The days are now short, cold and dark. Winter can be a huge pain in the ass if you want to ride your mountain bike. This is a great time of year to get away and plan a shred trip for some fun in the sun. We once lived in the winter wonderland of Utah’s northern Wasatch Mountains. We became frequent seekers of winter getaways during times when snow wasn’t great or we just grew tired of putting on 15 layers of clothes.
From Florida across the southern states to SoCal, there are many great riding areas we’ve enjoyed. The following are the great ones due to huge quantities of easily accessible fantastic trails with the normally fantastic SUNNY weather.
Our Top 3 Winter Mountain Bike Getaways
- Phoenix, AZ – The Phoenix area has enough riding to keep you busy for months without riding the same trail. The McDowell Mountains are one of our favorite places to ride in AZ due to its volume and quality of trails. South Mountain Preserve is the place for those who want the technical gnarly. Black Canyon Trail is a great 60+ mile backcountry trail that’s for those who want to go big.The Phoenix area has everything from mellow cruisers to epic 50-mile grinders to steep mountain passes. Less than two hours away, Tucson is also a pretty stellar spot and if you hit a nice weather window Sedona is just as close.
- Las Vegas, NV – Cottonwood Trials to the West, Bootleg Canyon to the east and one big party in the middle. Some may complain about not liking Las Vegas, but the surrounding areas really does have some fantastic winter riding. Cheap flights and accommodations are another bonus for Vegas.
- New Zealand – Tired of Winter in North America? Hit up the southern hemisphere and you are smack dab in the middle of summer! Specifically Queenstown or Nelson on the South Island. In Queenstown, we really enjoyed the trails off Coronet Peak – Rude Rock and Skippers Pack Track, 7 Mile and of course you have the Queenstown Bike Park. Nelson has an incredible amount of trails pedalable from town to suit every ability level with reasonable fitness.
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Nelson, NZ has an ever-evolving network of steep, rooty/rocky terrain that rivals North Vancouver, BC gnarliness. Nelson along with Queenstown are both on the south island. Although both north and south islands have great riding, we much prefer the riding on the south. In general its more remote and mountainous backcountry. Check out our adventures: NZ Adventures Part 1 and NZ Adventures Part 2
We are partial to these locations, but really just love to escape to the sun when there are particularly long stretches of bad weather. For you fellow east coasters, Florida is a place that may surprise you with the quality of trails.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]