The Top 10 Cross Country MTB Trails in North America

The Top 10 Cross Country MTB Trails in North America


The Top 10 Cross Country MTB Trails in North America


#1. Porcupine Rim: Moab, UT
porcupine-rim-09132012_fePhoto: davduf/Flickr

A veritable classic, Porcupine Rim offers majestic views of Castle Valley. The ride involves rocky climbs and a technical downhill. Rock ledges provide some of the most photographed scenery in mountain biking and it’s no wonder why so many trail riders flock to Moab in the spring and fall every year.

#2. Kingdom Trails: East Burke, VT
14317007696_4d10ea264a_kPhoto: ActiveSteve/Flickr

To name one of the Kingdom Trails, just outside of East Burke, VT, would do the overall trail system an injustice. The Kingdom Trails system winds around Darling Hill for a whopping 110-mile system. The views of the Vermont countryside are as beautiful as they are underrated compared to the rest of the locales on this list. However, in fall, nowhere beats Vermont.

#3. Cache Creek > Game Creek: Jackson, WY
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Jackson locals know the Cache Creek Trail System, which runs through the Bridger-Teton National Forest, as the town trails system. These cross-country trails provide miles upon miles of single-track paired with flowy, easygoing descents. The crowned jewel is the Cache Creek to Game Creek route, which provides riders with 18 miles of smooth, flowy single-track that crosses creeks, accesses meadows, and provides wonderful views of the Gros Ventre and Snake River ranges.

#4. Tahoe Rim Trail: Lake Tahoe, CA

The Tahoe Rim Trail boasts the best water views of any of the trails of this list. It’s typical Tahoe and the backdrop is ridiculous. Although some areas are closed temporarily and permanently due to Wilderness designations, the trail system offers more than 100 miles of trail riding and it all lives up to the hype.

#5. McKenzie River Trail: Eugene, OR

About an hour east of Eugene, OR is the McKenzie River Trail. Located in both the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests, the trail is smooth, dark dirt single-track for over 20 miles. It’s quintessential Pacific Northwest trail riding and the temperate rainforest atmosphere keeps the trails flowy for days.

#6. Wasatch Crest Trail: Park City, UT
3960588923_8745e984e7_bPhoto: crosby_cj/Flickr

Connecting Big Cottonwood Canyon and Park City Resort, The Wasatch Crest Trail includes high altitude trails that usually dry out by July. The trail system includes everything from intermediate terrain to expert, while offering mountain vistas, lake views, and peaceful meadows; the Wasatch Crest Trail is Utah’s best high altitude trail.

#7. Trail 401: Crested Butte, CO
140909072_e1038b90e7_bPhoto: GaryColet/Flickr

Trail 401 is historic in that it is one the first places people started mountain biking. This alpine trail rises 2,000’ and tops out at an elevation just above 11,000’. The trail is gruesome due to its altitude but the technicality of the trail remains intermediate. Views of the surrounding Elk Mountains are outlandish. Although there are some high consequence fall zones, this trail is a must for intermediate riders looking for a challenge.

#8. 18 Road Trail System: Fruita, CO
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Fruita, CO may have the best camping/mountain biking combo on this list, although Moab is close. However, Fruita offers less crowded options that include spots where you can bike to and from camp. A popular destination for Front Range dwelling Coloradans, the 18 Road Trail System is world class and offers some of the most picturesque ridge rides in the world.

#9. Hangover Loop: Sedona, AZ
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The most technically advanced trail on this list, the Hangover Loop is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. The ride offers slick rock, exposure, and rocky climbs that make most people hike to bike. Although the trail is one of the most unique in North America, the trail should be a goal rather than a casual ride for intermediate riders.

#10. Seven Summits Trail: Roseland, BC

Like the Wasatch Crest Trail, The Seven Summits Trail located outside of Rossland, BC, usually opens in July due to lingering snowpack. This trail is stunning and offers views of the surrounding, Kootenay Mountains. The climbs are extremely strenuous and the downhill section can be extremely technical. Make sure you are physically competent for this trail ride as it offers over 22 miles of trail combined with over 3,000’ of climbing. If you complete this ride in less than 4 hours, you’re one tough SOB.

Cover photo by: Pierce Martin/Flickr

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