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Mountain biking is an exciting outdoor sport that’s perfect for adrenaline junkies, nature lovers, and fitness enthusiasts. There are many different types of mountain biking trails, with a wide range of difficulty levels, obstacles, and scenery. It’s a great way to stay fit, challenge yourself, and see the world on two wheels! Whether you’re an expert cyclist or just enjoy pedaling long-distances to get outside and be active, these are some of the top mountain biking destinations around the world.
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The Alps are a prime destination for hardcore mountain bikers, but there are trails suited to those with moderate skill levels too. Some of the highlights of this region include the mountainous region of Chamonix, the hills of Morzine, and the chairlifts that are in place to eliminate steep ascents if you choose to use them.
To explore the western side of the Rocky Mountains on two wheels, head to Park City, Utah, and soak up the unbelievable scenery around you. Bikers should be accustomed to high altitude before attempting a serious bike trip because the city is situated at an elevation of about 2,100 meters. This is a great place to bike if you like well-marked trails and technical singletrack. There are over 400 miles of trails here so you won’t get bored easily, and the Prospector Area is one of the best areas to check out.
Mountain biking in the Himalayan foothills may sound intimidating, and it certainly is! This is an area for experienced mountain bikers who love gorgeous scenery and local culture. One of the best trails is called Lo Manthang, which leads into the royal city of Mustang. Most bikers start their journey near Annapurna or at the nearby airports in Jomsom or Kathmandu. Keep in mind that biking the Upper Mustang requires a permit, which is valid for 10 days.
Whistler is one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in North America and one of the very best in the world. The city is located along the beautiful western coast of British Columbia and has well over 100 miles of trails for bikers to explore. Since this is also a prime skiing and snowboarding destination, bikers can use many of those chair lifts to effortlessly rise to higher elevations. A great place to start is Whistler Bike Park because certain trails are designated for beginners through experts, and it’s also a must-visit spot in the area. Other great biking areas in British Columbia start at Williams Lake and the Fraser River.
There’s so much to see and do for outdoor enthusiasts in New Zealand, so it should come as no surprise that it’s a top mountain biking destination. The area of Rotoura has XC trails and downhill courses to keep intermediate and expert mountain bikers busy. This is a great place to bike during all months of the year and an affordable destination for bikers traveling on a budget. One added bonus is that Rotorua has some thermal hot springs nearby to soak those sore muscles after your ride.
Many people haven’t heard of Finale Ligure as a mountain biking destination, but it’s one of the most beautiful regions to bike in Italy. Expect to find rolling hills that hug the coastline and peaceful trails full of postcard-perfect scenery. The trail becomes narrow at portions and twists and turns along the hills, so you’ll need to be skilled with maneuvering your bike before attempting this route.
Moab is an adventure lover’s paradise in Utah and has an other-worldly vibe that makes for an unforgettable mountain biking trip. One of the famous routes here is called The Whole Enchilada, which features 26 miles of singletrack and ranges in elevation from 1,200-7,800 feet. It actually encompasses several great mountain trails, including Porcupine Rim, Burro Pass, and Hazard County. Expect to find insane downhill descents and slippery sections of track that require technical skill, time, and guts.
The mountains around Turpan and the Gobi Desert are consistent favorites of downhill-lovers. Most travelers fly into Beijing and then have to make their way to Urumqi via plane and Turpan via three-hour drive. This is a very hot area of China, where 100-degree summer temperatures are common. The best times to bike in this area are in March and October.
Breckenridge, Colo., is an outdoor adventurer’s dream destination. There are hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails in the area, and Peaks Trail is the most popular destination for serious bikers. Make sure to visit some of the other top mountain biking towns while you’re in Colorado too, like Crested Butte, Winter Park, Salida, and Bailey.
Contrary to popular belief, not all of the amazing U.S. mountain biking spots are in the West! Brevard, N.C., is a small town packed with plenty of great things to do, including hundreds of miles of biking trails. In fact, the area is known as the “Cycling Capital of the South.” Check out the Dupont State Forest to find the singletrack trail system. The Bracken Mountain Biking and Hiking Trail opened up in 2012 and is just up the hill from the Brevard Music Center. There are lots of bike-themed events that take place in town between April and November each year, including the Assault on the Carolinas Road Race, the Jerdon Mountain Challenge, the annual Off-Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell, and The Swank 65.
Austria is another great destination for mountain bikers, and the Tyrol area offers a variety of alpine challenges. Biking in this area is incredibly enjoyable, and you can get a pass to enter the bike parks for about $40-$50. The Bike Trail Tirol features 1,000 kilometers of scenic trails in 32 stages. For an easier ride, take the Inntal Cycle Path from Landeck to Passau and stop by quaint Austrian towns along the way throughout this scenic mountainous region.
Oregon is another top destination for bikers and some of the best trails in the area are just south of Eugene in the town of Oakridge. This Pacific Northwest destination has lots of terrain diversity, so bikers will encounter mountain climbs and downhills, rolling hill trails, and plenty of foliage and tree roots. Overall, this is a great place for singletrack trails spread across a network of over 350 miles. There’s even a mountain bike festival held here each year. The three-day event typically takes place in July and August.