American Bike Trails by Eleni Demetriou http://elenidemetriou.gather.com/ As an avid cyclist, I consider myself lucky to live in a country with such a wealth of pristine mountain biking trails. The bike-friendly section of the Finger Lakes Trail, arguably one of the best (albeit least-known) trails in the country, is located in Letchworth State Park in New York. Consisting of 22 miles of singletrack, the trail runs along the rim of the Genesee River Gorge, a 600-foot deep chasm known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” In addition to the spectacular views offered by the trail, bikers also enjoy a challenging ride over rocks and roots while navigating blind switchbacks and downed logs. For experienced cyclists looking for a way to push themselves to the limits, the Finger Lakes Trail is the perfect challenge. For cyclists seeking a less grueling ride, Fisher Creek in Ketchum, Idaho offers a scenic ride in the picturesque Sawtooth Mountains. Although Fisher Creek lacks many of the natural obstacles of other trails, it requires an altitude climb of over 8,000 feet. During the first portion of the trail, bikers pass by beaver ponds and cabins before encountering the steep incline. When riders finally reach the top, they are treated to panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, sprawling meadows, and clear blue skies. After completing the singletrack descent, riders reach the asphalt and can enjoy a one -mile coast back to the trailhead. Dubbed “the perfect trail” by many, the Downieville Downhill trail in California’s Tahoe National Forest offers a highly technical ride that acts as one extended adrenaline rush. The trail itself descends 4,200 feet in under 14 miles, winding through old growth forests, wild flower-filled meadows, and cliffs overlooking roaring rivers. Although many riders scoff at the idea of taking a shuttle to the top of the trail, Downieville Downhill is taxing in its own way, often leaving riders completely exhausted by the time they reach the bottom.
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