Skip to Content

25 Best Bike Trails in the U.S.

We take pride in providing authentic travel recommendations based on our own experiences through unique imagery and visiting each destination. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product or book a reservation. Learn more ›

There’s nothing quite like the freedom you get from riding a bike. Also, a bike is the best way to connect with unfamiliar surroundings. The best bike trails in the US allow you to cover a lot of ground. At the same time, you can often get up close and personal with stunning landscapes and areas where cars can’t go.

Everyone knows that swapping your car for human-powered transportation is good for the environment. Biking is also important because it’s a great way to exercise. You’ll get a cardio workout, but it’s kinder to knees than running.

This experience is unbeatable when you’re exploring some of the most scenic areas in America. From shorelines to mountain ranges, coastal roads to leafy greenways, these top U.S. cycling routes offer some of the most stunning American landscapes. And don’t feel you won’t be able to cope with the countryside’s beautiful rolling hills – there are always E-bikes!

Most trails have multiple trailheads with parking, so you can tailor your ride to suit your needs. Look out for bike shops nearby that offer rentals and maybe shuttle services to carry your bags; there are plenty of ways to enjoy discovering new and exciting routes. So hop on your bike and explore some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country on the best bike trails in the United States.

TL;DR

  • For mountain bikes – Medicine Bow Rail Trail, Wyoming
  • For beginners – Longleaf Trace, Mississippi
  • For families with kids – Great Glen Trails, New Hampshire
  • Coastal bike trail – Cape Cod Rail Trail, Massachusetts
  • Urban bike trail – Arkansas River Trail, Arkansas

Best Bike Trails in America

1. Wilderness Road Trail

Aerial view of Cumberland Gap
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock

Address: 10132 Wilderness Rd, Ewing, VA 24248

  • Trail length: 17 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy/Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Crushed limestone

This out-and-back mountain biking trail roughly follows the Wilderness Road, a path Daniel Boone forged through the Cumberland Gap around the KentuckyVirginia border in the 1770s. Along the way, you’ll enjoy some sensational views of the Cumberland Mountains, as well as forests and farmland. Watch out for the glorious show of eastern redbud blooms in the spring and for the buffalo!

Although this well-shaded trail parallels US 58 for a couple of miles, cyclists are safely separated by barriers from traffic, which is relatively light much of the time. The trail’s crushed stone surface can sometimes be quite loose, meaning cyclocross or mountain bikes do best here. And there are a few inclines as you cross the gently rolling terrain.

It’s worth stopping at Wilderness Road State Park, halfway between Wheeler and the trail’s eastern terminus at Ewing. Here, there are restrooms, picnic spots, and a visitor center explaining the trail’s history. And don’t miss Martin’s Station, a detailed replica of a colonial frontier fort.

See Related: Things to Do in Norfolk, Virginia

2. The Oklahoma River Trail

Bike in The Oklahoma River Trail
Brompton Barcelona / Facebook

Address: 608 Riversport Dr, Oklahoma City, OK 73129

  • Trail length: 13 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

If you’re looking for a scenic ride through downtown Oklahoma City, head for the Oklahoma River Trails. Along the way, you’ll see panoramic river views and urban and more open scenery.

This includes wetland areas, which are great for bird spotting. And as you’re at river level, there’s very little elevation, making it a perfect trail for beginners and lots of fun for families.

Parking areas are all along the 3-bike-wide trail, shared with runners and dog walkers. Close to the Regatta Park trailhead, there’s the Riversport cycling park for some more gritty riding. And look out for the fabulous Land Run Monument, an impressive bronze art installation not far away.

The trail is also just a few blocks from the dramatic SkyDance bridge. This quirky 200-foot-high structure was designed to echo the tail of Oklahoma’s state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher. For a better view, take a detour north of S. Walker Avenue to Lower Scissortail Park.

See Related: Best Hiking Trails in America

3. Great Glen Trails

Address: 1 Mt Washington Auto Rd, Gorham, NH 03581

  • Trail length: 27 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy/Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Asphalt/Dirt

Located in scenic New Hampshire, the Great Glen Trails offers a range of biking experiences to enjoy. Mostly you’ll be cycling along smooth carriage roads, but there are also 10 or more miles of challenging single-track if you’re looking for more of a wild ride. Along the way, you’ll take in fabulous views of the White Mountains and the Peabody River.

The trails are managed by the Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, meaning you’ll also have access to the center’s trailside cabins and rental opportunities. Available for hire are Reid fat bikes, Schwinn comfort bikes, and Kona kids’ bikes, all complete with helmets, trail passes, and maps. There are even bike trailers for toddlers.

Watch out for the Moat Mountain 24 Hours of Great Glen Race, a mountain biking test of endurance in late summer, and the Summer Mountain Bike Race Series, June – August. Note that as this is US Forest land, E-bikes are not permitted.

4. Longleaf Trace

Long Leaf Trace
tcsilver87 / TripAdvisor

Address: 2895 W 4th St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401

  • Trail length: 44.5 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

Starting at the University of South Mississippi’s Hattiesburg Campus, the Longleaf Trace is one of the best paved bike trails in the United States. As Mississippi‘s first recreational Rails-to-Trails conversion, it runs northwest through Mississippi’s Pine Belt to the town of Prentiss. 

The trail is 10 feet wide, paved, and smooth, so it’s also popular with dog walkers, runners, and inline skaters. There’s a lot of easy riding, and along the way, you’ll see the famously rangy long-leaf pine trees as well as loblolly pines, dogwoods, and ancient oak trees. There are a couple of primitive campgrounds en route, at Denbury Beaver Pond and Carson Station, should you want to make the most of this scenic bike ride.

Facilities are good on the trail – there are eight small covered rest areas along the route, complete with restrooms and vending machines. If you start from Hattiesburg, you can pick up a plant identification guide at the welcome center. There are plenty of accommodations in Hattiesburg, but particularly handy for the trailhead is Holiday Inn Hattiesburg – North, an IHG Hotel.

See Related: Things to Do in Mississippi & Places to Visit

5. River to Sea Bikeway

River to Sea Bikeway
Anna Fox / Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Address: Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401 

  • Trail length: 11 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy/Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

The River to Sea Bikeway is an on- and off-road bike trail that follows a historic trolley bus route in Wilmington, North Carolina. At its starting point, you’ll get dramatic views of the Battleship USS North Carolina visible across the Cape Fear River. 

The route starts at Riverwalk, Market Street, home of the fabulous Seabird seafood restaurant. You’ll finish up at Johnny Mercer’s Fishing Pier, Wrightsville Beach. This means that after your ride, you can look forward to having a well-earned dip in the ocean, hiring fishing poles, or maybe taking this amazing sunset cruise.

The route was originally used for transporting vacationers to the beach, meaning much of it shares the road with motor vehicles. While the neighborhood residential streets and off-road multi-use paths are quiet, there are a few busy arterial roadways to contend with. So if you’re not confident riding in traffic, this is not the best trail for you.

See Related: Things to Do in Outer Banks

6. Southern Delaware Heritage Bike Trail

Southern Delaware Heritage Bike Trail
Southern Delaware Explorer Magazine / Facebook
  • Trail length: 130 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

With Delaware being one of America’s most bike-friendly states, it’s no surprise that the Southern Delaware Heritage Bike Trail is one of the best USA bicycle tour routes. On offer is an on-road loop that connects dozens of appealing sights and attractions throughout Slower Lower Delaware. For a start, you’ll be cycling past numerous National Register of Historic Places listed sites, including some of Delaware’s famous potato houses.

Small towns along the way, like Laurel, Bridgeville, Bethel, and Millsboro, are steeped in history, and you’ll see plenty of Colonial and Victorian architecture. There are also antiquing opportunities if you’ve got room in your panniers

There’s easy cycling over Southern Delaware’s flat landscape, with endless scenic views of ponds, lakes, wetlands, and rivers. This makes the trail excellent for birdwatching – look out for bald eagles, woodpeckers, and orioles. And it’s worth stopping for a while at Trap Pond State Park, where there’s a campground with cabins and yurts as well as recreation areas.

See Related: Best Bike-Friendly Cities in the World

7. Farmington Canal Heritage Trail

Farmington Canal Heritage Trail
John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: Winchester Ave, New Haven, CT 06511

  • Trail length: 56 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is one of the top US cycling routes and one of Connecticut’s most popular, with thousands of visitors each year. This greenway or linear park provides an enjoyable off-road multi-use trail often following the canal towpath. The trail starts in New Haven, Connecticut, and ends just over the Massachusetts border.

Not only is the surrounding New England landscape beautiful, but the trail itself is thoughtfully managed and equipped. There are numerous rest benches along the way, information kiosks, shelters, and pollinator gardens. There are also a handful of repair stations where QR codes give you access to useful “how to” repair videos. 

The trail is open year-round from dawn to dusk. It’s worth noting that users have reported seeing coyotes and bears – so beware. The advice is to refrain from seeking them out; instead, embrace mutual respect. And avoid leaving food around, as this only encourages the animals.

See Related: Things to Do in The Hudson Valley

8. Prairie Spirit Rail Trail

Prairie Spirit Rail Trail
Kansas Tourism / Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Address: Tecumseh St, Ottawa, KS 66067

  • Trail length: 51 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Asphalt/Hard-packed limestone

This scenic biking trail in Kansas runs north-south between Ottowa and Humboldt. Another great Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project, the trail gives you the chance to see some of the very best scenery in middle America. You’ll be passing through a wonderful variety of landscapes and ecosystems, including wooded valleys, streams, flower-studded prairies, big farms, and sleepy little towns. 

For classic prairie country, check out the Anderson County Prairie Preserve near Welda. At the trail’s halfway point, just north of this is the Garnett trailhead at the city’s historic train depot.

Here there are restrooms, a car park, and eateries and bed and breakfasts. Troyers 1883 is a locally-owned restaurant known for its great steaks. And for an inexpensive hotel stay, try the Economy Inn.

The trail is paved through some small towns, but its crushed limestone surface in the more rural areas can soften immediately after rain. Thanks to the almost-constant Kansas winds, the surface firms up quickly. On the other hand, this wind can sometimes provide an added challenge!

See Related: Things to Do in Wichita, Kansas

9. Medicine Bow Rail Trail

Medicine Bow Rail Trail
Kent Kanouse / Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

Address: Dry Park Trailhead, Laramie, WY 82070

  • Trail length: 21 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate/Challenging
  • Terrain type: Gravel

If you’re looking for some away-from-it-all mountain biking, the Medicine Bow Rail Trail is for you. Wild and remote, this route in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountain Range is over thirty miles away from the nearest city, so make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks. Only mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes will be able to cope with the trail’s loose gravel surface.

The trail takes in dense forests, streams, swamps, lakes, and carpets of wildflowers. And the 9,000-ft elevation means there are stunning views – this is a trail where you’ll want to stop every few moments to take pictures.

Be aware that this altitude may cause some people problems. If you feel nauseous or headachey, drink plenty of water and head back down to the lower ground.

You’re likely to come across wildlife – there’s a healthy moose population in the area. And as the trail follows the route of Wyoming’s second gold rush, you’ll also see traces of the old prospectors along the way. To learn more about the frontier days, visit nearby Cheyenne’s Old West Museum

See Related: Famous Landmarks in Wyoming to Visit

10. East Bay Bike Path

East Bay Bike Path
Alanroseman / Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: Tockwotton St., Providence, RI 02903

  • Trail length: 14 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

Rhode Island’s very first biking trail, this scenic bike route connects eight parks as it hugs the shore of beautiful Narragansett Bay from Providence to Bristol. You’ll follow the Providence River as it broadens out and enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline and the islands in the crystal blue bay. You could even pause at Newport for a scenic bay cruise.

There are plenty of restaurants and benches along the trail, which is flat and well-maintained. It can get a little crowded during summer weekends, and caution is advised when crossing the sometimes busy roads. But there’s usually ample parking at the trailheads, and you’ll find plenty of lovely picnic spots along the way, for example, at Haines Memorial State Park.

All the delights and attractions of Bristol Harbour await you at the trail’s terminus at Independence Park. This is the entrance to Bristol Waterfront Historic District, where you can visit the Herreshoff Marine Museum and the beautiful Linden Place mansion. And don’t forget a well-deserved treat from Jules Ice Cream.

11. Arkansas River Trail

Address: Interstate 430 and River Mountain Rd, Little Rock, AR 72212

  • Trail length: 21 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt/Concrete

As its name suggests, this beautiful bike trail winds its way alongside the Arkansas River. En route, you’ll get to see plenty of gorgeous riverside scenery along with some interesting urban vistas in Little Rock and North Little Rock. Look out for all the sculptures!

This paved, easy-ride trail takes in some lovely parks. Burns Park is a hub for recreation activities, while Two Rivers Park offers wooded wetlands and is accessed via the beautiful Two Rivers Park Bridge. 

Another spectacular bridge is the mighty Big Dam Bridge, the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in the United States. If you can, try to catch River Lights in the Rock, the nighttime illumination of three of Little Rock’s bridges.

In Little Rock, the short on-road section can be busy during weekday rush hours, so consider saving this for the weekend. Be prepared here for all things Clinton: Clinton National Airport, Clinton Presidential Park, and Clinton Museum Store. And for a good inexpensive hotel option near the trailhead, try Candlewood Suites West Little Rock.

See Related: Flyover States That Aren’t Boring

12. Ohio to Erie Trail

Address: Smale Park, 166 W Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202

  • Trail length: 270 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Asphalt/Concrete/Crushed Limestone

A giant among American bike trails, the Ohio to Erie Trail is a fabulous route crossing the whole of Ohio. Starting at the Ohio River in Cincinnati, the trail blends together around 20 smaller trails crossing 14 counties before its terminus at Cleveland, next to Lake Erie. 

En route, you’ll see some of the finest Ohio landscapes, including wetlands, rivers, prairie, and classic farm country. You’ll also encounter numerous quaint small towns as well as the cities of Columbus and Akron.

The trail will take at least four days, so you’ll need to plan accommodations. Recommended options include Aloft Columbus Westerville and Berrodin Bed and Breakfast, Akron.

You’ll share the trail with hikers and inline skaters and, at certain points, with Amish horse-drawn buggies. Most of the OTET is paved, but parts of the Sippo Valley Trail and O&E Canalway Towpath have a crushed stone surface. All bike types should be able to cope with this, but tires need to be 28mm or larger. 

See Related: Things to Do in Cincinnati, Ohio

13. Cape Cod Rail Trail

Address: 428 East-West Dennis Rd, South Dennis, MA 02660

  • Trail length: 22 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

If you’re a beach lover with a passion for cycling, then the Cape Cod Rail Trail offers the perfect two-in-one opportunity. Starting in South Dennis and ending at Wellfleet in north Cape Cod, the trail offers some glorious shoreline scenery. You can also expect to see shady pine woods, cranberry bogs, and glacial ponds.

This wonderfully scenic trail is generally flat, although you might get a few jolts from the tree routes pushing up the asphalt here and there. As this is a popular east coast holiday destination, the trail and the surrounding streets can get busy; don’t assume motorists will know where to expect cyclists. 

Next door to the South Dennis trailhead is Barb’s Bikes, where you can rent all types of machines. And don’t forget to pack a towel. Up at Wellfleet, you’ll be a few minutes from the lovely White Crest and Marconi beaches, where you can cool off in the Atlantic.

See Related: Things to Do in Massachusetts & Places to Visit

14. Des Plaines River Trail

Address: Route West Route 173, Wadsworth, IL 60083

  • Trail length: 56 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Asphalt/Crushed Limestone/Dirt/Gravel

A beautiful green oasis between the metropolitan areas of Milwaukee and Chicago, The Des Plaines River Trail is an exciting bike route that winds along the Des Plaines River in Illinois. You’ll find it hard to believe you’re so close to the suburbs. The trail offers a picturesque mixture of open prairie and forest preserves, with glorious river views.

In some ways, the DPRT is two trails. Heading south from the Wadsworth trailhead, the route is well-maintained and relatively smooth.

South of Lake Cook Road, though, the surface changes to crushed stone or dirt. Here you’ll need a cyclocross or gravel bike – and expect to get dirty in wet weather. On the plus side, this part of the trail is less populated.

The nearness of the river means you can see some interesting wildlife, such as herons and turtles. In the floodplain forests, you may catch a glimpse of tree squirrels, chipmunks, or even beavers.

See Related: Things to Do in Illinois & Places to Visit

15. Greenbrier River Trail

Greenbrier River Trail
Brian M. Powell / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: Stonehouse Road, Caldwell, WV 24925

  • Trail length: 78 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt/Crushed Limestone

The Greenbrier River Trail is a bit of a celebrity in West Virginia.  As well as having a place in the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame, it’s a recognized National Recreation Trail and one of America’s Millennium Legacy Trails. That’s not surprising – this route through the Appalachian Mountains from the town of Caldwell to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is one of the most beautiful trails in the United States.

Frequent rest stops along the trail are suitable for all bike riders. As it winds alongside the meandering Greenbrier River, the trail takes in remote little towns, numerous bridges, and two tunnels.

It’s also surrounded by lush forests famed for their glowing fall foliage. It’s super quiet, too. Parts of the trail are in the National Radio Quiet Zone, meaning cell phones won’t work.

If you’re looking for bike rentals, go to the Greenbrier Bikes store in Marlinton, the largest town on the trail. You’ll also find eateries and overnight accommodations in the town. And look out for Marlinton’s annual Roadkill Cookoff in the fall!

16. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail 

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail 
James Brooks / Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Address: West 2nd Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501

  • Trail length: 11 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

One of the very best things to do in Anchorage, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is also one of the top U.S. cycling routes. The trail follows the Cook Inlet and offers incredible views of the snowcapped peak of Mount McKinley, aka Denali, North America’s highest mountain. 

This paved trail, which is popular with hikers and skaters too, also commands spectacular views of islands, waterways, and pine forests. It’s generally good and level, although where it skirts the fault line of the 1964 earthquake, you’ll be burning a few calories on the three significant hills at the southern end of the trail.

This is a great biking trail for wildlife spotting. You might see beluga whales in the tidal inlets or red-necked grebes on their floating nests.

And it’s almost guaranteed that you come face to face with a moose. But if plane spotting is more your thing, you’ll be in luck between mileposts 3.5 and 7.5, where the trail skirts Anchorage Airport.

See Related: Places to Visit in Alaska & Things to Do

17. Flint Hills Nature Trail

Address: 1400 South St, Osawatomie, KS 66064

  • Trail length: 118 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Crushed gravel

The longest trail in Kansas, the Flint Hills Trail crosses the beautiful Flint Hills, one of the world’s few remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems. Along the way, you’ll be treated to some wide-open prairie landscapes, as well as national historic sites and an abundance of wildflowers. You might also see bobcats, quail, and wild turkeys.

The trail, sometimes appearing as the Flint Hills Trail on overhead signs, is made up of various grades of crushed rock, so all-terrain tires are a good choice. It’s usually well-draining, except for extended rainy periods. There’s a gentle 5% grade in general, and the trail is good and wide. And there’s plenty of shade, a handy attribute in the Sunshine State!

Watch out for the blind spot when crossing the John Brown Highway. And note that there are not many restrooms as yet on the trail, though you can have a pit stop at one of the numerous towns along the way.

For an overnighter, consider the Comfort Inn Ottawa. And Watts Coffee Co in Council Grove has a name for a great cup of coffee.

18. Mississippi River Trail

Mississippi River Trail
Dominic / Wikimedia Commons, CC 4.0

Address: MN-200, Lake Itasca, MN 56470

  • Trail length: 3000 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Mixed

From a knee-deep stream in Minnesota to the mile-wide giant of a river that empties into the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River cuts through America’s heartland. The Mississippi River Trail, one of the best bike trails in the United States, offers cyclists a fantastic way to follow the river on its epic journey and learn more about America.

You’ll experience every kind of cycling environment, from the rolling hills of nature preserves to off-road greenways to bike lanes on city streets. Just keep looking for the green, blue, and white MRT markers.

In Louisiana, you’ll even be riding along the top of the river levee. The trail is mainly paved, but some parts are more challenging, and there are some climbs to contend with.

And along the way, you’ll see riverboats, many kinds of wildlife, and all the attractions and activities associated with Ol’ Man River. For thru-riders, it’s an adventure of a lifetime.

If you only want a multi-day tour or just a day’s outing, there are tons of options. Make your own loop by crossing the river on one of the biker-friendly bridges or even via a ferry – check out the Mississippi River Trail Map to work out an itinerary. 

See Related: Things to Do in Minnesota & Places to Visit

19. Katy Trail

Katy Trail
Kbh3rd / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: Machens Road, St Charles, MO 63301

  • Trail length: 239 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Crushed Limestone, Gravel

One of the longest rail trails in the U.S., the Katy Trail certainly deserves its inclusion in the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. It spans almost the full width of Missouri as it parallels the Missouri River, and riders are promised superb river views as they pass through both rural and urban landscapes. As a result, this famous cycling route consistently gets 5-star ratings on bike trail review sites.

The trail is good and wide and mostly level, with only a few slight hills. The crushed stone packs down well, but although you’ll see road bikes on the trail, gravel bikes, cross bikes, or hybrid bikes with fat tires are best. During dry weather, the surface gets very dusty, so you might want to bring something to clean your bike with

There are plenty of shady patches, and you might see turtles, groundhogs, lizards, and even armadillos along the way. If you want to hire bikes, you could start at historic St Charles, 15 miles along the trail. Here you’ll find both the Pedego St. Charles and  Bike Stop Outpost bike stores.

See Related: Things to Do in Missouri & Places to Visit

20. American River Bike Trail

Address: Discovery Park, Sacramento, CA 95833

  • Trail length: 32 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

If you consider yourself a pioneer, channel the spirit of famous frontiersman Jedediah Smith and head to Sacramento. This is where you’ll find the trailhead of the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail (aka The American River Bike Trail, aka the American River Parkway). This scenic route winds its way alongside the America River, terminating near the shores of the picturesque Lake Folsom reservoir to the northwest. 

This popular paved trail is great for beginners as well as more advanced bikers. It’s mostly flat, with just a few inclines to let you know you’ve had some exercise.

In addition, there are trailside maps, water fountains, and restrooms along the way. You’ll also traverse a few parks and swimming areas, so bring a towel.

It’s fair to say the trail’s most scenic parts are in the less urban areas, but one highlight of the Sacramento end is the impressive Guy West footbridge. And at Folsom Lake, take a quick detour to watch the salmon climbing the fish ladders at Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

See Related: Things to Do in Sacramento

21. Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going To The Sun Road

Address: 64 Grinnell Dr, West Glacier, MT 59936

  • Trail length: 50 miles
  • Difficulty level: Easy/Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Asphalt

The sensationally named Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana must be one of the best biking experiences in the U.S. Starting at Glacier National Park’s West Entrance in Apgar, the road winds up to a high point of 6,646 feet at Logan Pass on the Continental Divide. En route, it gains over 3,000 feet in elevation, with gorgeous vistas of the surrounding mountains and forests.

At Logan Pass, you’ll get sensational views of the Northern Rocky Mountains—not to mention an unsurpassed sense of achievement. There’s also wildlife to be seen, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep. If you see a grizzly bear, give it at least 100 yards of space. It’s also a good idea to come equipped with bear spray.

What’s most essential is warm clothing – melting snow will make conditions chilly and wet. And check out the avalanche forecast before you set out! It’s possible to rent bikes and E-bikes at Columbia Mountain Outfitters and Glacier Guides, but if you’re bringing your own bike, make sure it’s got the gear ratio to cope with the climb.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Montana & Things to Do

22. Great Allegany Passage

Biking in Great Allegany Passage
Jbro620 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: Canal St, Cumberland, MD 21502

  • Trail length: 150 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate/Challenging
  • Terrain type: Asphalt/Concrete/Crushed Limestone/Dirt/Gravel

The GAP (as bike enthusiasts know it) is one of the best bike trails in the U.S. The route winds its way across Maryland and Pennsylvania, alongside some picturesque rivers, such as the Monongahela and the Cassel­man. The surrounding landscapes include beautiful forests, dreamy meadows, and the Youghiogheny River’s whitewater rapids.

The trail is relatively narrow, about 6-7 feet wide. Although it’s paved in parts, all-terrain tires may be needed for the unpaved sections. If you’re starting from the Cumberland terminus, it’s worth knowing that the first 20 miles or so have a 1700-ft gain as you approach the Eastern Continental Divide, so you’ll get a significant workout.

Another quirk of the Cumberland end is that for 900 feet, you share the trail with a steam engine through the Brush Tunnel. There’s also the 3,300-ft Big Savage Tunnel near Meyersdale – no trains here. And at the Pittsburgh end, look out for Bicycle Heaven, a bike store plus a museum.

See Related: Things to Do in Ocean City

23. George S. Mickelson Trail

Address: CanAm Highway, Deadwood, SD 57732

  • Trail length: 109 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate/Challenging
  • Terrain type: Crushed Limestone

One of the Midwest’s most famous bike trails, the George S. Mickelson Trail in South Dakota, is an exciting ride through multiple breathtaking landscapes. Running south through the spectacular Black Hills from historic Deadwood to Edgeworth, the route takes in crags, creeks, mighty ponderosa pine forests, and open prairie (watch out for cows on the path!). 

You’ll also pass by some must-see South Dakota attractions. As you ride, you should be able to spot the Crazy Horse Monument, and it’s worth taking the 6-mile detour to Mount Rushmore.

You’re also just a few miles away from Custer State Park and Wind Caves National Park. And don’t miss the quirky roadside Bicycle Sculpture at Pringle.

The crushed stone surface gives a generally even ride, and it’s best to avoid aggressive mountain bike tires. There are some challenging hills, so unless you’re E-biking it, choose as light a frame as possible. And as parts of the trail are over 6,000 feet, give yourself a day to acclimate to the altitude. 

See Related: Things to Do in Sioux Falls

24. Flume Trail

The view at Lake Tahoe while biking
Walter Bell / Shutterstock

Address: Flume Trail, Incline Village, NV 89451

  • Trail length: 14 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate/challenging
  • Terrain type: Asphalt/Sand

The Flume Trail in Nevada has been voted one of the country’s top ten mountain bike rides, and it’s easy to see why. Its exceptional vistas make it one of the most beautiful bike trails in the United States. And in this out-and-back ride, you’ll get a dramatically different experience each way. 

You need to work for your great views, though, as there are 1,000 feet of climbing in the first four miles. This’ll tell if you’re typically a sea-level rider. You might also notice some effects of the 8,000-ft elevation, so it makes sense to get acclimated first.

There will also be some extremely narrow sections as you make your way to Lake Tahoe, and the advice is to get off your bike when directed – and wherever you feel less than secure. In any case, you’ll want to stop for some of the fabulous Lake Tahoe views. But this isn’t a trail for riders unhappy with heights, as the drop-offs are steep! And check weather conditions – the snow can last into June.

See Related: Best Beaches in Lake Tahoe

25. Cowboy Trail

Multi-use recreational Cowboy Trail in northern Nebraska - a long trestle over Long Pine Creek
marekuliasz / Shutterstock

Address: Ta-Ha-Zouka Park, Norfolk, NE 68701

  • Trail length: 204 miles
  • Difficulty level: Intermediate
  • Terrain type: Concrete/crushed limestone

One way to satisfy your inner buckaroo is to saddle up on the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska. This scenic bike trail follows the historic “Cowboy Line,” the Chicago & Northwestern rail route from Norfolk to Valentine.

Along the route, you’ll enjoy some beautiful river and farmland vistas, as well as a ride through Sandhill country, the largest area of grass-covered dunes in the U.S. Here, you might see mule deer, pronghorn antelope, skunk, and even elk.

This is one of the country’s longest rail trails and is famous for its 200+ bridges. The most spectacular bridge is the quarter-mile-long trestle bridge crossing the Niobrara River Valley near the Valentine terminus. From this towering structure, you’ll get stunning views of the surrounding countryside. 

Although town sections of the route are often paved, the surface is mostly crushed rock, with some soft spots along the way.  Mountain or hybrid bikes with wider tires will perform best here.

Bring plenty of water, as there are no dedicated water fountains on the trail. And bring a repair kit as you might hit a patch of the dreaded Texas sandbur – also known as puncturevine.

See Related: Things to Do in Omaha, Nebraska

Must-Have Gear for Bike Trails in America

To have the best experience on your cycling adventure, make sure you’re prepared with the best gear for protection and efficiency. In any case, the better prepared you feel, the more you’ll enjoy your ride. Here are some of our recommendations:

Tool Bag, Saddle Bag, or Handle Bar Bag

Lumintrail Bike Rack Handbag
Lumintrail Bike Handbag / Amazon

When you’re on a long ride, the last thing you want to worry about is running out of tools or snacks. They will allow you to fix any issues that may come up while you’re on the road.

Bottom line: you need a good bag to carry all the smaller essentials. Depending on how far you have to ride, you can choose between a saddle baghandlebar bag, or frame bag. We recommend a bike rack bag.

Cycling Computer

Garmin Edge 130 Plus Bike Computer
Garmin Edge 130 Plus Bike Computer Bundle/ REI

Is a cycling computer a bit of a luxury or an essential bit of kit? Well, it’s fair to say that many cyclists wouldn’t be without one. It can help you map out your ride, track your speed and distance, and even monitor your heart rate.

If you’re interested in a cycling computer, some factors to consider include ease of use, battery life, display size, weight, and weather resistance. They range in price from under $100 to over $700.

Bike Lights

USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set
USB Rechargeable Bike Light/ Amazon

Bike lights save lives – they help you to see and be seen by other cyclists and motorists. So they’re a biking necessity, especially when riding in low-light conditions.

Fortunately, modern LED bulbs offer excellent brightness and durability. These rechargeable bike lights are super-affordable and easy to attach.

Bike Pump

Bike pump with two valves

When choosing a bike pump, you need to know which type of valve you have on your tires. There are two types of bike valves – Schrader and Presta.

Schrader valves are the most common and are found on most bikes. Presta valves are found on high-end bicycles and are used mainly for racing. We recommend this 2 in 1 Bike Pump.

Bike Helmet

Smith Engage 2 Mips Bike Helmet
Smith Engage 2 Mips Bike Helmet / REI

Bike helmets are proven to protect your head in the event of a fall or collision and are crucial bits of kit. Make sure to choose one that fits your head properly.

And pick one that matches the type of riding you’re planning. For on-road cycling, you might prefer a sleeker road bike helmet to a bike helmet for recreational or mountain bike use

Bike Apparel

ROTTO Cycling Jersey
ROTTO Cycling Jersey / Amazon

Here are a few tips for choosing the right bike apparel:

  • Choose clothes that are made specifically for biking. Biking clothes are designed to be comfortable and breathable, with good wicking capability.
  • Look for clothes that have reflective accents or bright colors. This will help you to be seen by other cyclists and motorists.
  • Consider streamlined pockets, so you don’t have to reach in your bag for small items.

Biking Gloves

LuxoBike Cycling Gloves
LuxoBike Cycling Gloves / Amazon

Biking gloves keep your hands warm and dry while biking. They also provide padding to help reduce vibration and protect your hands from bruises in the event of a fall.

Good gloves needn’t be expensive. Just as well, as it’s handy to have multiple pairs. Who hasn’t lost a glove on the road?

Biking Shoes

Five Ten Sleuth DLX Mountain Bike Shoes
Five Ten Sleuth DLX Mountain Bike Shoes / Amazon

Biking shoes are designed to be comfortable and provide good traction when pedaling. They also help to increase your pedaling efficiency. But you’ll need a shoe that matches the kind of biking you’re doing.

You also need shoes that are compatible with your pedal system. These popular mountain bike shoes are at the lower end of the price range.

Bike Bottle or Hydration Pack

Hydration pack
Toytoy / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Cycling guides always advise you to take water, and then more water. Staying hydrated on the trail is essential, and if you can’t be sure water fountains are provided, you need to come equipped.

Make sure your bottle and bottle rack are compatible; check the size specifications of your bike bottle before making a purchase. A hydration pack is a handy alternative for longer rides.

Other Essentials:

Don’t forget sunscreen, repair tools, insect repellant, and – last but not least – toilet paper. You can’t guarantee every restroom will be well-supplied!

FAQs

What are the most scenic bike trails in the US?

It’s hard to pick out the best, as there are so many scenic routes! Some of the most breathtaking views come with tough climbs, but the rewards are amazing. For instance, try Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Rail Trail, Montana’s Going-to-the Sun Road, or the Flume Trail in Nevada.

Are there any long-distance bike trails suitable for touring in the US?

Some of the very best long-distance bike trails in the U.S. are the ever-popular Katy Trail, which runs for 239 miles across Missouri, and the fabulous 270-mile Ohio to Erie Trail, which crosses the whole of Ohio. If you want something even longer, try the 3,000-mile-long Mississippi River Trail, which runs from Minnesota to Louisiana.  

Where can I find information on bike trails in a specific state or region of the US?

The TrailLink website from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy gives state-by-state details of hundreds of trails. AllTrails is another great resource.

And each state will promote bike trails on its tourism website. Many National Parks contain multiple bike trails, so it’s worth looking at their websites, too.

Related Resources

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    ↑ Top