COPPER HARBOR - Mountain bike trails in the Keweenaw are starting to be recognized for what they are - adventure trails with the promise to deliver exciting rides for any level of expertise.
The International Mountain Bike Association has named the Keweenaw trails one of seven not-to-be-missed "Ride Centers" in the world.
In 2009, the cross country trails received the designation of "Epic Ride," being one of 53 such places in the world.
"This is huge for us," said Sam Raymond, vice president of the Copper Harbor Trails Club.
Raymond said the club has been aware of IMBA's Ride Center program for some time and they had no idea the Keweenaw trails were being assessed during a visit by IMBA officials before being given the designation.
"What they were looking for was one single location where people can drive to and park their vehicle and have access to a wide variety of trails," he said.
Those trails just so happened to be located in Copper Harbor, where the trail head begins by the welcome center and opens to pathways offering everything from rugged and rocky terrain to sprawling views of lakes.
The Ride Center designation represents IMBA's Model Trail recognition for large-scale mountain bike facilities that offer something for every rider, Raymond said.
"From backcountry adventures to shuttle-served gravity trails, and from expert-only to family-friendly, riders will encounter the best the sport has to offer," he said.
Gravity-based trails are more downhill in nature and the Keweenaw has several different types of trails, which make them appealing.
The CHTC is in the process of finishing a new gravity-based, dirt-jump trail. There will be 36 features throughout the 2 miles of trail along the side of Brockway Mountain, including table-top jumps, kickers and a wall to bounce off of.
"It's for more extreme riders," Raymond said.
Riders have been using the trails as late as last weekend and arrive in the Keweenaw to take advantage of the trails around May every year.
"I think this is going to be a significant resource for tourism in the whole area," he said.
There are about 25 miles of single-track trails in different types of elevation.
For more information, visit copperharbortrails.org.