Bike parks emerged in the late 80s and early 90s, as adventurous west coast cyclists began exploiting ski resort lifts and ski resorts caught on to the business potential of offering a summer sport. Today’s bike parks have developed far beyond those early efforts. You won’t be bashing down the ski lines: modern bike parks have engaged professional trail builders to sculpt a spectacular variety of mountain bike trails into their slopes. The lifts get you to the top of the mountain quickly and easily, but once there you’ll have multiple options for getting down, with trails designed for every level of riding skill and every type of terrain preference.
Bike parks aren’t just for pros. They are a great place to learn and build skills: most parks have a clear progression of trails, so you can get on a trail that you know is at your level from beginning to end, master it, and step up to the next level without ever pushing out of your envelope. Many parks offer skills parks, pump tracks, and quality instruction at every level. Most offer rental bikes, helmets, and body armor. If you’re looking to build your skills and learn to get the most out of your local trails, some time at a bike park can be a worthwhile investment.
Bike parks require gradient, so they’re usually found in hilly areas. Most bike parks share their infrastructure with ski areas, and have distinct seasons, as parks shift back to ski services in cold weather. Parks in northern climates and high altitudes will have shorter biking seasons than their lower or more southerly counterparts, and you should check for seasonal offerings before planning a visit. Most parks have detailed websites explaining exactly what they offer, so once you’ve narrowed your options down to a few top candidates it’s easy to dig deeper and make a final decision.
The Best Mountain Bike Trails In The US
There is no real scientific way to absolutely say which trails are best bike trails in the US. You could use review scores I suppose, but everyone will have their own unique likes and dislikes when it comes to bike trails. So below is the list of trails I think are the best bike trails in the US and that are on my bucket list to ride. If you disagree with my list, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below and suggest which trails you think I should add to this list.
● Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
● Trail Distance: 80 miles
● Vertical Descent: 3100 feet
● Trails: 45
● Rental Bikes: Trek, Rocky Mountain
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $49*
● Adult Season Pass: $399*
Mammoth Mountain was one of the first bike parks in the US, and has maintained its industry-leading position by continuously upgrading its trail networks, rental bike offerings, and other features. Trails like Pipeline, Recoil, and Velociraptor get the attention and the video footage, but for many visitors the prime attraction is the Discovery Zone, a trail network designed and built to serve less experienced riders. Mammoth Mountain prides itself on providing quality instruction and a trail network that allows a continuous progression from absolute beginner to professional, allowing every rider to enjoy and learn. Top-level riders will find world class downhill and freeride trails (the park hosted the US National Championships for many years) but cross-country riders and beginners will also find miles of scenic trails to suit their needs.
Mammoth is located in California’s Eastern Sierra range, near Yosemite National Park. It is 3 hours drive from Reno, Nevada and roughly 5 hours from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Mammoth Yosemite Airport is nearby and offers air access from Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco and other airports. Mammoth Mountain offers a free airport shuttle service, and there’s no need to bring your own bike: the park offers a world class pro shop with rental bikes and professional fitting services.
● Location: Winter Park, CO
● Trail Distance: 40 miles
● Vertical Descent: 1700 feet
● Trails: 31
● Rental Bikes: Trek, Juliana
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $54*
● Season Pass: $329*
Colorado is at the center of the national mountain biking scene, and Trestle Bike Park, located in Colorado’s Front Range, offers some of the country’s best lift-assisted riding. The park has 40 miles of lift-accessible trails and is famous for its groomed trails and features. If you’re looking for more trails, the park trails connect to a network of 600 miles of bike trails throughout Fraser County.
Trestle is known for massive features and slopestyle trails that appeal to expert riders, but also offers 3 beginner and 12 intermediate trails with miles of flowing singletrack designed to appeal to less experienced riders, including kids. Trestle advertises itself as the fastest-growing bike park in the country, and is continuously introducing new trails and new features. There’s a well-equipped rental facility offering high quality bikes and protective equipment, and the park is easily accessible, located less than 2 hours drive from Denver International Airport.
● Location: Angel Fire, NM
● Trail Distance: 60 miles
● Vertical Descent: 2077 feet
● Trails: 32
● Rental Bikes: Specialized, Santa Cruz, Commencal, Giant
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $52*
● Season Pass: $369*
Consistently ranked the best bike park in the Southwest, Angel Fire offers a dizzying variety of trails. Whether you like flowing single track, chunky technical steep descents, big jumps and drops or anything in between, you’ll find it here. The park is located in the high Sierras is a forested mountain region and is consistently one of the first high-altitude bike parks in the west to open each season. The park is dominated by downhill trails but you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy them: there are 3 beginner and 15 intermediate trails available. Instruction is available at every level, right down to a balance bike skills center for toddlers getting their first taste of two wheels.
Angel Fire offers an extensive range of top quality rental bikes, but the park recommends reserving in advance, especially during busy periods. If you bring your own bike and need a tuneup there’s a well-equipped pro shop on the premises. The park is accessible from airports at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos. Some shuttle services are available from the airports and shuttle services within the park area make getting around easy once you’re there.
● Location: Big Sky, MT
● Trail Distance: 40 miles
● Vertical Descent: 515 feet
● Trails: 22
● Rental Bikes: Rossignol, Specialized
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $47*
● Season Pass: $299*
Big Sky Resort is located in the Gallatin Range of southern Montana, near the borders of Idaho and Wyoming. It’s a fairly remote setting and it’s not the easiest bike park to reach, but those willing to make the trip will find themselves on an array of spectacularly scenic mountain trails that rarely see the crowds drawn by more accessible bike parks. Big Sky is best known for highly technical riding and jump trails, but in recent years the park has added several beginner to intermediate trails focused on flowing berms and rollable features. There’s something here for everyone, and a high-speed lift system helps minimize waiting times and put more riding hours in your day. The views are superb and wildlife sightings are common.
Big Sky is located midway between the towns of Bozeman and West Yellowstone, about an hour from Bozeman/Yellowstone International Airport. Airport shuttle service is available. You won’t find many urban amenities in the area but Yellowstone National Park and a number of other scenic parks and wilderness areas are accessible, so if you’re building a vacation around outdoor adventure you’ll have plenty to do. Big Sky does have a relatively short riding season: the northerly location and high altitude make the ski season longer and the bike season shorter. If you can make it during the bike season, though, you’ll have some of the best park riding in the Northwest.
● Location: Girdwood, AK
● Trail Distance: Not Specified
● Vertical Descent: 2,550 feet
● Trails: 33
● Rental Bikes: Kona
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $45*
● Season Pass: $250*
Alyeska bike park undoubtedly has Alaska’s finest lift-accessible mountain biking, because it has Alaska’s only lift-accessible mountain biking. That absence of regional competition isn’t a negative point, though: Alyeska’s spectacular scenery and variety of trail options place it among the best bike parks in the country. Trails range from beginner through expert, from downhill jump-fests to cross country loops. The terrain is varied, including high rocky alpine slopes, rain forests of spruce and fern, and open meadows. Old growth forests and glacial canyons abound. If you’re looking for top quality riding set in some of the most dramatic scenery you’ll ever find in a bike park, Alyeska delivers.
Alaska has a reputation as an inaccessible frontier, but Alyeska is a very accessible park. The report is 40 miles south of Anchorage’s modern airport, a quick trip down one of America’s most scenic highways. The resort also offers a huge variety of off-bike activities, from spas to wildlife viewing to rafting and other adventure sports, making it a great base for family adventures. The area is a temperate rainforest, so be sure to bring rain gear, and the biking season is relatively short, from July to September. On the bright side, in summer you can have up to 20 hours of daylight every day!
● Location: Duluth, MN
● Trail Distance: Not Specified
● Vertical Descent: 700 feet
● Trails: 9
● Rental Bikes: Rossignol
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $35*
● Season Pass: $299*
Most riders don’t associate the notoriously flat Midwest with bike parks or gravity-driven riding. Writing the region off would be a mistake, though. There are some hills, and creative trail builders have found ways to exploit them. Minnesota’s Spirit Mountain, often cited as the region’s leading bike park, may not have the elevation or gradient statistics of its Rocky Mountain equivalents, but its combination of bedrock slabs, hard-packed clay, and moist loam has allowed trail builders to develop some extremely attractive rides covering all levels of skill. There are plenty of flow trails for less aggressive riders, a fair share of roots and rocks for the technically minded, and several full-on jumpfests to keep the freeride set stoked. New trails are continuously under development, and high-speed lifts keep you riding instead of waiting. Riders in the Midwest don’t have to go east or west to find a top-quality bike park!
Spirit Mountain is located on the western outskirts of Duluth and is easily accessible from the town. A campground is available if you prefer to stay on-site. There’s an adventure park and great news over Lake Superior and the St. Louis River to keep the non-riders happy. The July-Sept season is relatively short, but if you’re in the Midwest and looking for an accessible bike park, it’s definitely worth a visit!
● Location: Killington, VT
● Trail Distance: 45 miles
● Vertical Descent: 2,200 feet
● Trails: 35
● Rental Bikes: Norco, DeVinci, Rocky Mountain
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $64*
● Season Pass: $469*
Killington is one of the largest bike parks in the country, spreading over five distinct mountains serviced by three different lifts. That huge area allowed trailbuilders to develop an exceptionally long trail network serving riders of all skill levels. The number and distance of the available trails can make navigation a challenge, so keep track of where you are or stay close to a local rider until you get your bearings! Each of the three lift systems serves a specific skill level, though, so you’re not likely to accidentally wander onto something you can’t handle. The trails range from cross country singletrack to flowing gradients to classic northeast root-and-rack technical riding to competitive downhill and freeride courses, offering plenty of riding for any mountain biker. There’s a large rental fleet and a fully equipped pro shop if your own ride needs tuning or parts.
Killington is located in central Vermont, in one of the northeast’s prime mountain recreation areas. It’s easily accessible by road, bus, train or plane from Boston, New York, Albany, and other major cities. The resort ors a full range of outdoor activities and there are many more recreation areas close by, making this a great choice for an all-around outdoor-oriented holiday. The prices are on the high side but the outstanding variety and number of trails make the park worth the cost.
● Location: Snowshoe, WV
● Trail Distance: 22 miles
● Vertical Descent: 1500 feet
● Trails: 35
● Rental Bikes: Trek
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $45*
● Season Pass: $199*
West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Bike Park was home to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup finals in 2019, and offers some of the most extensive and varied lift-assisted mountain biking in the world. It’s not just for competitive pros, either. The western side of Snowshoe Mountain offers steep, gnarly, rocky trails to challenge the most skillful riders, but trail builders have also carved an extensive network of beginner and intermediate trails into the east side, which is covered by mossy spruce forests with softer soil. The park is surrounded by over 11,000 acres of forest and mountain, offering an huge array of off-park riding and other outdoor activities, making this one of the region’s top one-stop shops for outdoor adventures.
Snowshoe is easily accessible from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Richmond, and other mid-Atlantic population centers. It’s in the middle of a prime outdoor recreation area with a wide variety of activities and services available both on the site and in the immediate area. If you’re looking for a mountain bike-focused vacation with lots of other options for off bike days or family members who don’t ride, you won’t find a better option in the east.
● Location: Beech Mountain, NC
● Trail Distance: 22 miles
● Vertical Descent: 830 feet
● Trails: 10
● Rental Bikes: Rossignol
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $40*
● Season Pass: $250*
North Carolina’s Beech Mountain is one of the southernmost bike parks in the east, and offers the highest lift-served trails east of the Rockies. That combination provides a long season and an outstanding variety of gradient-driven cycling. Trail offerings are dominated by intermediate-level riding, with six intermediate trails in the mix, but there are also three trails dedicated to advanced and expert riders and one for beginners. The advanced trails are dominated by steep, technically challenging riding with plenty of rock. Instruction is available at every level and there’s a terrain park designed for skills practice, making Beech Mountain a great place to expand your skills. The park isn’t as large as some of its more established counterparts, but it’s a great option for southeastern riders looking for lift-assisted riding.
Beech Mountain is located in northwestern North Carolina and is accessible by road or via the Charlotte (NC), Greensboro (NC) or Tri-Cities (TN) airports. You will have to rent a car to get from the airport to the park.
Best Bike Trails North Of The Border
● Location: Whistler, British Columbia
● Trail Distance: 150 miles
● Vertical Descent: 4,946 feet
● Trails: 57
● Rental Bikes: GT, Norco
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $80*
● Season Pass: $710*
When you think of bike parks, British Columbia’s Whistler/Blackcomb is probably the first place that comes to mind. There are good reasons for that. It was one of the world’s first operational bike parks, it’s one of the largest, and it’s almost universally recognized as the best, or at least one of the best, parks in the world. It’s certainly one of the biggest, with 57 trails covering 150 miles and including a dizzying variety of terrain and difficulty with a staggering range of natural and manmade features. New trails and new features are constantly under development: this is the cutting edge of bike park experimentation. Any rider from the absolute beginner to the seasoned pro will have not just something to ride but many things to ride, with a clear progression, quality instruction, and first-class rental gear. If you’ve been to some bike parks and you want to try the best or if you want to start out at the very top, Whistler is the place to be.
Whistler is an hour and a half by road from Vancouver. The resort and the surrounding outdoor recreation areas are major contributors to the British Columbia economy and the government has made access as easy as possible, with regular shuttles and private limousine services ready to whisk you between Vancouver and Whistler any time you want. Getting around the resort is just as easy. The only thing difficult about Whistler is the riding: there are plenty of beginner trails available but as you move up the skills progression you’ll find that Whistler trails can be more challenging than similarly rated trails at some other resorts. Even if you ride double black diamonds at other resorts, start a level or two lower when you hit Whistler!
Mont Sainte Anne
● Location: Beaupre, Quebec
● Trail Distance: 17.5 miles downhill, 80 miles XC, 5.6 miles enduro
● Vertical Descent: 2050 feet
● Trails: 34
● Rental Bikes: Scott
● Adult Full-Day Ticket Price: $39*
● Season Pass: Not Announced
Mont Sainte Anne offers eastern Canada’s largest network of mountain bike trails, and one of the largest in eastern North America. The park is also a legend on the racing circuit: Mont Sainte Anne has hosted a UCI Downhill World Cup race for 26 straight years, and hosted the UCI World Championships for both downhill and cross country riding in 2019. Whether you’re looking for cross country, enduro, or downhill, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find an abundance of scenic riding on professionally constructed trails. There’s a skills park, a pump track, plenty of features and stund opportunity, and instruction for those who want to build their skills.There’s no better riding in anywhere in the east!
Mont Sainte Anne is only 30 minutes from downtown Quebec City, making it one of the most accessible bike parks on the planet. The park offers a full range of activities and amenities, and if you want a wider range of dining or entertainment options the town is just around the corner!
The Bottom Line
The 11 bike parks on this list are among the best in the world, and each is a top option for riders in its area and for riders planning a mountain biking vacation. They aren’t the only options, though. Remember that while the biggest and most famous parks offer superb riding, they often draw huge crowds as well, and they may be at the upper end of the bike park price range. It’s also worth looking into smaller options closer to home. Your friendly neighborhood bike park may not offer the variety or distance of trails that the top parks do, but you’ll be able to use it more frequently and master all it offers. Don’t overlook the local options!
Whatever park you choose, you’re likely to be looking at some great riding and some great services. Enjoy it, and ride on!
*Note: Prices listed as at the time of writing this article
Best Mountain Bike Trails Per State
Above I listed only a handful of mountain bike trails, but the US has so many more that are great to ride. So for each state, I am listing the top mountain bike trails in that state. To see the best mountain bike trail in each state, simply click on the relevant state on the map below (please note, this is still a work in progress and will be updated over time).