10 Bicycle Trails with Natural Obstacles | askBAMLand

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Biking through nature's playground is an adrenaline rush like no other.

Ever tackled a trail that throws a curveball with each pedal push?

Imagine the wind in your hair as you conquer routes with roots, rocks, and rivers—trails where nature's own designs are the obstacles.

Nature's untamed landscapes offer more than just scenery—they're the ultimate test of a cyclist's mettle.

These trails aren't just paths; they're adventures loaded with natural hurdles that challenge and reward.

You're in good hands as we journey through terrains that promise the raw excitement of outdoor biking.

With insights into the nation's top trails woven with natural obstacles, you'll discover routes that match your thirst for challenge.

These aren't just rides; they're stories waiting to be lived, with each trail offering a unique narrative defined by its landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • Unpredictable natural elements elevate the biking experience.
  • Trails range from beginner-friendly to expert challenges.
  • Each trail offers a distinct adventure shaped by its terrain.

Table of Contents

Slickrock Bike Trail, Utah

Have you heard of the Slickrock Bike Trail in Moab, Utah?

Well, if you're seeking a thrilling ride with natural obstacles, this is your spot!

This 10.6-mile trail is like a roller coaster ride on two wheels, with dips and hills carved right out of the Navajo sandstone.

But wait, how challenging is it?

Don't fret if you're not an expert rider.

Despite its high technical difficulty, you'll find many riders of various skill levels tackling the trail, often with short walks over the more demanding sections.

  • Length: 10.6 miles lariat loop
  • Difficulty: High technical difficulty
  • Average Completion Time: Approximately 3 hours, 36 minutes
  • Best Times to Visit: February through November

The Slickrock Trail isn't just about pushing your limits—it's also about absorbing those spectacular views over the Colorado River.

As you twist and roll through the stone, keep your eyes peeled for dinosaur fossils; after all, you're riding through ancient petrified sand dunes here!

Here's what's cool: the sandstone is incredibly tacky, perfect for bike tires, but history has it that horses with metal shoes found it slippery, hence the name 'slickrock'.

Starting your adventure, you’ll be greeted by the largest parking lot dedicated to a single trail.

Fancy a warm-up?

Hit the Slickrock Practice Loop just 0.25 miles from the start.

It's an excellent introduction to what lies ahead.


  • Hydration: Pack plenty of water.
  • Respect: It's a popular spot, so expect to share the trail.
  • Preparation: Make sure you and your bike are ready for rough terrain.

So, what are you waiting for?

Gear up and see why the Slickrock Bike Trail is a legend in the mountain biking world!

Downieville Downhill, California

Have you ever heard of a trail boasting a whopping 17 miles of pure adrenaline and breathtaking views?

Well, let me tell you about the Downieville Downhill in California.

Picture this: you're surrounded by the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains, about to embark on a journey filled with both natural and technical obstacles that will challenge every bit of your mountain biking prowess.

Trail Stats You Can't Ignore:

  • Length: 17 miles of thrilling terrain
  • Elevation: A daring 5,000-foot vertical drop
  • Terrain: Mix of steep technical sections and rocky paths

Let's break it down, shall we?

Starting off, you've got sections that will have you feeling like a mountain biking rockstar with singletrack that accounts for 85% of the ride.

Are you ready to weave through tricky creek crossings and navigate down faster high-speed areas?

What to Expect:

  • Steep, gnarly sections up top
  • High-speed sections lower down the trail
  • Natural features like waterfalls and swimming holes
  • Long suspension bridges delivering stunning vistas

For seasoned bikers, the top of the trail presents some challenge with its steepness, but if you're someone who lives for speed, the lower portion called "2nd divide" is your playground.

High five to nature for the natural swimming holes, perfect for a mid-ride cool down, and the long bridges where you'll definitely want to pause for that Instagram-worthy shot.

Remember, the Downieville Downhill isn't for beginners.

Its fame isn't just from word of mouth; it's been showcased in several mountain biking magazines for good reason.

This trail is not just a ride; it's a tale you'll be bragging about for years.

Rider's Checklist:

  • Bring plenty of water
  • Check your bike's suspension
  • Pack a swimsuit for those tempting swimming holes
  • Keep your eyes open for the ever-changing landscape

With the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship's commitment to growth, expect the network to keep getting better.

So, what do you say?

Are you up for the challenge, ready to conquer one of the most epic mountain biking trails around?

Grab your helmet, check your brakes, and meet me in Downieville – let's make some memories on wheels!

Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

Hey, adventure seeker!

Have you heard about the Pisgah National Forest?

Tucked away in the North Carolina mountains, this place is a biking bonanza that covers over 500,000 acres.

Ready to trade in city noise for birdsong and wind in the leaves?

Let's talk trails.

There's something for everyone, from breath-snatching climbs to adrenaline-pumping descents.

Imagine this: pedaling up Woods Mountain, the sweat pouring but the views worth every drop.

It's got a whopping 5,620 ft of total ascent.

Need even more thrill?

Test your mettle on the Heartbreak Ridge via Star Gap Trail, rewarding you with a 3,307 ft elevation gain.

And let's not skip Black Mountain Loop—rocky, raw, and real.

  • Black Mountain Loop: Roots, rocks, and reasons to come back.
  • Bracken Preserve: Perfect for a bit of solitude.
  • Ingles Field Gap Loop: Ready to be one of your favorites!

Biking here means navigating through natural obstacles like artful roots and surprise stream crossings—nature's very own obstacle course.

What's not to love?

Do you think you can handle it?

And just so you have it at a glance:

Trail Name Elevation Gain Description
Woods Mountain via Mountains-to-Sea Trail 5,620 ft Highest ascent, challenging, but epic.
Heartbreak Ridge via Star Gap Trail 3,307 ft Steep climbs, exhilarating descents.

Pro Tip: If you're a mountain biking newbie, don't fret!

There're trails for you too.

The key is to relish the rush and respect the ride.

Saddle up your steed, pack your spirit of adventure, and come see why Pisgah is a must-visit for mountain bikers.

You won't regret it!

Kingdom Trails, Vermont

Ever heard of the Kingdom Trails in East Burke?

If not, allow me to take you on a virtual ride through one of Vermont's mountain biking paradises.

Imagine cruising on nearly 100 miles of singletrack; sounds like a dream, right?

Whether you're in it for a smooth ride or looking to challenge yourself, these trails have got your back, with a mix of rocks, roots, and twisty paths.

Picture this: you're riding through a dense forest, and suddenly you need to navigate a narrow, winding track that's just itching to test your reflexes.

It's just you and nature, mano-a-mano.

Here's what you’re looking at:

  • Distance: Over 85 miles of trails, offering a mix of single and doubletrack.
  • Skill Levels: Catered to all ages and abilities, so bring your friends or family.
  • Terrain: Features natural obstacles, scenic vistas and a variety of landscapes.
  • Seasons: Primarily available when the snow melts until it falls again.

Looking to push your limits?

The Kingdom Trails also include a lift-served downhill bike park for those adrenaline junkies seeking a gravity-fed thrill.

It's like a rollercoaster, but you're in control.

Want to plan a full weekend?

Mountain bikers often combine their rides with local festivals.

Picture this: a day out on the trails capped off with a cool beer and a refreshing swim in the river.

And if you're wondering about logistics, parking won't be an issue with five free parking areas to choose from at Killington Bike Park.

So, pack your bags, prep your bike and set your sights on Vermont.

It's not just about the ride; it's about the memories you'll make on and off these iconic trails.

See you there!

Amasa Back Trail, Utah

Hey there, are you craving a biking adventure that's a bit on the wild side?

Well, buckle up your helmet because the Amasa Back Trail in Moab, Utah, is calling your name!

This trail is a true masterpiece of nature's own making, featuring a buffet of all-natural obstacles that'll test your mettle.

First things first — this trail isn't your casual Sunday pedal.

Nope, Amasa Back is a rocky, jeep-thrashed path that laughs in the face of flat terrain.

You're looking at rock ledges, unexpected drop-offs, and enough bumpy terrain to make a jackrabbit wince.

So, have you got the guts and the shocks to take it on?

Here's the scoop on what to expect:

  • Distance: 8.5 miles of pure exhilaration.
  • Elevation Gain: Prepare to conquer a lofty 1,263 ft.
  • Rating: Mountain bikers have given it a solid 4.7 stars – talk about rave reviews!

Navigate this trail with the savvy of a local explorer by snagging a map from the nearest bike shop or printing one from the web.

Trust me, with this trail's web of choices, a map is your best buddy.

Your reward for taking on Amasa Back, besides some potential tire scars?

Out-of-this-world scenery.

Picture this: the Colorado River curling below, the epic backdrop of Canyonlands National Park, and a panoramic view of the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Area.

And, if you time your ride right, the golden hour will make it look like the whole world's on fire — in the best way possible.

So gear up, check your brakes (really, do it), and get ready to tell your friends about that time you crushed the Amasa Back Trail.

Adventure awaits!

Copper Harbor Trails, Michigan

Ever wondered what it's like to bike where trees whisper secrets of the wild as you zoom past?

Well, you're in for a treat with Copper Harbor Trails in Michigan's Upper Peninsula!

You're not just taking on a trail; you're embarking on an adventure amidst rock outcrops and breathtaking views of Lake Superior.

You'll find Copper Harbor's flow trails are not your average dirt paths.

They're living routes, changing elevation and scenery as if Mother Nature herself was your trail guide.

Have you ever ridden a trail where you start atop a mountain and finish at the shoreline?

Check out The Flow, starting from Brockway Mountain.

It's a thrilling 3-mile descent that gifts you with colossal views of Lake Superior.

For something a bit zestier, why not tackle the Garden Brook?

It's an olfactory and visual banquet, following a creek that shares its name, where you can choose to climb or descend through the wilderness.

And don't be shy to greet your fellow bikers; Copper Harbor's community is known for being as friendly as the trails are challenging.

Speaking of challenges, here's a quick peek at what you're up against:

  • Raptor Ridge: Buckle up for a ride with 1,341 ft of ascent that'll test your grit.
  • The Flow: A 4.6km journey with a 4% average gradient that maxes out at 14%. Who needs a roller coaster, right?
  • Overflow: Imagine hitting smooth jumps and rolling tables, then a gap jump that soars right over The Flow. The breathtaking panorama of Lake Superior is your prize.

Don't forget, while biking these trails, the courteous culture here means you're never alone.

Fellow riders and hikers share these paths with smiles and nods – it's all part of the ride!

So pump those tires, strap on your helmet, and enjoy the rugged allure of Copper Harbor Trails, where every turn is a new surprise.

McKenzie River Trail, Oregon

Have you ever pedaled through an ancient forest?

Well, buckle up your helmet because the McKenzie River Trail in Oregon is a biker's dream!

Meandering for 26 miles through the Cascade Mountains, this trail is the perfect blend of thrill and tranquility.

Imagine cruising over volcanic rock sections that'll test your balance and finesse—hope you're ready for a little challenge.

And those lava fields?

They're not just obstacles; they narrate the earth's fiery past right beneath your wheels.

Feeling adventurous yet?

Grab a glimpse of the lush, 300-year-old forests that look like something out of a fairy tale.

And who could forget the waterfalls?

They're not just any waterfalls; these are cascades of crystal-clear waters that make you feel like you stumbled upon nature's secret garden.

Keep your eyes peeled for that remarkable Blue Pool; it's the kind of sight that fuels those "why I ride" moments.

Oh, and don't forget about those massive log bridges—they're like nature's own version of a balance beam.

Finishing this trail is a badge of honor for any mountain biker.

Here are the essentials to keep in your back pocket:

  • Trail Length: 26 miles
  • Main Attractions: Volcanic rock, old-growth forests, waterfalls
  • Difficulty: Technical terrain for the savvy biker
  • Location: Near McKenzie Bridge, Oregon, in the Willamette National Forest

If you're worried about getting back to where you started, local shuttle services are available to whisk you (and your trusty bike) back to your starting point.

And hey, isn't that what mountain biking camaraderie is all about?

So, what are you waiting for?

Pack your bags, tune up your bike, and let's hit the trail!

Oregon's riding adventures await.

Gooseberry Mesa, Utah

Have you ever imagined pedaling over slickrock with the sun setting over a panorama of mesas and valleys?

Well, strap on your helmet because Gooseberry Mesa in Utah is your dream trail.

Your ride starts at 5,200 feet elevation, with a spectacular view that might just make you forget to pedal!

It's a slickrock paradise, where white paint dots guide you along the trail, and signs at the junctions mean getting lost is less of a worry—more time to enjoy the ride, right?

  • Trail Difficulty: It's like an outdoor bike park that combines both challenge and fun—expect technical drops and rolls but also areas where you can catch your breath and take in the view.
  • Distance: Choose your adventure from loops ranging 8 to 17 miles long.
  • Crowds: Less crowded than Moab, this is your chance to have epic stretches all to yourself.

Don't you love when a trail has a bit of character?

Gooseberry Mesa sure does.

With sections humorously named God's Skateboard Park, you're in for an unforgettable ride.

Remember to high-five the fellow bikers you meet from around the globe; this trail is world-renowned, after all!

Before you tackle those house-size sandstone mounds, make sure your bike is in tip-top shape.

The undulating terrain is as generous with its fun as it is stern with challenges!

Feeling ambitious?

Try out the Gooseberry Mesa Classic Loop, a well-loved route among regulars.

And hey, don't just take my word for it.

Once your tires hit that slickrock, you'll know why Gooseberry Mesa is a must-ride trail.

So, what are you waiting for?

Your next biking adventure is calling!

Tahoe Rim Trail, Nevada/California

Are you ready for a biking adventure that promises both a workout and some of the most stunning views North America has to offer?

Let me introduce you to the Tahoe Rim Trail!

Here's what you'll find on the trail:

  • Challenging climbs: Get ready to push your limits!
  • Rocky terrain: It's a true test of your bike handling skills.
  • Epic vistas: Your Instagram won't know what hit it.
  • Wildflower-filled meadows: Summer rides are an absolute delight!
  • A mix of intermediate to advanced sections. Whether you're looking to improve your skills or show them off, this trail has got you covered.

The Tahoe Rim Trail is a multi-use loop, but not every part is open to mountain bikers.

So, keep an eye out for signs!

Remember, this is about sharing the trail and enjoying the ride responsibly.

Elevation stats that will intrigue every cyclist:

  • Minimum Altitude: 6,234 ft
  • Starting Altitude: 6,236 ft

Got an entire day to spare?

The average time to ride a popular 33-mile segment is approximately 9 hours.

Just imagine all the sights and sounds you'll experience.

However, if you're in for the full loop, be prepared for a 168-mile journey around Lake Tahoe.

And yes, multiple days are a must for this beast.

If you're wondering about the best time to visit, summer and fall are perfect.

Why not synchronize your trip with the blooming of alpine wildflowers for an unforgettable ride through nature's art gallery?

Before you set off, make sure to check local regulations for the portions open to biking.

Get your permit if you're heading through areas like The Desolation Wilderness.

So, do you think you can take on the Tahoe Rim Trail?

There's only one way to find out.

See you on the trail!

Dupont State Recreational Forest, North Carolina

Have you heard about the rolling hills of Dupont State Recreational Forest?

It’s a playground for both novice and experienced bikers alike!

North Carolina’s first recreational forest is a whopping 10,400 acres of pure outdoor excitement.

And guess what?

With more than one million visitors each year, you know it's got to be good.

Ever challenged yourself on a rock garden?

Or how about splashing through a stream crossing?

Dupont is packed with these natural obstacles that'll keep your rides fresh and thrilling.

You'll find legendary trails like Ridgeline and Big Rock, which are not only fun but also kind on the eyes with stunning views.

  • Ridgeline – A local favorite known for its smooth and fast descent.
  • Big Rock – Test your skills with its namesake features and get that adrenaline pumping!

Oh, and let’s talk stats - ready to feel like a king of the mountain?

Tackle the Airstrip Loop, boasting a total ascent of 2,014 ft, the highest in the park.

If that's not enough, there's also the Reasonover and Turkey Knob Loop with a commendable 1,666 ft of elevation gain.

Prepare your legs for a serious workout!

Remember, biking here requires a bit of courtesy; keep your speed in check so everyone can have a blast.

With miles of cross-country trails, you’ll never run out of new routes to conquer.

So, grab your helmet and see why Dupont State Recreational Forest is a cornerstone of North Carolina mountain biking.

Just try not to smile too hard as you zip through those trails; it’s irresistible!


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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