How Does our Trail System Compare to the Best Riding Destinations in the Country?

At MedWheel we occasionally receive feedback that Colorado Springs’ mountain bike trails don’t measure up to those in other communities, particularly when it comes to challenging trails for advanced riders. Our non-profit organization has worked to increase the quantity and quality of our local trails for over 30 years, and very often, riders thank and tell us we have some of the best mountain biking anywhere. So, which is it – Objectively – how does the Colorado Springs’ trail system compare to the best MTB riding areas in the country?

To answer that question, we pulled data from MTB Project to compare our trails to other popular MTB destinations. We built a list of top riding spots, starting with  Single Tracks magazine’s list of 12 best destinations, and then surveying local riders about their favorite places to travel to ride. We looked up the numbers on MTB Project that provides both number and total miles of trail, broken down by MTBP’s difficulty rating: green (easy), blue (intermediate), black (difficult).

Like any rating system, rating the difficulty of trails is subjective and requires interpretation, which we expect to average out when comparing several communities. Note that these ratings don’t address ride quality, views, epic nature, accessibility and other subjective experiential measures. But, they provide a good starting point for an objective evaluation of how our trail system compares with favorite riding locations. 

You can review what we found in the table below, “Colorado Springs vs MTB Destinations”. Download the spreadsheet, or click the links at the bottom of this post.

How Does Colorado Springs Compare to popular MTB Destinations?

Based on the data in MTB Project, Colorado Springs compares very favorably to the list of favorites. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Colorado Springs is third for total miles of trails (453) behind Moab (579) and Pisgah (474). 
  • Colorado Springs is second in number of trails, at 329, behind Bentonville (335).
  • Colorado Springs has more black-rated trails (84) than any other area on this list.
  • Colorado Springs’ ratio of black trails to all trails is mid-pack when compared to the best areas in the nation (25.5%).

When looking at the numbers, the trail system in Colorado Springs* ranks well compared to the top MTB destinations in the country – that’s why we love to live here. We have a huge range of trails in our community, with more black-rated trails than any other area on this list. 

In short, our trail system provides great riding for all riders, right in town. We will return to this point when comparing our trails to the trails “in” Denver in the third article in this series. 

This is article #1 in a series. Check out article #2, which explains the specific challenges Colorado Springs faces in developing a world class trail network. In article #3 we compare the riding opportunities in Colorado Springs with the riding in the city of Denver.

* The city is the riding area as defined by MTB Project

Direct Links to MTB Project for the riding locations listed:

Colorado Springs, CO Boulder, CO Bellingham, WA Bentonville, AK Durango, CO Lake Tahoe Fruita, CO Steamboat Springs, CO Sedona, AZ Park City, UT Pisgah, NC Aspen, CO Moab, UT Crested Butte, CO Copper Harbor, MI Kingdom Trails, VT