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Top Mountain Biking Trips from California to Canada

Since mountain biking was born in California in the 1970s as an off-road fringe sport, we’re starting with the best locations for hitting the trails in the Golden State. For all the advances since the sport’s humble beginnings on a dirt trail, the Downieville Downhill remains a daunting test. Home to the country’s longest downhill race, the route plunges 5,333 feet over 15 miles. The Downieville Downhill is reserved for All-Mountain racers only, which means riders will have to earn their start time by completing the Point to Point Cross Country course the day before.

Downieville Downhill. Photo by @nixonphotos.

Historic Truckee River Bike Path is a great ride for the entire family—it’s level, relaxing and beautiful. You cruise alongside the Truckee River to the entrance of Squaw Valley. Along the way are several places to turn out to absorb the natural beauty of the river’s ecosystem. During the summer months, the river is most popular for rafting and you can literally see hundreds of people enjoying a fun-filled flow down to River Ranch Resort – where they exit and is a great local spot for food, refreshments, and entertainment.

Gold Valley rim. Photo by @nixonphotos.

Tahoe National Forest is the first in the Pacific Southwest region to allow “pedal assist” E-bikes on designated non-motorized national forest system trails. This summer, mountain bikers will find that class 1 e-bikes (electric mountain bikes) are now permitted on lifts and select Summit Bike Park trails. The pedal-assisted bikes are easier to power up the trails, making the sport of mountain biking more accessible to more people.

The first of three trails in the Maple Hills Trails Complex is now open for public use in Big Bear. Adding to the extensive trail network in the San Bernardino Mountains, the Maple Hills Trail Complex will offer outdoor hiking, biking, and nature walks.

City of LaQuinta

Greater Palm Springs has some of the best desert mountain biking on the planet, from the Santa Rosa Mountains to the southwest and the San Jacinto Mountains to the west. The Little San Bernardino Mountains lie east and San Gorgonio Mountain—with the highest peak in Southern California—dominates to the north. What does this mean? Not only great views but epic mountain bike trails. The top ones to hit include Palm Canyon Trail, Art Smith Trail, Bump and Grind, and Palm Canyon Pinon Flats Loop.

Traverse City, Michigan

For a solid Midwest option, Traverse City, MI has excellent mountain biking trails along the country roads of the Leelanau or Old Mission peninsulas. And however you roll—from classic mountain bike, cruiser, tandem or fixie—you can fly through a singletrack trail in the woods or leisurely pedal on one of the paved trails around the region.  

Traverse City, Michigan in the fall

There are plentiful dirt tracks, including the trails at Timber Ridge Resort. And the local trail network is just about the best you can get! The TART signature trail is a 10.5-mile paved pathway that stretches east-west across the city, and the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a paved pathway between Glen Arbor and Empire. Both routes provide scenic views along the lakeshore with ample spots to stop for a break, picnic or selfie moment.

Fat tire winter rides

During the winter months, they do not close the biking trails; in fact they gear up for fat bike rides. Some of the same trails that bikers enjoy during spring, summer and fall are also open during the winter. You can bring your own wheels or rent some at a local shop

The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana, guests are encouraged to walk or bike during their stay using the trails and pedestrian bridge over Rock Creek. The Ranch has an extensive road and trail system with an array of solo and group biking adventures. Upon check-in, guests receive a mountain bike for easy transportation between the Granite Lodge, the Rod & Gun Club, and accommodations. 

Ranch at Rock Creek Biking

The Ranch also offers one of Western Montana’s favorite sports—cross-country mountain biking. Options range from an easy pedal along Rock Creek Road to a more challenging trail that hugs the hillsides and traverses the sagebrush flats of the 10-square-mile ranch. You can also join a guide on a cross-country ride across this trail during your stay. They will guide you through a two-three-hour adventure while sharing information about The Ranch’s landmarks. In addition to traditional mountain bikes, The Rod & Gun Club has e-bikes and Specialized fat tire bikes.

ELEVEN Revelstoke Lodge in British Columbia

Eleven Revelstoke Lodge is opening for its first summer season this May. Located in downtown Revelstoke, the lodge is within proximity to the world-class Revelstoke Mountain Resort which provides thrilling lift-served mountain biking. In addition to bucket-list mountain biking, the lodge also offers prime access to the trails, rivers, lakes, and mountain scenery. Eleven Revelstoke Lodge is now a year-round base for adventurers of all kinds, and a welcoming respite after a long day in the backcountry with a historic ambiance, cozy lodging, and fine dining at Eleven’s adjacent restaurant, the Quartermaster Eatery. 

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