Mountain biking is gaining momentum across the country, just like its riders flying down a well-designed trail. And speaking of trail quality, when seeking out the overall best biking destinations, let variety be your guide. Head where you get a bit of everything, from miles of smooth, flowing singletrack and technical riding to world-class scenery and quaint towns ready for après-ride relaxation. Here are six regional hotbeds east of the Mississippi to put on the mountain bike radar for riders of all levels.
Green Woodlands, NH/VT
Green Woodlands is a multi-generational family foundation dedicated to preserving “a little piece of nature for future generations.” One way it does so: maintaining 70 pristine miles of purpose-built, continuous mountain biking trails that are part of its cross-country ski network. A slew of multi-use trails (open to the public and free) meander through the forested terrain marked by eight ponds, butting up against the New Hampshire townships of Wentworth, Lyme, Dorchester and Orford. Also nearby, check out the Ascutney Outdoors Trails Center, a 30-mile network running along the former ski slopes of Mount Ascutney (home of the Vermont 50 mountain bike race). Farther north lies Burke’s Northeast Kingdom, a Vermont trail network founded by East Burke Sports co-owner and local bike aficionado John Worth (and the reason why 2012 Olympic bronze medalist mountain biker Georgia Gould lives there). More Info: greenwoodlands.org
Want more riding info on the Green State? Check out the Vermont Mountain Bike Association, whose 7,000 members have helped build and maintain more than 1,000 miles of trail since 2012. Its 29 chapters can provide local beta on wherever you plan to ride. For more on New England riding, visit NEMBA, an organization with 30 chapters throughout six states. More Info: vmba.org
Marking a first for U.S. mountain bike associations, in 2003 the New England Mountain Bike Association pulled a coup in purchasing a 47-acre parcel of land 20 miles west of Boston to preserve the technical mountain-biking mecca known as Vietnam. Surrounded by 1,000 acres of conservation land owned by the towns of Milford, Holliston and Hopkinton, the region boasts nearly 25 miles of classic New England trails with 1,250 feet in elevation gain for riders of all levels, from flowing singletrack to jump lines and technical features. The trails are maintained and upgraded annually by NEMBA. Side note: NEMBA once turned down an offer from Ajax Gaming Ventures—a Delaware LLC owned by former President Trump—to buy the Vietnam property. More Info: nemba.org
Head to Highland Mountain, a former ski hill just 90 minutes north of Boston, and swap a bike for your skis or snowboard to ride one of the best bike parks in the Granite State. While it’s a private park (passes range from $39 on weekdays to $56 on weekends, with a variety of discounts available), you’ll be riding 25 miles of trails for pedalers of all persuasions, from adrenaline-addled technical romps to flowy berms, tabletop jumps and more. Climb to the top and you might even be rewarded with a view of Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet, the highest peak in the Northeast. Note: The region brings out the freeriders (it even has a dirt halfpipe), but it still serves up plenty of fun for the whole family. For more views of Mount Washington, try the 18-mile Presidential Rail Trail, a scenic route in the White Mountains’ Presidential Range leading from Airport Road in Coos County to Gorham and Moose Brook State Park (a great place for camping at trail’s end). More Info: highlandmountain.com