Taken literally, the phrase "Indy mountain biking" might seem like something of a misnomer. The area around Indianapolis, after all, is pretty much completely bereft of mountains, with only some relatively small hills providing vertical relief. That can lead some outsiders to assume that there is not much in the way of quality mountain biking in the area, but the reality is something else entirely.

In fact, there is a thriving, welcoming community of dedicated mountain bikers in the Indianapolis area, and plenty of world-class trails for them to indulge their passion on. It is true that those trails are typically fairly flat, but they make up for their less-than-dramatic profiles in other ways. There are lots of the kinds of twisting, technical trails, in the area, for example, that pose a real challenge to even the most advanced and accomplished of mountain bikers.

There are also plenty of trails that are just as suited to beginners, something that makes it easy to get started with the hobby in the area. One central Indiana Board Bikes dealer, for example, has a list of ten trails that it offers up to newcomers who stop by the shop for rentals and advice. Spread generously around the city, these trails offer up a great range of options to those who are new to the sport.

At the Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park, for example, absolute beginners often find that the Camp Glenn Trail makes a great starting point. At less than a mile in total length, it requires little in the way of commitment and can be completed by beginners several times in an afternoon. That makes it easy to improve, as new mountain bikers can study and master the trail's relatively accommodating challenges, gaining confidence along the way.

Once they are feeling steadier atop the saddle, many beginning mountain bikers turn to the nearby Lawrence Creek Trail. Topping out at just over three miles in length, this stretch of single track offers up some compelling views. It also provides quite a bit more in the way of challenge than the Camp Glenn route, while still being gentle enough that most beginners will feel comfortable. Even if Indianapolis does not fit the stereotype about mountain biking destinations, then, there is plenty here for people of all skill levels to enjoy.