True Adrenalists can turn any surrounding into an epicenter of heart-pumping activity. Those who live life on the edge have a way of finding and capitalizing on the elements of extreme no matter whether they find themselves in a top-flight skate park or an empty field. But while resourcefulness is a virtue for the athlete who thrives off shunning norms and exploring new and exciting physical frontiers, it’s always easier to be in a location that offers a wealth of ready-made resources if your goal is to figure out the fastest way to get your pulse pumping hard.
No matter if you’re a weekend warrior looking for an afternoon adventure or a seasoned pro seeking out some of the most seasoned extreme sports destinations in the US of A, our top five list of American cities most suited to Adrenalists will almost certainly guide you in your efforts to fill up your daily planner with awesomeness.
If you’re a motocross lover, you’ve probably already heard of Stillwater, Oklahoma. If you are and you haven’t, you’ve been missing out so listen closely. A natural home to motocross racing because of its trademark rider-friendly red dirt and plethora of hills, Stillwater welcomes thousands of motocross enthusiasts every year from the amateur-grade to the professional (including “Cowboy” Kenny Bertram, one of the most famous American freestyle motocross riders and a current resident of Stillwater). Must see destinations in Stillwater include Area 51 motocross, so called because of its location along Highway 51 and Cooperland Raceway, a 160-acre off-road racing terrain owned by racing vet, Guy Cooper.
Glasgow, Kentucky is perhaps best known for its cavernous Mammoth Cave. And Mammoth Cave, which makes up the world’s longest continuous cave system, is well known for the early 20th Century adventurer Floyd Collins who died after getting his leg pinned between a wall and a boulder deep within Mammoth’s expansive and dangerous depths. Nowadays, the cave is widely trafficked and appreciated by a variety of tourists, but make no mistake: it’s no less dangerous than it was 80 years ago. While modern adventurers are accompanied by guides as they crawl between some of the tightest crevasses we’ve ever seen, venturing into many corridors of Mammoth is still a big risk. All thrill-seekers take note: Many tours are offered at Mammoth but the 5.5 mile “Wild Cave Tour” is reportedly the most grueling and risky, as it explores many potentially perilous routes and passages off limits on more traditional tours. Why would you sign up for anything else?!
What’s your extreme sport of choice, whitewater rafting? Or is it rock climbing? Skiing? Whatever your answer, we’re betting you can find a spot to do it in Bend, Oregon. With a fantastic array of natural attributes, from raging rivers to mountain peaks, Bend is quickly becoming a popular hub for all things extreme and should certainly be an addition to every Adrenalist’s travel to-do list if it’s not on there already. With that endorsement, some Bend specifics are in order. In the summer months, rock climbers flock to Bend’s Smith Rock State Park where there are 500 climbing routes of varying degrees of difficulty. In the fall, kayakers take to the mighty Deschutes River whose rapids flow at a maddening Class 6 (the most dangerous) in some spots. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders visit Mt. Bachelor and revel in the powder white paradise that 370 inches of annual snowfall provides.
Yes, yes. We know you were thinking we’d say Denver or Boulder or Breckenridge or Aspen, or any number of the host of Colorado cities made famous by their natural predisposition to the extreme, but don’t rule Ouray out just because you’ve never heard of it. Home of the San Juan Mountains–part of the Rockies–in the Southwestern part of the state, Ouray is the definitive American location for ice climbing–one of the most technically demanding sports around–and with not one peak measuring under 9,900 feet, that makes Ouray a pretty serious extreme city contender. If you’re not a pro ice climber, don’t worry. OurayClimbing.com can help.
Your Town, USA
We’ve introduced you to four rad extreme sports cities off most people’s beaten paths and you should try to visit them if you can. That said, remember what we stressed at the top of this piece–for true Adrenalists, the best extreme sports cities in the country–nay the world–are the ones each of you live in, as you create and innovate in the most familiar places. So wherever you go and whatever you do, do it hard and all the way!
Cover Photo Credit: pbump / Flickr.com