biker or just getting started, here are 10 great parks worth seeking out:
TRESTLE BIKE PARK
Winter Park, Colorado
With more than 40 miles of lift-serviced, gravity-fed dirt trails perched high up in the Rockies, this Winter Park destination is popular for a reason. Novices and pros alike come from all over to learn, have fun, practice their craft and compete in the park’s race series. On top of all that, each July, Trestle hosts the Colorado Freeride Festival, the largest freeride mountain bike fest in the country.
WHISTLER BIKE PARK
Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Whistler is Canada’s winter sports playground, but the fun doesn’t stop come summer. Instead, Whistler transitions into one of the world’s best mountain bike parks. If you’re new to the sport, it offers lessons and rentals, including a 101 course to teach you the ropes. If you’re a veteran, well, you’ve got multiple riding zones, varied terrain and a full mile of vertical descent to explore.
DEER VALLEY RESORT BIKE PARK
Park City, Utah
The expansive bike park at Deer Valley keeps adventure seekers busy from June through September. With nearly 70 miles of lift-accessed trails spread over six mountains and featuring 3,000 vertical feet of elevation change, even regular riders won’t get bored anytime soon. All the more reason to come back next summer. And the next. And the next …
ANGEL FIRE BIKE PARK
Angel Fire, New Mexico
Angel Fire sports the largest bike park in the Rocky Mountains and is regularly voted best in the southwest by publications who take such things seriously. The 60 miles of trails cater to every ability and include a variety of options, from cross-country to single track to jump trails.
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK
Mammoth Lakes, CA
With 3,500 acres to work with, Mammoth Bike Park features 80 miles of single track, plus gravity-fed trails and longer cross-country routes. Along the way, you can find iconic trails with postcard-worthy views as well as man-made obstacles worth tackling. New at this? No worries — Mammoth offers lessons and clinics to get you up to speed.
SNOWSHOE BIKE PARK
Snowshoe, West Virginia
If you’re riding out East, don’t pedal past Snowshoe. The West Virginia mountain park has 40 downhill trails to keep you busy, with all manner of terrain — including tree-lined single track, easy-flowing groomed trails and technical rocky sections. It’s suitable for first-timers, experts and even USA Cycling, which called on Snowshoe to host the Mountain Bike National Championships last summer and will do so again this year.
MONT SAINTE-ANNE BIKE PARK
Beaupré, Quebec, Canada
This Mecca of Eastern Canada mountain biking is known for its diverse trails, including 70 miles of cross-country endurance routes and another 15 miles of technical downhills. Tired of pedaling? Try the new pump track. With its course of banked turns and rollers, you can coast from start to finish.
HIGHLAND MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK
Northfield, New Hampshire
This New Hampshire park is the world’s only lift access mountain that is entirely dedicated to biking. So it’s got that going for it. It’s also got an extensive downhill and cross-country trail network, plus lessons and summer camps for learning the ropes. Then there’s the indoor Highland Training Center, which includes a big foam-filled pit for practicing jumps and ramps before taking on the less-forgiving mountain. Always a smart idea.
SNOWMASS BIKE PARK
With 50 miles of cross-country trails and downhill trails that drop nearly 3,000 feet, there’s a lot to explore at Snowmass. If you’re up for it, try conquering Valhalla, the 2.75-mile-long monster of a trail. It offers thrill-seeking riders an assortment of freeride challenges over its 1,400-foot, tree-lined vertical descent, including berms, jumps, bridges, table tops, a wall ride and plenty more.
SILVER MOUNTAIN RESORT
Silver Mountain is home to North America’s longest gondola, so that’s a fun way to spend some time regardless of what you’re doing. But with more than 30 single track trails and a new fleet of rental bikes, you should really do some mountain biking. Experts will enjoy the 3,400-foot vertical descent, while beginner-to-intermediate riders can traverse the less precipitous trails, some of which take 45 minutes to complete — which means you’ll spend more time riding the trails than the lifts.
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