Over the last seven years, a lot has happened in the mountain bike industry. We recently looked at the greatest mountain bike locations in the United States in 2015, and we expected the ranking to remain roughly the same today. After a closer study and consideration of all the excellent places selected by our readers, it’s evident that mountain bikers have a few new ride sites on their radar, and some of the up-and-coming have up and come.

So, what makes a great mountain biking destination? For starters, it’s about much more than simply having a lot of trails, and the finest mountain biking locations have a mood that you can feel the instant you arrive. There has to be more to the scene than the mini-bar in your room at the Holiday Inn on the highway, from bike stores to restaurants and local watering places. Mountain bike destinations are exactly that: locations where riders go to ride, not places where we go because we’re in town visiting the in-laws.

Here are a few qualities we believe make a fantastic mountain biking destination:
Trails for everyone, from beginners to specialists, and from technical to flowing.
Beautiful views and a natural setting.Services for cyclists include bike stores, shuttle/lift services, event promoters, and tour operators.
In the region, there is a large mountain bike culture and proponents.
A pleasant environment like Restaurants, pubs, and breweries that are interesting and one-of-a-kind. There are several accommodation options, ranging from crude camping to luxurious hotels.
Comparing places is difficult, and limiting the choices is as much a subjective as an objective effort. Finally, most mountain bikers will agree that we recognize a real mountain bike destination when we see one.

Sedona, Arizona
Bentonville, Arkansas
Grand Valley, Colorado (Fruita / Grand Junction / Palisade)
Crested Butte, Colorado and the Gunnison Valley
Park City, Utah
Lake Tahoe
Copper Harbor, Michigan
Kingdom Trails, Vermont
Durango, Colorado
Bellingham, Washington

Nightfox’s favorite biking park is Northstar in California Resort, USA

Northstar California Resort Bike Park in the California High Sierras offers downhill and cross country lift-accessed bike trails for beginners, expert riders, and everyone in between, close to the beaches of Lake Tahoe in California (or Nevada, depending on which side you approach it from). The terrain is generally nasty, steep, and extremely loose. Be aware that it is generally quite dry and dusty, with silt bomb holes between the rocks waiting to suck up your front tire and hurl you over the bars. Mastering the two-wheel drift will get you far in this game. LiveWire, a difficult flow/jump route, is Northstar’s flagship trail. And the freshly renovated Gypsy route is worth repeating! The Northstar trail team has done an excellent job of incorporating wooden elements as well as some great rock work. There’s also a part with three different line possibilities based on your skill level and willingness to take some risk. Boondocks is another standout (double-black diamond) route on the mountain, featuring an excellent mix of natural and manufactured terrain. Boondocks is a must-ride track with massive boulder dumps, steep rock rolls, berms, and jumps. Based on their incredible rock work, we’re certain that the Northstar trail crew are former brick/stone masons.

Northstar has a vibrant village vibe, especially on weekends. There is a bike shop on site that provides all of the standard bike services, and rentals are available if you have misplaced your own bike! There are also plenty of dining options in the hamlet, including a pizza parlor and a sushi bar. If you have time to explore outside of the bike park, seek for the notorious “rooster rock,” a 40-foot granite boulder leap into Lake Tahoe’s freezing, crystal blue waters! Emerald Bay on the south shore is where you’ll find it.


Open from Sept. 10 – Oct. 17
Friday – Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday – Thursday: Closed