If there is one thing that makes downhill mountain biking such a special activity, it’s the opportunity to explore the complete breadth of landscapes and ecosystems from a more intimate perspective.
If you are like many extreme cyclists, traveling to different biking destinations presents unique challenges that ignite your passion for the sport.
One of the best things about downhill mountain biking is the dedication of bikers around the world to constantly create new and more challenging bike trails for adventure-thirsty riders to explore.
Awesome Downhill Mountain Bike Trails
From slickrock steeps to roller-coaster double tracks, here are some of the best downhill mountain bike trails in the country. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
1. The Hangover, Arizona
This bike trail may lack length, but it’s blessed with commitment and character. The blocky, red rocks and waterslide-like paths are trying and may make you feel like you are tumbling down to eternity.
If you are a skilled biker and feel confident, take on this heady (but rewarding) bike trail for the ultimate downhill challenge.
2. Mt. Elwell, California
Mt. Elwell is located in south-eastern Sierra and might just qualify for the country’s best well-kept secret. This mountain offers a 3000-foot plummet on a single track. The trail is rough with jangling granite and may require some trail experience.
3. Thunder Mountain, Utah
This desert ripper is located near Bryce Canyon and takes pride in its massive picturesque scenery and tough downhill bike trails. Its high altitude of about 8,300 feet undulates downwards to nearly 2,000 feet.
Even though it may seem intimidating, the trail is actually easy to conquer as it smoothly glides through a landscape of rusty hills like melted wax. As you ride downhill, you will be lulled into the scenic views and lush vegetation, but this will constantly be distracted by the rough terrain and switchbacks.
4. Crested Butte’s 401, Colorado
There’s so much bike riding in Colorado that the internet is full of “Top 10 trail” lists just for the state. But for the best downhill mountain biking in Colorado, you should head to the 401.
The entire trail is between 9000-10000 feet, but drops 2,100 feet in the first 9 miles. It also has amazing views of lush meadows, snow-capped mountaintops, and bucolic groves.
5. Osberg Ridgeline Trail, Idaho
Sun Valley town in Idaho is seriously underrated. It houses some of the finest bike trails in the country. Within a 20-mile radius of this gorgeous town, bikers have access to two bike parks, over 300 miles of single tracks, and 30 miles of paved bike trails. It’s a paradise for mountain bikers.
One of the best bike trails for downhill biking is the Osberg Ridgeline trails. This 12-mile jaw-dropping route descents 3,000 feet into the town and offers free-flowing bike rides that you should definitely try out.
6. McKenzie River Trail, Oregon
Even though there’s no shortage of thrilling bike trails in Oregon, everyone agrees that the McKenzie River Trail is the crown jewel of the state. It’s located just outside Bend in Blue River.
This 26-mile trail is mostly downhill and passes through some of the lushest vegetation on earth, a canopy of 300-year old trees, waterfalls, lava fields, and crystal-clear lakes. You can’t help to stop and take pictures.
7. Mills Peak, California
Downhill mountain biking in California is like religion. In fact, this is the birthplace of the activity. Since the state is blessed with expansive land masses with different terrain, it’s nearly impossible to pick the best bike trail.
But if you were forced to select one, then it would be the Mills Peak trail in Downieville. The popular Downieville downhill may get all the press, but the Mills Peak trail is a hidden gem.
How does undulating over 3,000 feet in 8 miles through fragrant forests and berm turns sound? The Mills Peak was built with downhill mountain bikes in mind. If you a true mountain biker, you need to try this trail at least once in your lifetime.
8. South Boundary, New Mexico
This mountain trail plunges from an open-meadow at 10,500 feet in Sangre Cristo range to pinon pines and scrub oaks at 3,500 feet in Taos. Most part of the trail is dark, tight, root-filled, and loamy with dark green trees and strands of sunlight. The last five miles is a rocky plunge on loose brick-red rocks.
Explore These Great Downhill Mountain Bike Trails
From scenic bike rides to fast, flow jumps to hardcore technical descents, there so many downhill mountain bike trails across the country. Whatever your bike trail fancy, the aforementioned list has something for you. Ride hard, but ride safe!