The best mountain biking destinations in the world, 2022

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Earlier this summer, we asked Singletracks readers to name their favorite mountain biking destination and we received over a thousand good responses. While most Singletracks readers are in the United States, nearly 40% live and ride outside of the United States, and we’re excited to get your recommendations on the best global mountain biking destinations to visit. Many of the top nominations are already well-known thanks to international UCI and EWS competitions, while others are simply great places to ride thanks to an abundance of high-quality tracks.

I’ve grouped these MTB destinations by region, or you can use the following links to scroll down the list. Honorable mentions are also included, so keep an eye out for these up-and-coming destinations or visit them instead to avoid the crowds.

  • Derby, Tasmania, Australia
  • Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
  • Final Liguria, Italy
  • Morzine / Les Gets, France
  • Quebec, Quebec, Canada
  • Rotorua, New Zealand
  • Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Tweed Valley, Scotland, UK
  • Whistler and Squamish, British Columbia, Canada

North American Mountain Bike Destinations

In addition to the following Canadian mountain biking destinations, be sure to check out the best mountain biking destinations in the United States, released earlier this year.

Whistler, British Columbia

If one had to choose the best place on the planet for mountain biking, it’s almost certainly Whistler, especially if we expand the region to include Squamish which is located about 60 km (37 mi) away. The Whistler Bike Park is world-class and sets the standards for trail design and construction that bike parks around the world seek to emulate. The park itself is huge and mountain bikers can easily spend an entire trip to the park on their own. But this is only the beginning.

Nature trails in the surrounding area include everything from loam to slabs, and range from dark forest and fern romp to high alpine traverses. It seems half of the mountain bike edits that come out each year are filmed in this relatively small area, and with countless pros and industry folks calling the Squamish/Whistler area the mountain bike community here is strong. Plan your visit for the summer to discover the full variety of trails.

Quebec, Quebec

Bras-du-Nord Valley. Photo: Experience Quebec Singletrack.

To be clear, Quebec is not exactly a mountain biking destination. Yes, there are a few trails accessible from town, but the real attraction is two main equestrian areas, each about an hour’s drive from the town centre.

Mount Sainte-Anne is a resort that has been hosting XC and DH World Cup races for over two decades. The downhill slopes served by lifts are some of the toughest in the country, though there’s certainly something for everyone from weekend warriors to pros. The area also offers plenty of XC rides and easy-to-pedal trails to explore on your own.

Heading northwest from Quebec, bikers will find Bras-du-Nord Valley, home to an extensive network of 110 km of mostly natural single-track trails through the forest. Gravity riders will also find a great ride here with trails like Godzilla, and Crankworx Summer Series Canada recently held its Air DH competition in Vallée Bras-du-Nord.

A great way to discover horse riding in the region is to register at Quebec Singletrack Experience stage race organized in the summer every year. Based outside the city center, cyclists experience six of the best trail routes in six days.

Fernie, British Columbia

Fernie isn’t really located near anything, which is part of what makes it such an authentic and great mountain biking destination. This classic mountain town offers cyclists access to the trails serviced by Fernie Mountain Resort’s lifts, as well as over one hundred miles of singletrack stretching in every direction. The incredible alpine scenery is as much of a draw as the trails themselves with the Canadian Rockies towering above the town. Like Whistler, Fernie is best experienced during the summer months, although in the shoulder season cyclists may find even more solace.

Honorable mentions

Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory continues to grow in popularity with mountain bikers. Another under-the-radar destination that has been a popular stopover in past BC Bike Race events is Cumberland, BC. Golden, Revelstoke and Kelowna are also popular mountain biking destinations in British Columbia, and the Banff/Canmore area of ​​Alberta offers endless miles of trail-quality singletrack while serving as an official unofficial race start. of Tour Divide bikepacking every year.

A few places in Mexico are also starting to become mountain biking destinations, including parts of Baja and the state of Oaxaca.

European MTB destinations

Final Liguria, Italy

Finale Ligure, Italy is somewhat unique among world mountain biking destinations because there is no snow skiing there in the winter. Classic mountain biking destinations tend to be mountain towns, but Finale Ligure is both rugged and seaside, with rides available year-round. Gerow describes Finale as “Whistler-by-the-sea” and with so many great trails to choose from, it’s easy to see why.

Mountain bikers are likely familiar with Finale from recent Enduro World Series competitions there, and the local mountain bike community is active in building and maintaining trails for everyone to ride. There are seemingly endless shuttle options and pedal-friendly loops in the area with incredible views and fast, tree-covered sections.

Tweed Valley, Scotland

The UK is full of great mountain bike trail networks and trail centres, and Scotland’s Tweed Valley stands out for having access to two of the best, Glentress and Innerleithen. Singletracks readers report that Glentress is one of the best in the 7 Stanes Trail Centers, and the descent of Spooky Wood is considered a must. As a trail center, Glentress has dozens of miles of trails to explore, graded for beginners to experts.

Innerleithen is located south east of Glentress and is another popular 7 Stanes riding centre. Runners will find a shuttle service to Innerleithen, as well as spectacular views and well-maintained trails. Innerleithen is known for some of the best downhill in the country, and there are some great XC routes too. The town of Innerleithen makes an ideal base for touring the Tweed Valley.

Morzine / Let Gets, France

Photo: Greg Heil.

The town of Morzine, France sits right in the middle of the French Alps, offering some of the best mountain biking on the continent. Despite being such a popular mountain biking destination, riders need only pedal a few minutes to have the trails to themselves. Many come to hike the resort-style trails served by ski lifts, but there is also an extensive network of backcountry trails to explore.

One of the best-known routes in the region is the Grand Tour Portes du Soleil which connects around ten resorts. The Morzine valley is a regular stop on the UCI World Cup mountain bike tour, hosting both DH and XC races.

Honorable mentions

The Tyrol region of Austria is a must visit for mountain bike tourists thanks to the many bike parks and the 1,000 km long Tirol cycle path, which circles the region and is said to be the longest mountain bike path in the Alps. . Ainsa, Spain is located in the Spanish Pyrenees and has dozens of kilometers of trails to explore. Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and Vallnord, Andorra, both offer world-class bike parks and are frequent stops on World Cup mountain bike tours. Afan Forest Park in Wales, UK is one of the best mountain biking destinations in the country and has a cycle park as well as dozens of miles of single track nature trails.

MTB destinations Australia / New Zealand

Derby, Tasmania

Photo: Carmen Freeman-Rey

Over the past few years there has been a concerted effort to build mountain bike trails and infrastructure around the town of Derby, Tasmania, and the effort is clearly paying off. The Enduro World Series is making its second leg of the 2023 world tour here, and the local government continues to provide funds to promote mountain bike tourism. Like many mountain biking destinations around the world, Derby is transitioning from an extractive economy based on logging to one based on outdoor recreation.

Almost all of the best constituencies are in an area known as Blue Derby, with 125 km of trails winding through the forest. Here, cyclists can find shuttle services, bike rentals and camping among the extensive network of purpose-built trails.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua, New Zealand is perhaps in a class of its own when it comes to mountain biking tourism. The city has hosted global events including the World Cup, EWS and Crankworx, and in 2021 only mountain bikers would have spent almost NZ$140 million In the region. The mountains and volcanic soil provide excellent driving conditions all year round, and the scenery is among the best in the world.

Visitors will definitely want to ride the trails of Whaka Forest, and the Skyline Gravity Bike Park offers lift-served terrain that can be cycled year-round.

Africa

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Stellenbosch is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde mountain bike destination, known for hosting both World Cup cross-country races and Darkfest freeride competition. It is located less than an hour east of Cape Town, making it easily accessible to international visitors and local bikers alike. The Jonkershoek trail network is one of the most popular places to start, offering 20km of scenic and rugged singletrack.

Asia and South America

Photo: Matt Miller.

There are undoubtedly great places to ride in Asia and South America, although we haven’t received enough nominations to make any final selections. Over the years, our staff and freelance writers have covered riding in a few places, including:

Manizales, Colombia hosted the EWS races, and Petrópolis, Brazil recently hosted a World Cup race on a trail system designed in part by Henrique Avancini. We’ll be keeping an eye out for emerging mountain biking destinations in Asia and South America, and welcome tips and suggestions via the comments below.

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