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8 Public Campgrounds You Can Mountain Bike From

From a former mining site in Minnesota to the birthplace of the Arkansas mountain biking scene to Denver’s best weekend getaway, these state parks and recreation areas all let you bike from camp.

Across the U.S., there are a lot of state parks with growing trail systems and purpose-built mountain bike trails, all within easy access from the park campgrounds.

The beauty of a state park campground? It’s affordable, it’s clean and well maintained, and it comes with basic amenities like fire pits, picnic tables, bathrooms, and trash cans. The downsides of a state park campground? They can be crowded and tough to reserve a campsite, especially at popular spots. Which means you need to get online early and book.

Here are some of our favorite state park campgrounds, state recreation areas with camping, and U.S. Forest Service campgrounds where mountain biking is accessible right from camp.

Devil’s Den State Park; West Fork, Arkansas

Devil’s Den State Park, in the Ozarks, built the first designated mountain bike trail in Arkansas’ state park system back in the late 1980s, and it’s still home to the oldest mountain bike festival in the state, the Ozark Mountain Bike Festival, which takes place each April. This state park is known as the birthplace of Arkansas mountain biking, and it’s continued to grow the sport with the addition of more new trails over the years. These days, you can ride the original trail, Fossil Flats, or more modern one-way downhill trails like Sparky or Orville. The park has 135 campsites, ranging from rustic hike-in sites to RV spots with hookups. Camping rates start at $14.

Curt Gowdy State Park; Cheyenne, Wyoming

The 19-mile loop trail at Curt Gowdy State Park—between Cheyenne and Laramie—earned Epic status from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) in 2009. The park has mountain bike skills zones and caters to riders of all levels, with a total of 35 miles of trail—right from several campgrounds. Camping rates start at $15 a night for Wyoming residents; $25 for non-residents. The park has 159 campsites. Kids and adults can sign up for a skills camp with Wyoming MTB Camps.

William Kent Campground; Tahoe City, California

Located two miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89, which runs along the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, William Kent Campground—which is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service—has over 80 campsites nestled into a quiet, residential area surrounded by pine and fir trees. The recently-rebuilt Stanford Rock trail is riding distance from camp, or you can access a wide variety of routes, including long sections on the Tahoe Rim Trail, from Tahoe City, a short pedal away. The shores of Lake Tahoe are just across the highway, and you can grab breakfast burritos, deli sandwiches, or a post-ride six pack from the West Shore Market, also across the street. Camping rates start at $33 a night.

Toketee Lake Campground; Roseburg, Oregon

The 71-mile North Umpqua Trail is an IMBA Epic and you can put together a multi-day mountain biking adventure to ride the whole thing. Cogwild leads a three-day trip. Or, if you just want to post up at a scenic, riverside campsite and ride a section of the trail, head to Toketee Lake Campground, which is less than an hour from Crater Lake National Park and within Umpqua National Forest. The North Umpqua trail passes right through camp. When you’re not bikin, you can take a jaunt to the nearby Umpqua Hot Springs, paddle or swim in Toketee Lake, or walk the short trail to scope the two-tiered waterfall at Toketee Falls. Camping fees start at $10 a night.

Buffalo Creek Recreation Area; Pine, Colorado

About an hour and a half from Denver, Buffalo Creek Recreation Area has over 50 miles of multi-use trails, including access to the 500-mile Colorado Trail, making it a great spot for mountain bikers to base camp out of. Camping is permitted at any of the four developed campgrounds within the park, like Buffalo Campground. Fees start at $27 a night. Best ride from camp? The 24-mile Buffalo Creek Big Loop is another IMBA Epic.

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area; Ironton, Minnesota

Formerly an open-pit mining area decades ago, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area has been converted into one of Minnesota’s newest state recreation areas with 5,000 undeveloped acres and over 30 miles of singletrack. You can ride to the top of the Miner’s Mountain Overlook, a hill the miners made to dispose of glacial till and ore. The area’s Portsmouth Campground, on the northwest shore of Portsmouth Mine Lake, has 30 sites. Rates start at $23 a night.

Bradbury Mountain State Park; Pownal, Maine

Between Portland and Lewiston, 800-acre Bradbury Mountain State Park shines in its multi-use trail system. Trail crews have been hard at work turning this place into a veritable mountain bike mecca. Mountain bikers can enjoy over 30 miles of trails, and the park has 35 campsites. Camping fees start at $10 a night for Maine residents and $18 for non-residents.

Scott’s Flat Campground; Nevada City, California

The Scott’s Flat campground (from $39 a night), which is managed by the local water-use agency, is literally at the base of one of the most fun flow trails in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Scott’s Flat Trail. Local trail crews from Bicyclists of Nevada County (BONC) have recently added a few other fun trails in the area, too: including the new Talon Show and the short-yet-beloved Hoot Trail. When you’re done riding from your campsite, you can take a swim in Scott’s Flat Lake, which is right at the campground.

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