Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minnesota, has been named one of IMBA’s Model Flow Trails.
This year, IMBA is recognizing five Ride Centers, four Epics, three Flow Trails and two Gateway Trails in locations from the Czech Republic to Kentucky.
These trails should go on your short list of riding destinations. These are the trails worth traveling to, the best places to introduce someone to the sport we all love and are the facilities builders and advocates should look to for inspiration. They vary from gorgeous adventures in the backcountry to innovative trail systems located amidst population centers.
2013 Ride Centers
The Ride Center designation represents IMBA’s recognition of large-scale mountain bike destinations that offer a wide range of great trails for every riding style. Ride Centers not only invite you to plan a multi-day trip with your full quiver of mountain bikes and the whole family, they take care of you both on and off the trail by being places where mountain bikers are welcomed.
Burns Lake, British Columbia, Canada (Bronze): Canada’s first Ride Center features 25 miles of singletrack, 12 miles of downhill trails and four bike parks surrounding Kager Lake in a mountain town setting.
Coldwater Mountain, Anniston, Alabama, USA (Bronze): Coldwater Mountain’s 4,000 acres contain 25 miles of varied, bike-specific trail and plans for a total of 75 miles. Beginners, downhillers and backcountry explorers will all find something to love a short ride from downtown Anniston.
Helena, Montana, USA (Bronze): More than 70 miles of singletrack surround this bicycle-friendly city, including routes accessible from town, free shuttles and access to the iconic Continental Divide Trail.
Rychlebské Stezky, Černá Voda, Czech Republic (Bronze): Černá Voda’s mayor is also the area’s master trail builder. Explore his 60 kilometers (37 miles) of all-weather, sustainable trails that follow streams, pass by an old castle, wind through meadows and climb 470 meters (1541 feet) to a mountaintop overlooking rolling green hills and quaint little villages.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA (Bronze): The place that calls itself “Bike Town USA” boasts more than 500 miles of classic Colorado mountain bike trails supported by an active and engaged IMBA chapter. Several trails traverse the mountains from top to bottom with stunning views into the valley, with many more trails scheduled to be built early next summer.
With the addition of new Model Trail classifications in recent years, IMBA has returned the Epics to the original intent of the designation—demanding, singletrack adventures in a natural setting. The 2013 class of Epics celebrates true backcountry riding experiences that are technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length. Existing Epics that meet this criteria will retain Epic status. We have also created an IMBA Epics Hall of Fame to recognize the rides we have honored in the past but no longer meet the new criteria.
Cooper’s Gap, Rothrock State Forest, Pennsylvania, USA: This 27-mile ride features extended downhills, flowy technical sections, narrow singletrack, ample solitude and views of the Kishacoquillas Valley.
Ollalie Ridge, Sisters, Oregon, USA: This is the burly, backcountry brother of the nearby McKenzie River Trail, with 20 miles of riding on 100-percent singletrack that rewards your 4,000 feet of climbing with 5,000 feet of descending.
Park City Epic, Park City, Utah, USA: This ride serves up 26 miles of singletrack-intensive riding, 360-degree views of the mountainous, alpine landscape, and a 10-mile climb up to 9,884 feet.
Villa Romantica, Davos, Switzerland: This 27-mile (45 km) ride takes you across Sound-of-Music landscapes. Mostly singletrack, you’ll ride through alpine meadows, forested valleys and idyllic farmland, and pass by a brewery that claims to be the highest in the Alps.
2013 Flow Trails
As the sport of mountain biking has evolved over the past decades, it has driven the development of a new style of trail with features and concepts that push the limits of traditional singletrack. Flow trails are what you make them: leisurely rides with your kids where beginners can roll over dirt features and bypass technical ones, or an exploration of skills and airtime for fast, talented riders.
Candyland, Spirit Mountain, Duluth, Minnesota, USA: This beginner-friendly, lift-accessed trail features berms and rollers that start mellow and gradually get larger.
Coldsprings Flow, Coldwater Mountain, Annison, Alabama, USA: Revel in the full complement of gravity riding, from cambered and rollable features to tabletops where airtime is readily attainable.
Flow Motion, Sandy Ridge Trail System, Sandy Ridge, Oregon, USA: An endless succession of berms and rollers lead you through a lush, rainforest-like landscape. Flow Motion connects to the bottom of Sandy’s double-black diamond trail, providing either a reprieve or a chance to pick up speed after navigating burly singletrack.
2013 Gateway Trails
Gateway Trails put standout mountain biking facilities in places where many people can experience the joy of knobby tires. This trail building style is designed to deliver an enjoyable experience for beginner- to intermediate-level riders. Gateway Trails are family friendly, positioned close to population centers and offer natural surfaces with moderate grades to create a widely accessible introduction to mountain biking.
Big Hollow, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA: This 8-mile ride highlights the above-ground treasures of Mammoth Cave, winding through gorgeous rock outcroppings and stream crossings. The trail features subtle grades, an open corridor and challenging alternate lines for the more adventurous.
Blueberry Lake Trails, Middlebury, Vermont, USA: Five miles of new trail with gentle undulations, sweeping turns and flowing lines beckon kids and beginner mountain bikers at the 48-acre Blueberry Lake.
IMBA’s dream is to have a trail worthy of a “model” designation in every mountain biker’s backyard. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our advocates around the world, IMBA’s U.S. Regional Director program, seeds sown by the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew and the thousands of trail miles designed and built by IMBA Trail Solutions, we’re all on our way to realizing that dream together.
You can explore all of the Model Trails at once on IMBA’s GeoStories platform.