Peru

peru

The Peruvian Andes

It's no surprise that a nation with 70 peaks above 18,000 feet would rank among the world's premier mountain biking destinations. Once the epicenter of the Incan Empire, Peru's vertical landscape is crisscrossed by thousands of ancient trails that are ideal for two-wheeled exploration.

Still, Peru's mountain biking scene is in its infancy, so don't expect to find a trail map. Instead, sign up for a trip with socially conscious outfitter Sacred Rides. The trip shoots out of the barrel on the Olleros Trail, a 34-mile jewel that begins at 10,400 feet and ends within earshot of the Pacific Ocean. In one six-hour descent, your tires grip tacky sandstone, glide down smooth singletrack, and carve huayco, parched riverbed spiked with natural lips.

Before the buzz of Olleros fades, riders are flown inland to the Incan capitol of Cusco, gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. There you gain new respect for the folks who carved these paths centuries ago: One unforgettable ride begins at the treeless summit of Lares Pass, elevation 14,300 feet, and descends ancient stone terraces past villages of stone huts and thatched roofs where life has changed little in the past 500 years.

Sign Up: Sacred Rides, sacredrides.com
Length of Trip: 10 days
Cost: $2,380
Best Time to Go: April to October