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Mountain Bike Trips

When I ask someone to describe their best mountain bike trips, they usually talk about days on a local single track with lots of technical ascents and descents. Even for me, some of my most remarkable mountain bike rides have been on 10 or 20 mile local trails. But this web site was developed to pick some of the best locations for long distance mountain bike excursions. So here are my suggestions for mountain biking hots.


Mountain Biking Hotspots by Country

America      Canada
Great Britain and Ireland      Europe



Be sure to check out the lists of free available maps and guides in the left column. There are 1000s of free brochures and information of bicycle routes and tours from all over the world. You can choose your interest by activity and country. This information is invaluable in your search for good resources for any bicycle adventure.
Also check out the information in the left column about bicycling in specific countries. Information includes getting there, lodging, bike rentals, and general information about bicycling in different regions of each country.

Hotspots in America

The North America continent offers unlimited opportunities for long distance mountain bike trips. And if you want to ride the most notable trail, then the Great Divide Trail that runs from Canada to Mexico would be the ultimate experience. However, most people do not have the entire summer to devote to this trip, so I am going to pick some shorter long distance mountain bike trips.

Arizona

A mountain biking paradise exists among the White Mountains in central-eastern Arizona near the New Mexico border. The 180 miles of marked trails are pretty much unknown outside of the local riders. However, since the elevation ranges from around 6,000 feet to a breath taking 11,000 feet, the scenery is world class.

Just a few hours away from the White Mountain Trail System, endless miles of twisty single tracks traverse the Sedona and Flagstaff region of Arizona. This area consists of high mountain forest, deep canyons with beautiful rivers, and the unbelievable red dirt and rock around Sedona. The trails along the canyons can be extremely technical, but the sights are worth the effort.

Utah

Among the rough landscape of Utah, you will experience a mountain biking mecca. Canyons seem endless throughout the remote regions. You can spend the day mountain biking through the sun drenched desert and ride up snow-capped mountains that stretch before you. Bryce and Zion National Parks contain some of the premier hotspots.

Pacific Northwest

Oregon and Washington offer mountain biker some of the most diverse terrain in America. You can choose dense rain forests and woodlands, rolling mountains and high mountain ridges, and vast valleys. You can even bicycle along historic frontier trails near Mount Hood and within the Columbia River National Scenic Area. Another pristine mountain biking area lies within the incredible mountains of the Deschutes National Forest.

California

The entire state of California is dotted with national forests and parks, state forests and parks, rolling hills and remote deserts, and endless opportlunities for mountain bike trips. Two hotspot areas include the Sequoia National Forest (not Sequoia National Park due to the ban on mountain bikes) and the vast forest around Lake Tahoe. The Sequoia National Forest has soaring mountain peaks, countless free flowing rivers, and vast grasslands. Around the Lake Tahoe area, aspen forest give way to wildflower meadows to small isolated lakes. If you are looking for a great winter trip, the Mojave Desert in Death Valley National Park and Red Rock Canyon beckon.

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Hotspots in Canada

British Columbia and Alberta

Thousand of miles of old logging and forest roads, fire roads, and single track trails cross both British Columbia and Alberta. You can choose craggy mountains, vast cedar forests, and beautiful coastlines. All levels of skill can be tested on single day and multiple day trips. You need to be wary of bears, so avoid confrontations and react properly. Also, check with local park rangers since mountain biking may be restricted on some national park trails.

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Hotspots in Great Britain and Ireland

Scotland

Mountain biking opportunities have exploded in Scotland during the recent years. The terrain is ideal for short and long distance trips. You can experience rolling hills, rugged terrain, and breathtaking scenery. One area of Scotland that offers multi-day trips is the Cairngorms National Park. If you ride this area, you will be greeted by wild and mountainous terrain. You will find numerous paths used for centuries to drive cattle between the small towns.

Wales

Wales offers thousand of miles of possible mountain biking trails. You can choose forests, valleys, mountains, rugged cliffs, and beautiful beaches. The trips can be multiple day from a central location or place to place. The landscape may look like it did centuries ago with medieval castles or modern in some of the cosmopolitan cities. The heritage is rich and authentic and the people friendly and warm.

Ireland

In Ireland, you can choose between smooth coastal riding and rugged mountains traversing. One popular area is the Ring of Kerry. There you will ride short distances between small villages. Or you can head out along the coastline for cliff-top views. Ireland can be a raining country, so be prepared and make sure you carry all gear in waterproof containers.

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Hotspots in Europe

Spain and Portugal

Two prime mountain bike trip regions of Spain include the Andalucia and Marina Alta Mountains of southern Valencia. Both areas offer breathtaking scenery, especially in the Sierra Nevada, which are the highest mountains in mainland Spain. The Marina Alta Mountains have ancient trading routes carved out in the mountains. The typical tourist is almost never seen in this area. And Portugal is as rugged and remote as any mountain biker dreams about exploring.

The Alps

The Alps offers some of the most difficult and treasured mountain bike trips in the worlds. Mountain bike enthusiasts dream of places like the Alps. Most of the excursions are guided and centered around a particular region for multi-day trips. Three prime hotspots are:

  • The French Alps
  • Lake Garda at the edge of the Italian Alps
  • The Karavanke Alps in northern Slovenia

All three regions will deliver the most breathtaking scenery, a variety of riding terrain, and memories that will last a lifetime.

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About John Stultz

John Stultz is the owner of Bear Paw Tents. He's been bicycle touring for over 30 years and is excited for sharing his insight on cycling. He considers himself an ultralight backpacker and ultralight bicycle tourer. John is the original founder of Bicycle-Touring-Guide.com. He started the website to share his passion for touring and to help people plan for their own bicycle tour.

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