Angel Fire Bike Park is the largest bike park in the Rocky Mountains, tucked up high in remote north-central New Mexico. This ski resort transforms into a massive mountain biker’s dream playground come summer, complete with 2,000+ vertical feet and 60+ miles of trails winding through a pristine high-alpine New Mexican landscape.
AFBP has been on our list of must-hit bike parks for a few years now, as they have been steadily growing and gaining momentum in the bike park world for close to a decade. We finally pulled the trigger and headed south over Memorial Day Weekend, excited to sample some famous DH trails and gorge upon delicious New Mexican green chili dining options.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with quiet lift lines on an early-summer bluebird Friday morning. We checked into the bike shop and hopped on the lift, liberally applying sunscreen and staring down drooling at the miles of trails winding away below the lift.
Our first run brought us down Upper Supreme DH, where we were able to sample some steep, rocky and rooty advanced riding. We shook off the winter cobwebs and started laying off the brakes- and were then happy to notice multiple natural gaps and line choices that only improved with added speed. The upper mountain was still a bit snowy in spots- offering exceptionally tacky dirt and loam for some proper roosting before the summer dust and brake bumps had time to set in.
Upper Supreme DH dropped us onto Lower Supreme DH, where we were able to open up the throttle even more on some long tabletop jumps and fast machine-built berms. This section of trail rode extremely well at high speeds, complete with a long fadeaway step-down that just begs riders to lay off the brakes and go deeper and deeper into the landing.
Angel Fire boasts lots of vertical, which translates into long runs. We took a break from DH race-style terrain and ventured onto Chutes and Ladders for some jumping action. Chutes and Ladders is a mix of manmade wood elements, berms, and flowy jumps. This trail was instantly a favorite: in between fast berms riders will find creative wallrides and drops built into the landscape that can be enjoyed in many different ways, and at varying speeds. We had to lap this a few times to fully experience this unique trail, riding slowly and playing around on some runs and blasting everything at full speed on other runs to compare. The verdict: this creation can be enjoyed by just about any downhill rider looking to have fun- whether you like to race, jump, do something between, or just ride creative trails.
Chutes and Ladders dropped us onto Candyland, one of Angel Fire’s signature jump trails near the bottom of the mountain. Candyland is made up of some smaller jumps and berms up top, which funnel down a steep hill into some of the largest jumps in the park. Candyland feels a bit like skiing through a terrain park jump line in the winter: tall lips, long tables, and long landings. We sessioned the big line a few times, enjoying some of the largest jumps we have ridden in US bike parks. Jumps this size require a significant amount of work to build and maintain, not to mention tons of space and massive amounts of dirt. Props to the trail crew for dialing in such a fun line!
After smashing out a few more runs all over the mountain and exploring as much as possible, we set our sights on another signature jump trail: Hungry Hippo. Hungry Hippo is long, large, and ridiculously fun. Riders drop into a few high-speed berms, setup rollers, and smaller jumps up high before making their way into the bigger features. About one third of the way down the trail things start to get rowdy, with two consecutive right-hand hips featuring both a large outer line and smaller inner line. These were some of our favorite jumps on the mountain: you can scrub the inner line, or blast the outer line. These hips also sit in the woods, which provides protection in case the wind decides to start howling. Just below the hips in the woods sits another large hip/tabletop jump at the entrance of a ski run, which offers scenic views for shooting photos and a massive choose-your-own-adventure lip. Hungry Hippo winds its way down the rest of the mountain with more tabletops, rollers, and overhead berms just begging to be ridden at full speed and in tight trains while whooping at your friends and slashing some meticulously-manicured New Mexican dirt.
AFBP is a must-hit for any serious bike park riders out there craving long runs, proper jump trails, and unique places to visit with delicious New Mexican food. The park’s remote location keeps the area unspoiled and lets you focus on what really matters: Pointing your bike down the hill and enjoying whatever you find, then repeating again and again. Thank you very much to Hogan Koesis, Kaela Rannikar, and the trail crew for hooking us up and creating such a stellar bike park! For more information head to www.angelfirebikepark.com.