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Quick Poll: What makes a great trail?

Quick Poll: What makes a great trail?

Everyone has their favourite type of trail.

For some it’s loamy tree-lined singletrack, the ground soft and roots the main obstacle of challenge. Others prefer rocky boulder fields, littered with steep drops and savage short climbs.

Some steer towards manicured trails with consistent surfaces (like those found at many trail centres), and others prefer the unpredictably of riding new trails all the time and never knowing what is around the corner.

What constitutes the ideal mountain bike trail is different from person to person, and depends so much on riding style, bike choice, fitness and many other factors. But what makes a trail great in your books, and gets you out riding again and again?

Tell us what makes a great trail in the comments box below:

  1. Fozzy

    Flow! Gaining height in and interesting and distracted way and then prolonging fast flowing descents for as long as possible with interesting features that don’t stall the speed too much..Lllandegla is probably one of the best examples of well thought out trail building in Britain..if it was twice as long it would be perfect!

  2. serge the seal of death


  3. Jez Andrews

    A trail that just flows well. Really something that doesn’t make you loose a load of speed, such as hairpins and sudden sharp climbs. Anything that just makes you feel like a bullet through the trees, and leaves a marked grin on your face!

  4. Phill Lecount

    Natural good looks, a flowing line and obstacles that have a reason for being there rewards for hard work that makes you want more

  5. matth

    the best trail is the one where you go back to time and time again to have fun. for me this is one that runs smoothly with fast straights and tight bends. best in the spring with light tree coverage and good compact ground, the occasional tree roots and rock garden thrown in. it also has to be a trail where you can go off on siding paths to explore uncharted trails.

  6. J Woodard

    I’d tend towards totally unpredictable single track descents that go on forever, like you get in the Alps. They don’t have to be steep or flat out fast, just full of technical steps, rock gullies, root sections & switch-backs. A lovely example of this is the single track descent from Alpes d’ Huez that joins up with the bottom of the Mega Ave course. You get to the bottom totally battered after hanging on for 15mins of total concentration!

  7. AdamPh

    Any ride where you forget everything except for the track in front of you.

  8. Philth

    Technical singletrack with roots, flints, sweeping sections, tight turns, climbs and fast descents. 100% natural…NOT TRAIL BUILT!

  9. matthew

    Variety, something that has everything, brutal exhausting singletrack to climb, but then must have fast and technical downhills to make it all worth the effort, also has to have more downs than ups. Roller coaster type sections with a gradual downhill are always fun, which just get faster and faster towards the bottom. Plus plenty of technical areas just to keep you thinking and on your toes. Scary sections are a must, no risk of danger, whats the point 😀 . Fire roads are a track killer, especially when they’re used on downhill areas to join one section of single track to another, better use would be to add some kind of technical Northshore section here, could probably even make it easier to move different sections of it from time to time to keep it fresh. Trails that dont change often enough, and become stale are another killer.

  10. Stampyhq

    Simple- kirroughtree has it all, technical rooty and rocky sections, challenging climbs, novelty in mcmoab, scenery,, technical sections and common theme from other posts, a nice flow!

  11. john hatton

    You dont build great trails you find em.

  12. rob p

    Love most types of trail, but top for me has to be fast, swoopy, wooded singletrack. Doesn’t need to have lots of gradient, but lumps, pumps and berms to keep the speed flowing are essential. Built or natural doesn’t matter as long as it flows and keeps you on your toes.

  13. PaulHaysom

    3 words:
    Loam. Loam. Loam.

  14. Conrad/sadoldsamurai

    better through trees (because you get some shelter from the inevitable headwind)
    but do like the odd view..
    climbs that test/stretch you..
    downhills that have multiple choices/chicken runs for the less gravity minded..chickens…
    the right company..

  15. Sam

    Flow… it natural or man made, it must flow. Add in a bit of tech stuff and line options and you’ve got a winner in my eyes. Not too fussed about the surface.

    Interesting ways to hide climbing are good (surely no one can really enjoy long fire road slogs?).

  16. olly

    A close to natural as possible..

    Okay, hand digging and minimum harding to soft peaty back woods, we just lay geotex 1/2 meter wide and add 70mm of foot path blind but really push for nice natural dirt trails ( best we can hope in North West GB).

    Must flow…

    More should be made and covered in UK mags and forums,

    Contractor built sites are all the same, few differ but not many, council soultions no more.

    No council will ever touch the local with a nice club trail, just more clubs need help getting going, not barred..


Next up in **Trails

Dig your own trails: Paul breaks out the shovel