Whether you ride Downhill, XC, All Mountain/Enduro, Dirt Jumps, Trials, or Urban/Street, you've experience the excitement, challenges, pains, and victories that we know as mountain biking. There are many styles of bikes and many disciplines associated with them, each one with its own communities but every one filled with a passion that starts with getting on a bike.
Mountain biking is fast gaining popularity with people of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and athletic abilities. Young children are finding new adventure on small trails and local pump tracks. For many young adults, it's a hobby that allows them to get outside and cover some ground, while getting some good exercise, and feeling the adrenaline pumping in the process. There's no age cap either. Senior citizens alike are taking to the trails, often outdoing their younger competitors as they enjoy a pastime that provides recreation and keeps them young.
Cities and counties are jumping on the bandwagon turning dormant property into mountain bike parks and trail systems that provide recreation for those in their community and even bring in tourism. All of that for the cost of clearing some brush and moving some dirt.
Never modify trail features. Trails were built how they are for a reason. Difficult spots for you may be features for somebody else. People enjoy riding chunky trail, huge drops, small berms, and often even logs on the trail. If you think you have an exception to this rule, find out who manages the trail and get permission before you “fix” somebody’s favorite feature.
Always ride at your appropriate level. Riding a trail you're not ready for is dangerous to you, others, and even the trail. Check trail maps and signs to know what to expect and make sure it's something you can safely do.
Courtesy of IMBA
Ride trails when they're dry. Riding trails muddy often leads to deep ruts cut into the trail where they shouldn't be.
Stay on the trail. Leaving the trail creates new trails where there shouldn't be trails. Going around a mud hole just creates bigger and bigger mud holes for future riders. Ride what's there and don't be afraid to walk if you can't ride it out.
Don't block the trail. Taking a break or just getting out of the way is the exception to the rule. It's okay to get you and your bike off the trail for a minute to clear the trail for others.
Speak up. When you see others on the trail, let them know you're there. Be friendly and greet people and expect that somebody may be around any blind corner. Mountain bikes move fast and if you're not expecting it, can be quite scary. What would you think if you were on a peaceful hike in the woods and all of the sudden some big dark object comes barreling out of nowhere?
Share the Trail. Mountain bikers yield to hikers, horses, and uphill traffic of any kind. Yielding means you that you slow down or stop to allow others to pass easily. Slow down, communicate, and be prepared to stop if needed. This may kill your flow, your Strava time, or your land speed record but having a good relationship with others on the trail means more access to more trails.
- Greet hikers early
- Slow down to about the same speed as the hiker
- Pass slowly and be prepared to stop if necessary
- Expect the unexpected. Humans and animals can be unpredictable or easily spooked by cyclists.
- Announce your intention to pass with a friendly “Let me know when it’s safe to pass.”
- Use the singletrack yield on narrow trail — stop to the side, put one foot down, and lean away from the trail.
- Stop at least 30 feet from the horse.
- Greet the equestrian and the horse to demonstrate that you are a human, and not a predator.
- Ask for instruction on how to pass safely. Offer to get off your bike.
- Pass slowly and steadily, but only after the equestrian gives you the go-ahead. Sudden movements can spook a horse.
Courtesy of ridgetorivers.org
Here's some of our favorite mountain bike trails
Harriman State Park
Island Park, Idaho8.3 miles SW of Island Park, Idaho
Harriman State Park is found 38 miles from Yellowstone along Henry's Fork. This 11,000-acre wildlife refuge is open year round for most activities. In addition to having beautiful scenery and...Cross-country Ski, Hike, Horseback, Mountain Bike, Snowshoe 2.8-8.3 mi
Palisades Creek Trail / Lakes and Waterfall Canyon
Irwin, Idaho4.4 miles E of Irwin, Idaho
Palisades Creek Trail is located about 50 miles southeast of Idaho Falls and about 60 miles west of Jackson Hole WY in Swan Valley Idaho. The four mile hike up to lower Palisades Lake or the 6.2 mile...Backpack, Camp, Hike, Horseback, Mountain Bike 1.0 mi
Lewis & Clark Caverns
Whitehall, Montana10.9 miles E of Whitehall, Montana
The Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park encompasses 3,015 acres that you can explore by foot, on a bike, in a canoe or in a tent. The most famous feature of the park is the Lewis & Clark...Camp, Canoe, Cave, Hike, Mountain Bike
Mueller Park Trail
Bountiful, Utah2.9 miles SE of Bountiful, Utah
The Mueller Park Trail is a great year-round trail that's almost right off the road. It's considered moderate difficulty. It's a gradual grade with beautiful views. It's a popular...Cross-country Ski, Hike, Mountain Bike
McCall, Idaho10.4 miles NE of McCall, Idaho
McCall is a beautiful resort town located in western Idaho, two hours north of Boise. It's feautures a multitude of activity of activities in both the Winter and Summer months, including:...Backpack, Camp, Canoe, Cross-country Ski, Hike, Kayak, Mountain Bike, Sled, Snowshoe, Swim 29.6 mi
Ashton to Tetonia Trail
Ashton, Idaho0.7 miles NE of Ashton, Idaho
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation undertook the project to transform the old Teton Valley Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad from Ashton to Tetonia into a trail for bikes, ATVs, and...Mountain Bike 0.2-9.7 mi
Pocatello, Idaho1.3 miles S of Pocatello, Idaho
The City Creek Management Area (CCMA) Trail System is a vast network of trails maintained by the City of Pocatello. There are trails to go up and others to come down. Most trails come back to the...Hike, Horseback, Mountain Bike 1.7 mi
Buckskin Morgan Ridge
Ririe, Idaho9.0 miles E of Ririe, Idaho
Going up is a little tough because of the rocks, but once you clear the top it is a twisty down hill portion [until] you get to a fenced road. From there you can turn around or keep going strait...Hike, Mountain Bike 0.6-5.5 mi
Ririe, Idaho15.2 miles E of Ririe, Idaho
On the South end of the Big Hole mountains just above the Snake River is a grueling yet diverse section of single-track on Forest Service Trail 287 called Old Ranger. Because of the...Mountain Bike 0.1-1.1 mi
Durant Nature Preserve
Raleigh, North Carolina8.6 miles NE of Raleigh, North Carolina
Visiting Durant Nature Preserve is an opportunity for people in the bustling cities of Raleigh and Wake Forest to connect with nature. This nature preserve stretches over 237 acres. There...Hike, Mountain Bike
- Plan Ahead and Prepare. Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit. Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use. Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups. Repackage food to minimize waste. Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Travel & camp on durable surfaces. Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams. Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- Dispose of waste properly. Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter. Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Leave what you find. Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts. Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species. Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Minimize campfire impacts. Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Respect wildlife. Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Control pets at all times, or leave them at home. Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Be considerate of other visitors. Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience. Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail. Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock. Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors. Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.