Updated on August 18, 2022
Best Mountain Bike Cities
A short check at Park City’s home prices may have quickly brought you back to reality if your wildest dreams of moving there after reading one of our greatest mountain bike locations in the United States lists ever came true. As the first IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center, Park City’s median home price of $1.48 million is likewise a gold standard.
As much as we’ve written about the finest places to live and work for mountain biking, the reality isn’t always as ideal as we’d like to think it would be. For those who are fed up with escalating prices of living in Colorado, I decided to compile a list of the most affordable mountain biking cities across America.
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The Way It’s Done
As a starting point, we had to define “mountain biking town.” We agreed on the following criteria:
Within 25 miles of downtown, there are more than 100 miles of bike-legal singletrack.
Having a real bike shop, as well as a population that is akin to that of a town.
As part of my research, I looked through Singletracks travel articles, as well as the thousands of comments on social media, to come up with a list of about 150 places in the United States that I believed may be a good fit.
Once I got a list of towns, I calculated the cost of living (COL) for each one. For each location, I pulled at least two numbers to get a better idea of the cost of life. I used the cost of living index on BestPlaces.com, which includes a wide range of criteria into a single statistic, as my primary source of information. As a point of reference, the national average stands at 100. You’ll notice that all of the choices on this list are far lower than the national average.
The median home value on Zillow.com is the second number I retrieved for each town. As a result, the median home value does not give a complete picture of the market, as homes listed for sale and sold at median prices may have different median values. I’ll do my best to examine as many connected property price numbers as feasible in the text description for each location.
For this list, we used our editorial scrutiny even after we had gathered all of the data, in an effort to present not only locations that happen to be cheap to live in, but that are actually rad mountain biking towns. In order to maintain a sense of fairness, I’ve included a “honorable mentions” section at the conclusion of this post that features ten extra towns. If you’re looking for a slightly more expensive option than those 10 towns that made the top 10, you’ll find them in this area.
Here are the 10 finest mountain biking towns in the United States with the lowest cost of living, ranked by median home price from low to high.
The city of Anniston in Alabama
Score: 81.8 out of a possible 100
According to Best Places, the average price of a home in the area is $96,600
22,000 Miles of Singletrack: 120 people live there
Coldwater Mountain’s 35 miles of purpose-built singletrack, accessible from downtown Anniston, is the area’s crown gem in mountain riding. The Coldwater Mountain trail system has been recognised a Bronze-Level IMBA Ride Center, according to Tom Nelson, President of the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA). With 35 miles of path, however, the club isn’t pleased. Mountain bike routes have been given $600,000 by the McClellan Development Authority recently, according to Tom.
There are 120 miles of bike-legal singletrack within 25 miles of downtown Anniston, including Cheaha Mountain, Iron Legs, Henry Farm, Coleman Lake, and Kentucky ORV. However, 35 miles rideable from downtown does not qualify Anniston for this list. Additionally, you’ll be able to access more trails if you extend your search radius outside.
Anniston may be known for its mountain riding, but the city’s cost of living statistics are equally impressive. Home costs are even more astounding than the 81.80 COL index, which is the second lowest number on our list by just 0.40 points. Smaller towns have a more difficult time collecting median property price data, however Best Places estimates the price to be $96,600. Zillow reports that the median home sale price in Anniston is $98,800, thus this pricing is quite close to the median home sale price. We’ll soon find out, though, that this is not the case in many of the locations on this list. The picture becomes much more enticing with the addition of only one additional digit. As low as $70,000 was reported by Realtor.com as the real median closing price. Anniston, Alabama, is a mountain biker’s paradise for a fraction of the cost.
The city of Butte, Montana
At $125,400, the average home price.
3,4000+/-Miles of Singletrack: About 300
You may have noticed right away that Butte’s COL index is greater than Anniston’s. plus a few others from this list as well. Butte’s COL is 10 points lower than the national average, and the median home price is under $125,400. In the Rocky Mountains, this is a shockingly low number. Bozeman (almost $300,000) and Missoula ($254,400) are both adjacent towns whose housing prices are comparable, so on the surface Butte appears to be a bargain. In contrast to Bozeman and Missoula where median list prices are $435,000 and $320,000, Butte’s real estate market is rising, albeit at a far slower rate, with a typical list price of $149,450.
… So what’s the snag here? Is the path unkempt?
No, not at all.
There are around 300 miles of mountain bike-legal singletrack in and around Butte, according to Bob Allen of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and the Montana Mountain Bike Alliance. There are also a wide variety of singletrack options. “On the west side of the Montana Tech Campus there are trails and a bike park of sorts,” added Bob. Trails lead to “The Butte,” the town’s highest point, which is marked by a large, lit “M.”
For those who don’t want to leave town, there are numerous backcountry trails that can be accessed from the surrounding mountains. “The CDT in both ways from Homestake Pass on I-90 are worthy out-and-backs, or part of a bigger point-to-point or loops,” noted Bob. We recommend you use Linked Adventures to get you to and from the CDT, and then ride your bike back into town. Linked Adventures also offers sponsored multi-day rides on the Continental Divide Trail if you’d like to get even more adventurous.
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3. The COL Index for Pocatello, Idaho is 88.5.
Price of the average home: $127,800
Population: 55,000 Singletrack Miles: 200+
Trails around City Creek. By Jim Cummings
Ty Nelson, owner and operator of East Fork Bikes in Pocatello, Idaho, believes it is the world’s most underrated biking destination. However, Pocatello may not be the most underrated mountain biking town in the country, but it is one of the most affordable and accessible.
The number of trail miles in Pocatello is unknown. Even Ty doesn’t know for sure. 200 to 500 kilometres is my estimate.” Because everything is interconnected, you could ride a 10-mile loop every day for a month, or a 75-mile loop every other day.
The City Creek Trail is a favourite of Ty’s. Getting lost is impossible because it’s the shortest distance from town and the most clearly marked. The East Fork-Crestline ride is for the more experienced mountain cyclist. High-altitude views can be seen from the rocky mountainside singletrack that descends the east side of Scout Mountain via the Crestline Trail, writes Chris Daniels.
Pocatello’s eastern region. Michlaovic, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
A median property price of $127,800 with access to hundreds of miles of hiking trails is amazing, despite the town’s location in the Rocky Mountains, which raises the COL index a few points. The median price of homes for sale in Pocatello is still at $149,900, which is similar to Butte’s market.
The fact that neither Pocatello nor Butte is a true ski resort town could be a factor in keeping the cost of living low in these communities. The Discovery Ski Area, a 46-mile drive from Butte, is the nearest ski resort. In comparison, Pebble Creek Ski Area is considerably smaller and is located roughly 20 miles away from Pocatello.
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Tennessee’s capital city of Knoxville
An 81.4 COL Index
The average home costs $136,000, according to the latest data.
Inhabitants: 186,000; metropolitan population: 869,00
More than 200 miles of singletrack
Since they received $100,000 in the Bell Built Grant in 2015, Knoxville, TN has been on our radar as a rising mountain biking destination. The Devil’s Racetrack, a challenging, professionally-built downhill route with enormous features, was the outcome of this award.
But there are almost 200 miles of singletrack within a 25-mile radius of downtown! As a Knoxville resident and Singletracks.com contributor, Charlie Morgan suggests “Barn Burner near Baker’s Creek (the Devil’s Racetrack for experts), South Loop, Ross Marble, Flow at Mead’s Quarry, and Lost Chromosome at Fork of The River WMA.”
Additionally, the Windrock Bike Park, which features steep, burly DH runs developed and operated by none other than pro downhiller Neko Mulally, is only about 25 miles from Knoxville.
Perhaps the idea of Knoxville as a mountain biking town never occurred to you… However, it’s time to rethink your perspective on the situation! Our list of “towns” includes Knoxville, which has an estimated population of 186,000, making it the most populous of the bunch. Knoxville, on the other hand, maybe the ideal option if you’re looking for the convenience of big-city facilities like shopping, dining, and a relatively sizable airport. In addition, the cost of living statistics is indisputable.
Hey, all I am Joe Marino I love to ride bikes and teach others how to ride them. Most of my articles are about which bike is best for others. I am passionate about cycling and it shows, whether I am writing about a $25 bicycle from any random website or a $5000 Santa Cruz.
I have always been the guy who gets calls from friends while at work asking which bike they should buy. I have written about the best city bike for commuting, the best folding bike for use on public transit, and even what to keep in mind when shopping for kids’ bikes.
You can follow my blog and read all of my other articles on my website.