Best Mountain Bike Trails in the US for Enduro and Freeride
If the inventors of the bike could see where their dream has gone they would be astonished to say the least, and what a sight it would be to see them riding the best mountain bike trails in the US; floating down Whistlers A Line, passing through golden leaf forests on Crestted Butte’s 401 trail, or riding the edge on Moab’s Captain Ahab. The list of epic mtb trails goes on and on, and it is remarkable to think about the work and time that people have put into creating the vast trail networks that us mountain bikers use to find the ultimate peace and happines. However, we want to ask what really are the BEST mountain bike trails in the US? And specifically, what are the best Enduro mountain bike trails in the US? Feet on the pedals, and let’s drop in!
Side Note* I will not be mentioning any trails that are un-sanctioned or not on Trailforks. All of these trails are legal and ALL mountain bikers are welcome. Let’s drop in…
Durango, Colorado is one of the birthplaces of modern day mountain biking and still home to one of the most active and vibrant mountain bike communities in the states. This place is also just packed full of humbled out world champions, redbull athletes, olympians and biking legends. Many people know this area for its high alpine riding and that's because it is the best, on par with the Alps, Andes, and even Himalayas, well that may be a stretch. One of these high alpine trails is called Lake Havelin, and it is a mix of horse and bike trails that descends through 4 different ecosystems of the Animas River Valley, starting at around 10,000 feet in the aspen trees and ending on red slick rock. Steep, fast, flowy, techy and just so diverse.
Many people know that Moab, Ut is one of the best mountain bike destinations in the world. The region is full of famous mtb trails like Slick Rock, The Whole Enchilada, Mag 7 and the Portal that are known all over the world. However, thanks to a couple of freeride mountain bikers, a new location has jumped on the map lately, and that is called Bartlett’s Wash. This area is what mountain bikers dream of when they think of Moab… Expansive red rock fields that are completely open to freeriding. Of course be extremely aware of cryptobiotic soil, and follow the don’t bust the crust rule! And be super careful of plants and wildlife when you drop down into the washes, but as long as you stay on the red rock formations to the north side of the main road, you are good to shred. Local shredder Kyle Mears has some epic videos in his instagram channel that show you the creativity this freeride zone allows.
The trail that we are talking about though is Mohawk, the Shire Built jumpline in Bellingham. Mohawk lies within the Galbraith trail system, Bellingham's mountain bike main mountain bike mecca; there are so many epics that lie within the labyrinth of Galbraith. But the trail that never seem to stop blowing minds is the jump line that was crafted by the masters of dirt, Scotty and Spencer from the Shire. 30 plus perfectly crafted doubles, tables, drops, transfers, satellites, hips, whale tales, and not to mention half the jumps have one to two alt hits. The trail is about .7 miles long and you will be in the air for about a third of that time! Its nutz, easily one of the best mountain bike built jump trails in the world. If you're in Bellingham, do not miss this trail. Its perfect for intermediate to pro and there has non-mandatory options for every feature. You can scope videos of Mohawk on trailforks.
Captain George Vancouver was the Englishman that first sailed into what is now Vancouver, Canada. The year was 1792 and a handful of settlements were named after old George, one of which happens to be right on the Washington and Oregon border. Just outside of this area there is a shuttle trail called Thrillium. This shuttle trail is 1500 feet of classic cedar and fern forest loam that are so iconic to the Pacific Northwest. Overall the trail is a perfect intermediate plus to expert trail and full of flow, jumps, techy sections and good times around every corner.. One of the best mountain bike trails in the US that we’ve ridden, even bet old Captain George would love it.
5. Henry's Fork, Salmon Idaho
People generally don’t associate Idaho with mountain biking. And Salmon Idaho is mainly famous for the Salmon river that is home to thousands of rafters during the summer months, however many people do not know that the Bitterroot and BeaverTooth Mountains on the border of Montana and Idaho are home to one of the highest concentrations of singletrack trails in the US. On the west side of the Salmon river Valley sits the famous Thunder Mountain, whose ridge line peaks out at about 9,200 feet! Henry's fork drops 6,000 feet to the valley floor at 3,000ft, and is riddled with trails. Mainly this area is home to moto riders, but that is good news for riders, because that means all you need to do is set a shuttle truck or two and then enjoy the biggest and baddest alpine trail. Steep, curvy singletrack, massive ridge lines, tech flow, rock gardens, switchbacks, speed sections and guess what . . . loam.
About the Author
Tony Martin is an avid enduro and downhill mountain biker. His favorite trails have jumps, jumps and more jumps. He wrote this list of his favorite pack pocket trails while traveling along the countryside of southern Ecuador.