There are many different definitions of mountain biking. You may identify with a certain ride style (enduro, cross country, singlespeed) or skill level based on where you live and the types of trails that you ride most regularly. Someone with experience on flowing cross-country trails may call themselves an “intermediate” rider but they will have an entirely different skillset than an “intermediate” rider with downhill experience. This is bound to be on your mind when planning your next mountain bike vacation.
You want to find the trip that’s the right fit for you to make sure you end up on the right trails with riders whose interests and skills match your own. When planning a mountain bike trip, think about what kind of mountain biker you are and what you want from the trip, whether it’s about the challenge or about the destination, then choose your destination and travel companions to suit that. There’s a mountain bike trip for every kind of rider if you know where to look.
Many riders come to mountain biking from pavement, whether bike commuting or full lycra. If you’ve recently made the transition to dirt and now you have the hang of banking turns and navigating climbs, a mountain bike trip on cross-country style trails may be a fit. Riding XC style builds fitness while working on a range of skills including climbing, descending, cornering, and navigating technical features.
Check out central Arizona’s Sonoran Desert surrounding the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale. The warm and dry Sonoran Desert is the perfect destination for a winter or spring mountain bike trip with hundreds of miles of flowing singletrack through a lush and unexpected desert landscape. The desert is calling.
Highly technical riders always want more, but this can go a couple of different ways. If you are looking for an epic challenge that’s about more than just the trail surface, you might want to try out bikepacking. The challenges of navigating difficult terrain are amplified by the added weight of all your gear and water strapped to your bike. Try being self-sufficient for a few days and you may come to love your bike all the more. For a classic bikepacking adventure, follow the route of the Tour Divide.
Not to your taste? Gnar comes in different flavors. You may choose to design your next trip around big drops and style points in a destination that can match your high-risk interests with high-end hotels. If you’re looking to get rad in a little more comfort, there is one perfect answer: Sedona.
Your next mountain bike trip might not be so much about the style of riding as it is about the destination. A day on a bike in any incredible location is a good day. Period. However, you still need to plan your trip carefully so as not to get in over your head.
Too many miles of hike-a-bike have a way of making the surrounding beauty fade just a little. Nobody enjoys feeling like they’re at Red Bull Rampage when they were expecting the neighborhood pump track. If you want to get away from all the stress of life, the best kind of mountain bike trip is a camping trip. Sleep under the stars, ride all day, marvel at the view, go to bed, repeat. What more could you want?
Choose any trip where the focus is on enjoying the magic of the destination and the flow of the trails. Good options include the Grand Canyon’s Rainbow Rim trail or the fun Guacamole trails outside Virgin, Utah where you have far-reaching views into Zion National Park.