Two riders sitting on the ground looking at a map with their bikes in front of them.

We call them mountain bikes, but that doesn’t mean you have to ride on an actual mountain to have fun. Mountain bike trails can be found all over the place, even in cities and other places where you might not expect them.

Wet vs dry trails

It might sound fun to ride a muddy trail, but it’s hard on your bike and can cause extensive damage to some trails. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to understand the written and unwritten rules of your local trail system. Some areas, like the Pacific Northwest or the UK, have very loamy soil that drains well and retains its shape. Very rocky areas can also hold up well to moisture.

Most areas, however, have soil that turns to mud. Riding muddy trails accelerates erosion and turns smooth singletrack into a rutted mess. Once those ruts dry out, they’re very hard to fix. Causing damage by riding in the mud isn't being kind to your fellow riders or the builders who create and maintain your favourite trails. That's why trails in many riding areas are officially closed to riding after rain.

If you’re not sure whether or not it’s okay to ride a trail after it rains, check with your local IMBA Chapter or other local mountain biking groups. These groups are responsible for building and maintaining the trails and will often be happy to educate you more about your local trail network.

Mountain bike trail etiquette

Whether you’re riding with friends or alone, it’s important to understand mountain bike trail etiquette to stay safe and avoid damaging natural areas. The International Mountain Biking Association’s Rules of the Trail have been adopted worldwide to encourage responsible riding.

Read IMBA's Rules of the Trail

Where do I ride?

Discovering new trails is a big part of what makes mountain biking so much fun. There are a few ways to find mountain bike trails near you, and to get updates on mountain bike trail conditions.


Trailforks is a popular trail database with tons of information about your local trails all in one place. Get directions, download maps to your GPS, check out photos and videos from other riders, and get the latest updates on trail conditions.

Learn more

MTB Project

MTB Project is another great guide to finding out more about the trails in your area. Learn about popular routes, read reviews from other riders, download detailed maps, or even use the app to navigate on your ride.

Learn more

How can I get involved in the MTB community?

For a lot of people, there’s more to mountain biking than just riding. Read on to learn how to get more involved with riders in your community, and find out how you can give back to the sport.


The International Mountain Bicycling Association creates, enhances and protects great places to ride mountain bikes. Their work helps ensure that everyone has access to great trails – from close-to-home rides to iconic, back-country experiences.


PeopleForBikes is an industry coalition and charitable foundation that focuses on making every bike ride safer, easier to access and more fun.

A mountain biker turns a corner on a narrow path lined with tall grass and flowers with trees and mountains in the distance.
The lit storefront of a Trek bike shop at dusk.
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