Mountain biking was already on the rise pre-pandemic, but COVID-19 has boosted the sport’s popularity to the point shops can’t stock bikes fast enough. With never-before riders turning dirt warriors seemingly overnight, trails suddenly seem busier than ever. Mountain bike trail counts across America showed increases of up to 500 percent last year compared with 2019. Many newbies are eyeing the most-touted singletrack spots like Crested Butte and Moab.
Luckily, there are plenty of up-and-coming meccas with equally epic terrain. They also have biker-friendly hotels and communities packed with great restaurants and breweries. Here are five lesser-known mountain biking destinations where you’ll find brag-worthy riding without the crowds.