MTB Bucket List, 5 Places to Ride at Least Once in Your Life According to Lindsey Voreis 18

MTB Bucket List, 5 Places to Ride at Least Once in Your Life According to Lindsey Voreis

Being outside, the wind in my face, legs and lungs burning, speed, adrenalin, focus, overcoming fears, and amazing friendships are just a few reasons I love mountain biking.

I have been asked to write my proposed bucket list of trails to ride at least once in a lifetime. I have to begin by saying I haven’t even scratched the surface of trails in the world. My personal bucket list is to ride as many trails around the world with as many amazing people as possible. The joy and satisfaction I get from mountain biking, and now teaching mountain biking, would not be made possible without experiencing magical trails beneath my wheels.

Maybe I’m biased because I grew up in Oregon, but I believe it’s the perfect place for all levels of mountain biking. It has moist, mossy trails near rivers; freeride trails provide a place to progress and the high desert has long sections of fast flow, rollers and jumps that keep people coming back for more.

So without having ridden in Italy, New Zealand or the Gobi Desert, I present to you suggested North American trails to add to your list of must-rides.

Weeping Wall on N.U.T. by Russ Risdon

The North Umpqua River Trail - Oregon (namely Dread and Terror section)

I ride a lot of trails and I always go back to this section of trail as one of my all-time favorites. Don’t get me wrong; exploring all sections of the 70-plus mile trail that meanders along the beautiful Umpqua River is awesome! The unique thing about the “NUT” is that each section is vastly different from the one before it. Dread and Terror has fast, loamy downhills with just enough technical to satisfy your desire to work for it. You can see the tops of the steep punchy climbs that take every bit of effort to crest without tapping out. And the rock sections tend to have water flowing down the middle when the “weeping wall” of moss sheds tears of joy onto the trail. Bonus: The Umpqua hot springs are absolutely worth a dip.

Bend, Oregon

If you can get it when the dirt is tacky, Bend will blow your mind. If it’s dusty, you will still have fun going fast and getting loose. The trail network in Bend, Oregon is a massive spider web of singletrack with so many options to link trails together, it’s nearly impossible to count the ways. If you don't have the benefit of riding with a local, book a tour with Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours because their guides (sometimes I’m one of them) all shred and love to show off the trails to riders of all experience levels.

Beauty in Bend by Corie Spruill

My personal favorites include parking at Skyliners trailhead, heading out the Tumalo Creek trail and climbing up North Fork past seven waterfalls to Happy Valley to Flagline to South Fork. I also love Tiddlywinks flow trail, Tyler’s traverse flow trail and Whoops berm/jump trail. Bend is a cool town with a bonus of breweries galore, (Deschutes Brewery is a favorite) and is definitely worth a visit. September and October are the best months to come.

Group ride in Oakridge, Oregon by Seth Graham

Oakridge, Oregon

This quaint little logging town fell asleep for a while in the 80’s until mountain bike trails began populating the surrounding hills. Oakridge is nestled in the foothills of the Western Cascade Mountains, above the valley fog, and below the heavy snowfall. It was recognized by BIKE magazine as one of “America’s Five Best Mountain Biking Towns” because of the hundreds of miles of glorious single-track. I recommend calling Oregon Adventures to arrange a shuttle drop. Even with a shuttle drop, you will pedal plenty. The kicker about Oakridge is you can do a 3+ hour cross-country ride, and then get shuttled to a few of the many downhill options. For my birthday one year, we shuttled all day and didn’t ride the same downhill trail twice.

Learn more about Oakridge in this Vital MTB slideshow

Retallack Lodge and Heli Drop on Powerslave above Nelson, British Columbia

Retallack has a special magic about it. The cozy and inviting lodge is nestled in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains with steep, loamy trails that end at the front door. With a 15-minute shuttle to the top, the Lodge Trail never seems to get old. The best way to experience the area is to book a tour through Retallack. Stay in the lodge, eat amazing food, get a guided tour of their local trails and take a helicopter up to a trail called Powerslave that starts on a peak above Nelson. These particular trails are best on longer travel all-mountain bikes rather than small cross-country bikes.

You may have heard of Kirt Voreis. Kirt is Lindsey's husband and he's shredding Retallack with reckless abandon.

The Lodge at Retallack.

Copper Harbor, Michigan

Yes, Copper Harbor is off the beaten path but it’s sure worth a visit. This cute 4-by-10-block town sits on a peninsula that juts out into giant Lake Superior. It’s easy to find peace here. There is no cell service and the locals welcome you with open arms.

Brockway Mountain is covered in a web of exciting singletrack that spits you out a few blocks from town and Lake Superior. It is a must to end a ride and jump off the pier into the lake. The trails are zippy and playful. You can climb to the top of Brockway in 15-minutes via a paved road or singletrack, or shuttle up 5-minutes and do laps on any type of trail that meets your fancy. These trails are filled with jumps, long wood bridges, rocks, roots, flow, berms and rollers. Thanks to a large contribution from Bell helmets, local trail builder extraordinaire Aaron Rogers and his crew recently finished a World Cup-level downhill course. You can’t lose in Copper Harbor.

Riding photo by Benjamin Ciavola

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  • cofattire

    12/16/2013 6:40 PM

    Love these bucket lists! Keep'm coming.

  • delphinide

    12/16/2013 12:04 PM

    Great article Lindsey. The places you featured look like they should be on anyone's bucket list, except for maybe Michigan (which I have never visited), though I am sure it is a fine place to ride. And for the rest of you: come on. Seriously. Just because this isn't your bucket list doesn't mean you have to poo poo someone else's suggestion. Or provide a counter-productive opinion. Sure, there are nice places outside of North America, but a lot of US/Canadian riders don't get a chance to see them for a ton of reasons. I ride thousands of miles of trail every year and I've been to over 30 countries BUT I have only had the chance to bike in one of them...because it is too expensive and too much trouble, no matter how much I lust for singletrack. This is HER bucket list, so no reason to even bother disagreeing...instead, why not list your own happy trails, share the love, and behave. Seriously, in case some of you didn't notice, it's a pretty rare thing to find a woman that is enthusiastic about mountain biking (and an attractive one to offense Lindsey), AND has the skill to write about it, AND provide good photos of gorgeous places. When was the last time you saw an article like this on ANY mtb site? Yeah, keep thinking. So, bozos like you (and you know who you are) want to pretend like you know what the best trails are or want to point out things like trash in photos that aren't even there or just want to criticize. Have you ridden all of the trails in the world? No? Then shut up, get on your bike, ride all of them, then come back to this forum when your done. We're waiting. Yeah, I know you want to respond, speak your mind, get in the last word because something I said rubbed you the wrong way. Just remember...that's probably the way the author felt when you felt compelled to voice your (useless) opinion. Would I stick up for an old fat guy with a beard? Absolutely. Can I write anything that's not rhetorical? Sure, but I find solace in the fact that it probably annoys some of you who annoyed me. So there. Peace, love, singletrack. Here's my (domestic) list, for those of your who (don't) care: Whole Enchilada, Tsali, 18 Road, Monarch Crest Trail, Pinhoti 1/2/3, Coldwater Mountain, Buffalo Creek, Mag 7, Telegraph Trails, FATS, Womble, Alafia, 401 Trail, Leavenworth WA, Downieville, and Salmon ID. Fortunately, I've ridden most of those...seeing as we will probably all die of cancer or an Obamacare-related illness here in a few years. Enjoy life never know how long you have left.

  • Lindsey Voreis

    12/16/2013 12:17 PM

    Awe, thanks for the comment. It's hard not to take it personally when someone makes a negative or smart ass comment after taking the time to write content for a male-dominated website. I'm so honored that Vital MTB appreciates what I do for women and is making an effort to provide more female content. It's always nerve-wracking writing pieces for these websites, but I'm so passionate about getting more women stoked on biking that I'm learning to ignore the people who make rude or pointless comments. It makes me wonder what kind of people they are anyway... Big smiles...

  • Big Bird

    12/16/2013 12:42 PM

    @delphinide. What a great response until I got to the part about dying of an Obamacare-related illness. This really isn't the place to discuss such matters, but I can assure you, nobody in the government, including our president, is trying to kill you.

  • delphinide

    12/16/2013 4:25 PM

    Haha. Sorry. I wasn't trying to skewer the Commander-in-Cheif or his bourgeois healthcare aspirations. I'll leave that for shrink-turned-overpaid-political commentators like Charles Krauthammer. I was making an obtuse reference to the inevitability of lower health care quality standards from the growth spurt of a massive en-devour from something like the Affordable Healthcare Act (already steeped in political diatribe). Bottom line: don't get hurt biking in the next few months. Sorry BigBird.

  • mangai.rollin.2

    12/16/2013 10:58 AM

    Great list. Hi Lindsey!

  • euan.brownlie

    12/16/2013 12:08 AM

    I would say that's very biased seeing as all the trails are in America. What about the French Alps? Scotland?

  • OCsponger587

    12/16/2013 8:18 AM

    what is wrong with you wierdos this is HER favorite list not yours. its not a list of every grate trail in the world. she likes these rides and she said she has not been all over the world

  • Lindsey Voreis

    12/16/2013 11:23 AM

    Well Euan.Brownlie, if you read the opening statement, I have not ridden many places outside North America, which includes Canada as you see by my suggestion to visit Nelson, BC and Retallack. Please tell me YOUR suggested bucket list of trails I should check out based on your experiences riding them. As I stated in the opening paragraph, MY personal bucket list is to ride as many trails as possible around the world. Your bucket list will help me continue to add to the trails I must ride one day, finances permitting.

  • Lindsey Voreis

    12/16/2013 5:51 PM

    euan.brownlie: To be fair, I DO say: "Maybe I'm biased because I grew up in Oregon" ... So you're just agreeing with me. But I haven't ridden internationally except in South Africa and it was pretty cool.

  • Traction

    12/14/2013 2:18 PM

    Lindsey, we need to get you down to NZ asap! Queenstown, Rotorua and Taupo are all must do's...

  • Lindsey Voreis

    12/16/2013 11:26 AM

    I tried to get to NZ when my friends from Bend lived there over the past two years but I couldn't make it happen. We have other good friends living in Nelson, so we want to get there ASAP! I can't wait. I know NZ will become my new favorite place to ride! In a few more years I am sure to have a worldwide bucket list.

  • 970Shredder

    12/13/2013 12:11 PM

    Thanks for the sick bucket list!! Save some good people a lot of time sorting through all the sick trails that exist.

  • renzomarata

    12/13/2013 9:23 AM

    other place: MOON VALLEY, Ischigualasto, Valle de la Luna, San Juan, Argentina
    Amazing land, Amazing place !!! 40 km

  • skelldify

    12/13/2013 8:30 AM

    Is that trash on, and next to, the Weeping Wall trail?

  • Lindsey Voreis

    12/13/2013 9:03 AM

    awe, that's a random thing to say. It's beautiful there.

  • skelldify

    12/13/2013 9:16 AM

    Sorry, I guess I've been living in the desert too long, and forget what forests look like!

  • OCsponger587

    12/13/2013 9:12 AM

    i see rocks and sticks