Trail Riding Types: How to Pick the Best Mountain Bike Terrain for You


Finding a flawless mountain biking trail in Tirol isn’t that hard. It’s all about what type of terrain, flow, and length you want. Looking for less pedaling, more downhill fun? Opt for a lift-assisted buttery-smooth roller-coaster track void of technical elements to slow you down. With these Tirol mountain biking locales, you can’t go wrong. See you on the trails!


Steffen Arora is an avid downhill mountain biker who loves... View author

Formidable Forest Trail Surfing in Nauders

Gravity aficionados flock to Nauders Region in Tirol’s Oberland for their 3-Country Enduro Trails. Four gondolas offer lift-assisted riding, which makes access to the 12 trails even easier. These rides will keep you so busy that you might not even have time to check out all the new trails that Nauders is constantly building. Beyond the sheer variety of trails, they are all linked together in a highly functional, user-friendly network. Its vastness makes it likely that you’ll have the area to yourself adding a feeling of remoteness, even on beautiful sunny days. You’ll only meet other smiling folks at the bases of the gondolas and lifts. Nauders has plenty of singletrack elbow room, and fresh air to fill your lungs. From technical sections to super-flowy, super-fast and super-smooth pieces of singletrack, the trail options in Nauders run the gamut.

If you’re looking for epic downhills, shuttle the two trails leading down from Mutzkopf Mountain. The Gerry Trail is fast with tricky tight bends, rock drops and rooty turns and stacked full of drops and huge flowing berms—and before you know it you will down, grinning ear to ear! Or, ante up for the area’s signature ride the Three Countries Trail: The scenery in Nauders, situated at the convergence of Austria’s borders to Italy and Switzerland, is beyond stunning, and some consider the Three Countries Trail to be the best in Tirol. Spanning three countries, adventurous riders find plenty of stoke on the twisting, rugged and technical trail.

The Bottom Line: Formidable trail surfing with perhaps the most spectacular bike-accessed scenery in the country—the organized network caters to everyone from novices to hard-core mountain bikers.

I only Ride Park in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis

Another great locale in Tirol’s Oberland: The Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis Bike Park is arguably among the best bike parks found in Tirol and satisfies every gravity hog’s hunger. Save your legs for the ride down at this this epicenter of lift-accessed downhill mountain biking. A variety of terrain can be found at Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis and you’ll find fun, flowing singletrack and machine-excavated flow and jump trails. For Euro 35.00 (for the mountain bike park day pass) you’ll get true Whistler feeling here, with expertly designed switchbacks, Northshores, drops, pumps and huge flowing berms. Noted for being one of Austria’s best maintained parks, riders will find plenty of fun and exciting trails designed for every level. All levels of riders can push their own limits in a safe and progressive manner with smooth beginner trails to build confidence leading into a wide variety of intermediate trails featuring manmade and natural stunts. Offering everything a downhill enthusiast could need, the shop at the base of the gondola is the place to get suited up with the right protective equipment with your bike rental.

One of the flowiest jump trails you’ll ever ride with just the right amount of technical riding, “Strada del Sole” has jumps, berms and rollers that are sure to give advanced riders their adrenalin fix for the day. The more than 40 jumps help seasoned riders perfecting their airs. And, of course, the area’s famous hut drop is certainly a must hit. Picture, picture, smile for the picture…

The Bottom Line: The epicenter of lift-accessed downhill mountain biking—the gravity fed downhill park and trail system offers riding for all ages and ability levels, from beginner to expert.

Nordkette: There’s No Easy Way Down

From unfurling paths to challenging tight switchbacks, the notorious Nordkette Singletrack Trail demands agility, stamina, and grit. The trail doesn’t only demand technical abilities and endurance, but also courage. Jumps, wet ground, hills, turns, and natural obstacles (think: boulders and roots, and loose scree) dictate the speed and accessibility of the ride. Dropping 1,030 meters into the valley, this expert trail has almost 36-degree angles at times and can prove absolutely exasperating. And to make things even worse, mountain bikers plunge their way down right under the gondola that zips tourists from downtown Innsbruck to Seegrube Mountain. Under the eyes—and camera lenses—of tourists, observing the agony of the Nordkette trail riders. Don’t forget your helmet.

Considered one of the most difficult downhill trails in Europe, the trail appeals to old school riders who love it twisting and challenging. Speed? Not interesting. Dabbing a foot on the ground? Fail! Like the insane? Well, here you are. Mountain bikers have to pluck up the courage to tackle the trail that was built in natural style, ever-changing with the weather, times of day, and times of year. Pick your line carefully as rooty sections, gravel and log features will catch you unaware if you aren’t on top of your game. So, after tackling this monster of a trail, it drops you right back at the base of where you can hop a gondola to the top once again—if your synapses aren’t fried yet. Loved or hated, the Nordkette Singletrack is certainly unique.

The Bottom Line: It’s steep with tricky tight bends, rock drops and rooty turns. Not for the faint hearted this one!

Being in Kirchberg, Being in the Flow

As you venture farther east in Tirol, the terrain becomes less rockier and less technical: The Kitzbühel Alps are known primarily for flowy cross-country terrain. Generally, trails here are smooth and fast. The “home turf” of Lisi Osl, 2009 Overall Mountain Bike World Cup Winner, is also home to some of the best mountain biking in Tirol. Named after and built with the help of the local mountain bike hero, the Lisi-Osl-Trail on Gaisberg Mountain will definitely get the adrenaline flowing. The ride offers a mix of easy and more challenging terrain and a blast of thrilling, spectacular and fast descents—and is a whole lot of fun for beginners and advanced bikers. And, you don’t need to ride a full suspension MTB to have fun on the Lisi-Osl-Trail. A hardtail and 29”wheels are a solid good choice here. What’s more, this trail is perfect to start off with an electric mountain bike.

There are many rental shops offering the latest technology in electric mountain bikes, giving you the freedom to venture off the beaten path and enjoy the great outdoors. They ride fast and make charging up steep hills a breeze with a “pedal assist” function. If you’re looking to take things to the next the level, you can hit the Gaisberg Trail. This signature ride invites the tougher riders – and those who strive to be – to tackle an assortment of freeride challenges over its twisting course. These moments are best enjoyed by riding a full suspension MTB. After all, the course has descents long enough to lure the Austrian Downhill Championships. The signature ride of the Kitzbühel Alps is the Fleckalm Trail. The longest singletrack trail in Tirol, Fleckalm Trail is a 7.5-kilometer long gravity fed, adrenaline fueled descending mountain bike trail that offers epic length. Other than a few rock outcrops and rutted corners there are no significant technical challenges, so this trail can be ridden by anyone comfortable with singletrack.

The Bottom Line: Soft, buffed singletrack trails casually wind through wildflowers and lush green forest.

These mountain bike destinations around Tirol offer bucket-list rides, tacky smooth singletrack, and a fun, bike-friendly vibe: Tirol’s Best Singletrack Trails

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