Whether you’ve been riding mountain bikes for a couple of years or a couple of decades, you’ve probably heard that mountain biking in Utah offers both unparalleled scenic views and serious challenges no matter your level of skill. For riders who’ve been in the saddle for the long haul, perhaps a mountain biking trip to Utah has been on your bucket list for some time now. But, there are over 4,000 miles of mountain bike trails in the state, so how do you choose the right ones for your big trip?
If you’re a rider who demands black diamond-rated trails or nothing, you want to know which ones are worthwhile to check out and which are just pure misery with few payoffs. We’ve compiled a list of the Top 8 most popular black diamond mountain bike trails in Utah to add to your itinerary. Let’s go!
Trail #1 - Self-Shuttled Wasatch Crest / Mill D Loop
Salt Lake City and Wasatch Front - Big Cottonwood Canyon
When you want to escape the summer heat, high-altitude riding can provide a refreshing respite. This route takes you up to the Wasatch Crest at nearly 10,000 feet of elevation for cooler summer riding. While many parts of this route are more “blue-trail” in nature with a smooth trailbed, some more technical rocky sections are tossed in here and there. But what really earns this route a black diamond rating is the intense amount of climbing, starting off with an 8-mile road climb to the first section of doubletrack. That said, you’ll be rewarded with some of the fastest, most flowy downhill you’ll find in the country, not to mention endless stunning views!
- 18.7 Miles
- 50% Singletrack
- 9,876' High
- 7,296' Low
- 3,040' Up
- 3,026' Down
Trail #2 - Mid Mountain Loop - IMBA EPIC
Salt Lake City and Wasatch Front - Park City
MTB Project Link: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/3579474/mid-mountain-loop-imba-epic
If you’re not into 8-mile road climbs but still want the views that the Wasatch Front offers, this classic singletrack route in Park City delivers lots of climbing, descending, and ridge-line rolling, along with flowy sections through aspen and pine forests. This is another great ride in the summertime, as it ranges between 8,000 and 10,000 feet for the whole route. There are many starting points, with Park City Mountain Resort being the most notable one.
- 22.9 Miles
- 85% Singletrack
- 8,454' High
- 6,657' Low
- 2,307' Up
- 2,351' Down
Trail #3 - Big Mountain Trail
Salt Lake City and Wasatch Front - Little Cottonwood Canyon - Snowbird Ski Resort
MTB Project Link: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7026149/big-mountain-trail
For those who want all of the fun and none of the brutal climbing that Utah can serve up, hit the Snowbird Ski Resort and catch a tram to the top of the downhill-only Big Mountain Trail. (Of course, you’ll need to sign a waiver and purchase an MTB ticket.)
The Big Mountain Trail drops 2,400 feet in a mere 5.7 miles, offering wide-open straights, tight turns, small tabletops, wooden bridges, and stunning canyon views. From the tram drop-off point, the trail descends scree-filled doubletrack through a series of steep switchbacks. After about two miles, the trail meanders through mountain meadows, over numerous wooden bridges, and down more switchbacks through pine forests. Keep an eye out for b-lines to get extra rowdy!
- 5.7 Miles
- 10,834' High
- 8,460' Low
- 1' Up
- 2,376' Down
Trail #4 - Porcupine Rim
Southeastern Utah - Moab
MTB Project Link: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/157369/porcupine-rim
The Porcupine Rim is a world-famous ride that’s a must if you’re visiting Moab. The route leads you along the edge of Castle Valley and down an exhilarating descent to Jackass Canyon, where you'll encounter exceptional singletrack down to the Colorado River.
The ride is best done as a point-to-point from Sand Flats Road to keep climbing to a minimum while maximizing your downhill fun. Numerous shuttle companies can be found in Moab, so if you don’t have a buddy with a pickup truck, you’ve still got a way to the top when you visit.
- 14.7 Miles
- 30% Singletrack
- 6,803' High
- 4,022' Low
- 1,195' Up
- 2,962' Down
Trail #5 - Mag 7
Southeastern Utah - Moab
MTB Project Link: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/652241/mag-7
The Magnificent 7 trails are part of the newer singletrack trail systems in Moab. The area features a network of trails that can be ridden as a point-to-point with a shuttle or as different loops. If you want to do the whole ride, you’ll definitely need to arrange a shuttle. The Mag 7 route is named after the 7 trails it links together—Getaway, Bull Run, Art's Corner, Little Canyon, Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike, Poison Spider, and Portal. This route boasts tons of rock-ledge riding, along with fast and fun sections and some serious exposure on the iconic Portal Trail descent that finishes off the ride.
- 21.2 Miles
- 70% Singletrack
- 6,026' High
- 3,979' Low
- 1,294' Up
- 3,331' Down
Trail #6 - Spring Hollow Ride
Northern Utah - Logan
MTB Project Link: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7001300/spring-hollow-ride
If you enjoy out-and-back rides to get a solid sight-line before you rip your downhills, the Spring Hollow Ride in Logan, UT, is for you. You’ll climb a grueling 3,900 feet to the top before you get your just rewards of a miles-long downhill cruise. If you’re not up for the challenge of taking it all the way to the top with some hike-a-bike sections involved, you can turn around when you reach the slate field and still get plenty of high-speed fun on the way back down.
- 17.1 Miles
- 100% Singletrack
- 8,612' High
- 4,753' Low
- 3,918' Up
- 3,917' Down
Trail #7 - J-Boy
Uintas and Eastern UT - Vernal - Red Fleet Non-Motorized Trail Complex
MTB Project Link: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7005662/j-boy
When you want more rocky technical riding than massive elevation changes, this quick little advanced trail features short, steep climbs and descents, exposure, and rock gardens that will satisfy the most serious shredders. Located in the northeast corner of the state, this trail system is a bit off the beaten path compared to Park City or Moab, but it could make a great stopping point on the way to another locale when on an MTB road trip.
- 2.6 Miles
- 6,038' High
- 5,855' Low
- 301' Up
- 309' Down
Trail #8 - Paradox Trail
Southeastern Utah - Manti-La Sal National Forest - La Sal Mountains
MTB Project Link: https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7000957/paradox-trail
Some riders just can’t find tests of their endurance that are tough enough. If you’re one of them, we invite you to tackle this massive 124-mile route leading from Utah, through the La Sal Mountains, and down through the San Juans in Colorado. Make no mistake—this is wilderness riding at its hardest and demands proper planning. Numerous access points for sag vehicles and camping spots with water can be found. There are also undeveloped campsites on Pinto Mesa, Tabeguache Creek, Mesa Creek, Dolores River, and a USFS camp at Buckeye Reservoir.
- 124.3 Miles
- 9,909' High
- 4,788' Low
- 13,195' Up
- 11,342' Down
Wherever you venture in Utah, keeping your phone within quick reach for all of those sweet views in Utah is easy with Rokform’s Bike Mounts and Roklock Twist Lock System Rugged phone cases. If you check out some of the trails on this list, be sure to tag us on Instagram with your rating of them and pictures of the views!