Updated: Mar 18, 2018
Finding places to ride is an important aspect of mountain biking. There’s a good chance that there’s a lot more trails in your region than you realize. Maybe you know all the trails in your favorite park, but how about the next one, and the one after that? What about some of the more distant parks? Finding them by exploring is a great way to discover trails, but are you going the right direction? Do you know where those connecting trails lead to? And what conditions are you prepared to ride on?
Clearly, riding through unfamiliar territory will require you to study a map to get a sense of where to go. Sometimes park maps can be helpful in finding hidden trails that are suitable for mountain biking. But there are other resources that will give you much more than just a map. Several websites with associated smartphone apps have interactive information on the quality and conditions of the trails, and will also help you find many of the hidden trails. Check out the following for park and trail information and you’ll soon be discovering some great new places to ride:
www.mtbproject.com This website was created in partnership with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), and is now owned by REI. A location search will provide you with topographical maps with trail locations. Users provide the trail information including overview, descriptions, trail routes, and pictures. Rides must be mapped by GPS enabled phone apps that can then be uploaded through the website. Maps are currently available for dozens of countries. The associated mobile app ‘MTB Project’ is available for both iPhones and Android enabled phones, and will show maps with trails for any downloaded state, province, or country.
www.trailforks.com This is a mountain bike trail database that allows users to edit and enter information about trails including riding conditions, updates, photos, and new trails. Any new data entry for trail conditions is voted on by other users as to whether to include the new entry or not. This helps to ensure that the information is true and correct. Maps and trail information are available for most countries. The associated mobile app ‘Trailforks’ is available for both iPhones and Android enabled phones, and will show maps with trails for any downloaded state, province, or country.
www.singletracks.com This site has extensive bike trail maps with topographical views, 3D views using Google Earth, photos, descriptions, and rider reviews. Trail information on this website is available for a large number of countries. The associated iPhone app ‘Singletracks’ or the Android app ‘Singletracks: MTB Trails’ can also provide most of the same information as the web site, with the additional benefit of finding trails based on your GPS coordinates.
www.mobilemaplets.com This website supports the mobile app ‘Maplets’ for the iPhone, iPad and iPod. It provides downloadable versions of the paper maps from national and state parks in the US, the UK, and several other countries. These will typically provide the parks trail system and other details. One great feature is the ability to show your location and the direction you’re facing when you’re within the boundaries of some of the downloaded maps. You can also drop pins on the map as needed.