Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 review – Full-Suspension – Mountain Bikes

Canyon’s previous-generation Torque was one of a dying breed of long-travel 650b-wheeled bikes.

It’s been reworked substantially this year, with new frame details, revised geometry and bigger 29in wheels at each end.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 frame and suspension

Canyon relies on its familiar four-bar suspension design on the new Torque.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

In common with other new Canyons, the Torque’s low-slung frame has good standover clearance, rocks some pretty slick lines and is better finished than ever.

Out back, there’s the tried-and-tested four-bar suspension design we’ve come to expect from the German brand, plus a SRAM universal derailleur hanger, which will be easier to replace if you damage it hucking off cliffs away from home.

The new Torque is also available in carbon fibre, with adjustable geometry (via a flip chip at the tip of the seatstays, which isn’t on the alloy version) and 29in, 650b or mixed (MX) wheel sizes.

Cables are routed into the chunky aluminium frame.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

This, however, is the seriously robust-looking aluminium chassis, with big, beaded welds on the compact front triangle.

The old shock yoke is gone, with the air-sprung Fox Float X2 damper now attaching directly to the seatstay tip, and the smooth-edged rocker link wrapping around the curved seat tube to meet the stays further down.

There’s (finally) room for a water bottle on the curvy down tube. The pivot hardware uses steel inserts for durability, but the frame is still said to be 200g lighter than the previous generation.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 geometry

Geometry is pretty standard for a bike of this type, with the effective seat tube angle 78 degrees.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

This aluminium Torque lacks the geometry-adjust feature found on the carbon version.

Instead, Canyon has split the difference, giving the AL version the head angle from the slack setting (63.5 degrees) and the effective seat tube angle of the steeper setting (78 degrees) as found on the carbon frame, along with the 30mm bottom bracket (BB) drop.

These angles are pretty normal for a ‘bike park’ machine nowadays, and Canyon has stretched the latest Torque’s (carbon and aluminium frames) sizing so it’s in line with many contemporaries.

The large frame tested here has a 485mm reach (the key indicator of distance from hands to feet). While this sounds roomy, it’s actually 5mm shorter than the reach on the carbon 29er and doesn’t leave the frame feeling massive.

This is something to be aware of, because loads of rival mountain bikes with marginally shorter claimed reaches on paper feel bigger than this.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 specifications

Fizik’s Gravita Alpaca X5 sits on an own-brand dropper post.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

It’ll be no surprise to hear that Canyon has nailed the component choices.

As one of the biggest brands, it’s at the front of the line for the best parts in times of supply issues, and by selling direct to the customer and delivering in a cardboard box, its prices are roughly 25 per cent better value than shop-bought rivals.

Highlights include stiff and strong DT Swiss freeride FR 2070 wheels with 30mm-wide (internal) FR 560 rims that are hard to dent and damage. These are shod with arguably the best Maxxis tyre combination – a 3C MaxxGrip-compound Assegai up front and faster-rolling MaxxTerra Minion DHR II at the rear, with EXO+ and DD casings, respectively.

The choice of Maxxis front and rear tyres is spot-on.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

The trade-off for the strong wheels is more weight to lug uphill, and the workhorse drivetrain and brakes weigh marginally more than pricier kit, too.

However, Shimano’s SLX kit is perfectly sorted and reliable, providing wide-range gearing to winch up the steeps and powerful enough four-piston calipers and Ice-Tech brake pads that really bite on fast descents.

While the Performance-level Fox 38 fork and Float X2 shock have reduced adjustment and a slightly less refined ride quality than the brand’s priciest Elite and Factory kit, you can still add low-speed rebound and compression damping at both ends, via countable-click dials and a sweeping compression knob on top of the oversized fork leg.

Canyon’s own bar, stem and dropper seatpost are well-finished, a sensible shape and function well, plus the bike comes with a bottle cage installed to save you some money.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 ride impressions.

Climbing performance

This is not a bike designed primarily for climbing.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

With a frame construction rated ‘Cat 5’ by Canyon, the Torque shares the same bombproof build quality as the Sender DH rig raced at World Cups, which gives you a clue as to the major intentions here. Basically, this thing isn’t designed to win any climbing competitions.

That said, it pedals fine, with minimal bob (no matter which sprocket you’re in on the cassette), smooth turnover and a good seated position, which places your hips over the cranks and never tips your weight too far back, even on the steepest pitches.

Being built like a DH tank, the limiting factor to climbing speed is the Torque AL’s weight. At over 16.5kg, it’s a noticeable chunk of bike to lug uphill for extended periods.

Add to this the designed-to-last wheels being heavy and the sticky/grippy front tyre being painfully slow-rolling on tarmac and smooth fireroads, and climbing can be a bit of a drag. Don’t expect to get anywhere particularly fast uphill or over undulating ground.

This is all typical for the category, although there are a few bikes – such as Propain’s Spindrift – that defy expectations of how sprightly and frisky a super-long-travel enduro mountain bike can pedal and climb. Those bikes are way faster under power and quicker to accelerate than the new Torque.

Descending performance

Point the Torque 29 AL 6 downhill and it really comes into its own.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

With 29in wheels and 170mm of travel, you’d expect Canyon’s rig to thrive downhill with minimal drama and maximum speed, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Pretty much nothing unsettles the wheels on the ground or scrubs the edge off its pace, and the suspension at both ends feels deep and fluid enough to iron out creases on seriously rocky and rooty terrain.

The large size has stacks of stability and a calm ride. It trucks on down everything from raw, loamy enduro tracks littered with natural obstructions and blown-out holes, to faster baked-hard, big-bermed DH or bike-park style terrain.

The suspension is well tuned and not so numbing or isolating that you can’t get a sense of the terrain under the wheels, but if you want to turn off your brain, stand tall, look ahead and let the Torque do its thing, you’ll fire out the exit of tracks of practically any steepness and severity unfazed.

One area where this 29er seriously differs from its predecessor (and, to an extent, from the MX CF Torque) is that it’s definitely not as manoeuvrable or as responsive to sudden inputs of body language – for example, when initiating a lean angle to cut through turns.

It also feels as though the suspension sweet spot keeps your centre of gravity marginally higher than on the old 650b-wheeled Torque.

Both these factors mean it sits marginally higher through turns and flat corners, and it isn’t as easy to load the chassis in the mid-stroke to switch direction, pump hollows or bounce back off the rear end for extra acceleration in the apex of turns.

Smooth arcs, rather than acute angles, are the way to maintain speed, then, and the whole bike feels soft, forgiving and smooth rather than taut and springy.

Testing the latest carbon Torque earlier in the year, the frame felt absolutely bombproof, but transmitted a lot of terrain feedback through hands and feet. This isn’t the case here.

This may be a consequence of the alloy frame being better-damped, the bigger rear wheel, or the different shock and fork feeling slightly less supportive – it’s hard to say.

The Fox Float X2 damper now attaches directly to the seatstay tip.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

What is clear, though, is that there’s less of the harshness and sense of a slightly fatiguing, rattly, vibration-laden ride apparent on the beefier carbon chassis.

Instead, the AL rides silently, even through the roughest sections and with puncture-defying higher tyre pressures, despite its lower-tier suspension.

This might make it the better latest-generation Torque to take somewhere such as the Alps or your local bike park for non-stop, hand-wrecking, arm pump-inducing uplift laps.

How does the Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 compare to rivals?

Canyon is right on the money with the new Torque when it comes to pricing and spec.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

As a 650b-wheeled bike-park rig, Canyon’s previous-generation Torque had a unique, distinct set of attributes that saw it rule on jumps and man-made features, fizzing over with energy and tautness.

This new model is totally sorted, but being smooth and composed, rather than super-agile, it fails to transcend the crowded marketplace of similarly capable long-travel enduro rigs.

It’s still a sorted package, though, and you can’t argue with the price or spec here.

It’s unlike two long-travel chameleons in this category that balance super-enduro capability with a taut, responsive ride quality; Propain’s Spindrift and the Evil Wreckoning – the German bike blending high-speed enduro smoothness with corner-slicing attitude, and the latter popping and hopping off every trail feature more like the previous-generation Torque.

Canyon Torque 29 Al 6 bottom line

Solid is very much the defining word for the Torque 29 AL 6.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

A solid package in every sense of the word, Canyon’s Torque AL 6 has got your back in the gnarliest terrain, pedals well and has great kit.

It’s a tad heavy and doesn’t quite have the taut, responsive attitude of the MX CF version, though, or that bike’s ability to encourage flicking off every little rise, lip and berm.

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CDOT launches new express shuttle service for mountain travel

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation is offering travelers another way to get to the mountains with its new express shuttle service, Pegasus.

Pegasus is part of CDOT’s Bustang service. However, instead of traveling in large buses, travelers who choose to ride the Pegasus will travel in smaller shuttles.

A Pegasus shuttle seats up to 11 people, according to CDOT. It features USB ports, power outlets and WiFi, and has luggage storage, bike racks and ski/snowboard containers. Each shuttle is also wheelchair accessible.

Pegasus will depart year-round from Union Station in Denver. The service includes stops at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Idaho Springs, Frisco, Vail and Avon, according to CDOT.

“We are continuing to save people time and money with more ways to get to and from the mountains. We are launching Pegasus to reduce traffic, help save Coloradans and visitors money on travel, and more easily explore our beautiful state,” said Gov. Jared Polis.

Fares range from $6 to $20 depending on the destination.

Pegasus Fares

Colorado Department of Transportation

The service will begin Friday, May 27. To learn more about Pegasus, click here.

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Mountain walks and rooms with views

Hit the heights

Climb every mountain – or one of them at least, with Kathryn Thomas and her Pure Results team as they help you tackle Croagh Patrick. The climb is the culmination of a five-day wellness retreat, based at Co Mayo’s Breaffy House Hotel. You get five nights’ accommodation, all meals, nutrition workshops, fitness classes, good feelings and more. May 22nd to 27th, from €1,099 pps. And on the subject of spiritual hills, it’s National Pilgrim Paths Week, which makes it a great time to explore some of Ireland’s ancient trails with experienced guides. Until April 24th,

Craogh Patrick
Craogh Patrick

Room with a view

You don’t have to hike up a mountain to get a decent view. With the right hotel, a lift will do the job just as well. The Dean Cork has sweeping vistas, especially from Sophie’s restaurant right up top. While you’re there, check out the in-house Power Gym, where they have climbing machines so cool you’d almost get fit just looking at them. Room only from €159, or €189 with breakfast for two.

Double room at The Dean, Cork
Double room at The Dean, Cork

Beverly Hills

Do your hills in style by making it California’s Beverly Hills. Aer Lingus resumes its direct flights to Los Angeles on May 12th, with flights from €230.36 each way including taxes and charges, Splash out what you’re saving on the flight at The London West Hollywood, the all-suite spot, with marvellous views from the rooms, rising to the sublime at the rooftop bar. From $549 per night. /

The London West Hollywood
The London West Hollywood

Tree tops

And finally, where better to get a great view than from the top of a tree? The TreeHouse Villas at Thailand’s Koh Yao Noi are more “tree-inspired” than actual trees, but as they come with their own private plunge pools, who’s prepared to be pedantic? Seven nights’ bed and breakfast , return flights from Dublin, plus speedboat transfers to the island from €2,005 pps for bookings made by April 30th. Travel between August 15th and September 5th.

TreeHouse Villas at Thailand’s Koh Yao Noi
TreeHouse Villas at Thailand’s Koh Yao Noi

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Traveling through WA mountain passes this Easter weekend? Expect light snow

Those traveling through Washington’s mountain passes this weekend will see light precipitation and snow, according to the National Weather Service.

One to 3 inches of new snow accumulation is expected on Snoqualmie and Stevens passes Friday night, said meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch. While there may be a period of increased intensity Saturday night, accumulation is still expected to stay between 1 to 2 inches.

White Pass will see a similar pattern, DeFlitch said, but with possibly an additional inch of snow on Saturday night.

Highs in the mountain passes will be between the upper 30s and low 40s, and the lows at night will fall to the mid-20s, he said. The snow level is expected to be around 1,000 feet Saturday morning and then 2,500 feet during the day, according to NWS.

Washington State Department of Transportation spokesperson Summer Derrey said the agency is not anticipating any especially adverse conditions in the passes this weekend. Clearing the passes can become difficult to manage when the rate exceeds an inch per hour, she said.

Check the latest updates on the mountain passes before traveling, as well as WSDOT statewide travel alerts and road conditions at

The weekend’s light precipitation is due to a low-pressure trough over the Pacific Northwest, resulting in scattered showers rather than the steadier rain during an atmospheric river from the ocean, DeFlitch said.

“Especially during the heating of the day, clouds develop and some of these clouds can produce showers,” he said.

While snow in the lowlands like Seattle may be rare for April, DeFlitch said snow in the mountains in April is not unusual when there is a cool mass of air over the region.

The passes will dry out on Sunday with some sun poking through partially cloudy skies, he said. However the region will be back to its usual light precipitation by the evening.

Temperatures will continue to be chilly in the Seattle area, where the average temperature from the past week was about 41.5 degrees, according to the NWS.

But once the low pressure moves eastward by Sunday, it will open up the possibility for a sunny day with a high near 55. However, a new frontal system by Sunday evening will bring more rain through at least the first half of next week.

The Seattle Times is tracking this season’s snowpack through maps and charts. For more information, visit For tips on driving on passes during winterlike conditions, visit

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I-80 eastbound near Paxton open for travel at 11 p.m. Mountain Time

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) – The Nebraska Department of Transportation is reporting that the eastbound lanes of I-80 are clearing after an accident occurred around 8 p.m. MT/9 p.m. CST near Paxton on I-80. The NDOT, reminding people, “As you travel through, be aware of responders still on scene. As you continue to travel, remember – phones down & buckle up!”

Witnesses are reporting a burned cattle truck and a second semi at the scene. Other witnesses say some cattle were affected by the burning cattle pod, and others were rounded up safely. Area ranchers helped round up the cattle according to one witness. News 2 will have a detailed report of this incident once it is provided, concerning the details of the accident and the condition of people and animals involved.

The Department of Transportation is reporting a crash on I-80 eastbound near Paxton. The eastbound lane is closed and westbound traffic is slowed down. Eastbound traffic is being detoured to Highway 30.

As of 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, responders are working to extinguish a fire (a burning cattle pod from a cattle truck) and to herd cattle off the roadway.

NDOT warms westbound drivers to proceed with caution. They ask that you, “Proceed with caution, please be patient, & check 511.Nebraska.Gov for the latest updates.”

More details will be shared as they become available.

Copyright 2022 KNOP. All rights reserved.

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Winter storm to cause difficult travel, especially over mountain passes — Colorado Department of Transportation

Colorado— Another round of winter weather is expected this weekend. The National Weather Service forecasts heavy snowfall accumulations for the mountains of western and southwestern Colorado. Snow is expected to develop over the mountains this afternoon and continue through Sunday night or Monday morning. Treacherous road conditions are expected, especially on mountain passes.

The Denver area will also receive a mix of rain and snow over the weekend, which will create tricky driving conditions for metro motorists. The heaviest snow accumulations on the Front Range will be found in the foothills areas that typically see more snowfall. CDOT urges travelers to use caution, be patient and allow themselves extra time with increased ski traffic returning from the mountains to Denver on Sunday. Monday morning commuters should heed the same advice.

CDOT crews are ready and prepared for the weekend’s wave of winter weather. Today, CDOT crews started 24/7 snow shifts and will be plowing and treating roadways as needed. Once the storm has cleared, periodic road closures can be expected on mountain passes to allow for avalanche mitigation operations, possibly early next week.

March storm graphic

Traveling During Snowstorms

  • Avoid or limit driving during the brunt of the snowstorm.
  • Check weather forecasts and road conditions frequently.
  • If you must travel, make sure your vehicle is winter ready with the appropriate tires and snow emergency kit.
  • Once you are out on the road, take it slow, no sudden stops and leave plenty of distance between vehicles.
  • Give plows space! Stay back four car lengths from snow plows. Never pass plows on the right.

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts, and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

  • Travel webpage:
  • Mobile app: COtrip Planner
  • Check avalanche conditions at CAIC:
  • Phone hotlines for road and weather conditions: 511 or 303-639-1111
  • Sign up for project or travel alerts:
  • Subscribe to construction updates and news releases:
  • Follow social media: Twitter @coloradodot and Facebook

Chain and Traction Laws

When weather and road conditions deteriorate, CDOT will activate Traction and Chain Laws for passenger and commercial vehicles. Motorists are alerted to active and current Traction or Chain Laws by highway signage,, and traffic/roadway condition alerts. For more information on the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit For more information on the Commercial Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit

Watch Where You Park

Backcountry users and recreationists are urged to “watch where you park!” CDOT maintenance crews’ first priority is clearing the travel lanes of highways. Once this has been accomplished, crews will then clear the shoulders of the roadway and parking areas as time and resources permit. Please remember to park only in clearly marked and designated parking areas. Anyone leaving a vehicle unattended on the side of the road runs the risk of breaking the law, being fined, and having their vehicle towed away by law enforcement. (Download the flyer: “Watch Where You Park”)

Avalanche Forecast Information

Backcountry users are urged to check avalanche conditions at the CAIC website:

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Mountain Snow Will Slow Holiday Travel Starting Monday Afternoon – CBS Denver

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Tell us about an Alpine mountain cafe or restaurant – you could win a holiday voucher | Skiing holidays

Refuelling and warming up at a cosy mountain cafe or restaurant is part of the fun of a winter mountain holiday – whether it’s a traditional cafe in Austria or a stylish French eaterie. We want to hear about your favourite discovery on an Alpine break – tell us where it was and why you loved it. Perhaps it was the incredible views, the best hot chocolate, the friendly staff or the heartiest homemade cuisine that made it special. It can be anywhere in the Alps.

If you have a relevant photo, do send it in – but it’s your words that will be judged for the competition.

Keep your tip to about 100 words

The best tip of the week, chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet, will win a £200 voucher to stay at a Sawday’s property – the company has more than 3,000 in the UK and Europe. The best tips will appear on the Guardian Travel website, and maybe in the paper, too.

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of service here.

We’re sorry, but for legal reasons you must be a UK resident to enter this competition.

The competition closes on 15 February at 9am

Have a look at our past winners and other tips

Read the terms and conditions here

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of service here and privacy policy here

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CSU on late start Jan. 20 – The Rocky Mountain Collegian


Collegian | Avery Coates

A student stands on the corner of Hughes Way and Meridian Ave. waiting for a ride Jan. 19. Many students transportation plans were uprooted when CSU made the call to cancel all classes immediately to protect students and staff from worsening weather conditions.

Update: 9:01 p.m. Jan. 19 — Colorado State University will be opening late Jan. 20 due to weather. All activities, classes, events and meetings, in-person or remote, before 10 a.m. are canceled. Anything after 10 a.m will remain on normal schedule.

Facilities will be sanding roads, parking lots and sidewalks overnight to make conditions safer to commute in the morning.

The Public Safety Team advises employees considered essential to work with their supervisors to determine when to report to work.

Update: 12:42 p.m. Jan. 19 — Colorado State University is closing at 3 p.m. today due to weather conditions. According to the University Public Safety Team, “classes that are not already in session are canceled immediately.”

Further, in-person, remote and hybrid classes, meetings, work and events are canceled.

The cancellation is to prevent students and staff from coming to campus due to the dangerous icy conditions. Temperatures will continue to drop as the day continues and into the evening.

Two students trek across the IM fields on their way home
Two students trek across the Colorado State University Intramural Fields Jan. 19. Classes were canceled just before 1 p.m., sending many students walking through campus battling the ice and snow. (Avery Coates | The Collegian)

Original story: 12:12 p.m. Jan. 19.

The City of Fort Collins has been placed under accident alert until 5 p.m. due to icy road conditions today, Wednesday, Dec. 19. Additionally, all Transfort Bus services are suspended until at least noon today, according to their website. 

Riders can check the status of City and campus buses using Transfort’s online bus tracker. According to the tracker, the Around the Horn bus service is also currently delayed. Updates on bus services can be found on the Transfort website or their Twitter page.

The City of Fort Collins also released a tweet stating, “Icy roads are creating dangerous driving conditions. Streets crews are working to de-ice the roads. Avoid travel if you can — if you must travel, reduce speeds and use serious caution.” They also tweeted that The Farm at Lee Martinez Park is closed and to use caution on local trails, bridges and underpasses due to the icy conditions. 

Light snow is expected throughout the day and temperatures are projected to remain below freezing, according to a forecast by The Weather Channel. Fort Collins residents can track the location of snow plows and road conditions using the City’s interactive map.




Reach Noelle Mason and Katrina Leibee at or on Twitter @csucollegian.

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The 24 Best Mountain Towns in the U.S., Ranked

What makes the perfect mountain town? Quick access to adventure, of course, but how about the less obvious attributes? Does it have solid breweries and après food? Can an abundance of bike parks outweigh a lack of taco joints? Maybe. We explored such criteria in this highly subjective list, weighing each town against its peers in an attempt to rank the best mountain outposts in the U.S., from the southern Appalachians to the Chugach. There’s a good chance we’re going to piss you off with our picks. We probably left off your favorite town. Or worse, we included a place you wish we’d never written about. Some of the towns on this list are so damn awesome that they’re suffering from side effects like crowded trailheads and ridiculous home prices. For that, we’re sorry. We’re only human and maybe we put too much stock in an empty trail, a tasty IPA, and a great breakfast burrito. Tell us where we went wrong in the comments.

24. Cordova, Alaska

(Photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times/Getty)

No roads connect this fishing hub with other towns in Alaska, so you’ll have to catch a seaplane or boat to get here. But once you’ve arrived, the best of the state is just out your back door. The community (population 2,800) sits at the mouth of the Copper River on Prince William Sound, surrounded by glaciated peaks that are protected by Chugach National Forest. The Copper is both a means of transportation and entertainment. Catch a boat upriver to see Childs Glacier, which drops ice chunks into the water with alarming regularity, or cast a line and try to hook some salmon. Kayakers can paddle between icebergs in Orca Inlet, and skiers based downtown can walk to Mount Eyak, where 800 vertical feet and an average 120 inches of snow are served by a historic single chairlift. A lifetime of hiking trails are scattered throughout this corner of Chugach Mountains, many leading to alpine lakes and other glaciers.

23. Roanoke, Virginia

(Photo: insta_kenya/Getty)

Roanoke gets overshadowed because of its blue-collar bones, but its adventure chops are the real deal. The Blue Ridge Mountains rise directly from downtown, offering immediate access to rigorous road-bike climbs that top out at the Blue Ridge Parkway and 400 miles of flowy singletrack, while the Appalachian Trail skirts the edge of town if you’re interested in a 2,000-mile jaunt or a short, scenic stretch of it. It’s even home to one of the toughest tests of distance running in the country, the Blue Ridge Marathon, putting it to you with more than 7,000 feet of elevation gain. And the food? Unpretentious farm-to-table fare with a Southern accent, washed down with something from the burgeoning craft-beer scene. Deschutes Brewery liked Roanoke so much, it opened an outpost here.

22. Terlingua, Texas

(Photo: Dean_Fikar/Getty)

The Texas Hill Country is adventure packed and all, but the peaks that define the far western corner of this state are the real deal. The Chisos Mountains hit 8,000 feet, rising from the dusty Chihuahuan Desert, and the entire stretch is contained within the one-million-acre Big Bend National Park. The tiny town of Terlingua, with a population of 50 or so, sits on the boundaryof the park and has a killer bar in the Starlight Theatre Restaurant, a couple of other dining options, and some beloved stone ruins. There’s mountain biking galore in nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park, road and gravel cycling throughout the national park, and some of the best overlanding you could imagine. And we haven’t even mentioned the Rio Grande, which flows just south of town, carving tall, dramatic cliffs that define the edge of America.

21. Spearfish, South Dakota

Perched on the northern side of Black Hills National Forest and hugging the Wyoming border, Spearfish is an hour and a half from Badlands National Park in one direction and an hour from Devils Tower, one of the country’s finest trad-climbing destinations, in the other. But you don’t need to get in your car to get radical; Spearfish Canyon, with its thousand-foot-high limestone walls, begins just outside downtown and runs south for 20 miles through the Black Hills, offering endless climbing, mountain-biking, and hiking options. During the winter, those trail systems become a hotbed of cross-country activity. As for the town itself, expect a college-educated-cowboy vibe, thanks to the presence of Black Hills State University.

20. Davis, West Virginia

(Photo: krblokhin/iStock/Getty)

Davis is not large. Its population hovers at 600, and its downtown is just a few blocks, but it has everything you need: a pizza place, a burrito joint, and a brewery. Then there’s the wild and rugged Monongahela National Forest on the outskirts, stacked with some of the most challenging singletrack on the eastern seaboard. The nearby Dolly Sods Wilderness is a prime pick for backpackers looking to traverse rocky outcroppings, meandering creeks, and high-elevation bogs. The town itself is located just minutes from two downhill ski resorts, Canaan Valley and Timberline Mountain, and one cross-country-skiing hub, Whitegrass Ski Touring Center, all of which enjoy some 200 inches of lake-effect snow each year.

19. Durango, Colorado

(Photo: Jacob Boomsma/iStock/Getty)

Durango has everything more famous towns in Colorado have, except the crowds. A former mining town and railroad hub, it has since expanded to 25,000 residents, who relish the four seasons of adventure in their backyard. Rafting the Class III–V Animas River, which cuts through the small city center, can be a multiday excursion on the Upper Animas or a post-work session at the Durango Whitewater Park. Mountain biking is ingrained in the culture—a shocking number of Olympic bikers grew up here—while hikers hit the 17-mile Highline Loop Trail or a section of the Colorado Trail. Durango doesn’t register as a ski destination, but locals have Chapman Hill, a two-rope-tow affair that rises from downtown, and Purgatory, a 1,605-acre resort that boasts the largest cat-skiing operation in the lower 48. The town is also just 45 minutes from Mesa Verde National Park, easily one of the most interesting units in the park system. All this exploring will no doubt work up your appetite, and you’ll find Durango stacked with surprisingly eclectic food (get the Southwestern sushi roll at Rice Monkey), while the brewery scene is exactly what you’d expect from a world-class mountain town and includes one of the O.G. craft breweries, Ska.

18. Taos, New Mexico

(Photo: Mona Makela Photography/Getty)

It’s easy to get caught up in Taos’s history—people living here for centuries, starting with the ancestors of the Pueblo, who settled in the area around 900 A.D. Since then it has seen a rotating cast of characters, from Spanish conquistadors to artists like D.H. Lawrence and Ansel Adams. The dining scene is also pretty spectacular for such a small town—where green chile is found on many a menu—but it’s what lies just outside town that has us swooning: the trails of Wheeler Peak Wilderness, Taos Ski Valley’s winter powder and summer flow trails, and the 800-foot granite cliffs of the Rio Grande Gorge. No, Taos isn’t a secret, and you’re going to have to share the goods with a few other people (though not as many as some of the other towns on this list), but can you blame them for showing up? Summiting 13,161-foot Wheeler Peak in summer is a must, as is pedaling the high-altitude singletrack on the north side of the ski valley, followed by the mixed-sausage plate (bratwurst, Nürnberger, and Debrezinar in one serving!) and a 32-ounce stein of Spaten Lager at the aptly named Bavarian. Fishing for cutthroat in the Rio Hondo is up there, too.

17. Leavenworth, Washington

(Photo: RomanKhomlyak/iStock/Getty)

OK, Leavenworth has a bit of kitsch to it, thanks to a Bavarian-style downtown complete with copious German beer gardens. It also has the riches of the Cascade Mountains beckoning from nearby, starting with the Icicle and Wenatchee Rivers, where whitewater paddling and fly-fishing are favorite pursuits, and the powdered peaks of Stevens Pass Ski Area, which can see an astounding 425 inches of snow a year. In between you have rock climbing in Icicle Valley, mountain biking in Freund Canyon, and a community that’s committed to the outdoors, supporting a local ski hill with two rope tows, a robust ski team, and the only ski jump on the West Coast. And did we mention all of the beer gardens?

16. Stanley, Idaho

(Photo: Darwin Fan/Getty)

If you can’t make the jaunt to Alaska, Idaho will do. The state is as wild as it gets in the lower 48, and Stanley, in the center of the Sawtooth Valley with its 10,000-foot namesake peaks, is the ultimate tiny base camp. The Salmon River helps carve the town’s boundaries, offering immediate access to fly-fishing and Class IV rapids. Fishing and paddleboarding on alpine lakes, like the 1,500-acre Redfish Lake, are common practice within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, as is wildlife watching for bighorn sheep and elk. Come winter, Galena and Banner Summits are quick getaway options for backcountry powder, while endless stashes are hidden amid the 40 peaks surrounding Stanley. Downtown is delightful and supports its small population of 100 (make like a local and grab a breakfast burrito from Stanley Baking Company), but if you want some glitz or lift-served downhill, Sun Valley Mountain Resort is just an hour south.

15. Bentonville, Arkansas

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The Ozarks aren’t known for towering peaks, but don’t mistake their muted summits for humble terrain; the landscape is rugged, especially if you’re on a mountain bike. And Bentonville (population 49,467) has taken advantage of that feature, building more than 300 miles of singletrack in the past decade. One result is a downtown renaissance: its historic main street has come back to life with restaurants and boutiques that pay homage to Southern charm, with a nod toward changing times. (Case in point: this speakeasy in the basement of a former church.) The town has also seamlessly married culture with adventure: more than 100 pieces of public art can be found along the trails. Make a pit stop at the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a destination in itself, housing pieces by numerous icons, including Warhol and Rockwell.

14. North Conway, New Hampshire

North Conway might be best known as a ski town—and that’s a legitimate distinction with Cranmore Mountain Resort’s steeps and glades just a mile from downtown and six more alpine resorts within an hour’s drive. But winter is just part of the draw. The storybook village (population 2,179) is nestled in Mount Washington Valley, surrounded by the White Mountains, and ideally located near some of the best trad climbing and hiking in New England. Climbers flock to Cathedral Ledge for long multi-pitch routes, and hikers have 800,000 acres of national forest to explore outside town.

13. Chattanooga, Tennessee

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This outdoor outpost of 179,690 residents has been a rock-climbing mecca for decades, thanks to the towering sandstone bluffs and boulders that define the Cumberland Plateau, to the west. Hundreds of sport routes traverse the Tennessee Wall, while Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain is a center for trad. But in the past ten years, mountain biking has taken prominence, with more than 100 miles of singletrack creating a prime network for cyclists, earning Chattanooga a silver-level Ride Center recognition from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Hikers have 150 miles of trails to choose from, including the 200-mile-long Cumberland, which begins outside town and runs north along the plateau. The broad but mellow Tennessee River carves an arc around the city center and begs paddleboarders and rowers to spend time in its currents, while the Class IV rapids in the Ocoee, an hour east, beckon hardcore whitewater enthusiasts.

12. Whitefish, Montana

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Whitefish has the distinction of being both a ski hub (Whitefish Mountain Resort’s 3,000 acres are minutes north of downtown) and a national-park gateway (Glacier is 30 miles east). Either of those outdoor attractions would be reason enough to call Whitefish home for a weekend or a lifetime, but it’s the nuances between the obvious gems that make this area of the northern Rockies so damn compelling. The Flathead River and its tributaries are a hotbed of native trout, while the glacier-fed Whitefish Lake offers picture-perfect paddling. As for biking, the Whitefish Trail is 43 miles of flowy singletrack, with a trailhead two miles from downtown.

11. Copper Harbor, Michigan

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As far as you can get from major centers of civilization in the Midwest, this former mining outpost (population 100) sits on the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, flanked by the largest of the Great Lakes on one side and the rocky ridgeline of Brockway Mountain on the other. It’s five hours from the nearest interstate, and cell service is nonexistent unless you hike to the top of Brockway. You can even occasionally catch the aurora borealis from this latitude. Summer is about mountain biking, with some of the most impressive singletrack starting in town. Or hop a ferry to explore Isle Royale National Park in the middle of Lake Superior. Meanwhile, an average winter sees more than 250 inches of lake-effect snow, turning the tip of the peninsula into a playground for fat bikers and cross-country skiers, and nearby Mount Bohemia runs the only cat-skiing operation east of the Rockies.

10. Lake Placid, New York

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Is Lake Placid a tad too touristy? Maybe. But there might not be a more complete winter destination in the lower 48. There are only a couple of places in the U.S. where you could try out an Olympic-size ski jump or go bobsledding, and Lake Placid is one of them, thanks to the 1980 Olympic facilities that still welcome tourists and athletes alike. You can also spend time dogsledding, ice skating, or cross-country skiing on 12 miles of groomed trails just outside town, or just run laps on what is arguably the most badass toboggan chute in the country. Then there’s Whiteface Mountain for downhill turns. Lake Placid is surrounded by the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, home to hiking trails galore as well as Wallface, an 800-foot granite cliff with some of the best climbing in the state, located in the deep wilderness of Indian Pass. This town is serious about mountain biking, too: old ski hills have been turned into new systems of singletrack at Craig Woods Trails, where a defunct slope from the seventies has been transformed into some serious flow trails.

9. Sedona, Arizona

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Don’t let the New Age crystal shops fool you—Sedona is a town that’s grounded in its surroundings. The hub of 10,000 sits at 4,350 feet in the center of almost two million acres of national forest, a landscape of high-elevation pine-filled peaks and stunning red-rock formations. There are more than 400 miles of trails to choose from, many of which start on the edge of town and feature an array of buttes, arches, and caves to explore. Scrambling up Bell Rock is a must, as is traversing Devil’s Bridge and spending time at the pools and caves of Devil’s Kitchen. But maybe mountain bikers have it best, thanks to the variety of smooth slickrock and technical descents mixed with purpose-built dirt paths. The double-black Hiline Trail could be the highlight, full of clifftop views (and clifftop exposure) and a descent that’s equal parts flowy and sketchy.

8. Bozeman, Montana

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It’s tough to say if Bozeman is a fishing town or a skiing town, a boating town or a mountain-biking town. The truth is, it’s all of those—and a college town to boot (go, MSU Bobcats!). Located in a flat valley, Bozeman is bookended by Bridger Range to its north and the Spanish Peaks to the south. Anglers can head to high-alpine lakes or movie-set-worthy rivers; the Lower Gallatin offers world-class trout close enough for a happy-hour cast. For skiers, Big Sky Resort is nearby and famous, but Bridger Bowl is the more convenient home hill, with 2,700 feet of vertical drop and a lively après parking-lot scene. But Bozeman’s true gem is Hyalite Canyon, a multisport, four-season destination just 15 miles from town, where trails lead from easy-access campsites to mountain meadows in the summer. In winter, Hyalite becomes one of the best ice-climbing spots in the country. Need to tick off a bucket-list adventure? Yellowstone National Park, 70 miles south, can been seen on a day trip.

7. Stowe, Vermont

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Stowe might be too perfect. First, you have the quaint village, loaded with New England charm and underpinned by a farm-to-table ethos. Then you have Stowe Mountain Resort, which consists of two peaks, including the tallest mountain in the state, and pulls down 300 inches of snow a year. It boasts over 485 acres of skiable—and, in the summer, bikeable—terrain. Add in access to some of the best beer on the East Coast, a local land trust that’s preserved more than 4,000 acres for the public, rugged adventures at nearby Smugglers Notch State Park, and more groomed nordic trails and singletrack than you could possibly explore, and you have the recipe for perfection. Just be prepared to sit in traffic if you want to ski Stowe Mountain on a Saturday.

6. Asheville, North Carolina

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Cyclists, take note: Asheville sits in a bowl surrounded by 5,000-to-6,000-foot peaks and offers a sturdy mix of two-lane blacktop, gravel, and singletrack traversing those mountains in every direction. The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, arguably the best road-cycling destination in the country, cruises by the edge of town, and getting to Pisgah National Forest’s legendary singletrack only requires a quick warm-up or cooldown from your home base. Meanwhile, kayakers look to the Class V Green River, and hikers have the highest mountains on the East Coast to explore. Everybody comes together for a beer downtown, blessed with too many breweries to count. And when we say everybody, we mean everybody–because the secret is out, and outdoorspeople have come to appreciate its amenities; the downside of all this is that traffic jams are common on highways that feed Pisgah National Forest, and housing prices continue to escalate.

5. Bend, Oregon

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Forget the stereotypes of copious rain overwhelming all parts of the Pacific Northwest. Bend sits on the dry side of the Cascade Range, so the powder is fluffy during the cold months and the trails are buff in the warm ones. Mount Bachelor, 20 miles away, affords more than 4,300 acres of lift-served terrain during the winter and a state-of-the-art bike park when the snow melts. Roadies love the 20-mile climb up to the resort, while mountain bikers have more than 300 miles of singletrack to tackle. Some trails traverse through town, and others take in the 10,000-foot peaks on the horizon, home to alpine lakes, waterfalls, and dormant volcanoes. Pilot Butte, an urban park popular for recreation, offers seven miles of trails and a summit with stunning views. Deciding how to spend your time downtown may be the biggest challenge: galleries, good food, better beer, and a whitewater park where you can tube, kayak, or surf the Deschutes River are just a few of the excellent options. Naturally, such attributes have led to the quintessential problem facing mountain towns—everyone wants to move here. With so much to keep you happy and healthy in Bend, it’s hard to blame them.

4. Truckee, California

The bustle of Lake Tahoe can be overwhelming, but Truckee, 12 miles north, has managed to retain itslow-key vibe. The western character of its historic downtown still shows through and through, and if you’re looking for a beach scene that’s quieter, head to Donner Lake instead. During the summer, the mountains in this section of the Sierra Nevada are lousy with climbing, notably the tall granite slabs seen at Donner Summit and closer to Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe. Truckee happily hosts cyclists with 22 miles of paved bike paths as well as a bike park and the world-class singletrack of Tahoe National Forest just out its back door. Alternatively, make a beeline to the Tahoe Donner Trail System, with 60 miles of multi-use trails, or hit the famous Flume Trail at Lake Tahoe. Come winter, local families flock to the Tahoe Donner resort, with 3,170 skiable acres.

3. Telluride, Colorado

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The conversation about Telluride starts with the ski resort of the same name, which drops 4,000 vertical feet across 2,000 acres just upslope of downtown (a gondola connects the town center with the resort’s mountain village). Seriously, you can ski right into town here—and not just some manufactured ski-resort village but an actual community. With with all the love Telluride receives (don’t bother searching for real estate; if you have to ask, you can’t afford it), it can feel a bit cramped considering Telluride itself is tucked into a box canyon within the towering San Juan Mountains. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room to spread out, as those mountains are home to the densest concentration of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks in the nation. Hiking and mountain biking take over come summer, with singletrack that begins where side streets end. But the unique culture it evinces is as vibrant as the adventure. Its architecture is more Victorian than mining camp, the food scene is legit, and the summer is punctuated by big events like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Telluride Blues and Brews.

2. Jackson, Wyoming

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Yeah, you know about the antler arches, the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, and Corbet’s Couloir at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. There aren’t a lot of secrets in Jackson anymore. But that doesn’t make the town or its corner of the Tetons any less stunning. The resort gets all the love (and rightfully so), but don’t overlook Snow King, which serves as a pre- and post-work ski workout for locals, or Grand Targhee, 45 miles away, which has just as much to offer mountain bikers during the summer as it does skiers in the winter. You might not know that you can ride your bike to Grand Teton National Park. And there’s never a bad time to visit Bridger-Teton National Forest, pass some enjoyable hours fly-fishing the Snake or Firehole Rivers, or hitting the gondola-served singletrack. And what would a mountain town be without proximity to wild animals? The National Elk Refuge is minutes away.

1. Park City, Utah

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Park City is a ski town, sure, with Deer Valley and Park City Mountain looming on the horizon, but it’s so much more than just downhill turns and champagne powder here. The Wasatch offers the picture-perfect frame for this former silver-mining boomtown, delivering adventure beyond the lifts. There are 450 miles of trails surrounding Park City, earning it one of the few gold-level Ride Center designations from IMBA. A tandem of blue-ribbon rivers (the Provo and the Weber) keep anglers entertained, while every hiking trail seems to lead to a different high-alpine lake. Back in town, High West is producing some of the best whiskey in the country, a free trolley is an excellent means of alternative transportation, and the food scene is far more eclectic than you’d expect of a place with 8,000 full-time residents.

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