Want perks like privacy, a hot shower, or a bike-wash station? Then consider booking a Hipcamp or a spot at a private campground. These come with the added advantage of being able to mountain bike from camp.
These days, a growing number of private landowners are opening their land up to campers via sites like Hipcamp, Tentrr, and Harvest Hosts. The upside to these spots is that you’re likely away from crowded public campgrounds, in a more secluded campsite, and these sites often have more availability when the popular state parks are sold out. The cost is usually higher, but you’ll also get upgraded amenities, like hot showers, canvas tents, or propane fire pits. Some of these places are literally in the host’s backyard, so be prepared to mingle with your host. (Maybe they’ll recommend their favorite nearby trail.)
There are also a lot of great privately-owned campgrounds out there. Unlike a government-run campsite, you’ll likely have on-site staff, a few more amenities (like: a pool or a bike washing station, perhaps?), and better cancellation policies if you need to change plans at the last minute. Again, the price will be higher per night than a state park, but you’re getting a bit more bang for your buck.
Here are six great private campgrounds with stellar access to mountain biking.
Ruby’s Cabin; Oakridge Oregon
OK, admittedly, you have to ride a paved road a couple of miles to get to the trails from here. But still, they’re very close. The shuttle pickup for iconic rides like the Alpine Trail or Lawler are just down the road in Westfir, where you can also get pierogies and beer after your ride at the Westfir Lodge’s market and go for a swim in the north fork of the Willamette River. Home base is Ruby’s Cabin ($110 a night), a Hipcamp with a charming log cabin, outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, and palatial grassy field where you can camp or park an RV. The property is owned by Jay and Tamara and they’re full of local knowledge. Jay hand built a bike rack out of a log.
Brown Bike Farms; Knoxville, Tennessee
They call this Knoxville’s urban wilderness. Welcome to Brown Bike Farms. You’ll sleep on a four-acre plot of land with a few primitive campsites scattered through a rural meadows along Burnett Creek, about 15 minutes from downtown Knoxville. South Knoxville’s mountain biking trails are riding distance away. The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club maintains over 90 miles of mountain biking trail systems around the area. Camping rates at Brown Bike Farms start at $30 a night.
Mulberry Gap; Ellijay, Georgia
This area is known as the Mountain Bike Capital of Georgia, and for good reason. There are a ton of trails in the Cohutta Wilderness of Chattahoochee National Forest—and you can reach a lot of them straight from your cabin or campsite at Mulberry Gap, a mountain-bike centric lodge with distinct summer-camp-for-adults vibe. Meals are served family style in the barn and bike shuttles leave from out front. Book a cabin or pitch your tent or park your van at one of eight campsites. Camping rates start at $36.
The Bike Farm; Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
Pisgah National Forest is where North Carolinians go to mountain bike. And after their ride, they go to the Hub, a bike shop that serves craft beer at the neighboring tavern. What’s not to love about that? The Bike Farm, which recently relocated to a new property that’s even closer to the trails, used to allow camping but now they’re focused on guided riding and coaching. Nearby Pilot Cove Forest Lodging is in the process of building a new campground, but for now, you can book a sleek cabin (starting at $195 a night) with out-the-door access to trails, or post up at this Hipcamp ($45) on private land.
Whitefish Bike Retreat; Whitefish, Montana
You’re staying literally on the side of the trail when you book a spot at the Whitefish Bike Retreat, which is steps from the 36-mile Whitefish Trail network. This lodge—which has private rooms and shared bunkrooms—comes with everything a mountain biker needs: a bike tuning station, a bike wash station, secured indoor bike storage, hot showers, and a wood-fired sauna. If you stay at one of the 10 campsites near the lodge ($50 a night), you’ll have access to a shared bath house and all the biker amenities.
Camp Kiki; Burke, Vermont
Camp Kiki isn’t some huge, sprawling campground. It’s literally two campsites. You’ll get a tent platform, a picnic table, a fire ring, access to a toilet, and a bike rack. What more could you need? Oh, yes: Trails you can ride to from your campsite. You’ll get that, too. From your site, you’ll have easy access to the 100-plus miles of singletrack throughout the Kingdom Trails, a network of trails made possible by over 100 private landowners. Camping rates at Camp Kiki start at $50 a night