Mountain biking has been steadily growing in the past decade. Additionally, it’s shown an explosion in growth and participation in recent years—a great sign for those passionate about outdoor recreation sports. No matter where you live, you likely live within a short drive of a top mountain biking area.
It’s especially easy to get in on the fun if you live in Nevada, a famous paradise for mountain bikers. The state offers over 1,000 mountain bike trails for bikers of all skill levels. Those who enjoy long desert runs will love the terrain in the valley, and those looking for more technical descents and climbs can find those at the foothills of the Sierras.
Top Mountain Biking Trails for Beginners in Nevada
Nevada is a great place to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Mountain biking is a popular sport here, and there are plenty of trails to choose from. If you’re new to mountain biking in Nevada, these beginner trails might be perfect for you:
1. The Kershaw-Ryan State Park
Located in the pinyon-juniper zone, Kershaw-Ryan State Park is a popular spot for mountain biking. This state park has two miles of trails that are easy to ride along while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding area. The longest trail in Kershaw-Ryan State Park has an estimated distance of 1.9 km long and an elevation gain of 92km.
You’ll also get all types of trails here, from narrow and singletrack trails to wide and double-track trails. Kershaw-Ryan State Park also has paved paths that suit beginner riders. However, some parts of the terrain are difficult, so inexperienced mountain bikers may want to avoid those.
Similarly, you’re advised to bring along your bike or borrow one from the park’s rental shop (which also offers kayaks and canoes). Kids under 16 need an adult who knows how to operate a bike with them if they’re riding any distance on the Kershaw-Ryan State Park trails.
2. Diamond Peak Loop
If you’re looking for an excellent downhill ride, take a run at Diamond Peak Loop, near Incline Village. You’ll find plenty of biking opportunities to add some fun. Beginner riders can either complete the loop as a two-way downhill excursion or use it as a shuttle trail by going one way downhill and taking the shuttle back.
When riders reach the bottom of the descent, they will find several features and diverse terrain. This may be a great option for those who want to improve their downhill skills. With various trails, Diamond Peak Loop within the Incline Village area is a fun place for mountain biking. It can accommodate all desires- short and fast or long and strenuous rides.
3. Flume Trail
The Flume trail runs adjacent to the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe, providing beautiful scenery and stunning views. It could be considered an intermediate-level trail, but bikers of all skill levels will enjoy the experience.
Although it requires some climbing, this trail run doesn’t require much strength or experience with technical features. Most of the ride will take place on fairly steep slopes with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe below.
There are two parking lots, but the ride doesn’t end in the same place it begins. You can pay for a shuttle to take you back to your car near the start of the trail. Alternatively, you can park at each point.
4. Beginner Loop
The Beginner Loop is a flat loop that runs only 4 miles. It’s located in the Blue Diamond area and is part of the Cottonwood Valley Trail System. The trail is perfect for beginner riders who want to enjoy the great outdoors with excellent desert views and green clearings.
This trail is a 40-minute drive from Las Vegas and perfectly tucked away behind a residential/commercial area. It may be an ideal biking trail for an easy after-work mountain bike ride for those within Las Vegas.
While on this trail, you’ll be gifted with incredible landscape views, making it well worth the time. The Beginner Loop can also offer a great warm-up for those who want to move on to longer, more challenging trails.
5. Marlette Lake Tahoe Rim Trail
The Marlette Lake Trail is a 7.5-mile loop in the Pine Nut Mountains, nestled between Carson City and Fallon on the eastern side of Lake Tahoe. It’s rated as an easy ride for the beginner and intermediate riders, with rolling hills and plenty of shade along the way.
The trail is open to hikers, bikers and horses. However, you’ll want to leave your four-wheeler at home if you plan on taking this route yourself. Several waterfalls along this route include one named “Marlette Falls” after its namesake lake.
The Marlette Lake Trail in Carson City offers an easy ride that’s great for beginners or anyone who wants to spend less time in the saddle than they would on other trails. It also includes some beautiful views along the way!
6. The Pine Nut Mountain Trail System, Gardnerville
The Pine Nut Mountain Trail System is a 220-mile trail system that stretches from the Carson Valley to the Nevada Test Site. While most trails are open to hikers, bikers and equestrians, there are also sections designated for horseback riding.
The terrain varies from easy to difficult and even includes some single-track biking opportunities. You can choose your route within each trail system that will take you on scenic mountain bike rides through pine forests. Here, you’ll enjoy great views of Lake Tahoe in one direction or the snow-capped mountains in another!
7. Badger Pass Loop
The Badger Pass Loop trail is near the Blue Diamond area of Las Vegas, just west of 160 Highway. It’s a great beginner trail with easier inclines for those who want to take it slow. Badger Pass Loop has an incredible trail surface that makes climbing easier, even for less experienced beginners.
The backside has a fun and technical descent, with expansive landscape views. Additionally, you can choose to run Badger Pass by itself or as part of another loop. This offers riders a steady climb over 3 miles of single tracks.
Bikers taking this route can roll it into a lengthier run by continuing to Three Mile Smile. Here, you’ll experience a short, technical descent to the trailhead. However, it’s nothing most beginners aren’t equipped to handle.
8. Ash Canyon to the Kings Canyon Trail
The Ash Canyon to Kings Canyon Trail runs from the Las Vegas area to Northern Nevada and connects the Lake Tahoe area with Carson City. As it runs north to south, the trails provide excellent views of Eagle, Washoe, and Carson Valleys.
The trail follows a ridge through the mountains with few challenges. Beginners will find the challenge just right, considering it’s not difficult from an elevation standpoint. However, mountain bikers of intermediate skill levels will have plenty to enjoy.
This trail is a point-to-point run and doesn’t create a loop. There are many other options in the Ash Canyon Trails system that you can explore. For instance, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could bike to Carson City for lunch and then catch a shuttle back to your car.
9. The River Mountain Loop Trail
The River Mountain Loop Trail stretches over 35 miles from Lake Mead National Recreation Area to Boulder City and across Clark County, Nevada.
This trail is wide and paved, so bikers of all levels can enjoy the ride. It runs a few miles alongside an old railroad bed previously used to transport materials during the construction of the Hoover Dam.
You’ll also find a variety of interesting animals and scenic vistas on the trails, making it something to look forward to when riding.
10. Bootleg Canyon
Bootleg Canyon ranks among the best places for mountain biking in Nevada due to its outstanding trails and beautiful lake views. All the trails are great for everyone, from beginners to advanced riders. And there are more than 35 miles worth of them!
First-timers can take a shuttle to the very top on the way to the beautiful Nevada desert and Lake Mead’s scenic views. Once there, you can ride the best mountain biking trails in whatever way suits your mountain biking experience best.
When you’re new to mountain biking, it’s not always easy to know what trails are the best for you. Mix and match the different best mountain biking trails to create a route that suits your desired difficulty level. However, sticking to simpler scenic trails is always better until you get more confident.
Nevada has many options if you’re looking for a great place to mountain bike. You can find great trails in more than one state park, but if you want the best beginner experiences, these ten scenic trails should be on your list! They are all located near major cities, so there’s no need to travel far away from home or work. Remember to check out the local guides before embarking on your next adventure. Alternatively, you can join the South Nevada Mountain Biking Association to learn about the great Nevada mountain biking experiences.