10 UNFORGETTABLE DESTINATIONS FOR ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN BIKING

If you’ve already fallen in love with the sport of mountain biking and appreciate a good off-road adventure, you’ll definitely want to see how an electric mountain bike can transform your ride.  If you already own an eMTB, you’ll want to take advantage of getting out there to all the best places and trails currently open to them. As of now, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management categorizes e-bikes as motorized vehicles and has limited their access to certain areas. But no worries, there are thousands of singletrack, doubletrack, and unforged trails that are open to electric bikes as well as traditional bikes. We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best destinations for electric mountain biking. Check back with us often, because we’ll be updating our list as states loosen restrictions. 

#1 Moab, Utah

Electric mountain biking slick rock trail in moab utah

At the top of our list is mountain biking mecca, Moab, Utah. E-bikes are cleared to ride on some of the most famous routes Moab offers, like the Slickrock Trail, Poison Spider Mesa, and White Rim Trail. Slickrock is best for Advanced riders, and first-timers will want to cut their teeth on the 2.3 mile practice loop before taking on the entire trail. Intermediate riders can try Jug Handle Loop, a 37.5 mile trail with panoramic views of stunning red rock landscape. A word to the wise: Moab is notorious for steep sandstone and long stretches of sand, so battery consumption on your e-bike might be higher than on hard-packed trails. Make sure to plan for distance ahead of time and monitor your remaining charge. 

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride is October-November or February-March. It’ll be busy, but worth it. 

  • Rent your electric mountain bike at Poison Spider Bicycles.

  • Post-ride: After an early morning ride, head over to the Jailhouse Cafe for the best eggs benedict in town. 

 

#2 Sun Valley, Idaho 

photo: Tal Roberts

Next up on our list is Sun Valley, Idaho. Once thought of as of a hidden gem for mountain biking, Sun Valley has definitely become more well-known thanks to 400 plus miles of maintained singletrack. Another draw is that Sun Valley has trails to suit every type and level of mountain biker. Beginners will enjoy Two Dog Trail near Hailey for a low-key seven mile loop. Fisher Creek Loop is an Intermediate e-bike friendly trail with plenty of downhill and spectacular views. For Intermediate riders who are ready to be challenged, Osberg Ridge trail is a legendary cross-country route with more breathtaking views . And if you’re on your electric mountain bike, you can skip the shuttle. 

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride is after snow melts and the trail dries out, from late April through October. 

  • Rent your electric mountain bike at Sturtevants of Sun Valley.

  • Post-ride:  Grab a beer and burger at local favorite Grumpy’s in downtown Ketchum. 

#3 Bentonville, Arkansas

(Photo: Courtesy Visit Bentonville)

Our next pick takes us down south to Bentonville, Arkansas. Once you’re there, it’ll be easy to see why this charming town has been dubbed “The Mountain Biking Capital of the World”. Bentonville offers a network of more than 140 miles of trails, including over 40 miles of hard surface and more than 100 miles of singletrack connected or in close proximity to the city. Some of you may recognize Bentonville as the home-base of Walmart, and thanks to the efforts of Sam Walton’s grandsons, avid riders Tom and Steuart, the Walton Family Foundation has donated land, backed construction, and funded trail maintenance to transform Bentonville into a mountain biker’s paradise. Included in National Geographic’s list of America’s 20 Best Mountain Biking Towns, Bentonville supports and encourages bike culture with easily accessible trails and a cycle-friendly atmosphere. With so many trails to choose from, you might be wondering where to start. You can’t go wrong with the Slaughter Pen Trail System. 

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride: Year round! 

  • Rent your electric mountain bike at Phat Tire Bikes 

  • Post-ride: Follow up your day of adventure on the trails with some adventurous eats: try the crispy pig ear nachos at Tusk and Trotter. 

#4 Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte

Even if you’ve just dipped your toe into the world of mountain biking, chances are you’ve heard of Crested Butte, Colorado. This picturesque Rocky Mountain getaway is our next pick for exploring on your electric mountain bike. With a bike-friendly vibe, this quaint mountain town is definitely a bucket-list destination for mountain bikers, with over 700 miles of singletrack to discover. If you’re looking for a breathtakingly beautiful ride, the Teocalli Ridge Trail has your name on it. You’ll get a mix of steep climbs and fast downhill with views that can’t be beat. Teocalli delivers snow-capped peaks and fields of wildflowers. Since the trail sits at about 11,000 feet above sea level, you’ll be thankful for the extra boost from your electric mountain bike

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride is May-October. 

  • Rent your electric mountain bike at the Alpineer.

  • Post-ride: Enjoy some craft beer at The Eldo Brewpub on Crested Butte’s famous Elk Avenue. 

#5 Hood River, Oregon

photo: Chris Daniels

Our next destination is known as the windsurfing capital of the world, but it also offers some pretty sweet mountain biking. Hood River, Oregon is a small town that sits where the Columbia River Gorge meets up with the Cascade Range, making it a scenic backdrop for some amazing rides. It’s an all-around great place for outdoor recreation, including hiking, mountain biking, and windsurfing, with proximity to whitewater rafting and downhill skiing. On top of the endless opportunities for outdoor fun, Hood River is home to craft breweries, vineyards, and a vibrant restaurant scene. For some epic rides, check out Post Canyon, a 40 mile network of trails known as Hood River’s “holy grail” of mountain biking. There’s something for everyone, from flowing cross-country on the lower trails to challenging descents. 

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride is late April through September, but be sure to check trail conditions before you ride--trails can get muddy during the rainy spring and fall.  

  • Rent your electric bike at Oregon Ebikes

  • Post-ride: Grab a slice of wood-fired pizza at Solstice.

#6 Lake Tahoe, California 

Electric Mountain Biking in Lake Tahoe

Next up is Lake Tahoe, a well-known resort town nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Lake Tahoe’s crystal blue waters and rugged mountain terrain have been a draw for travelers since the California Gold Rush, but over the last half-century it’s become a true wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts. Tahoe has over a dozen alpine resorts for folks who prefer winter sports, but summer is the lake’s busiest season, with hiking, biking, and endless water sports on the table. An ample supply of maintained singletrack as well as rugged backcountry makes Lake Tahoe a must-ride for mountain bikers of all levels. Sidewinder is an e-bike friendly trail option for Intermediate and Advanced riders looking for some flowing singletrack, and Fibreboard Freeway (Brockway to Tahoe City) is a great paved trail with gorgeous lake views. Not all Lake Tahoe trails are open to e-bikes, so make a plan before you go. See https://tamba.org/trails/e-bikes/ for more information about e-bikes in Lake Tahoe. 

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride is mid-June through October

  • Rent your electric mountain bikes at Anderson’s Bicycle Rentals.

  • Post-ride: Stop into Sidellis Brewery and Restaurant for a unique selection of rotating taps and a cozy atmosphere. 

#7 Kernville, California 

350 miles to the south you’ll find Kernville, another California mountain biking hub. About an hour east of Bakersfield, Kernville has a wild-west vibe leftover from its origins as a mining town in the 1860s. Nowadays, Kernville is attracting adventure-seekers of a different sort. Whitewater rafters, kayakers, rock climbers, and mountain bikers alike flock to Kernville for its boundless outdoor recreation options. And the fact that there’s lots of trails open to electric mountain bikes makes it even more palatable. Advanced electric mountain bikers planning a Kernville excursion can check out Cannell, an IMBA Epic trail. This 25.5 mile alpine behemoth starts at 9,200 feet and ends with an 8 mile section known as “The Plunge”, a fast and furious drop into Kernville. Riders looking for a less challenging route can try Just Outstanding trail, a fast, flowy, Intermediate route that lives up to its name.  

Good to Know: 

  • Best times to ride are spring and fall, to avoid winter snow and the soaring temps of summertime. 

  • Post-ride: Follow up your ride on Just Outstanding with some hot wings and a Just Outstanding IPA from Kern River Brewing. 

#8 Mammoth Lakes, California 

We can’t leave California without a nod to Mammoth Lakes, another unforgettable e-biking destination. Towering peaks, expansive valleys, and blue mountain lakes make Mammoth another choice location for mountain biking. Since Mammoth is best known for skiing and snowboarding, summer months are usually less touristy, with some prime opportunities for riding secluded trails with breathtaking scenery. E-bikers are in luck: Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort has opened up more than 80 miles of singletrack to Class 1 e-mountain bikes (pedal assist up to 20 mph), so riders who have gone electric will have lots of options. 

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride is summer

  • Rent your electric bike at Mammoth Bike Park or Footloose Sports.

  • Post-ride: Stop into Clocktower Cellar for some house-cut fries and a locally brewed beer. 

#9 Phoenix, Arizona

Electric mountain biking in McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Another super e-bike friendly destination for mountain bikers is Phoenix, Arizona. This sunny desert landscape is home to several urban parks open to e-bikes, like South Mountain Preserve. Stretching over 16,000 acres, South Mountain Preserve allows electric bikes on all 70 miles of its rocky, cactus-lined trails. The Desert Classic is a mellow trail well-suited to Beginner/Intermediate riders. For Advanced mountain bikers able to handle a super technical ride with lots of challenging downhill, the National Trail is one of the most iconic trails in the Phoenix area and boasts spectacular city views. Other parks in the Phoenix area open to electric mountain bikes include McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Estrella Regional Park, and White Tank Mountain Regional Park. 

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride is November through April, when temperatures are cooler. 

  • Rent your electric mountain bike at Pedego McDowell Mountain. 

  • Post-ride: Hit Diego Pop’s for a braised pineapple pork taco. 

#10 Cuyuna Lakes, Minnesota 

Our last stop is Cuyuna Lakes, Minnesota. Ranked as a Silver Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association, Cuyuna Lakes is home to 30 miles of paved and singletrack trails winding across 800 acres of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. The Northwoods of Minnesota has no shortage of incredible scenery, like its crystal blue pit lakes, the remnants of previous mining activity. Beginners can hit Drag Line South trail, and Advanced riders can take on Bobsled trail for a fast-paced descent through the woods. E-bikes are allowed on state trails where normal bikes are allowed as long as they meet the conditions defined by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, so check their website at dnr.state.mn.us before you go to make sure your e-bike meets the criteria. 

Good to Know: 

  • Best time to ride is June-October. 

  • Trails are prone to closures for weather and hunting seasons, so know before you go. 

  • Post-ride: Satisfy your sweet tooth with some ice cream from Rave Creamworks in Crosby.