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  1. Forget Denver, for anyplace at 50K+, you can not beat Colorado Springs. I’ve ridden in 40 states/provinces, including 9 of the places in this article, and none of them can match COS for quantity, quality, variety, and accessibility. Far less crowds than Denver, too.

    Almost 8,000 feet of descending on Pikes Peak. Over 20 miles of gnar in Palmer Park in the middle of the city. Other fantastic experiences in the City in Ute Valley Park and Cheyenne Mountain State Park. 50+ miles of incredible scenery in Cheyenne Canyon and adjacent trails on a surface that drains so well you can ride them no matter how Hugh it rains. Fantastic, otherworldly landscapes and top quality singletrack in Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

    And that’s all just within or adjacent to the city limits. There’s a dozen other killer destinations within an easy day trip.

    Really, you absolutely can not beat the place.

  2. Great list! I didn’t realize that Minnesota had good MTBing. I live in Golden, CO and really enjoy our trails but understand why Denver didn’t make the cut. Western CO is where it’s at.

    1. Yeah, I’ve heard really good things about Duluth. Denver is a cool city, but it’s not really in the mountains like a lot of people think it is. I’ve heard there’s some good riding in Golden, though!

  3. The people that did Kanuga bike park also opened Rock Creek, which is a lift (truck with benches on back and a big bike trailer) park, at the very beginning of 2023.

    1. I meant to check out Ride Rock Creek when I was in NC this summer, but it didn’t happen. I’ve heard good things about it – it’s supposed to be quite different from Kanuga with a lot more natural terrain. Hope to get there another day!

  4. Hi,
    I don’t live in Duluth, but I’ve ridden there often. It’s a great place to ride and the city is really neat. Duluth is a nice mix of a Midwest, College/Tourist town. Lot’s of good restaurants, great music scene. Highly recommended.

    1. I haven’t made it to Grand Junction or Fruita – I need to get there! There have been a lot of votes for GJ in the comments, so I’ll add it next time I update this post.

  5. Hi,

    Nice article…. My wife and I are looking to move and need to work. Into more xc and gravel/forest rides Because of Salt Lake’s poor air quality that won’t work. Leaving CA because of expense so that does not. Dislike the NW weather and AZ is too hot! We are considering Triangle in NC, Charlotte area, Northern GA or possibly Kansas City area. Any thoughts on other places besides what you have listed?

    1. Hi Mike – I’d add Arkansas to your list. Bentonville is amazing for xc riding, although home prices have definitely gone up… There is trail building all around the state, though. Missouri is following in Bentonville’s steps, although I haven’t ridden there yet. I was really impressed with Knoxville, TN – both the city and the riding. I’ve only explored the western part of North Carolina and the trails are definitely not XC – I’m not sure about the riding around Charlotte. I’ve heard good things about Kansas City, but have only ridden the Wilson State Park (which is awesome). Hope that helps some!

    2. Minneapolis should have been on this list.. over 300 miles of trails and also an IMBA center… not sure why it was not on the list.

    3. Iโ€™m from Utah and moved to Roanoke VA a few years ago and absolutely love it! Iโ€™m amazed how close the good riding is from downtown. Bikers flock to the trails after work and itโ€™s not an all day affair to get in a quick ride. Cost of living is low and the people are friendlier than anywhere Iโ€™ve been. Nice bike culture & the trails are beautiful!

  6. check out Spokane WA if you havent yet. Great riding at Mt Spokane and Beacon hill. Silver mountain bike park is an hour away also.

  7. Hi Becky, nice job with covering all these cool places makes me want to do a road trip!
    I live in Marina Ca which unfortunately doesn’t have much of a biking community as we don’t even have a dedicated bike shop, except we do have an REI.
    Personally, I mtn bike from my home and in 10 minutes I’m in FT ORD NATIONAL MOUNUMENT PARK home of 100+ single track trails, miles of paved roads (no cars allowed), and steep gravel fire roads.
    This is also home to the Sea Otter Classic the largest bike fest in the world and for me, I get pumped up this time of the year knowing in April 70,000+ bikers are coming here to have a 4day love affair with all kinds of biking, and the energy level goes off the charts! When it’s over and everyone leaves, I actually get depressed until I convince myself how lucky I am to be here and get live it each and every year! Anyone one want to open a bike shop in Marina? We need one!

    1. I’ve heard really awesome things about the Sea Otter Classic. Maybe one of these years I’ll make it to the event! I would be a cool thing to experience as a local. Maybe you should start a bike shop ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Interesting that Colorado makes the list only as a courtesy. Denver is not much of a mountain biking destination. Neither Valmont nor Buffalo Creek are in Denver. 50,000 people? Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, Grand Junction? But TONS of great riding just outside of Denver. Golden, Evergreen, Conifer, Pine, Blackhawk, Clear Creek.

    1. I do think Grand Junction should be on the list – I missed that one. And I’ve heard good things about Colorado Springs. I guess I just feel like Denver sprawls so much that Golden and Boulder are pretty much Denver now.

  9. Not sure it’s a “destination” but if one finds themselves in Seattle or needs to get away from family while visiting, there some amazing riding in what the locals call the “Green Triangle” along I90, with Tiger Mountain, Raging River, Tokul, Olallie, Duthie Hill and a few others that would be considered back country and can really get you out there.

    1. Thanks, Troy! I did actually consider adding Seattle since I lived there for a few years, but thinking about the traffic to get to those places made me leave it off the list :). I didn’t get to Olallie, but I love all the other networks.

  10. Duluth, MN, had some fabulous mountain bike trails for all skill levels. Duluth sits on a rocky hillside above Lake Superior. Many of the trails are hilly, rocky, and technical. The Duluth Traverse links all of the trails systems together. Spirit Mountain, a downhill ski park in the winter, provides some serious gravity options with lift service back to the top.

      1. If you’re going to Duluth, take some time to visit Giant’s Ridge and Cuyuna Lakes. Easily done in the same trip because they’re all about 2 hours apart.
        I agree with Byron, I’ve ridden all over the northern states and western Canada. Duluth are the most fun xc trails I’ve ever ridden so far.

    1. Minneapolis didn’t show.. it is on the IMBA list of mtb centers… other than Phoenix, Minneapolis is probably the only other major metropolitan are area with a vibrant and well developed mtb comunities and infrastructure in this country.

      1. I don’t know much about Minneapolis or the riding there. Looking on TrailForks, though, there’s nothing that suggests that it has a great diversity of singletrack. What do you love about the trails there?

  11. Thanks for the list. I lived in Vegas in the 90โ€™s when the trails near Blue Diamond were first being built from wild horse trails. Vegas definitely should be on the list.
    I want to go to every place on this list!

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