NORTH AMERICAN BIKE PARK REVIEW TOUR
HIGHLAND BIKE PARK
AMERICA’S BIKE PARK
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN THAT COULD
SEASON 2 | EPISODE 5
Photos by Dusten Ryen & James Willette
High on our list or dream riding destinations, riding Highland Bike Park has been a goal of ours for a long time. Red Bull Rampage winning riders to long-time bike industry veterans have all told me that Highland is the best bike park they’d ever ridden and only added to our team’s desire to get there. We knew that Season 2 of the Bike Park Review Tour would have us on the East Coast and naturally we had to make Highland a stop. Lucky for us, the team at Highland Bike Park are fans and facilitated an easy stop. Not only did they let us come ride and film, but they welcomed us into the “Highland Family” and had daily tour guides ready to show us the hot lines and secret hits. After just three days of riding at Highland, it’s easy to see why everyone from beginners to world-class pros love this bike park.
Located in Northfield, New Hampshire and just above the small town of Tilton, Highland Bike Park packs an amazing 15 miles of trail on just 600 vertical feet. The terrain is varied despite the seemingly short descent and riders can entertain themselves on everything from super-groomed flow trails to the raw, rooty NE tech the region is known for. There’s even a growing XC network and pedal-friendly trails along with uphill ride nights. Highland is a very family-friendly and community-oriented mountain with gatherings, get together and fun race events that really make the “Highland Family” a tight-knit group.
LODGING AND ON-SITE AMENITIES
As a dedicated mountain bike-only park, Highland doesn’t have a ton of on-site amenities like other multi-discipline resorts do. Instead they do one thing and do it well. Lodging options are varied and range anything from smaller hotels and inns to Airbnb’s or rentals on VRBO. There are plenty of options depending on your budget and we heard there are plans to develop a campground on the river in the near future along with some water activities, which would be a great option for those looking to keep the costs down.
Our crew was definitely well-fed while at Highland and we had to pry ourselves away from the park just to try some local dining options to report on. The full kitchen at Highland Bike Park serves everything from killer breakfast to lunch food and some great post-ride dinner options, including some delicious pizza! We ate at the park almost every day however a couple trips into town resulted in some good meals as well. Kettlehead Brewing Company is definitely worth a stop and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to check out the Dipsy Doodle Dairy Bar.
While Highland doesn’t have a huge village, they do have a pretty awesome setting by the side of a lake and we regularly found ourselves hanging in the outdoor dining area by the bar socializing with locals and visitors who’d just spent the day having as much fun as we had. The community vibe and feel is awesome, it’s like going to the Cheers bar except everyone there is a mountain biker. If you’re looking for other wild nightlife, you’ll be hard pressed as both Tilton and Northfield have less than 5,000 people and most places close relatively early. Honestly though, we didn’t mind since we enjoyed hanging with our fellow riders at the beer garden well into the night.