Best Bike Routes in the USA

If the pandemic made you sick of sitting at home and you’re itching to go traveling once again, you can consider exploring every single part of the United States that you’ve never been to before. While you can go on road trips and see some tourist attractions, you can also pack your bike and ride some of the most thrilling routes in the country. No matter if you choose to go on your own or with a group of friends, here are some top cycling roads to take into account.

The Katy Trail, Missouri

Beginner cyclists can consider some easier tracks like the 240-mile long Katy Trail in Missouri. This road runs along the banks of the Missouri River and was originally blazed during the Louisiana Purchase by Lewis and Clark. As it was later used for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line, it is quite an easy ride that has minimal climbing. While you can try to tackle it with your road bike, fatter tires will make for a more enjoyable experience.

Greenville Watershed, South Carolina

In case you decide to explore the coastal Southeastern region of the USA, you can find some great cycling trails in South Carolina. For instance, the Greenville Watershed is an easy-to-medium track to think about. There is little car traffic and you will enjoy the long stretches of road with gentle hills. You can also find accommodation nearby as retired Pro Tour rider George Hincapie established a hotel there. Whether you decide to ride for 30 or 60 miles, don’t forget to get some BBQ after you’re done.

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, Oregon

On the other side of the continent, you will find Hells Canyon Scenic Byway. This Oregon trail stretches for 208 miles and loops around the Wallowa Mountains. The stretch from Joseph from Halfway features smooth asphalt and no potholes. With trees above you, you will feel like you are in a tunnel while you will get to enjoy stunning vistas as you climb and descend. Plus, you will also catch a glimpse of Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America.

The Flint Hills Trail, Kansas

If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, you can give the Flint Hills in Kansas a try. While you don’t have to take part in the grueling UNBOUND Gravel race, you still want to bring a gravel bike with you as well as plenty of spare tubes and tire plugs as this terrain is known to be brutal on the tires. Moreover, you will surely love the flora and fauna you will see on this 97-miles-long trail.

Grand Staircase, Utah

You might decide to take a trip to Utah and visit Zion National Park. However, don’t stop there. Take your reliable road bikes and continue your way to the quiet stretch of road where tourists and cars rarely go. The trail was named the Grand Escalante or Staircase as there is a rise from the canyon to the plateau. Moreover, while riding on this road, you will be above all the landscape and get to enjoy some magnificent views. Although you could attempt the whole 100+ miles, you can also start at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center and ride for 50 miles as it is considered to be quite a difficult trail.

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Needles Highway, South Dakota

Although South Dakota might not be the first state that comes to mind when you’re deciding on bike routes, you will certainly change your mind once you get to the Needles Highway. The “needles” refer to granite spires, some of which have tunnels carved into them. Riding on the smooth road is a pleasant experience and you will be high enough to see an area sacred to Native Americans – the Black Hills. If you ride on the “pigtail bridges”, you can also see Mt. Rushmore in the distance. At the end of your ride, you will arrive at the gorgeous Sylvan Lake.

Storm King Mountain, New York

Even if you decide to go on a trip to New York and explore the city, you should still have some time in your itinerary for spending time in nature. Bear Mountains might seem like a great option but the Storm King Mountains come with amazing biking opportunities. While a bit of a challenge, the medium 80-mile-out-and-back trail will provide you with breathtaking vistas of the Hudson River. Plus, when you come back to the city, you can enjoy some top-notch pizza.

Beartooth Scenic Byway, Wyoming

Taking a trip to Utah’s northeast neighbor Wyoming will allow you to ride on the Beartooth Scenic Byway. Located on the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park, near the town of Cody, the Beartooth Wilderness is home to 20 peaks that are higher than 12,000 feet. This area only has one road but it comes with many challenging climbs as well as gorgeous views of forested valleys, glacial lakes, and waterfalls.

Maroon Creek Road, Colorado

When you find yourself in Aspen, don’t forget to bring your bike as you can hit Maroon Creek Road. It’s best to tackle this 9-mile-long trail in the spring before it opens for cars but it looks pretty in the fall as well. It should not take you long to reach Maroon Lake and Maroon Bells and you will surely be left speechless once you see the pool of glacial water and the famous 14,000-foot peaks.

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San Juan Islands, Washington

The San Juan Islands are a four-island archipelago between the state of Washington and Canada’s Vancouver Island. You can easily reach them by ferry so just remember to bring your bike. Here, you can enjoy several bike routes such as the Pear Point Loop, which is perfect for beginners as it has minimal traffic. If you’d like some hills, try Lime Kiln State Park.

Old Seward Highway, Alaska

For a medium-to-hard trail, consider a trip to Alaska. Its Old Seward Highway is 120 miles of stunning views. Keep in mind that here you will have to tackle a climb of seven miles over Turnagain Pass but once you do it, you will see the magnificence of the Kenai Mountains and the diverse wildlife that calls this region home. You might be able to see everything from beluga whales to bald eagles and brown bears.

Island Line Trail, Vermont

When visiting the New England region and especially Vermont, don’t miss a trip to the Champlain Islands in the center of Lake Champlain, north of Burlington. Take the Island Line Trail from downtown Burlington for some 10 miles and you will enjoy nice views along the way. When you get to the lake, a bike ferry will take you across the break in the causeway and get you to the southern end of the island.

Mt. Tamalpais, California

Those living in the Golden State don’t have to go far to find great bike routes. For example, Mount Tamalpais is popular among cyclists as it provides a heavy elevation gain. Although the Bay Area has many different climbs, this one is a cut above its competition. There are several methods of how you can approach this difficult ride but starting on East Ridgecrest Boulevard and going around the Alpine Dam is often considered the best way.

 

When looking for the best bike trails around the United States, you’ll be glad to hear that your options are practically countless. Keep these 13 in mind when planning your next adventure.

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