Attack of the Single Track
Mountain biking has emerged from its homegrown origins in Marin County, California, to become one of the most popular forms of outdoor recreation. Knobby, fat tires, upright handlebars, and single or double suspension have redefined the notion of traversable ground via bicycle. We opted to profile the more scenic routes in North America. Most are suitable for cyclists of all levels, but some will challenge even super-hardcore riders. For a list of 1,000 wilderness trails open to mountain bikes, pick up Mountain Bike magazine's Trail-Finder Directory (free with a $20 IMBA membership). Compiled by the magazine's editors and the International Mountain Bike Association (303.545.9011 www.ibma.com), this is a must resource for backcountry adventure.
Chugach National Forest
TERRAIN: More than 200 miles of trails through glaciated terrain, forests, rivers, and wetlands.
BEST ROUTE: Resurrection Trail System.
GETTING THERE: Head south and southeast from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula and the Chugach Mountains.
CONTACT: Chugach National Forest, 3301 C Street, Suite 300, Anchorage, AK 99503. 907.271.2500.
Coronado National Forest
TERRAIN: Two advanced, rugged trails plus hundreds of miles of forest roads through desert, canyons, and mountains.
BEST ROUTES: Arcadia Trail, Chiva Falls Loop.
GETTING THERE: Head south on I-19 from Tucson.
CONTACT: Coronado National Forest, box 709, Stafford, AZ 85548. 520.428.4150.
Angeles National Forest
TERRAIN: Hilly to steep single tracks and roads through coastal forests of pine and fir.
BEST ROUTES: Mt. Wilson Tool Road, Wrightwood and Big Bear areas.
GETTING THERE: Head east from Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Mountains.
CONTACT: Angeles National Forest, 701 Anita Ave., Arcadia, CA 91006. 626.574.1613.
Lake Tahoe Basin
TERRAIN: Everything from reasonably flat to straight up and down. Mostly rugged single tracks, but also some manicured trails.
BEST ROUTES: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, The Flume Trail.
GETTING THERE: Located on the California/Nevada border, east of Sacramento and south of Reno. Take U.S. 50.
CONTACT: Fores Service Visitors Center, 870 Emerald Bay Rd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. 530.573.2600. Trail guide expert: 530.573.2621.
TERRAIN: Steep climbs and downhills; rocky, forested, high-altitude passes.
BEST ROUTES: Farris Creek, Trail #409, Upper Loop.
GETTING THERE: Trails start from Aspen, CO.
CONTACT: Crested Butte chamber of Commerce, Box 1288, Crested Butte, CO 81224. 800.545.4505.
Chattahoochee National Forest
TERRAIN: Forest Service roads and challenging, sometimes steep single track.
BEST ROUTES: Rich Mountain Trail, Mountain Town Creek and Bear Creek, Bull Mountain Trail.
GETTING THERE: Head NE from Atlanta to the border of Georgia and Tennessee.
CONTACT: Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, P.O. Box 671774, Marietta, GA 30067. 770.565.1795. www.sorba.org. Georgia Forestry Commission, 770.528.3195.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication