Dirt Rag Magazine

Featured Ride: Everything But Ninja Beaver, Minnesota

Photos courtesy of MTB Project



Ninja Beaver 1

“Everything But Ninja Beaver” is a ride linking several trails in the Mission Creek area near Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota. This 12.6-mile ride is 85 percent flowing, rolling singletrack with about 1,000 feet each of climbing and descending. It’s a great one for newer riders and kids to get out and enjoy mountain biking in a remote, beautiful and wooded setting.

Ninja Beaver 2

If you need to make this ride shorter, or want to add an extra couple of miles to your ride, you can certainly tack on the “Ninja Beaver” trail, which is similar to the rest of the system. It skirts a beaver pond and offers a sustained climb/descent depending on which way you ride it.

Photos courtesy of MTB Project



Featured Ride: HyMasa/Captain Ahab, Utah



Simply utter the word “Moab” to many a mountain biker and you can watch their eyes glaze over joyfully as they’re spirited away on their daydreams to slick rocks, red dirt and technical ledges.


One of those daydream-inducing rides is Captain Ahab. This featured ride, which is just one combination of trails in this location, is about 9.5 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing and descending. When you’re done, check out any of the myriad of trails surrounding this ride. The trailhead is just a short jaunt southwest of downtown Moab.

HyMasa 5

We can’t describe this ride any better than Mark Knowles did in his writeup of this ride for MTB Project, so we’ll let him take it from here:

“MTBing ecstasy is what it is. I can not do justice for Captain Ahab in words. Most intermediate riders will walk a spot or two on this trail. Fact is, there is even a sign that says you should walk a particularly risky spot on the trail. But don’t let that dissuade you from the experience. Ahab will etch in your memory. Visually stunning, technically thrilling, a true gem. You’ll not want it to end.”


The ride begins with a 3-mile ride up the HyMesa trail, which was built recently to replace a Jeep road ascent. The trail brings you along canyon rims and affords views at the top of Canyonlands National Park.

A big rock drop marks the start of the descent. The upper half of the trail is a playground for long-travel bikes and technical descenders. Most of the largest drops can be avoided with ride-around options. The trail contours so there will still be a bit of climbing, here. The lower half of the trail flows along tight singletrack with a few spots of serious exposure on cliff edges. You’ll know you’re nearing the end when you hit a “spicy” rock garden.


If you’re looking for a shorter route or want to avoid the most technical upper sections, there is a bypass via the Amasa to Captain Ahab Connector trail. Find that at 3.3 miles into the HyMasa Trail climb.

Photos courtesy of MTB Project.



Featured Ride: Paris Mountain State Park, South Carolina

Photos courtesy of MTB Project.


Paris Mountain State Park-1

Paris Mountain State Park near Greenville, South Carolina, is a popular trail system that offers an 11.5-mile loop with a few short side options. This ride will give you a taste of the terrain and trail types available in the state. Expect extended climbs and descents over 95 percent singletrack with an average grade of 5 percent (and a max of 23 percent!).

Paris Mountain State Park-3

Expect a mix of both rough, rocky and smooth trails, views of mountains and lakes and challenging climbs. Note that mountain bikes are not allowed on the trails on Saturdays, and there is a small fee to enter the state park.

Paris Mountain State Park-2

Photos courtesy of MTB Project.


Featured Ride: Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama



Oak Mtn Ala 5

In the foothills of the Appalachians, Double Oak Mountain lies at the core of the nearly 10,000-acre Oak Mountain State Park, located just 20 minutes south of Birmingham in Pelham, Alabama. The slopes and valleys of the parallel ridgelines serve up miles of blissful singletrack and technical diversity.

This 21-mile ride has been lauded as an IMBA Epic and is ranked the number two ride in Alabama on MTBProject.com. It is comprised of 80 percent singletrack and climbs a total of 1,422 feet.

Oak Mtn Ala 3 Oak Mtn Ala 4

The trails vary technically and range from smooth singletrack with minimal texture to those that might require a hike-a-bike for some riders. The full ride includes a pass on the Jekyll-n-Hide trail, featuring tight spots, big rocks, twisting berms and some of the fastest sections of the whole Epic. The bottom section (Hyde) is a series of white knuckle berms, dips and banked turns mixed in with some short climbs through some beautiful pine and hardwood groves. Enjoy.

Oak Mtn Ala 1 Oak Mtn Ala 2

With close access to Birmingham, expect to see riders of all ages and abilities in addition to other trail users like hikers, backpackers, kids and dogs. The Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP) along with Alabama’s State Park Division, Shelby County and the City of Pelham have worked hand in hand to elevate the caliber of mountain biking at this venue. If you like the trails, support BUMP!

Photos courtesy of MTB Project.


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