The time to hang up your skis and tune your mountain bike is drawing near—and we couldn’t be more excited. Our friends at MTB Project helped us put together a list of some of the best early-season destinations to get you stoked on putting your tires to the trail.
Northwest Arkansas is making rapid strides as a legit destination, with IMBA Ride Centers, Bentonville and Fayetteville serving up both flow and old-school singletrack. Plan on swinging through in April for ideal conditions.
Just down the road, Fayetteville offers more than 50 miles of riding for all skill levels, with multiple trail systems near the heart of downtown. Special rides in the area are the Mt. Kessler Full Tour and Mt. Sequoyah Woods. Each of these rides feature backcountry experiences through the beauty of the Ozark Mountains.
You would never think of DC and Northern Virginia as a mountain biking destination, but there is great singletrack to discover as the cherry blossoms start to bloom. Right in the middle of the metro zone, an amazing bike path network makes epic singletrack linkups possible. On top of that, the rough and rugged trails of the Blue Ridge are easily accessible to the west.
Whether or not New Age magic exists in Sedona is for another conversation, but you will be a believer that its bike trails are nothing short of mystical. Picture pleasant, golden days and moderate temps in March that, unlike those in summer, won’t melt your tires. You’ll ride flowy trails and sections of slickrock in a t-shirt, and given it’s the off-season for most tourists, you’ll also see far fewer jeeps and have the run of every burrito shop and brewpub in town.
Make a beeline for the very popular Cathedral Rock Big Loop or the slightly mellower West Sedona Tour.
Fruita has increasingly become a sweet alternative to Moab, particularly for those traveling from Colorado’s Front Range. Take on the 17-mile Kokopelli Loops for sweeping canyon views of the Colorado River, or camp a few days at 18 Road for hot laps of Chutes and Ladders and Zippity Do Da. And since you’re going to be hungry, no trip to Fruita is complete without a stop at the heavenly Hot Tomato pizza joint.
Bonus: Cruise a few minutes down the road to Grand Junction for a lap on The Ribbon.
Pittsburgh is home to quite a unique mountain biking experience such that many people wouldn’t necessarily associate it with the area. There is a growing cycling scene in Pittsburgh, with mountain biking growing in popularity in the area. There are enduro-style technical trails, smooth cross-country, skills parks, and everything in between.
Why is Moab the world’s most famous mountain biking destination? Let’s start with otherworldly desert vistas, iconic rides like Slickrock and The Whole Enchilada, unbeatable spring and fall climates, and a vacation town that caters to bikers like none other.
Even better, Moab has focused a ton of effort on developing singletrack trails that appeal to riders of all abilities. If you want jaw-dropping scenery without consistent bone breaking technical hazards, check out gems like Mag 7 and Dead Horse Point Tour.
Download the MTB Project Mobile App on iOS or Android to track your ride.