What Are Mountain Bike Rock Gardens?

So you’re getting into mountain biking and not sure what mountain bike rock gardens are. Riding rock gardens on a mountain bike is a skill to learn when you first start riding. You might have thought that most trails will be smooth and easy to navigate through but remember that each trail is different. Preparing for these obstacles will help you become a better mountain biker.

Rock gardens can come up on any trail and as a mountain biker, you need to learn to navigate through this type of terrain. In this post we will look at some points to remember and help you master riding through rock gardens.

What is a Rock Garden when Mountain Biking?

Rock gardens are a portion of a trail scattered with rocks that the trail passes through. Most rock gardens will have an obvious path that riders take but can have multiple paths or lines you can ride.

Rock gardens can be tricky to navigate and really test your mountain bike skills. These challenging routes can be a lot of fun if you are prepared and understand your goal when you ride through them.

mountain bike rock gardens

First Step to Riding Rock Gardens

The first and most important step to take when you’re ready to ride some rock gardens is to scan ahead. The reason for this is to give yourself the layout of what’s ahead and how far you have to go.

We say this because if you start with out knowing how much further you have to go, there’s a good chance you will get stuck. Knowing the distance helps you power through certain section of the rock garden or slow down for certain parts.

If this is you’re first time riding a rock garden it will be best to hop off your bike and check out the area on foot. Plan your path and line you think that would be best for you to ride. If you’re knew to mountain bike see our post on mountain biking for beginners.

Control Your Speed

As we mentioned above, controlling your speed and balance are the two most important skills to learn when riding through these rock gardens. Different types of rocks call for different approaches and speed.

Some sections might be tough to pedal through and is why you might need a little extra speed to give you the momentum getting through it. Other sections could be more flat and a opportunity to reanalyze the path you want to take by slowing down.

Balance as you know is an ongoing skill while riding a bike. Rock gardens take this to another level by giving you constant change of directions and obstacles that take you off balance. One thing for sure about rock gardens is it will improve your balance extremely fast.

rock garden mountain biking

Rock Gardens can be Dangerous

There’s different kinds of rocks, and some are more dangerous than others. Rocks with sharp edges, loose gravel, and large boulders are not recommended for beginners. Each one of these types of rocks needs the right approach as discussed. Remember to start small and improve over time. Don’t ruin the rock garden experience by jumping ahead to quick.

To avoid injury while riding through rock gardens you need to practice. Start with a section you feel confident in and try different approaches and lines through it. Each time you ride through it you will learn something new or a better way to handle your bike.

Practice is where all the fine tuning comes into place. Think about how much is going on when you ride through a rock garden; you have to balance, pedal, choose your line, avoid certain rocks, brake and control your speed at the same time. Pretty crazy, right?

Wear Appropriate Gear

The best offense to the dangerous rocks is a good defense by wearing appropriate gear to help protect you from injury. A helmet should be worn at all times while riding and we never recommend riding with out one. See our post on the top 10 mountain bike helmets HERE.

Some bonus gear would be to have gloves along with some knee and elbow pads. If you made it this far into mountain biking and have the bug, maybe getting some pads isn’t a bad idea. We have a great post on knee pads HERE.

Be aware of weather conditions

If rock gardens are on your mind then you need to check what the weather is. Slick rocks can be dangerous and must change your entire approach.

If you plan to go mountain biking, make sure you check the weather forecasts before heading out. As always, check your gear and make sure you bike is all set to go.

Check out this Video by GMBN to see more.


Mountain bike rock gardens can be intimidating but are part of most bike trails. The more practice you have with riding will get you the experience to master these rock gardens.

Remember to take it slow at first and walk the grounds before you jump in. Before you know it you will be crushing rock gardens with your mountain bike and ready for the next challenge.

Good luck!

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo… so you can pin it to your Mountain Bike Board!