12 Brutally Awesome Biking Adventures

No pain, no gain.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Are you familiar with Type II Fun? Think about the last time you really pushed yourself on an adventure. When you were gasping for air and your legs felt like jelly, you were definitely not having fun, but as soon as you finished, caught your breath, and cracked your victory beer, you could look back on those grueling moments with fondness and pride. That’s Type II Fun. Most of these rides define Type II Fun, while some fall further on the awesome end of the brutally awesome spectrum. However hard you want to push your legs, check out these 12 biking adventures and you’ll find a few to add to your bucket list.

1. Mountain Bike Big Mountain

Photo: Noah Couser

If you think taking the lift up to the top makes this an easy ride, you’ve probably never been on a downhill track before. It takes a lot of energy to charge down these trails at high speeds and your entire body will feel it for days to come. Learn more.

2. Bike the North Cascades Highway

Photo: Stephen Matera

It’s a long climb up to Washington Pass, but the scenery will be plenty to distract you from the burning in your legs. If you go in the warmer months and start to overheat, just take a quick detour to one of the waterfalls along the way to cool off. Learn more.

3. Bike the Cowboy Trails Near Red Rocks Canyon

Photo: Jake Young

This highly technical trail just outside of Las Vegas is just as taxing to ride downhill as it is going up. The upside? Expansive views of the beautiful Mojave Desert. Learn more.

4. Bike around Crater Lake

Photo: Colton Jacobs

Long ascents, grand descents, and incredible scenery the entire way make this ride one for your bucket list. Plus, you’ll have serious bragging rights. How many people can say they’ve circumnavigated Crater Lake? Learn more.

5. Bike along the San Francisco Peaks on Waterline Road

Photo: Matt Bloomfield

This is a solid climb at 3,000 feet but it’s over a gradual grade so if you’re not looking to kill your legs, but want a good challenge, this one is for you. The ride down is an especially pleasant cruise. Learn more.

6. Snow Biking in Alaska’s Arctic

Photo: Matt & Agnes Hage

If fat biking 100 miles through the snow to some of the best vantage points for the Aurora Borealis sounds like your kind of adventure, you’ve come to the right place. Learn more.

7. Big Creek Freeride

Photo: Rob Giersch

If climbing up a mountain doesn’t provide enough stoke for you to really push yourself on a bike, you might want to try some flowing pump track, jumps, and downhill at Big Creek. You’ll work just as hard and get a hefty dose of adrenaline. Learn more.

8. Mountain Bike Prince Creek

Photo: Ben Thomas

More awesome than brutal, this unique trail in Carbondale, CO allows you to ride right over an abandoned Monte Carlo. Learn more.

9. Cycle Big Cottonwood Canyon

Photo: Jordan Smith

With several steep climbs on the way to the top of the canyon, you may be tempted to turn around early for the cruise down the canyon. If you push on, you’ll eventually reach the Brighton Loop where you can stop at Silver Lake for a break before the ride down. Learn more.

9. Crested Butte: Ride the Iconic 401 Trail

Photo: J.J. Benson

The 401 Trail starts off with a bang on a quick and steep climb. From there, it’s relatively gradual climbing until you reach some of the best single track you’ll ever ride. Learn more.

11. Ride to the Top of Mary’s Peak

Photo: Michael Graw

Your legs will hate you during this 4,000 foot climb to the top of the tallest peak in the Oregon Coast Range, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing summit views of the Williamette River Valley. Learn more.

12. Bikes & Brews on Route 151

Photo: Christin Healey

Let’s finish with some Type I Fun. The only brutal thing about this adventure is having to choose between so many amazing beers. Everything else is just awesome. As always, be sure to drink responsibly. Learn more.

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Cover photo: Noah Couser

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Cover photo: Noah Couser

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