Apr11

7 best mountain biking destinations in the U.S.

When the snow melts at top ski resorts, miles of world-class, wildflower-lined mountain biking trails are revealed. Mountain biking at ski resorts affords comfortable, full-service lodging, lift-accessed riding and spectacular views. Every stripe of dirt lover has their ideal style and level of mountain biking on tap from gentle beginner trails to fitness-forward cross-country trails to expert jumps and technical terrain. Here are some of the top resorts in the U.S. for mountain biking.

Winter Park, Colorado

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Renowned as Colorado’s best downhill mountain biking park, Winter Park is convenient to get to from just about anywhere in world. Situated about an hour from Denver International Airport, Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park has something for everyone, including nine green trails and 13 blue trails and two skills parks. Lessons are available, too.

Season: The Trestle Bike Park chairlifts are open Friday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 10, 2017 to late Sept., with weekend hours throughout the fall.

Breckenridge, Colorado

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A mountain biking paradise, Breckenridge's trail system goes on for miles. With many of the trails maintained and built by the town, riders of all abilities are in for a treat. From lift-accessed runs on the resort to backcountry singletrack, Breckenridge trails start at an impressive 10,000 feet in elevation and can take you well above tree-line. The trail systems around town link endlessly, for a “choose-your-own-adventure,” type of day, as proven by the annual Breck 100 Race. This 100-miler crosses the Continental Divide three times and takes riders up and over 12,000-foot passes on all different trails. Ride to Frisco, Keystone or Copper and back, all on single track.

Season: Opening day for Breckenridge Resort Bike Park TBA.

Sun Valley, Idaho

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While the resort town itself might be small, the mountain biking surrounding Sun Valley is anything but! More than 300 miles of connected singletrack offer outstanding views of the surrounding five mountain ranges. From lift-accessed runs off Bald Mountain, to countless gulch loops close to town, to endless rugged backcountry trails, there’s no shortage of adventure. This summer, Sun Valley Resort is slated to add an additional 5.5 miles of trail to the existing 27 miles on Bald Mountain. This addition will create the longest “directional” (meaning, one-way) machine-built mountain bike descent in the country!

Season: The Sun Valley Bike Park opening day is TBA at this point. Check back soon.

Mammoth, California

mammoth mountain biking, mammoth mountain biking trailsPhoto: Tyler Wallasch, Rider: Riley Mueller

Mountain biking has long been a staple in Mammoth culture. With downhill and cross-country trails for beginners through to advanced riders, Mammoth Mountain Bike Park offers over 80 miles of lift-accessed riding. Thrill seekers will enjoy the iconic Kamikaze trail (which boasts the historic downhill race) and rides dotted with features such as bridges, banked turns and jumps. Families will enjoy the pine-covered directional trails (ensuring riders are only going one way) and practice loops, while those who like to earn the downhill will love Mammoth’s world-class, cross-country options.

Season: The Mammoth Bike Park is set to open July 1, 2017.

Crested Butte, Colorado

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A ski town with a passion for bikes, Crested Butte is the epitome of a classic bike town. Visit in the summer and you’ll see more bikes than cars on the main drag of Elk Avenue. Iconic trails like the 401 Trail, which starts at the top of Schofield Pass, offer stunning valley views and beautiful wild flowers (and the occasional high-alpine cow). A cross-country biker’s haven, those who like to pedal will relish the linkable trail systems, while those looking for a fast, technical downhill will enjoy the classic trails like Doctor Park. For those who want to enjoy lift access, the famed Evolution Bike Park features 30 miles of singletrack for both downhill and cross-country riders. Lessons and rentals are available. And when you’re done? Treat yourself to pizza at The Secret Stash, we highly recommend it.

Season: Evolution Bike Park is open June 10 through mid Sept. 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., then Friday through Sunday through early Oct.

Big Sky, Montana

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Photo: Andrew Kircher/Big Sky Resort

A ski resort known for its steeps, Big Sky also offers rugged downhill mountain biking. Lift-accessed by the Ramcharger and Swift Current chairlifts at the base, the mountain boasts terrain that will challenge even the best. The resort is quickly becoming known for its impressive trail building, lead by Terraflow, adding more options for all levels of expertise. For those a little less inclined to get airborne, the Mountain to Meadows trail delights with around eight miles of beautiful, wildflower-dotted downhill singletrack and sweeping, panoramic views. The trail ending in the Meadows, and free shuttles back to the resort are available. Should you need a little liquid encouragement, Everett’s is open at the top of the Ramcharger lift for a spicy margarita or beer.

Season: Opening date TBA, but bike haul hours typically run daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. mid June through Sept.

Aspen, Colorado

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Photo: Aspen Snowmass

The only U.S. stop of the 2017 Big Mountain Enduro World Series, the towns of Aspen and Snowmass know a thing or two about mountain biking. With a plethora of world-class trails to choose from, you don’t have to be a professional to enjoy the systems around Aspen. Snowmass Bike Park offers more than 50 miles of lift-serviced mountain bike trails on Snowmass Mountain, while a plethora of cross-country single track will take you from Snowmass to Aspen and back again. And did we mention the views?

Season: Opening day at Snowmass Bike Park is TBA, but generally the season runs from mid to late June through early Sept., and weekends through Oct. 2.