Pick a Trail
Mountain bike stream

If you're an intermediate bike rider, you might try a trail with a few rocks, hills and streams to keep it interesting.

©iStockPhoto/David Chadwick

There may be almost as many trails crossing the United States as there are riders waiting to tackle them. Trails can range from smooth and easy to rough and rocky. When picking a trail, choose wisely based on your skill level and how far you want to ride.

Beginners should stick to smooth, flat trails with few sharp turns or steep descents. These trails should be pretty similar to riding on the road.

Intermediate riders will want a few added rocks, hills, narrow spots and switchbacks (zigzagged trails) to challenge them. Before trying these trails, you'll want to be in good aerobic shape and have at least a few technical skills.

Advanced riders can try more technical trails or go for longer rides.

Professionals will want the challenge of long, technical trails with plenty of rocks, switchbacks, high climbs, steep drops and tight twists. Novices should not try these twisted trails.

How do you know that you've found a trail that's worth riding? A good trail should have:

  • Plenty of signs to show you where you're going
  • Signs that indicate the skill level needed to ride the trail
  • Ground that isn't too muddy
  • Alternating clear runs and more technical areas with rocks, jumps and tight switchbacks