When thinking about mountain bike trails, we all want scenic routes, excellent adventures, entertainment, fun times with friends, some physical and mental challenges, and the taste of freedom and adrenaline on the tip of your tongue. What is greater than majestic mountains, heart-thrilling falls and loops, blue skies, sweet slopes, glorious nature, and memories to last for a lifetime? If you are searching for your next mountain bike adventure, where you can mix the thrill with the chill; let us see our top 5 scenic mountain bike trails you can try this year!
Top 5 Scenic Mountain Bike Trails
1. Backbone Trail, Malibu, California
Malibu and California are amazing places to see and experience as a tourist. However, if mountain biking is your passion, then you should try the Backbone Trail here. It starts from Will Rogers State Park and stretches all the way to Point Mugu State Park. Unfortunately, you will not be able to mountain bike the entire trail; as some portions do not favor such sports and activities.
However, the first 10.65 miles of the trail (the Will Rogers State Park point of departure) represent an out-and-back route you should try at least once in a lifetime.
Many portions of the trail feature low-height trees, so you will be able to catch a glimpse of the entire landscape, with downtown LA skyline on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Hills and mountains, California’s crystal clear skies, amazing scenery, and a glorious feeling of freedom – this is what you get when you ride the Backbone Trail.
2. Emerald Lake, Montana
We know Montana offers the explorer surreal mountain scenery, but you have to be here to believe what you see. The Emerald Lake trail in Bozeman, Montana seems to be the best mountain bike trail in the state – or so the aficionado say. This is not an easy ride, as you have about 2,000 feet to climb vertically through one of the most amazing pine forests in the country. If you manage to defeat the beast, you will have the treat of a lifetime. The moment the forest ends, you will burst out into a breathtaking meadow.
The Emerald Lake is there, in a jaw-dropping landscape, as the alpine cirque you are in surrounds you with its grandiose silence and wild beauty. Of course, now that you feel like a veritable king of the world, you have to brace yourself, as you have a killer downhill to return on for an unforgettable mountain bike experience.
3. Monarch Crest Trail, Colorado
The Monarch is an intermediate trail for the passionate mountain biker. If you have a penchant for seemingly endless miles of above tree line views, the Monarch Crest Trail gives you the best what Colorado’s landscape have to offer. Imagine the scenery and the feeling of riding through the Gunnison Valley; while knowing all too well you have about 6,000 feet of descent in total.
Massive pine forests, blue and clear skies, more than 30 miles of mostly singletrack trails, and breathtaking flora and fauna, this trail is also good for night riding; if you really want to feel adrenaline pumping through your veins. Keep in mind that this is one of the premier shuttle rides in the state; so you will enjoy an exquisite experience.
4. Flume Trail / Tahoe Rim, Nevada
Both Nevada and California are famous and adored places – each with its own set of unique features and reputation. However, Nevada is more than deserts and casinos, while California is more than beach and surfing. The two states share the Flume Trail/Tahoe Rim mountain bike trail on their border; a glorious ride in the surreal landscape of the Tahoe lake and mountain area.
If you want a veritable alpine experience, you can accept the challenge and ride these two trails; as they connect at Flume’s 10 mile mark to engage in an experience not many people can even imagine.
With the mountains on one side and the lake right below your hair strand-thick trail; you will not get over the clear skies and the fantastic landscape any time soon. At times, you will feel you ride right above the lake, while other times you will feel tempted to believe you entered another realm, where mountain peaks rule an alternate universe.
5. Top of the World, MOAB, Utah
One of the most famous, loved, and praised mountain bike trails in the United States; Moab is the National Capital of mountain biking in America and some think it should be the international capital of all mountain bike trails in the world.
There are a few famous trails at Moab, such as The Whole Enchilada or the legendary Slickrock; but if scenery is what you are looking for, then you should not miss the Top of the World trail. You have the desert below and sometimes the snowy La Sal Mountains in the background. The ride is challenging to say the least. The 4×4 trail is not steep, but it comes with many bike steps you need to climb (and eventually descend). This is not a classic freeride, but if you are a true MTB fan, this is the trail for you!
The night riding feature is a plus, together with the jaw-dropping scenery on top. You should not miss this if you are serious about experiencing the best that mountain biking and America have to offer!
Before we hop on the bike…
We have to discuss a bit about bikes and gear. If you are a seasoned biker, you know how to choose the best hardtail mountain bike and all the protection gear you need to defeat the most challenging of rides. If you are a beginner, you should start slow, with all the protection you can get and a bike you can control and manage.
Some of the rides on this list are easy and beginner friendly, like the Flume trail. You should challenge Moab only if you have some experience, together with a professional mountain bike, gloves, and proper equipment.
Mountain biking is an amazing sport and adventure and luckily, the United States has some of the most amazing rides and landscapes in the world. Have fun and be safe!