Gold Level Ride Centers
Boise/Eagle, Idaho: The trick to being both a phenomenal place to be a mountain biker and a major metro area is community dedication to accessible, recreation-friendly open space. In the Boise area, this all started more than 20 years ago when creative mountain bikers and land managers planned an extensive trail system to offer great riding and community connectivity via a large singletrack network. Today, thanks in large part to a variety of volunteer-led groups, including the Boise Area Mountain Bike Association, you’ll find everything from rocky, mountainous terrain to buff trails and a bike park, all accessible from Boise and Eagle.
Duluth, Minnesota: From the buffed-out, flowing trails at Lester to the freerider’s playgrounds at Piedmont and Brewer, the riding in Duluth is both high-quality and highly varied. The entire community has embraced trail-based recreation, including a major initiative to create the Duluth Traverse. This in-progress effort—led in part by the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores—will result in a 100-mile singletrack ride in an urban environment.
Nelson, New Zealand: Riding Nelson’s trails is a year-round adventure, with sunny days with bluebird skies the norm throughout the year. The riding options include several bike parks, as well as more natural trail in both plantation forest and native bush. The range of trail types is amazing, from gentle, family-oriented trail riding to full-on downhill runs, backcountry adventures and everything in between.
Oakridge, Oregon*: This small town styles itself as the mountain bike capital of the Northwest. The local IMBA chapter, the Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards—alongside other stakeholders such as the U.S. Forest Service and local bike-centered businesses—constantly works to improve the mountain bike trail options. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to sample the 30-mile Middle Fork trail, the 20-mile circuit of Waldo Lake and dozens of other high-quality options. But be sure to also leave time to sample the in-town eateries and bars that cater to the knobby-tire set.
Park City, Utah*: Since hosting the IMBA World Summit in 2008, Park City and its trail system have been on the rise. There are now over 450 miles of trail, all accessible from town. In addition to new development, Park City continues to show a strong commitment to maintaining and improving existing trails. Between the volunteer-led Mountain Trails Foundation, various city and county agencies, and the resorts, the collective annual trail budget tops $1 million, resulting in a huge amount of varied, high-quality riding.
Rotorua, New Zealand: According to Redbull’s mountain biking web series On Track, “When we die and go to mountain bike heaven, there’s a good chance it will probably look a lot like Rotorua, New Zealand.” The riding varies from extensive trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest to the gravity park at Skyline Rotorua, New Zealand’s first year-round gondola assisted bike lift. Rotorua also provides a plethora of other activities and attractions, including natural thermal spas and hot pools to rejuvenate your aching muscles after a hard day on the trails.