Best downhill mountain biking destinations: Top 14 bike parks for MTB trips

Jun 19, 2020 BY AWE365 Team

Like your riding to be fuelled by gravity with minimal use of pedal power? Then you’ll want to visit the best downhill mountain biking destinations. To give you some pointers we’ve pulled together the top 14 bike parks for MTB trips.

Review of Avoriaz mountain biking holiday © Avoriaz MTB

It’s all downhill from here…

Best downhill mountain biking destinations

While mountain biking is a niche of cycling, it has many niches itself. Of the different types of mountain biking, downhill is one of the most extreme. While the risks are high so is the buzz. Fast speeds, big air, gnarly terrain and steep slopes await riders. We’d have it no other way!

Typically downhill MTB is done in ski resorts in the summer, or places that have some form of uplift to avoid the hard slog uphill. DH MTB is mostly on purpose made trails including jumps, drops, berms and other obstacles.

These collections of trails with uplift are called bike parks. They began in North America but have become popular the world over. From Austria to Australia, UK to US and the Alps to the Andes you’ll find bike parks wherever there are riders.

Top 14 bike parks for MTB trips

As with any top 10 (or 14 in this case!), this list of the best downhill mountain biking destinations is the authors opinion. They may well be wrong, and undoubtedly their list will be different to yours. Feel free to let us know your favourite bike parks in the comments below.

Review of Avoriaz mountain biking holiday © Keno Derleyn - Avoriaz MTB

Please note, the top 14 bike parks for MTB trips below are in no particular order. Furthermore, we have tried to cover a range of destinations all over the world. Afterall variety if the spice of life. Actually scrap that, downhill is the spice of life!

Portes Du Soleil – France/Switzerland

Portes Du Soleil combines the bike parks of Chatel, Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz in France plus Champéry-Morgins in Switzerland. Together it’s Europe’s largest mountain bike park. As one of the first ski resorts in Europe to welcome mountain bikers, Les Gets comes with some pedigree.

There’s everything from beginner routes to seriously challenging competition downhill trails – plus everything between. It is great for amateurs and professionals alike, which is why it is one of the best downhill mountain biking destinations.

With over 600km of marked trails including 75 lift accessible downhill routes it is a vast MTB playground. Check out this detailed review of Avoriaz mountain biking holiday to understand the area from an intermediate riders perspective.

Review of Avoriaz mountain biking holiday © Keno Derleyn - Avoriaz MTB

Whistler – Canada

Whistler Bike Park is like an adventure playground for mountain bikers. There are 80 km of downhill trails that cater for all levels with different zones and well sign posted trails. Of the best bike parks for MTB trips many consider Whistler to be number one.

With around 70 trails to choose from, many leading from one to the next, the scope for lengthy downhill riding is enormous. There is 1,500m (5,000ft) of vertical to play in and even after a week here you will struggle to pick a favourite trail.

Mammoth – California

If you wish to combine sun, sea, and downhill riding, then Mammoth Bike Park is the place to go. There are over 135 km (84 miles) of trails and 945m (3,100 feet) of vertical providing some epically long downhill.

Mammoth is often considered to be the best bike park in the US. There is a good mix of trails and with new ones created almost every year. It is all well maintained and lift accessible offering plenty of challenges.

Best downhill mountain biking destinations Mammoth bike park one of the Top 14 bike parks for MTB trips Flickr CC image by Ben 1_

Trestle Park – Colorado

Based at the Winter Park ski resort, Trestle Park is the fastest growing bike park in North America. It is widely considered to be an up and coming contender to Whistler and Mammoth as one of the best downhill mountain biking destinations in North America.

The Colorado Freeride Festival is held here with good reason. Combined with an ever-expanding trail system and features, Trestle is one to watch.

Nevis Range – Scotland

The Nevis Range Bike Park near Fort William is a lot smaller than the previous options. But it has one of the best, most complete downhill trails on the planet. The world cup track contains all the features a downhill course should have. It is fast, steep, technical and at points downright scary.

It is the main competition downhill run in the UK and a well-established venue for domestic and international competitions. Having been part of the UCI tour since 2002 it is a fans favourite.

Fort William MTB Race Report British Downhill Series Round 2 Flickr CC image by Douglas cook from 2009 WC

Accessed via a gondola you will find yourself back at the top sooner than perhaps you’d expect. Warm up first with a run down the easier, but still challenging, Red Giant. There are also some more basic, non-lift accessed, downhill routes available.

Nevados – Chile

Some of the world’s best mountain biking can be found in South America. But because most of the riding is natural single track without a lift in sight it rarely ranks as one of the best bike parks for MTB trips.

But Nevados de Chillan bike park, in the ski resort of the same name, breaks this mould. First opened in 2008 it has grown from locals riding into holding international competitions. There are 10 trails with half being experts only.

Vallnord – Andorra

As the biggest bike park in the Pyrenees, Vallnord just had to be included in this list of the best places to downhill MTB. There are 21 lines to choose from and over 38 km of trails.

Vallnord bike park one of the Top 14 bike parks for MTB trips Wikimedia CC image by Aniol Regincos

From world cup tracks to trails from first timers you’ll find enough variety here to keep any level of mountain biker entertained. As an added bonus Andorra is pretty cheap and the Soldeu bike park is nearby.

Mt. Buller – Australia

Not only one of the premier ski resorts in Australia, but also one of the best downhill mountain biking destinations in the southern hemisphere. There is also a host of single track to enjoy.

Mt Buller has 11 km of gravity riding split over four well crafted downhill trails. The expert line – known as the international – should be respected. The downhill trails are accessed via a shuttle rather than a lift.

Queenstown – New Zealand

Skyline in Queenstown is the only gondola accessed bike park in New Zealand. With 30 trails for all levels, there is something for everyone. However, you need to be a good rider to make the most of the often rough and natural downhill trails.

Many of the world’s top riders visit Skyline in the off season so they must be doing something right. It is one of the best downhill mountain biking destinations to visit during the northern hemisphere winter.

Winterberg Bike Park – Germany

Winterberg Bike Park is the centre of Germany’s downhill scene. It consists of 11 creative trails that provide challenges for all level of rider. The flowy trails, step ups and downs, gaps and much more is all accessed via speedy chairlifts.

Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang, Fieberbrunn – Austria

The newly combined Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn have over 400 km of MTB trails. Serviced by 9 gondolas on 7 mountains this is Austria’s largest mountain biking region.

Much of this is single track, crisscrossing the Skicircus area. But when it comes to gravity there are 70 km of purpose built downhill tracks suitable for all types of riders. There is everything you would expect from one of the best bike parks for MTB trips.

Best downhill mountain biking destinations Top 14 bike parks for MTB trips Image by Saalbach

As Austria’s oldest bike park, Leogang is a must visit. There is a lengthy freeride trail and a table-top section, which provide hours of fun for experienced riders.

Fuji Panorama – Japan

Asia is not known for its bike parks. In fact despite some incredible mountain biking most of the continent has zero downhill scene. But Japan bucks that trend. There are a few winter ski resorts with good summer trails.

The best bike park in Japan it found at Fuji Panorama 90 minutes drive from Tokyo. There are 15 different trails with the longest dropping 730m over 8 km. There are fun trails with jumps, berms and features for everyone from beginner to expert.

Bike Park Wales – Wales

Set in the beautiful Brecon Beacons Bike Park Wales is open year round to mountain bikers wanting to take on its 40 trails. Expect everything from flowy singletrack, to technical downhill and huge jump lines. The riding here is known as some of the best in Europe.

Mainly passing through woodland there are beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert trails. There are even a couple of pro lines with massive features. Shuttles take you back to the top so you can save the legwork – just make sure you book in advance.

Best downhill mountain biking destinations Flickr CC image from bike park wales by DaiSliders

Are – Sweden

In Sweden you’ll find one of the best downhill mountain biking destinations in Northern Europe. Åre Bike Park has 34 trails and 50 km of riding. With a vertical of 853 meters there is plenty for all levels of rider to enjoy.

We hope you found this guide to the 14 best bike parks for MTB trips fed by gravity useful. Before booking a holiday check out our mountain biking discounts as you could save a fortune.


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