We had ridden at several bike parks over the course of the last 2 years and were super excited to get our MTBParks Pass and try out a bunch more. We had been to a few of the parks on the pass already and liked riding there so we couldn’t wait to try out some new ones.
Lets just say our luck didn’t hold starting in the Northwest. When someone thinks of mountain biking they think of dirt, rocks and wooden features. The northwest seems to be a lots of rocks, no dirt and few wooden features based on the 4 parks we rode over the last few weeks. Apparently in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming the base terrain is large loose chunky rock and apparently they like it that way from what we’re told. Sparser population though has probably been the reason these parks just aren’t what some of the others are in other parts of the country but they are catching on. Keep reading to see what to keep an eye on.
Silver Mountain Resort
We had high hopes for this place seeing was ranked #1 in the Northwest by MTBParks.com in 2016. Truth is though it was the worst place we had ever ridden at. They offer Flow and Technical trails but their Flow trails were really no different than how the Tech rode. Overall the trails were very rough and/or full of lots of large loose chunky rock which beat you to death. On top pf that the amount of brake bumps were insane.
I hate not having something positive to say so I kinda cheated and through in Galbraith Mountain, It’s not a downhill park. They have pretty awesome FREE trails but you have to ride to the top so that’s a drag. Being located on the Washington Coast they have a lot of dirt which the rest of the parks we hit seemed to lack.
Read our full review on Galbraith Mountain HERE
BIG SKY Bike Park
Big Sky, Montana
This Place is known for it’s Super Gnarly Double Diamonds but have realized the demand for easier trails. The trails here aren’t super smooth but they are definitely rideable and fun. They have a decent beginner trail and 3 intermediate trail options. Snake Charmer is a lot of fun and you can ride it easy or push your limits. Joker Lips is a Black but a smooth flow trail if you’re good with steeper terrain. The Gambler is a brand new trail, currently half done, look for it’s completion in 2018.
Located right next to the Tetons these trails deliver amazing views and long runs. The issue though is the runs are so long and kinda rough that they take a toll on you by the time you’re at the bottom. The breath of fresh air is they are opening a new green trail and second lift so you can access the bottom 3rd of the mountain without having to do the entire 2,000’ decent! The top is worth doing but being able to season the lower trails where the nicer dirt is will be a big plus. This is a place where a downhill bike is needed for full enjoyment on the top sections.
Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley, Idaho
This has to be my worst biking experience ever, let alone a place that claims to be a bike park and charges money! This place should be shut down as they are just collecting money from tourists who don’t know any better and providing a horrible experience. Why do I say this you ask? We had just finished riding at Silver Mountain which we didn’t like so we called ahead to check trail conditions and get some information. I told the guy at the bike shop who answered about our experience at Silver Mountain and he assured me the trails were in good shape and we would love their bike park. If you look at the bike park map online it looks like you have decent options and the guy at the bike shop said there was another trail (Lupine) that wasn’t even on the map yet.
When we arrive at the bike shop and they tell us there are 2 Downhill trails and the rest are bi-directional and you can hike on them! They then hand us a map with a bunch of arrows showing this. THESE ARROWS ARE NOT ON THEIR ONLINE MAP! We ride both downhill trails, Lupine is Marginal and Saddle-Up in horrible. There are huge chunks of loose rocks falling down into the berms that need to be removed and if you aren’t riding this trail at top speed you have to pedal up table tops before tight banked rocky turns. On top of all this there isn’t even a trail back down to where you started, parked your car etc. You can ride down this horrible excuse for a trail called Warm Springs where we had to push our bikes up hill for .5 miles in 1 area and then carry them over 2 downed trees. If you continue down you end up 2 miles from the park and have to ride back through town. OR You can do the traverse like we did because we wanted to ride the River Run Trail back to the base. Here we had to push our bikes for 1/2 mile again up a steep forest road. When we finally got to River Run Trail it was the best trail they had but it was still just ok. However I almost hit a biker and a trail runner on blind turns as this trail is multi-use bi-directional!
They claim to be building 2 trails so you don’t have to ride around the mountain to get back down and we did see a trail being built but right now this place is a joke. Don’t waste your money or your time driving here. If you’re in the Sun Valley Area go ride their XC trails.