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  1. Really useful article. I’d like to suggest a 6th criteria that I think is arguably more important than the 5 of the criteria you used. Well, it’s at least in the top 3. And that’s CLIMATE. I like to ride year round, and many of the places you listed simply do not allow for it because of either winter snow and ice, or it’s just blazing hot for the summer months.

    Just my 2 cents.

    1. That is a very good point… I’m a year-round rider as well, but with my nomadic lifestyle I often forget that most places don’t allow it! What’s your favorite place for year-round mountain biking?

  2. You need to add Bellingham Washington and Oregon is not that good for mountain biking the only viable spot is hood river or bend. Also issaquah, fall city, or north bend Washington is between 4 of the best biking areas in the pnw you have flow, loam, or steep tech and right next to Seattle

  3. Weird that Steamboat Springs isn’t here. Someone else mentioned it and you didn’t respond. So I’m gonna bring it up again. It feels like every fourth shop in town is a bike shop, and the people literally voted in a tax to build mountain trails years ago.

    1. I don’t know much about Steamboat Springs and I’ve only driven through. It’s also not a place I’ve heard talked about for its mountain biking (that’s not to say it isn’t good or great, I just haven’t heard much about it). Thanks for bringing it up again, I’ll have to go check it out!

  4. I guess Bend, Oregon did not meet your population cut off, but it is still pretty small and uncrowded riding and AMAZING trails!

  5. Don’t miss checking out Davis,WV. Tons of history, mtb fame and early 24hr and 40K courses. 600 population, lotsa rocks and variety. Highest Valley in the East at 3000′ with surrounding peaks of 4200. Very nice vibe, Blackwater bikes, Stumptown Ales/Brewery, Hellbender Burritos, Sirriani’s Pizza and

  6. One thing you didn’t mention that should be a huge factor is climate. What I mean is, how many months of the year are considered “good” for riding there? If the best trails are covered with snowpack half the year, I wouldn’t consider it a great place to live for MTB! Great to visit in season of course, but wouldn’t move there to only ride half the year. Perhaps if you are into winter sports as well, then sure. But you didn’t mention that. Or if the trails are sloppy muddy all Winter, same problem. If you consider how many months are good months for riding, this list gets a lot shorter.

  7. At the risk of further soiling the area with more tourism I would submit Whitefish MT.
    Any type of riding and a very supportive MTB community. Free daily shuttle from town to the base lodge. Bonsai Brewing Project.

      1. Yes, done wrong like in my home town near Brevard, NC (Zirconia-which now has a bike park!). This used to be a nice place to live and ride, but we have become overpopulated and the poor trails have become sano’d to try and keep them easily maintained (still love them though). Everything has become commercialized here and the traffic on the trails and roads are insane compared to what is was a couple of years ago even (not to mention like 15 + when you could ride just about anywhere and rarely see a single soul).

  8. I’ve ridden all but Marquette and Prescott. I’d probably replace Mammoth (surprisingly little variety outside of the bike park and Lower Rock Creek) with Crested Butte. I love the town of Helena, but trail quality is lacking there too. Perhaps replace with Park City, Salida, Aspen or Steamboat.

    1. Yeah, I’d consider adding Crested Butte to the list. I’ve only ridden there once and loved Dr. Park (hated Teocalli Ridge, though). I also love Salida, but the network isn’t huge unless you count the 100 mile radius around it. I need to check out the others, but have heard good things. Thanks for the recs!

      Oh, and I’ll defend Mammoth. The park is huge and there actually is a lot of riding outside Mammoth, especially if you had south to Bishop and the White Mountains

    1. I’ll agree with you on Crested Butte, but not Marin 🙂 Dr. Park in CB is awesome and the bike park there is pretty fun, too. As for Marin… even though it has a rich history, most of the trails are illegal and more people are anti-mountain bikers there than pro-mountain bikers, wouldn’t you agree?

  9. Love the azs on your list, I once moved to Durango for a few weeks, then bailed to CA. North Bend , Wa is awesome as well, if you expand you list , come up and check out the trails and town

      1. Hi Becky, thanks for a great article.

        I agree with all of your selections, however, I’m surprised you overlooked Aspen/Snowmass and the Roaring Fork Valley. It meets your population criteria, has over 300 miles of trails, and is the only location in the state of Colorado to have achieved IMBA Gold Level ride area status. The towns are arguably some of the best in terms of services and amenities, there’s a huge variety of riding, including world class lift served riding on Snowmass, amazing cross country. and the largest network of machine made purpose built trails supported by an amazing local mountain bike community.

        P.S. – I also agree that leaving off Crested Butte was a glaring omission, and please get out and ride Fruita, especially the Loma area trails as soon as possible!

        Thanks for listening!


        1. Thanks, Jeff! I actually really don’t know too much about the mountain biking around Aspen/Snowmass and the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s not a place I’ve explored, yet, but it sounds like I need to go! Thanks for the recommendation.

          And I guess I need to add Crested Butte 🙂

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