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Posted 04/21/2024 in Cycling

The Best Scenic Trails for Mountain Biking

The Best Scenic Trails for Mountain Biking

Mountain biking combines the thrill of cycling with the beauty of nature, creating an exhilarating experience that's hard to match. For both novice and experienced riders, the allure of hitting a scenic trail with a mountain bike is a powerful draw. This article explores some of the best scenic trails around the world that are perfect for mountain biking enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves in nature and test their skills.

North America’s Premier Trails

The Monarch Crest Trail, Colorado, USA

Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Monarch Crest Trail offers one of the most epic rides in North America. This trail runs along the Continental Divide and provides breathtaking views of the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests. The route begins at Monarch Pass, sitting at an elevation of over 11,000 feet, and spans approximately 32 miles. It's known for its stunning alpine scenery and a mix of technical rides and smooth descents.

The Whole Enchilada, Moab, Utah, USA

Moab is synonymous with mountain biking, and The Whole Enchilada is perhaps its most famous trail. This trail stretches nearly 34 miles and descends over 8,000 feet from the La Sal Mountains down to the Colorado River. It offers a variety of terrains, from high alpine tundra and aspen forests to rocky ledges and sandy washes. This trail is not for the faint of heart but rewards riders with some of the most diverse and stunning landscapes in the American Southwest.

Europe’s Hidden Gems

The Alta Via, The Dolomites, Italy

The Alta Via trails in the Dolomites of Italy offer some of the most picturesque mountain biking in Europe. These trails wind through rugged mountain peaks, offering panoramic views that are postcard-perfect. The routes vary in difficulty, making them suitable for different skill levels, and the network of trails allows for multiple days of riding with cozy mountain huts for overnight stays.

The South Downs Way, England

The South Downs Way stretches for 100 miles across the south of England, from Winchester to Eastbourne. It is entirely off-road and traverses rolling hills, ancient woodlands, and expansive fields, showcasing the quintessentially English countryside. The trail is well-maintained and offers a moderate challenge, making it perfect for a multi-day biking adventure with plenty of scenic villages to explore along the way.

Asia’s Best-Kept Secrets

The Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

For a truly adventurous mountain biking experience, the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal is unmatched. This trail takes riders around the Annapurna massif, offering views of some of the highest peaks in the world. The circuit can take up to three weeks to complete, crossing diverse landscapes from lush subtropical forests to arid high-altitude plateaus. This trail is both a physical and cultural journey, providing a glimpse into the remote regions and vibrant cultures of Nepal.

The Dragon’s Backbone, China

The Dragon’s Backbone, also known as Longji, is a trail that meanders through some of the most spectacular rice terraces in the world. Located in Guangxi Province, this trail is less about technical challenges and more about the surreal landscapes. The ride is relatively easy, making it accessible to less experienced riders, but the views are nothing short of breathtaking.

South America’s Trail Treasures

The Old Ghost Road, New Zealand

While technically not in South America, The Old Ghost Road merits mention for its raw beauty and adventurous ride. This trail is New Zealand’s longest single-track and traverses through remote valleys, across mountainous peaks, and past old mining towns. The trail is well-marked and offers huts along the route for overnight stays, making it an excellent option for a multi-day trek.

The Death Road, Bolivia

For thrill-seekers, Bolivia’s Death Road offers an adrenaline-pumping journey. Once considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world for vehicles, it is now a popular mountain biking route. The trail drops over 11,000 feet in 40 miles and provides stunning views of the Amazon rainforest. This ride is not only about tackling the challenging terrain but also about experiencing a unique piece of Bolivian history.

Preparing for Your Adventure

Choosing the right trail is just the beginning. Proper preparation is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips for preparing for your mountain biking adventure:

  • Gear Up: Invest in a good quality mountain bike, helmet, gloves, and appropriate clothing. Also, consider a hydration pack and first-aid kit for longer rides.
  • Check the Weather: Always check the local weather conditions before heading out. Weather in mountainous areas can change rapidly.
  • Plan Your Route: Know the route you plan to take and ensure you have a map or GPS device with you. It’s easy to get lost on unfamiliar trails.
  • Train Appropriately: Make sure you are physically prepared for the demands of the trail. Some trails require a high level of fitness and technical biking skills.

Mountain biking on scenic trails offers a way to connect with nature, challenge yourself physically, and escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you choose the rugged peaks of the Dolomites, the historic pathways of England, or the high-altitude trails of the Annapurna Circuit, each trail offers a unique adventure. Remember to respect the environment and local communities during your travels, and always ride safely.


For more information on mountain biking gear, tips, and travel logistics, or to connect with a community of like-minded enthusiasts, visit Outdoor Adventures Connection at www.outdooradventures.pro. Let us help you gear up for your next big adventure, ensuring it’s as exhilarating as it is safe.

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