How to Make a Mountain Bike Trail in Your Backyard

Mountain biking is all about riding your bike in the mountains.

But what if you don’t want to travel just to ride your bike in the nearest mountain? That’s where backyard mountain bike trails come in.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to make a mountain bike train in your backyard. No longer do you have to spend hours just to reach the trails. This will save you a lot of time and energy, while also speeding up the development of your riding skills.

It might sound easy, but building one takes a lot of planning. You also need to have the right tools and techniques. And learn the different trail features your backyard trail must have.

Things You Need to Prepare

Building a backyard mountain bike trail is challenging. But you can make the process easier by preparing these tools and objects:

  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Shovel
  • Ax
  • Rake
  • Clippers
  • Screws or nails
  • Wood
  • Dirt

Step-by-step Guide on How to Make a Mountain Bike Trail In Your Backyard

Step 1: Find a location

The first thing to do is to look for a pleasant location. You’re lucky if your house is in the mountains or if you have a huge natural backyard. Finding the right location means that it should be accessible. It shouldn’t be over 10 or 15 minutes away from your home.

This is also the time when you need to decide on what kind of trail you are building. Are you going to have a flow trail? Or a more technical one? Make sure that the location doesn’t have lots of trees, vegetation, or rocks if you choose the former.

Meadows and sloping farm fields are excellent examples. You must then secure rock sections and roots if you prefer technical trails. We usually find these in off cambers, ridges, dense forests, and swamps.

Step 2: Outline the trail

Sketch a raw map of the trail once you’re done scouting the area. A simple sketch will do. Just outline the planned routes and show the feature you want to put. Then go for a walk on the trails and mark tape on the sides so you’ll find it easier to cultivate them later.

Ask yourself if you can climb that uphill or if the turn is too sharp to take. You can also assess if you won’t crash once you hit the planned drops or jumps. Re-route the trail if you think there’s a better way.

Step 3: Set up the foundations

Now is the time to bring out all the tools. The most important ones are the shovel, saw, clippers, and weed eaters. Call your friends to help you out because you’re surely going to need loads of muscle power. After all, they can also ride the trail later!

Use your weed eater to clean the trail routes and make them passable. You can then use the handsaw to cut the outgrown branches, twigs, and stems that you might hit when riding. The shovel is then used to dig out berms and build jumps and drops.

This is the time when you can do trial and error because you’re still building the initial base of the trail. It’s all about clearing the trail, making it passable, and setting up the features for now.

Step 4: Build the trail

This is where the fun time starts. You have already cleared out the trails, right? Now is then the time to assess the trail and look for areas which might erode. The sections most susceptible to erosion are berms, jumps, and corners.

Build canals or small tunnels where accumulated rainwater can leave the trail. This is important so that there won’t be puddles. Also, make sure that the trail is slightly slanted so the gravity can pull any water or mud down and out.

It’s best if you dig at the highest part and slowly making your way down the bottom section. Also, level out the lower section by removing the dirt. This can serve as your receiver if you’d want to build jumps before it later.

Don’t force adding a certain section of the trail if you think rain will erode it. Or if it’s beyond your skill set or comfort levels. You want to enjoy your ride safely, right? Dig small trenches on the sides of corners, so they won’t erode or lose their shape.

They should maintain their curved shape so you can smoothly transition your way through it later. Add logs or small wooden beams to support the corner’s foundation.

Step 5: Add the trail features

Adding features to your trail makes your ride more fun. The features you can add are jumps, drops, berms, and North Shores. Jumps and drops are similar. But jumps have a more tilted shape because the’re meant to slingshot you to the air.

Meanwhile, drops are merely sliced up chunks of land which gives you air time once you drop off it. You can build jumps and drops by piling soil in a certain area. There are two types of jumps. These are table tops and gap jumps.

Tabletops are a mound of soil that is formed like a small mountain. Gap jumps are shaped like a half triangle. There should be two of them. The first one is where your bike takes off, and the second one is where you land. We also call this the receiver.

Berms are like corners, but they’re meant to make you faster when hitting corners because you don’t have to brake when hitting them. These can go to the left or right loop sections. North Shores are narrow bridges in the trail.

Finishing Your Backyard Mountain Bike Trail

Finishing Your Backyard Mountain Bike Trail

And you’re done when you’ve finished doing all these steps! But you don’t rush and ride the trail because you can damage it.

Instead, water the trail using a hose that is connected to an outdoor faucet. Regularly sprinkle water on the trails to harden the soil. You can do this for 2 to 3 days. You can then ride back the trail after.


Knowing how to make a mountain bike trail in your backyard is important. It’s a great way to build up your riding skills and gain more confidence in the track and trails. It also makes it more convenient for you because you don’t have to exert loads of effort and spend lots of time to reach the trail.

Simply hop out of your house and you’re there.

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Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.