Updated for 2019: Destination Comparison

We recently received a handful of emails asking how one of our locations compares to another, or how I would rate a specific destination when it comes to technical and physical difficulty (read: climbing and distance) level.  And with the addition of two new locations in 2019 – Sun Valley and Brevard – it’s about time we updated our previous blog post from 2016 to give our opinions on how our locations stack up.

Keep in mind that this is all relative: we need to re-iterate that even the “easiest” destination on a Chasing Epic trip is going to be difficult to an inexperienced mountain biker.  We expect that all our riders will be in good shape and have an intermediate set of technical skills when they show up; in our experience, the more prepared you are, the more fun you’ll have!!



  1. Moab
  2. Fruita/Grand Junction
  3. Brevard
  4. St. George
  5. Crested Butte
  6. Angel Fire (excluding bike park)
  7. Sun Valley



  1. Crested Butte
  2. Sun Valley
  3. Fruita/Grand Junction
  4. Angel Fire
  5. Moab
  6. Brevard
  7. St. George



Crested Butte


Technical Level: Intermediate+

Physical Level: Advanced

First off, let’s get this out of the way:  climbs in Crested Butte are STEEP.  And to add more pain to misery, on average you’re riding your bike above 10,000 feet.  That said, not all of the rides we’ll do in Crested Butte require huge, steep climbs; plus, we’ll wait for you because there’s a good chance we’re breathing hard too.  Crested Butte is likely the toughest location stamina-wise that Chasing Epic offers, but it’s all worth it in the end because the descents give you singletrack that lasts for miles and miles.  If you’re joining us for a trip to “CB”, make sure you get plenty of climbing in pre-trip, as you’ll need the training!

When it comes to technical riding in Crested Butte, it seems to come in spurts.  There are stretches like the bottom of Doctor Park that will challenge even the best riders…. but then you have stretches for miles that are smooth, fast and flowy.  Any solid intermediate rider will have fun here, but definitely expect to be challenged.  And it’s often not easy when you’re worn out and breathing the thin air at altitude!



Fruita – Grand Junction


Technical Level: Intermediate-Advanced

Physical Level: Intermediate+

On the whole, Fruita lacks the large climbs (and therefore descents) that you’ll endure in our mountain locations.  That said, we’ll typically make up for a lack of vertical by putting in more miles, so be sure you can ride for a few hours before your Fruita trip.  Some of our favorite rides in Grand Junction- mainly at the Lunch Loops- have a couple of legit climbs to get to the top, so it’s not all fun and games.

That being said, the technical riding in Fruita and GJ can best be described as “fun”.  Sure, there are some challenging sections- but most of them are the type you’ll want to session over and over because they’re so cool.  An advanced intermediate will have a blast in Fruita.





Technical Level: Advanced

Physical Level: Intermediate+


Moab is the Mecca of mountain biking when it comes to challenging, technical riding.  If you want to have fun in Moab, you better bring your A-game!  We’ll be riding the classics like The Whole Enchilada and Captain Ahab, both of which challenge even the best riders on their best days.  Of course, we’re really good at “easing” you into the riding here, so don’t expect to get thrown into the fire on day one!

There isn’t a ton of climbing in Moab that will challenge a good rider: other than the beginning of the Whole Enchilada to the top of Burro Pass, you can expect climbs to be pretty mellow and relatively short compared to our other Chasing Epic destinations.  That said, most of the climbing is fairly technical in nature, so instead of a cardio challenge, you’ll get a full-body beatdown.  Expect to be in bed by 8:00pm on the third night of the trip.  No, we’re not kidding.



Sun Valley


Technical Level: Intermediate

Physical Level: Intermediate-Advanced


The riding in Sun Valley is best described as big mountain, backcountry oriented, and rugged; to us, that means EPIC rides every day of the trip.  There are certainly technical sections of riding in Sun Valley, but overall the terrain is quite mellow compared to the other places we ride.  Expect steep descents, but nothing overly technical in terms of rocks, roots, or drops.

That said, we’ll put in BIG days on the bike in Sun Valley, and the riding tends to be between 6500 and 10,000 feet in elevation.  There are long climbs (but killer views to help ease the pain) along ridgelines that seem to never end.  To best maximize your Sun Valley experience, we recommend being comfortable with big climbs and long descents… just what we like here at Chasing Epic.





Technical Level: Intermediate-Advanced

Physical Level: Intermediate+


Brevard is a tough location to convey when it comes to technical riding and physicality; that’s because you’ve got two contrasting trail systems on each side of town.  The Pisgah Nat’l Forest sits to the north and offers very technical riding and long fire road climbs.  Here, you better be on your A-game with your technical riding as the descents are right up there with Moab in terms of toughness.  Expect tight, steep, twisty descents with lots of roots and rocks.  And lots of fun.  The climbing in Pisgah tends to be on fire roads that can be long (4+ miles) but are fairly gentle in grade.  When we climb on singletrack, that’s when the steepness bears its ugly teeth.

On the other side of town sits Dupont, where we’ll spend a couple of days.  Here, we’ll be doing longer rides that have a good amount of vertical, but the climbs tend to be pretty mellow and not very long.  Overall the trails are flowy in nature with a handful of technical features thrown in to keep you on your toes.  Although the riding is quite different, we’d compare Dupont to Sun Valley (above) in terms of technical difficulty and physicality.



St. George (and Hurricane)


Technical Level: Intermediate+

Physcial Level: Intermediate+

The word that best describes the riding in St. George is “fun”.  Technically, there aren’t too many impossible lines or challenges, and everything here is just plain fun to attempt.  From the slickrock riding of Gooseberry to the rocky ledges on the Zen Trail, you’ll be in heaven.  Accompanying that is the fact that there aren’t a ton of steep, long climbs… which means we can put in more miles before you’re worn down and begging for the hot tub.

St. George is our “easiest” spring/fall destination, but don’t be fooled into sitting around on the couch before your trip- you’ll still want to train hard to enjoy all the area has to offer.  This place is deceivingly difficult- at the end of the day everyone feels the day’s ride in their entire body!



Angel Fire


Technical Level: Intermediate

Physcial Level: Intermediate+


Angel Fire is an amazingly fun location, and you’ll get the whole spectrum of riding here.  From the full-day epic ride on the South Boundary Trail that takes you above 10,000 feet to the Angel Fire Bike Park, this one has it all.  When it comes to the trail rides (South Boundary Trail, Elliot Barker, Valley Trails, etc) the riding isn’t overly technical but has enough to keep you awake.  It’s very similar in nature to Crested Butte, with mostly flowy high-alpine terrain interrupted by some roots and rocks.  We’ll have some big rides above 9,000 feet here, so make sure you put in the miles before your trip!

The technical riding comes at the bike park, where we’ll spend a full day.  Of course, you can choose your own adventure here since the day is in your hands, but Angel Fire has some legit trails and you can challenge yourself all the way up to riding full-on World Cup downhills.




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AUTHOR: Steve Mokan

Steve is the owner (and founder) of Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Adventures, and contributes regularly to our blog. He's passionate about providing customers with incredible mountain bike vacations, and he loves photography and travel when he's not working. Truthfully, he loves those things when he is working too.