When Irishman Dave O’Riordan first moved to Zug, Switzerland, in 2005, much to his surprise, off-road biking received little attention. “People complained that all the mountain biking was on boring dirt roads,” he says, “but I just knew that couldn’t be true, so I began exploring the mountains and countryside myself.” He quickly found world-class downhill singletrack and cross-country rides throughout the Alps and Jura mountains. In 2007, he formed a meet-up group and touring organization, Swiss Alpine Adventure, to share his discoveries with what’s now a club of over 1,700 riders.
Here, O’Riordan names his 20 favorite trails from across Switzerland. Some are well-known classics, while others are true insider rides, never before put in print. A full-suspension mountain bike that can both climb and descend comfortably is ideal, and since most routes are open to hikers, be prepared to stop quickly. The downhill and enduro-style rides incorporate Switzerland’s incredible alpine transportation system of PostBuses, mountaintop trains, and ski lifts to help you reach the highest peaks, while many of the cross-country adventures include ascents of 3,000 feet or more.