Dirt Rag Magazine

Featured Ride: White Ridge Trail System, New Mexico

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While not particularly technical, the White Ridge Trail System stands out in the Albuquerque area for vertical exposure and stunning views. It is ranked the number 2 ride in New Mexico on MTB Project. The main loop is 8.4 miles, mostly singletrack and hovers around 6,000 feet of elevation without a tremendous amount of climbing.

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This trail was developed with mountain biking in mind and is sure to please. Fast sections of singletrack follow the ridge lines across gypsum formations; descents incorporate some of the most fun terrain; and beautiful rocky desert scenery is everywhere you look. While much of the trail is not too technical, it’s narrow enough to hold your attention and people with a fear of heights might have to walk in a few spots.

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Make sure to stop and ride if you’re roadtripping since wayfinding is easy. There is a good trail map at the trailhead. The trail junctions are numbered and out on the trail each junction has a numbered post with a downsized version of the map. According to some of the comments, there are great post-ride tacos to be had in town, too.

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Photos courtesy of mtbproject.com

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Featured Ride: Womble Trail, an IMBA Epic

Be sure to check out all of the Womble Trail details on MTB Project. If you enjoy your visit to the the Womble Trail, consider supporting Mountain Bike Arkansas.

Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Womble Trail1

The famed, 35.5-mile Womble sits just west of historic Hot Springs, Arkansas. This IMBA Epic ride gains just a touch over 4,000 feet of elevation across its 95-percent singletrack route.

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If you’d like to ride the entire length of the Womble, or even a shorter point-to-point section, you’ll need to self-shuttle as no commercial options are available.

Be sure to check out all of the Womble Trail details on MTB Project. If you enjoy your visit to the the Womble Trail, consider supporting Mountain Bike Arkansas.

Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Featured Ride: Skyline Downhill on Maui Island, Hawaii

Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

 

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Hawaii is a bucket-list destination for travelers, but how is the riding? The 16-mile Skyline downhill run, beginning at 9,900 feet atop a dormant volcano, is the highlight of the Poli Poli Springs ride area on Maui.

Our web editor described this ride in Issue #177 after enjoying it, herself:  On a good day, you can see ‘the Big Island’ (Hawaii) from the peak. Farther down, the mountain is frequently under cloud cover, lending an ethereal quality to this ride that begins by descending over six miles of pumice-and moon-dust covered doubletrack. It’s a sketchy run that begs a full-face helmet and requires an hour-long, winding shuttle drive straight up from sea level to access the start point. The effort is worth it because the view—and the sensation of riding your bike down from the top of the world—is breathtaking.

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Skyline connects you to the Mamane Trail, two of the finest miles of singletrack I’ve ever put bike tires on. Beginning in grasslands over smooth trail, Mamane quickly shoots you down through foggy, lush forests of pine, eucalyptus, cypress, Chinese fir and redwoods, under which the trail grows increasingly peppered with chunky, volcanic detritus. The ride is finished off by a nearly eight-mile road descent through open grazing lands.

The half-day trip has a magical, can’t-get-this-anywhere-else feel to it that will leave you mesmerized by the multiple climate zones and unique landscapes you just pedaled through.

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Due to the rough pumice terrain, a full-face helmet and body armor are recommended. Dual-ply tires or a reinforced casing are also a good idea.

Be sure to check out MTB Project for all the details. And, while you’re in Hawaii, be sure to check out the other amazing ride options.

Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

 

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Featured Ride: Black Canyon Trail IMBA Epic



Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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The Black Canyon Trail (BCT) is truly epic, stretching from Highway 69 south to the Carefree Highway, just north of Phoenix. This MTB Project ride lists total mileage at 67.5 miles of 100% singletrack, but I’ve also read reports of 78 miles of total rideable trail. Either way, you’ll want to break this ride into sections by riding out and back or point to point with a shuttle.

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As you can see in the elevation chart, the BCT trends downhill from roughly 4,200 feet to 1,600 feet at the end. Don’t be fooled though, you’ll still climb nearly 5,000 feet of elevation throughout the course of the ride.

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If you’d like to do the BCT in one multi-day session, Hermosa Tours offers a 3-day, 2-night self-guided tour along 78 miles of the BCT. As the name suggest, tour guest guide themselves during the day while a Hermosa Tour guide breaks down camp in the morning, then moves and sets up camp at the following day’s destination.

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The BCT is best tackled in early spring and late fall due to soaring summer temperatures in the region. Be sure to check out all the details on MTB Project if you plan to visit.


Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Featured Ride: Bull and Jake Mountain—IMBA Epic

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If you plan to visit, be sure to check out all the details via MTB Project. While you’re there, check out some of the other rides we pedalled during out trip to Northern Georgia. Mulberry Gap is a mountain biker’s dream destination, and Cartecay Bike Shop in Ellijay is your best bet for mechanical support and expertise.


Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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As we discovered during our spring break trip to Mulberry Gap just outside of Ellijay, Georgia, the mountains of Northern Georgia are an underappreciated hot bed of incredible mountain biking. This region’s combination of significant tracts of public land in the Chattahoochee National Forest, ample elevation change, old logging infrastructure, CCC-era legacy trails and a thriving mountain bike culture make this region a prime destination. And, it’s less than 100 miles north of Atlanta.

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This week’s featured ride, the Bull and Jake Mountain IMBA Epic, traverses just over 25 miles, gaining a tick over 3,000 feet of elevation. Glance at that elevation profile and you’ll notice a lot of that altitude is gained in the last big climb, starting around mile 16. The upside of riding this loop counter-clockwise is the roughly 5-mile descent back to the start.

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Located at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, the Bull Mountain and Jake Mountain trail network includes more than 50 miles of great riding, including an IMBA Epic route that covers a good chunk of the trails. You’ll get little bit of everything: red clay singletrack, loose rocks, take-off-your-shoes stream crossings, and some steep, sustained climbs.

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If you plan to visit, be sure to check out all the details via MTB Project. While you’re there, check out some of the other rides we pedalled during out trip to Northern Georgia. Mulberry Gap is a mountain biker’s dream destination, and Cartecay Bike Shop in Ellijay is your best bet for mechanical support and expertise.


Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Featured Ride: Cuyamaca to Noble Canyon – IMBA Epic

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Just an hour and a half drive northeast of San Diego you’ll find the gold rush town of Julian, and just a few miles south of that former boom town, you’ll find the trailhead for the Cuyamaca to Noble Canyon IMBA Epic.

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This 29-mile ride descends and ascends 3,800 feet of elevation as it traverses as mix of fire roads and singletrack (70 percent). James Murren wrote eloquently of his outing on this Epic and other nearby trails in Issue #182.

“Noble is no joke. It is big and remote, with ample opportunity to crash and burn the ego.”

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Be sure to plan your visit appropriately. You might find some snow at the higher elevations during winter months. In the summer months, expect hot temps regardless of elevation.

Check out all the ride details on MTB Project prior to visiting, and consider supporting the San Diego Mountain Biking Association after your ride.

Photo courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Cuyamaca to Noble Canyon 1

Just an hour and a half drive northeast of San Diego you’ll find the gold rush town of Julian, and just a few miles south of that former boom town, you’ll find the trailhead for the Cuyamaca to Noble Canyon IMBA Epic.

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This 29-mile ride descends and ascends 3,800 feet of elevation as it traverses as mix of fire roads and singletrack (70 percent). James Murren wrote eloquently of his outing on this Epic and other nearby trails in Issue #182.

“Noble is no joke. It is big and remote, with ample opportunity to crash and burn the ego.”

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Be sure to plan your visit appropriately. You might find some snow at the higher elevations during winter months. In the summer months, expect hot temps regardless of elevation.

Check out all the ride details on MTB Project prior to visiting, and consider supporting the San Diego Mountain Biking Association after your ride.

Photo courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Featured Ride: Fresno-Sauceda Loop – IMBA Epic



Photos courtesy of MTB Project unless otherwise indicated.

 

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As fall and winter continue to march south, so too will our featured rides. This week we’re highlighting Big Bend Ranch State Park, which sits just north and west of Big Bend National Park in the southwest corner of Texas. It’s extremely remote, extremely beautiful and highly likely to provide you with a big does of solitude. The closest towns of Lajitas and Terlingua feel like wild west outposts and Mexico is merely a stone’s throw away, should you be feeling adventurous.

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Given its southern location, this IMBA Epic ride is best enjoyed in the cooler months from October to mid-April. And it is epic, indeed, clocking in at 59 miles and nearly 4,000 feet of elevation gain, despite being just 40 percent singletrack. You’re guaranteed to feel small riding through purple, yellow and orange hills and past ruins of old mining camps full of rusty trucks.

Photo: Tom Fuller

Photo: Tom Fuller

Mileage aside, this is not a ride to take lightly. Due to the prickly nature of the Chihuahuan desert, tubeless tires are recommended, along with spares tubes with sealant. Plan to manage all mechanical issues because this is lightly trafficked, remote terrain with no cell phone coverage. If you’re feel adventurous, pack your bivy and make an overnight trip out of this loop.

This IMBA Epic ride combines much of the best riding in Big Bend Ranch State Park into one Epic Loop. The loop consists of a variety of riding conditions with a mix of singletrack, creek beds, and 4×4 roads. The singletrack is a nicely flowing combination of hard pack and rocky trails with lots of short steep climbs and dry creek crossings. Many of the 4×4 roads have not seen motorized traffic for many years and are essentially two track trails. There are significant numbers of long, steep, technical and rocky climbs and descents. Creek riding conditions vary from hard-packed and easily rideable to sandy and soft with some rocky and technical sections.

Be sure to check out all the details on MTB Project before you visit. And, consider supporting the Big Bend Trails Alliance for all their hard work maintaining these trails. If you would like to spend a long weekend exploring this Epic and other nearby trails with likeminded mountain bikers, check out the Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest, Feb. 11-13. Our web editor is a native Texan who attended the event last year. The landscape so moved her that she intends to keep going back, despite the 13-hour drive from central Colorado.

True, Big Bend State Park is in the middle of nowhere, but that’s a big part of what makes it such an adventure. Don’t miss Big Bend Brewing Company in nearby Alpine (a college town) and the quirky Starlight Theatre in Terlingua. If you have time, travel about two hours north to explore the fine art, fine food and NPR station in Marfa (population 1,800), attend a star party at the McDonald Observatory in Ft. Davis, and take a hike in Big Bend National Park.


Photos courtesy of MTB Project unless otherwise indicated.

 

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Featured Ride: Mohican State Park MTB Trail near Loudonville, Ohio



Photos courtesy of MTB Project. 

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Ohio might not be the first state that jumps to your mind when you’re looking for a mountain bike destination. But, the 22.2-mile loop around Mohican State Park is well worth the trip. I’ve only ridden the approximately 8-mile short loop and have been itching to get back for the long loop ever since. Still don’t believe me? Well, this ride is currently ranked the eighth best ride in the entire MTB project database. It’s legit.

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In my limited experience, the riding at Mohican offers incredible flow, but with enough technical sections to keep you on your toes. It’s also absolutely beautiful in the fall.

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If you plan to visit Mohican, be sure you can grab a map from the park office for a couple of dollars. Or, utilize MTB Project to navigate. Be aware there aren’t many bail out points on this ride. Best to bring a snack and enjoy the whole experience.

If you’re looking for an even bigger challenge, I’ve heard the Mohican 100 is an awesome race.


Photos courtesy of MTB Project. 

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Featured Ride: Darling Hill Loop at Kingdom Trails in Vermont



Scenic Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Kingdom Trails is one of the premier mountain bike destinations on the east coast, if not the entire United States. Sure, it doesn’t have the epic scenery of Sedona or Moab, but the riding is world class and the quaint little town of Burke, Vermont is very welcoming to cyclists. Much of the area’s economic growth revolves around its status as a mountain bike destination.

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The 13-mile Darling Hill Loop is the perfect tour for folks who haven’t yet visited Kingdom Trails. This highlight-reel ride will be particularly scenic this time of year as the leaves begin to change.

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The Kingdom Trails Association (KTA) stewards the public and private land on which Kingdom Trails is built to provide summer and winter recreation as well as to conserve the area’s natural resources.

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For me, Kingdom Trails offers the perfect balance of technical and flow riding. There’s plenty of speed to be had and enough technical features to keep you on your toes.

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Kingdom Trails is a pay-to-play destination. The $15 day pass supports the KTA’s mission and helps fund trail building and maintenance.

A Kingdom Odyssey from T-Bar Films on Vimeo.

Dirt Rag Contributor Rob Whelan wrote about his trip to Kingdom Trails earlier this summer. Read his story here.

If you haven’t yet made the trip to Kingdom Trails, put it on your bucket list. And, be sure to sample the Darling Hill Loop while you’re there.



Scenic Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Featured Ride: Sky Mountain Park Loop Near Aspen and Snowmass


As summer begins to show the first signs of the approaching fall, we’ll continue to feature some high-country rides while they remain accessible. This week’s Featured Ride loops up into the mountains between Aspen and Snowmass, offering breathtaking views of 14,000-foot peaks in the neighboring Elk Mountain range.

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This 18.3-mile route features 2,175 feet of climbing and a maximum elevation of 8,632 feet. MTB Project users have rated this loop intermediate in difficulty.

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As the name suggests, this loop travels through Sky Mountain Park, which was officially named in 2012. For more than two decades, a partnership of local municipalities and nonprofit organizations have worked together to add 2,500 acres of this beautiful ridgeline to the region’s public open space program. For more details, check out the Park’s management plan. Most of the trails within this section of the ride are recently constructed and machine built for both flow and sustainability.

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If you plan to visit, be sure to read all of the details on MTB Project and consider supporting the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association in support of its stewardship of the area’s trails.

Photos Courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Featured Ride: Park City IMBA Epic



Photos Courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Park City, Utah is simply loaded with great trails, over 350 miles in fact. With that many miles of trails, it’s hard to pick a favorite. However, riders have ranked this IMBA Epic the best ride in the Park City area. Stretching 25.5 miles, this Epic climbs 3,500 feet throughout the ride. Maximum elevation tops out at 9,886 feet.

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The trails are located at altitude above high mountain deserts. Bring plenty of water, food and clothing and be prepared for large temperature fluctuations and variable conditions throughout.

There are multiple intersections along the route that can lead into other drainages or even other towns. Have a map, have a plan and be prepared for a long day out.

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If you’re not sold yet, this incredible drone footage filmed by Jonathan Cracroft should do the trick.

Be sure to check out all of the details of the Park City Epic on MTB Project. View all of our featured rides here.


Photos Courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Featured Ride: North Umpqua IMBA Epic



Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

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North Umpqua IMBA Epic_1

This 69.5-mile trail segment certainly lives up to it’s status as an IMBA Epic. Don’t let that mileage turn you off though, as the North Umpqua Trail (NUT) can be ridden in segments or in its entirety as supported adventure.

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Ridden west to east the NUT climbs along the North Umpqua River, gaining 9,000 feet of elevation while descending 5,300 feet. I know for certain I’d choose to ride the NUT from east to west so I could descend 9,000 feet while climbing only 5,300.

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If you like endless singletrack through old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, then North Umpqua is for you. The route is a long-distance adventure best ridden in sections or over the course of multiple days with a support vehicle. For the hearty and fit, the route can be done in two days. For those who have the time, 4-5 days is very enjoyable.

Alternately, Oregon-based guide service Cog Wild offers guided tours of the NUT that look absolutely fabulous.

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This video gives you a first-person taste what this incredible trail has to offer.

Be sure to check out all the details on MTB Project.



Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

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Featured Ride: Phillip’s Ridge to Phillip’s Canyon via Snotel

If you’re planning to visit, be sure to check out all the details on MTB Project.


Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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MTB Project encourages users to rank rides and trails in order to help other riders prioritize ride options when exploring new trails. Rider’s who have been lucky enough to ride this high-country route have rated it favorably enough to capture the number one rating in the region surrounding Grand Teton National Park and number two in the entire state of Wyoming. It’s sure to be a good time.

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This 14.4-mile loop starts from the trailhead on Fish Run Road, just north of Wilson. You’ll earn your turns by climbing gradually for the first 8 miles or so to a maximum elevation of 8,427 feet. Throughout the entire ride you’ll gain just shy of 2,500 feet of elevation.

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After mile 10, you’ll begin to reap the rewards of your effort as you begin the technical 4-mile descent back down to the trailhead on Phillip’s Canyon trail. This video from Yeti Cycles gives you a little bit of perspective on the riding in the Jackson area.

If you’re planning to visit, be sure to check out all the details on MTB Project.


Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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Featured Ride: Lost Lake Trail, Alaska

Over the course of this ride, you’ll climb and descent 2,460 vertical feet. Check out the full details here on MTB Project.


Alaska Feature from Issue #186

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This week’s Featured Ride takes us way up north to Alaska, near the town of Seward on the southeastern side of the Kenai Peninsula. Seward is roughly a two hour and thirty minute drive south from Anchorage.

In the current issue of Dirt Rag, #186, we featured a story about riding in Alaska. Here’s an except from author Dejay Birtch describing the riding around Seward.

No trip to this area would be complete without a trip to Seward, which rests on Resurrection Bay and is filled with opportunities that are all things Alaskan: sea kayaking, whale watching, island hopping, glacier flying or hiking, fishing and plenty of chances for some downtime with dining, shopping and drinking at one of the 25-plus breweries in the region.

Seward is also home to the must-ride Lost Lake Trail. It’s very popular for hiking as well as riding, so you may want to consider your timing before setting off on this 7-mile one-way trail that parallels a deep creek crevice and mountain ridge that tops out at 5,700 feet. It’s shadowed by several glaciers, with stunning views of Resurrection Bay from the 2,150-foot high point of the trail. Once at the lake, either return the same way or take the option to connect with the Primrose Trail. This will tack on another 8 miles, bringing you out to the Primrose campground with about 17 miles of pavement riding for the return.

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Over the course of this ride, you’ll climb and descent 2,460 vertical feet. Check out the full details here on MTB Project.


Alaska Feature from Issue #186

Click through each image below to read the full story. Subscribe to have content like this delivered to your mailbox or inbox 7 times a year.

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Featured Ride: Tahoe Rim and Flume Trail via Tahoe Meadows

MTB Project Map


Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

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This week’s Featured Ride continues our high-country theme as we roll into the heart of summer. Tahoe’s iconic Rim trail sits at maximum elevation of nearly 9,000 feet, so now is the time to ride!

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First, a couple of things you need to know. Only a portion of the 168-mile Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) is open to bikes. This particular section of the TRT is open to bikes on even-numbered days. Second, a shuttle is required for this 24-mile ride.

According to MTB Project, Flume Trail Bikes is your best bet for shuttle service. The $15 shuttle departs from the shop, which is adjacent to Tunnel Creek Cafe, a stellar spot for a pre-ride snack or a post-ride dinner and drinks. Morning rides can be cool at elevation, so bring a shell or long-sleeve jersey.

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This ride is ranked blue intermediate as a whole, consisting of the black expert TRT and the green/blue easy to intermediate Flume trail. What this trail might be lacking in outright technical difficulty for die-hard shredders, it more than makes up with its awe-inspiring vistas.

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Though this shuttle ride descends nearly 4,000 vertical feet, it’s far from being all down hill with 1,555 feet of vertical gain. The average ride time on MTB Project is two hours and thirty seven minutes, so plan accordingly. For full the full description and ride details, be sure to check it out on MTB Project.

Have you ridden any of the iconic trails? Let us know in the comments below.

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Here’s an on-board video that shows the terrain on the TRT.

MTB Project Map


Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

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Featured Ride: Whistler’s Top of the World, Khyber, Kashmir, Kush and Big Timber

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Don't look down. It's called Top of the World for a reason.

Don’t look down. It’s called Top of the World for a reason.

Whistler Bike Park’s Top of the World trail is a bucket-list experience for any gravity-loving mountain biker. This week’s featured ride adds some epic backcountry riding to the legendary Top of the World alpine experience.

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This high-altitude experience is open from July through late September. You’ll need to procure both a Whistler Bike Park pass and a Peak Zone pass in order to access this ride. Peak Zone passes are limited to 150 rider per day in order to minimize damage to the sensitive alpine terrain.

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This ten-mile ride is not for the faint of heart. In addition to technically challenging terrain and 7,118 ft beginning altitude, much of this ride is fairly remote. Make sure you have adequate bike supplies and fuel for your crew.

Hannah Barnes dropping in.

The Top of the World Trail hosts the Enduro World Series each year during Crankworx.

Total descent is just over 6,000 vertical feet, but it’s not all down hill. You’ll climb over 1,100 vertical feet before ride’s end.

Be sure to check out all the details on MTB Project before tackling this ride.

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Featured Ride: Teocalli Ridge Loop near Crested Butte, Colorado



Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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This post marks the beginning of a partnership between us here at Dirt Rag and MTB Project, the nation’s leading digital trail database. Each week we’ll be featuring one MTB Project’s best rides when it’s most seasonally relevant. Of course, we’d love to hear your suggestions, email your favorites to [email protected] or comment below.

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Since we’re rolling into the heart of summer, we thought we’d take a look at some of the high-country rides that simply aren’t accessible much of the year. First up, Teocalli Ridge Loop outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.

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This classic 11.5-mile high-country loop offers approximately 2,184 feet of ascent and descent, reaching a maximum elevation of 11,255 feet.

Local Crested Butte cinematographer, Rex Lint, captured the beautiful summer wildflowers with a drone in this Teocalli Ridge video.

Asside from beautiful views of Teocalli Mountain, Castle Peak, Pearl Pass, and the Middle Brush Creek drainage, you’ll also get to enjoy a bunch of newly-constructed switchbacks on the descent back down to your car.

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If you’re fortunate enough to enjoy this and other trails around Crested Butte, consider supporting the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association in appreciation for all of their hard work and sweat equity. And, if you’re thinking of planing a trip to area, the kind folks of Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley have put together a website to help you plan your trip and connect to the local community.



Photos courtesy of MTB Project.

 

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