Have you ever noticed when you’ve looked at a map of the United States that every single state has a capital city… even the smallest and seemingly insignificant states? Maybe that seems obvious, but that observation left us wondering: “well, doesn’t every state have a mountain biking capital as well?” After thinking about it we decided that yes, every single state—no matter how big or small–needs to have a place to call its pinnacle of mountain bike access and hub of trail activity. So, we decided to determine, as objectively as possible, what the best mountain bike destination is in every single state—plus we decided to throw in a national mountain biking capital for the entire US for good measure.
While at first we thought this would be a simple task given our massive database of trail information and reviews from all of the states in the union, achieving a well-rounded list with accurate selections turned out to be much more involved than we initially anticipated. To achieve this list, we ended up drawing on a several different data sources.
First up, we used our database mentioned above, which incorporates reviews and feedback from our hundreds of thousands of mountain bikers, and almost every statistic imaginable including the number of trails, total trail mileage, trail difficulty, and much more. Secondly, we utilized data from a previous survey in which respondents told us what they think the top MTB destinations in the US are. Thirdly, we drew on the expertise of our editorial team members, who are spread around the nation and have collectively ridden in almost all of the top destinations.
When our editorial team put their heads together to talk about what these data sources indicated, we discussed many critical factors, including:
- The quality and quantity of mountain bike trails available in each specific area.
- Current trail access issues and any recent hostility toward mountain biking.
- The general popularity of a given destination with today’s mountain bikers.
- Amenities and infrastructure to support mountain biking tourism, including bike shops, shuttle services, craft beer, restaurants, lodging, and more.
And the Mountain Bike capital in Idaho is Victor!
Victor is located in the Wydaho area, which is a mashup of excellent mountain biking and massive mountains that lies right on top of the Wyoming/Idaho border. Consequently, this area defies convention and throws our project here for a bit of a loop due to how the mountain range overlaps the state border, but after hemming and hawing and going back and forth, we’ve chosen Victor as the mountain bike capital of Idaho. Now, there’s not that much in Victor itself, but its 25-mile radius pulls in a massive 67 trails, including tons of world-class rides. It’s also quite close to numerous amenities just over the pass in Jackson and up north in Driggs (Habitat bike shop), and there’s even a few good local restaurants right in Victor. There are too many outstanding rides in the area to mention, but the epic shuttle runs just up the mountain on Teton Pass are to die for, and the riding at Grand Targhee Resort is epic. The Sun Valley/Ketchum area was a sharp contender for this selection, but due to the recent loss of epic trails in that area, its hard to consider it a “capital” for mountain biking any longer. Honorable mentions also include McCall and Salmon.
This article appeared on the SingleTracks website. For the remaining 50 mountain biking capitals go to singletracks.com and check out the list.