When the local bike trail just feels too easy, it might be time to look into mountain biking. Don’t worry- no mountains necessarily required! Biking on trails, or super-technical biking can provide excitement and challenge without huge altitude gain. 

The type of bicycle necessary really depends on the style of mountain biking. There are five types of mountain biking styles: trail, cross-country, all-mountain/enduro, downhill/park, and fat tire biking. Each style requires a slightly different build: less technical and sensibly weighted for trail riding, lightweight and efficient for cross-country, a combination of downhill and uphill support for all-mountain/enduro, super durable for downhill/park, and the giant tires and forgiveness of fat tire biking. 

Aside from a bicycle, cyclists should plan for having a sturdy helmet, pack for snacks and water, and the appropriate shoes and pedals for the style of mountain biking. 

Ready to hit the trails? The best advice for beginners is to stay loose! There will be more variation than a typical road ride, so relaxing a bit and letting the bike do the work will make an unfamiliar or bumpy ride much easier. 

Here are a few of the best places to mountain bike:

Crested Butte, CO: Steeped in biking history, this place is great for tried-and-true trails.

East Burke, VT: Head here for the Burke Mountain Bike Park and try out some technical skills.

Harrisonburg, VA: An amazing biking community paired with trails for novices and experts alike, this place is a mountain biking gold mine!

Downieville, CA: Nestled in the Sierra foothills, Downieville draws mountain bikers year-round and hosts The Downieville Classic, a two-day biking festival.

Brevard, NC: These Blue Ridge Mountain trails will surprise bikers old and new. Great spot for BBQ, too!