CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A recent study said that West Virginia is the 18th best state for mountain biking, but any West Virginians would argue that the Mountain State should be higher.
The ranking by Ice Bike used the number of trails per person, bikeability, terrain, number of national parks and number of top travel destinations in the ranking, where it put Vermont, Utah and Colorado as the top states for the sport.
While West Virginia shouldn’t necessarily beat out every other state, here are a few reasons why West Virginia should be ranked higher than average.
1. Mountain Biking World Cup
Since 2019, with the exception of 2020, West Virginia has been hosting Mountain Bike World Cup events every year and will host the cup again in 2023. The 2019 Pocahontas County event which was held at Snowshoe Resort was the first time the event was held in the U.S. in several years, and now it keeps coming back. The 2023 World Cup will be from Sept. 28 through Saturday, Oct. 1 at Snowshoe.
2. National Parks
The ranking uses the number of national parks in each state as part of the ranking. The list says that West Virginia has no national parks, but actually, the Mountain State is home to America’s newest national park, New River Gorge National Park & Preserve which was made a national park in 2021. The park has already gotten recognized as a travel destination by Travel Lens, Frommer, TIME Magazine and CNN.
3. Top Destinations
The ranking also said that West Virginia has zero top travel destinations. While the Ice Bike doesn’t give the methodology for how it determined “Top Destinations.” The New River Gorge isn’t the only West Virginia destination that has been recognized by major travel magazines.
4. Across the State
While West Virginia does not beat out some other states on the metric of mountain bike trails for 100,000 people—West Virginia’s is 65 with 1,177 total trails. However, people in West Virginia rarely have to travel very far to find a good trail to bike. Ice Bike said that West Virginia has the highest percentage of hilly terrain in the country at 88%. Because of this, you can find bike trains from West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle to the western border and from the Northern Panhandle to the southern border, according to West Virginia State Parks’ Mountain Biking Trails map.
5. Bringing People to the State
Mountain biking is also a major source of tourism and attraction for West Virginia. Not only does it bring people from around the world for events like the Mountain Biking World Cup, it also attracts people to move to the state. In an announcement by Ascend West Virginia, a woman explained how the Ascend program helped her move to Greenbrier County, West Virginia so that she could enjoy mountain biking while maintaining her career virtually.
Additionally, West Virginia has 34 state parks with mountain biking that are helping attract tourists to the state.