Krista Houghton
Latest posts by Krista Houghton (see all)

The Gift of a Lift

Ten Reasons to Embrace Bike Parks

With long days, cooler temperatures, and breathtaking sunsets, fall is a great time for exploring California’s abundant mountain bike parks. Park riding promises an exhilarating and rewarding experience for every rider. After all, who wouldn’t prefer catching a lift instead of climbing? Here are 10 compelling reasons to try park riding.

  • ONE — Thrilling Adventure: Mountain bike parks offer an array of challenging trails and obstacles, providing riders with an adrenaline-pumping experience, and an opportunity to push their limits.

Big Bear Mountain Resort

  • TWO — Varied Terrain: Most parks feature diverse terrain like technical single track, jumps, berms, ladders, and more, which gives bikers a great chance to  try something new.
  • THREE — Safety and Maintenance: The parks will have well-maintained trails and facilities. What’s more, most trails will be directional, reducing the risk of collisions and ensuring a safer environment for all.
  • FOUR — Community and Social Interaction: Mountain bike parks attract like-minded people  who share a passion for biking. Chances are you may make some new friends!

Dodge Ridge

  • FIVE — Family Friendly: Many of the mountain bike parks offer trails suitable for riders of all ages and skill levels, making it a great destination for families to enjoy biking together.
  • SIX — Access to Equipment and Gear: Many mountain bike parks offer rental services, allowing riders to try out new bikes and gear without having to make a big purchase. Also, some parks offer lessons, which is a great way to learn techniques to improve your riding.
  • SEVEN — Eco-Tourism and Conservation: Supporting mountain bike parks contributes to eco-tourism and conservation efforts, as they often promote responsible outdoor recreation and environmental awareness. Plus, if you shop and eat locally, you are helping to support mountain communities.
  • EIGHT — Escape from Urban Life: Visiting a mountain bike park allows you to take a break from city life, unwind, and enjoy the tranquility of the outdoors while getting some great exercise and improving your riding skills.

Dodge Ridge

  • NINE — Events and Competitions: Many bike parks host events, and race competitions, offering bikers a chance to participate, volunteer or spectate and be a part of a larger biking community. Plus, these events are usually a ton of fun.
  • TEN — Positive Mental Well-Being: Riding in nature and overcoming new challenges on the trails have positive effects on your mental health. They help reduce stress and promote a sense of accomplishment and happiness. As a bonus, that cold beer always tastes better after a day on the trails.

Bike Parks Tips and Tricks for First Timers

  • HYDRATE Even though you will be sweating less by not climbing hills, the altitude will dehydrate you very quickly, so drink up.
  • APPLY SUNSCREEN  The thinner atmosphere at higher elevations provides less protection from the sun’s harmful rays, making sunscreen a must. Also, consider a long sleeve shirt for extra sun protection. Your skin will thank you for it.
  • SAFETY FIRST Always use protective gear: a full face helmet, knee pads, gloves, and glasses or goggles.

Mammoth Mountain Bike Park

  • TAKE BREAKS  Mountain bike parks are often located in picturesque natural settings, providing breathtaking views and a chance to reconnect with nature, which is one of the best reasons to ride. So remember to take breaks, and soak it all in.
  • STUDY THE ROUTES Become familiar with the trail map before you start riding. If you are a beginner, stick to the beginner trails! Most bike parks have a variety of trails, but they cater to experienced and advanced riders. So, be mindful of the trails you pick and advance your skills slowly for the best and safest experience. Taking a lesson is a great way to familiarize yourself with the park.

NOTE: Other MTB destinations that don’t have lift-access, may offer shuttle services. Check out Ashland Mountain Adventures and Yuba Expeditions for info on the their shuttle services.

Main Image by Chris Neely / China Peak. 

Close up photo of author Krista Houghton at a bike park with her husband in the backgroundThanks to Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, Big Bear Mountain and Dodge Ridge for making our work possible.

Read more articles by Krista Houghton here.