In a world driven by progress, it's natural that there will always be riders ready to go beyond the usual limits of their sport. As a result of this, we’ve seen mountain bikers across the world going to crazy lengths to seek out some of the steepest and sketchiest descents going.
So if you’re looking to take your mountain bike bucket list to a whole new level, here’s RedBull.com's pick of the scariest mountain bike trails the world has to offer.
1. Yungas Road
Where: La Paz, Bolivia
Extreme factor: Yungas Road, or ‘the death road’, as it’s more commonly referred to, isn’t strictly a bike trail, but it continues to make it onto the bucket list of many a mountain biker or eager backpacker looking to earn their bragging rights.
With only one brief uphill interruption, the road boasts a massive 64km of downhill dirt track, so it’s not hard to see its appeal. But with its sheer drops, treacherous hairpins and a very sketchy surface, you’ll soon be reminded why it’s been dubbed the world’s most dangerous road.
2. The Cliffs of Moher
Where: West coast of Ireland
Extreme factor: Less of a trail, more of a ledge on a sheer cliff face, the Cliffs of Moher sit a terrifying 700m above the wild Atlantic Ocean. With a mere few feet of narrow, windy track separating you and your two wheels from said ocean, this is one of sketchiest trails going.
Hans Rey and fellow MTB hero Steve Peat had the insane idea to take this ledge on back in 2006 – and thankfully, no one has been quick to follow in their footsteps just yet…
Just for the record, there were no parachutes in our backpacks, as some had speculated. Mind over matter and the mercy of Mother Nature.
3. Higher Maritime Alps
Where: South west Alps, France
Extreme factor: An area renowned for its mountain bike trails, the south west Alps is said to have steep enough terrain to satisfy even the most extreme rider. This is a claim that mountain biker James McKnight looks to have proved when he ventured onto this trail in the higher Maritime Alps that seems to transcend extreme and take it to a whole new level.
"I don’t know how to describe the trails up in the Higher Maritime,” says James, “but some of the words that come to mind are 'inaccessible', 'slightly treacherous', 'technically demanding' and 'discreet'."
We're sure there are a few other words that might spring to mind too…
4. Porcupine Rim
Where: Utah, USA
Extreme factor: At first, the Porcupine Rim looks to be typical of any advanced technical trail. However, if you make it down the harsh and unforgiving rock drops, you’ll find yourself faced with three miles of hair-raising singletrack, alarmingly accompanied by sheer cliffs that drop off into the Colorado river. Aside from the undeniable risks to your own body, this is the kind of trail that isn’t kind on bikes, so if you take this on, be prepared for some on the fly bike hacks.
Where: Gamitzenklamm Gorge, Austria
Extreme factor: Running along the Gamitzenklamm Gorge in Austria, Radwanderung is a steep and narrow trail that many would hesitate to walk along, let alone tackle on two wheels. With some parts of the track little wider than a foot, this trail needs some serious concentration.
6. The White Line
Where: Arizona, USA
Extreme factor: It’s not hard to see why pro mountain biker Michal Kollbek described riding the White Line as one of the scariest things he has ever done on a bike. The sandstone track is etched into such a steep cliff that there is absolutely no room for even the slightest wobble.
7. The Ridge
Where: Isle of Skye, Scotland
Extreme factor: Made famous by Danny MacAskill in ‘The Ridge’ (check it out above), the Cuillin Ridgeline is so dangerous as a bike trail that even the notorious trial rider was pushed out of his comfort zone. With huge cliff drops and unforgiving terrain, it’s not surprising that Danny is the only one to have conquered this epic ridgeline so far.