IMBA Epics

…the Epic® designation …offer[s] some of the best riding you’ll find in their home regions…backcountry riding experiences that are technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length.

I’m still confused as to why “epic” is a registered trade mark, but what the hell I bought the marketing. So far I’ve traveled the Epics listed below and would say most them fall into an unregistered mark of “high-value” trails. I was rarely let down.

Don’t be mislead into thinking IMBA had a hand in building “every” IMBA Epic, they didn’t. The “Epics” are merely trails IMBA has “designated” as such– usually over 20 miles of single track with technicality varying from easy/intermediate to pretty darn tough from what I have seen. Regardless, it’s nice someone created this list. For the most part the trails have been great to experience.

Some people question just what defines “epic,” see this for example. So do I, but upon investigation myself I’d say most of the trails are “Epic” as they match how IMBA is defining it, but then again I imagine I may be driving right past a trail on the way to an Epic® that may be just as good, or better.

Searching websites for “best trail” ratings has helped a little in narrowing my searches of where to go. Quite often IMBA Epics make the list, but not necessarily the top in some states. One flaw to this search method is that only one review can bump a trail higher on some lists. Often the more popular rides have more reviews, and to me this is a better bet in deciding  where to visit. However, I often ask myself if the number of reviews is a consequence of having “Epic” status or random people reviewing a trail not knowing or caring if it’s an “Epic®”. They went to the trail because word travels. Some trails hold ‘secret-spot’ status like surfing, but I’d venture to say that the code in surfing is a lot more strict given what’s at stake considering the costs of crowded trails vs. crowded waves.

To date, I have hit 25 Epics (listed below the map (indicated by “i” on the map)).

Many of the Epics were done in two big trips– West Coast to East Coast, and back:

Epic Mountain Bike Journey East- Part 1

  1. Hurricane Cliffs, Utah
  2. Fruita, Colorado
  3. Buffalo Creek, Colorado
  4. Switchgrass, Kansas
  5. Berryman Trail, Missouri
  6. Ray’s Indoor Park, Ohio (and Mohican State Park)
  7. Roth Rock, Pennsylvania

Epic Mountain Bike Journey West- Part 2

  1. Douthat, Virginia
  2. Southern Traverse, Virginia
  3. Kerr-Scott, North Carolina
  4. Tsali, North Carolina (pics etc. forthcoming)
  5. Tanasi, Tennessee (pics etc. forthcoming)
  6. Oak Mountain, Alabama
  7. Syllamo, Arkansas

Epic Mountain Bike Journey East Coast

  1. Big South Fork, Oneida, Tennessee
  2. Bull Mountain, Dahlonega, Georgia
  3. Forks Area Trail System, Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
  4. Dupont State Forest, Brevard North Carolina

Other Epics visited

  1. Ellicotville, New York
  2. Rattling Creek, Pennsylvania
  3. Cuyamaca/Noble, San Diego, CA
  4. Bootleg Canyon, Nevada
  5. Kingdom Trails, Vermont
  6. Upper Buffalo Creek Watershed
  7. LOViT

 Not on the list (nor in any type of order), but really nice or “epic” trails I’ve been to:

  1. Allegrippis/Raystown, PA
  2. Coldsprings Flow, AL
  3. Kokopelli, CO
  4. Mohican, OH
  5. Green Mountain Trails, VT
  6. Trexler, PA (very short, but fun)
  7. SART, CA
  8. Idyllwild and Alvin Meadow, CA
  9. Palm Canyon Epic, CA
  10. Blue Diamond, Cottonwood, and Cowboy Trails NV
  11. Flagstaff, AZ (Moto, and Shultz…more)
  12. Prescott, AZ (Lynx, and more)

There are some “Epics” not on the “official” registered IMBA list, though so far their list seems good enough for my bucket. Drop me an email or comment for more info on any of these routes, or to suggest I visit a particular trail. I’m game to try most things, and like finding “unregistered” Epics. I can’t say I’m too pleased with IMBA lately (and here), but hope the potential of ‘Epic’ status inspires locals and land mangers to strive for good layout, design, and construction, not to mention length and connectivity.

Update: it looks like Epic® trails are now crowd-sourced. Great!

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