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Top 10 Bike Trails in Nevada

Nevada is a cyclist’s dream, full of spectacular mountain biking trails, classic road rides, and fun recreational trails in countless historic and scenic areas. Check out these ten top-rated places to bike in Nevada for some of the state’s best cycling experiences.

1. Lake Tahoe Loop – Tahoe City, NV

Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe Loop is one of the best (and most scenic) bike rides in the Lake Tahoe area. If you start in Tahoe City and ride the loop clockwise, you’ll be as close to the lakeshore as possible. Parts of this 72-mile route require road riding, with some miles along a protected bike path. Many cyclists look forward to the Emerald Bay section of this bike ride, as it offers some of the most beautiful views. However, it’s a curvy section of road with vehicle traffic (albeit very slow traffic), so just enjoy the views safely! On the way back to Tahoe City, you’ll enjoy rolling hills and flat sections, as well as another long stretch of trail on a bike path through the forest and small towns along the lake’s western shore.

Tips: With 2,618 ft of elevation gain, this is a challenging bike ride, but it’s great for beginners on a tour because D.L. Bliss State Park has a convenient biker and hiker campsite.

2. Bootleg Canyon – Boulder City, NV

View of Canyon in Nevada.

Bootleg Canyon is an epic area for cycling that consistently ranks as one of the best mountain biking trails in the state. Located just 23 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, this mountain biking area offers more than 35 miles of singletrack trails that are fun for everyone, beginners and pros alike. For a scenic challenge, take a shuttle to the top of the mountain and soak up the views of the Las Vegas Valley and Lake Mead on your way down the technical trails. However, one of the best things about Bootleg Canyon is that you can ride the trails in countless ways, mixing and matching to create a route that meets your desired intensity and difficulty level.

Tips: If you’re a beginner rider, stick to the lower trails until you’re more comfortable and confident on the trails. The upper trails are better suited to advanced riders.

3. Cave Lake Overlook Trail – Ely, NV

Mountain bikers going up mountain.

The Cave Look Overlook Trail is nestled in Cave Lake State Park. This 4.5-mile loop trail offers stunning mountain and forest views and 970 feet of elevation gain for an excellent challenge. The loop starts at a trailhead on the east end of Cave Lake and provides plenty of shade along the route, depending on whether you cycle it in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. (If you take the route counterclockwise, you’ll have more exposure to the sun.) Whichever way you ride it, the Cave Lake Overlook Trail offers fantastic views of the lake and state park.

Tips: Although there are some benches along the way, there’s no access to water on this trail, so make sure you bring plenty of it. There’s a public bathroom at the trailhead.

4. Historic Railroad Trail – Boulder City, NV

Historic Railroad Trail

The Historic Railroad Trail in Boulder City, Nevada, features 3.7 miles of desert cycling off the southern shore of Lake Mead. Starting at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area Alan Bible Visitor Center trailhead, you’ll ride through the dry terrain of the Hemenway Valley, passing red volcanic rocks and making your way along a steep ridge above the lake. You’ll also catch a glimpse of the gorgeous South Virgin Mountains far off in the distance and pass through five different tunnels, once used by trains along the railway. At the trail’s end, you’ll arrive at the top level of the Hoover Dam Visitor Center parking area, with a breathtaking view of the dam below.

Tips: To get to the Hoover Dam Visitor Center at the end of your ride, take the elevator down to the first level and follow the signs to the center.

5. Barnes Canyon Mountain Bike Trails – Caliente, NV

Mountain biker on trail.

This popular trail system offers a little bit of something for everyone, from rocky and technical trails to more flowy and fast options. Located just a few minutes from Caliente in Kershaw-Ryan State Park, cyclists of all abilities and experience levels enjoy the technical challenges, breathtaking views, and optional features along the way. This trail network provides more than 13 miles of trails and also features a new black diamond downhill trail, adding to its already diverse system of rugged and exciting singletrack routes.

Tips: The nearby Caliente City Trails and Ella Mountain are excellent options if you’re looking for more mountain biking adventures. Although they’re not connected to Barnes Canyon Mountain Bike Trails, they are just a short distance away.

6. Spicer Ranch – Beatty, NV

Mountain biker doing jump.

Spicer Ranch is a 120-acre working ranch and the largest mountain biking trail network in southwestern Nevada. Complete with cows, horses, and wild donkeys, this ranch is also home to 20 miles of singletrack trails, initially carved through the land by the wild donkeys that roam the area. While you’re there, check out the popular 2.2-mile Spicer Ranch Trail, which weaves through the property, and enjoy the surrounding terrain featuring historic mining relics, quarries, and incredible views of the Mojave Desert. If you prefer more than just a day trip here, you can even spend the night at the Spicer Ranch campground, featuring donation-based campsites, complete with convenient showers and restrooms so you can clean off after a hard day of cycling.

Tips: The Spicer Ranch Trail also connects to other local trails, including the Plutonium Ridge Loop (9.5 miles), Dynamite Trail (2 miles), Canteen Trail (4.5 miles), South Pond Mountain Trail (0.9 miles), and the STORM Trail (0.7 miles).

7. Lower Las Vegas Wash Trail – Las Vegas, NV

Female cyclists on trail.

If you’re in the Vegas area, the Lower Las Vegas Wash Trail is a popular 13-mile cycling trail that follows the urban river known as the Lower Las Vegas Wash. Along the route, you’ll pass Sandstone Ridge Park, quiet residential areas, and pass through Craig Ranch Regional Park before meeting the Upper Las Vegas Wash Trail. Enjoy the rugged mountain vistas throughout this trail and the elaborate recreational amenities at Craig Ranch Regional Park when you get there. It features community gardens, sports fields, a playground for kids, and more.

Tips: The southern end of the train merges into the 18-mile Flamingo Arroyo Trail, which follows the river into the 3,000-acre Clark County Wetlands Park

8. Cahill Canyon Run – Austin, NV

Mountain biker going down steep hill.

Cahill Canyon Run is an intermediate-level bike ride in northeastern Nevada featuring an elevation gain of 1,600 feet and a total distance of 11.5 miles. Cyclists enjoy the challenge of its tough climb toward the Austin Summit before it stretches on along the beautiful Toiyabe Range ridge. The route follows a creek into a lush forest filled with juniper and aspen trees before leading you into a fun and fast descent back into Austin.

Tips: As you ride along the ridge, watch the signage closely. Several trails share the ridge, so it’s easy to get confused.

9. River Mountains Loop Trail – Boulder City to Henderson, NV

Female cyclists on trail.

The River Mountain Loop Trail spans more than 35 miles around the River Mountains, linking the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Hoover Dam, Henderson, Boulder City, and the rest of the Las Vegas Valley. It’s a very wide and paved trail, making it easy for families and cyclists of all abilities to enjoy. A few miles of this trail runs along an old railroad bed that once hosted trains running from Boulder City to Hoover Dam, carrying the materials used to build the dam. In addition to the trail’s historic value, you’ll also encounter various local wildlife and scenic vistas while you ride. On specific segments of the route, there’s even a second trail for equestrian use.

Tips: As you cycle this route, you’re likely to catch a glimpse of wild bighorn sheep known to roam the area.

10. Mt. Rose Highway – Reno, NV

Cyclists going up steep road.

This classic 17-mile road biking route offers picturesque views on the peak of the Carson Range. With about 2,700 feet of elevation gain, this mountainous route has earned the nickname the “Highway to the Sky” due to its incredibly scenic overlooks. Following the road will lead you to the ski Mt. Rose Ski Area on Slide Mountain at about 9,698 feet. The way up is very steep and curvy, winding through the incredible landscape, but keep pushing! You can rest and use the bathrooms atop the summit. As you make your way back down, use extreme caution. You can get going very fast, and the vehicle traffic along the road is pretty quick too. To avoid heavy traffic, consider cycling this route on a summer weekday or a fall morning, and watch out for strong winds on the way down the mountain.

Tips: Ensure your bike’s brakes are in good working condition before attempting to ride this route. You’ll need them!

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Sources:

  1. https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/518745
  2. https://www.bcnv.org/519/Bootleg-Canyon
  3. https://mtbparks.com/Nevada/295-Bootleg-Canyon-Mountain-Bike-Park/View-details.html#overview
  4. http://parks.nv.gov/forms/Cave_Lake_1_Cave_Overlook_NET_otln_reduced_2014-02-09.pdf
  5. http://parks.nv.gov/parks/cave-lake
  6. https://www.traillink.com/trail/historic-railroad-trail/
  7. https://travelnevada.com/cycling-biking/barnes-canyon-mountain-bike-trails/
  8. https://travelnevada.com/outdoor-recreation/spicer-ranch/
  9. https://www.railstotrails.org/trailblog/2015/april/10/nevada-s-lower-las-vegas-wash-trail/
  10. https://austinnevada.com/biking/
  11. https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7013601/cahill-canyon-run
  12. https://rivermountainstrail.org/river-mountains-loop-trail/
  13. https://biketahoe.org/bike-trails/mt-rose-road-bike-ride-out-back/

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