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There you’ll pick up Trail 401 and pedal hard—not because the trail is technical but because your body will resist biking at 11,000-feet elevation.As the forest thins, you’ll see panoramic views of the Maroon Bells (Elk Mountains’ postcard-esque peaks) to the east.The trail ends at Brackett Creek, but an easy eight miles along Highway 86 dumps you back at Stone Creek, where you'll be happily reunited with your car.Distance: 31 miles America's Top 10 Bike-Commuting Cities The Munds Wagon Trail, an eight-miler east of Sedona, carves through Arizona’s iconic red rock landscape.Turn around here, and descend along a backdrop of rust-colored rock towers.Distance: 8 miles Top 16 Adventure Destinations in the US The 401 Loop circles for 8.6 miles near Crested Butte, an old coal mining town turned ski joint.From there, hug the hillside and descend through wildflower meadows and aspen groves to Rustler’s Gulch.
West of Moab, you can take the 13-mile loop, which climbs over 1,000 feet in elevation onto Poison Spider Mesa.You’ll switchback up Stone Creek to Grassy Mountain, which tops out in smooth singletrack and then vertically climbs another two miles.Then just after mile 18, a five-mile downhill section whips you through pine forest, making all the sweating (and maybe swearing) worth it.Distance: 13 miles Fit Travel: 7 Fitness Adventures in Utah The 31-mile Bangtail Divide loop is Montana’s go-to for epic mountain scenery.Start at Stone Creek trailhead outside of Bozeman and be ready for the long haul.Over a mix of road and singletrack, you’ll climb and drop just shy of 3,000 feet.Start your ascent up Gothic Road to Schoenfield Pass.It descends fast and sharp along Portal Trail, your return route.Though it’s not too technical, you’ll plow through deep sand in areas, which can be brutal on your muscles.It’s all about what type of terrain, flow, and length you want.Jumps, bridges, wet ground, hills, turns, and obstacles (think: boulders, roots, and streams) dictate the speed and accessibility of your ride. Opt for a buttery-smooth roller-coaster track void of technical elements to slow you down. Choose a steep climb that tops out onto a ridge and finishes with a flying descent.