The mountains around Addis Abeba do make for some great mountain biking terrain. The most accessible are the Entoto Mountains at over 3,000m, many of which are within Entoto Natural Park. This park on the northern edge of Addis Abeba provides foot paths and back roads that are frequently used by long-distance runners for training. They wind and weave through eucalyptus forest, parts of which are being restored with native tree species.
There are great views of the capital city below as well as 100- plus year-old wooden churches and even a couple of much older rock-hewn churches. The terrain is very steep on the south side, but the top is a high plateau with lots of easy riding. The main access points are from Entoto Street and Route 3 towards Sululta and Bahir Dar, but the mountains can also be accessed from Omedla Street or from roads east of the British Embassy, including those from the westernmost part of Yeka District.
The next most easily accessible mountains from Addis Abeba are those of the SubaSebeta Forest, formerly Menagesha Forest. They reach over 3,300m and require a 40km approach from Addis Abeba through the towns of Sebeta and Suba. But the dirt roads inside this national forest are the most secluded, provide the best chance of animal sightings, and are well maintained. There is a small entrance fee to pay at the park headquarters, where it is also possible to pay to camp or to stay in the cabins or hostel.
Towering above the lowest plains of Addis Abeba, is Mount Yerer at over 3,000m. Numerous dirt roads ascend its slopes from different directions. The ones from the south are more maintained and forested. But, no matter which direction the mountain is attacked from, route finding skills are necessary, as there are no signs or maps. The top of the mountain is most easily accessed from the northwest, where the mountain’s highest peak is. But it is not wise to just head out in a straight line from Addis Abeba via the neighborhoods of Yerer Ber or Ayat. There are deep ravines and some river crossings infested with hyenas in between. Instead, head towards the mountain from Debre Zeit, the Addis Abeba suburb to the southeast. Just keep in mind that the mountain has multiple peaks with vertical-faced chasms in between, so it is possible to expend a lot of energy climbing one peak, only to find that reaching the tallest one requires a descent of a few hundred meters before further ascent is possible.