It’s easy to stare longingly at the mind-bending mountain biking lines that emerge every year from Red Bull Rampage in Utah, or from the far reaches of British Columbia and think that you have to travel to remote destinations to find great mountain biking terrain.
But in reality, you can find a handful of great trails within arm’s reach of some of the biggest cities throughout the United States.
So here, in no particular order, are four of our favorite mountain biking trails just outside major cities:
New York City: Cunningham Park
For mountain bikers looking to escape the big city grind for at least a few minutes without having to spend forever on public transit Cunningham Park is perfect.
The Cunningham Park Mountain Bike Trail is located within New York City’s limits in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and is maintained by the New York City Mountain Bike Association.
The trail itself is a 6.5-mile singletrack loop with a little something for every ability class including a pump track, a dirt jump section, rock gardens and log rolls to keep even the most technical rider feeling entertained.
It’s perfect for a quick midweek escape on your bike.
Los Angeles: Mount Lowe Railway
Within the hills and mountains near Pasadena lies the Mount Lowe Railway network of trails in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The entire Mount Lowe Railway loop is about 11 miles and includes a heavy elevation gain of 2,000 feet, but opens up to some beautiful, technical downhill singletrack like the picturesque Sunset Ridge Trail (pictured above).
Atlanta: The Georgia International Horse Park
For riders looking for a super quick getaway, nothing beats the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers.
The venue for mountain biking for the 1996 Olympic Games (the first time mountain biking was ever hosted in the Olympics), the Georgia International Horse Park offers two separate mountain biking loops, with granite and dirt riding available.
The dirt loop, known as the Steeplechase Loop is a five-mile singletrack loop that most intermediate riders can handle, with some steep drops and rapid climbs. It’s not too technical and you can build a ton of speed on it.
Dallas: Big Cedar Wilderness Trails
Located on the property of the Mountain Creek Community Church — which generously allows the bikers to ride the 20 miles of singletrack on its estate — the Big Cedar Wilderness Trails has the highest elevation in the Dallas area, giving you an opportunity to take in gorgeous vistas as you weave in and out of hardwood forests.
But the Big Cedar Wilderness Trails offer more than just great views. The trail system has over 10 different loops that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced.
If you want to get technical, there’s a trials and a dirt jump area as well as drop-ins, rock gardens and ramps aplenty on multiple trails.