Explore the Best Bike Trails in the USA: A Comprehensive Guide for Cyclists of All Levels
The United States is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse bike trails in the world. From winding mountain paths to serene coastal routes, there’s something for every type of cyclist. In this article, we‘ll take a look at some of the best bike trails in the USA.
1. The Great Allegheny Passage – Pennsylvania and Maryland
The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 150-mile trail that runs from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cumberland, Maryland. The trail is mostly flat and follows the route of the former Western Maryland Railway, taking cyclists through picturesque towns, over bridges, and through tunnels.
One of the highlights of the GAP is the Big Savage Tunnel, a 3,294-foot tunnel that was built in 1912 and is one of the longest tunnels on any rail-trail in the United States. The tunnel is now lit up and provides a unique and memorable experience for cyclists as they make their way through.
Another notable feature of the GAP is the Pinkerton Tunnel, a 914-foot tunnel that was constructed in 1911. Like the Big Savage Tunnel, the Pinkerton Tunnel is also lit up and provides a thrilling experience for cyclists.
Along the way, cyclists can enjoy scenic views of the Appalachian Mountains and the Youghiogheny River, and can stop in charming towns like Ohiopyle and Confluence for a bite to eat or to rest their legs.
One of the unique aspects of the GAP is that it connects to the C&O Canal Towpath, which runs from Cumberland to Washington, D.C. This adds an additional 184 miles of bike-friendly paths, making the GAP an ideal starting point for a longer cycling trip.
Overall, the Great Allegheny Passage is a must-ride trail for any cyclist looking to experience the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the history of the region.
2. The Katy Trail – Missouri
The Katy Trail is a 237-mile-long trail that runs through the state of Missouri, from St. Charles in the east to Clinton in the west. It follows the former path of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, and is now the longest rail-trail in the United States.
The Katy Trail is known for its flat and easy-to-ride terrain, making it a great option for cyclists of all skill levels. Along the way, cyclists will pass through small towns and scenic countryside, including the Missouri River bluffs, farmland, and wetlands.
One of the highlights of the Katy Trail is the historic town of Hermann, which is known for its wineries and charming German heritage. The town has a number of bike-friendly accommodations, making it a popular overnight stop for cyclists.
Another notable feature of the Katy Trail is the Tunnel Hill State Trail, which is a 9-mile stretch of the trail that passes through several tunnels and over a high bridge. This section of the trail is particularly scenic and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
The Katy Trail is also known for its abundance of wildlife, including deer, wild turkeys, and bald eagles. Along the trail, cyclists can stop at several designated wildlife areas to take in the scenery and observe the local wildlife.
Overall, the Katy Trail is a popular and well-maintained trail that offers cyclists a unique and memorable experience in the heart of Missouri. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride through charming small towns or a challenging multi-day bike trip, the Katy Trail has something for everyone
3. The Cape Cod Rail Trail – Massachusetts
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a 22-mile-long paved trail that runs through the picturesque Cape Cod region of Massachusetts. The trail follows the former route of the Cape Cod Railroad, which was in operation from 1865 to 1965, and now offers cyclists a unique and scenic way to explore the area.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail passes through several charming towns and villages, including Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. Along the way, cyclists can enjoy stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, salt marshes, and cranberry bogs, as well as plenty of opportunities to stop and explore the local attractions.
One of the highlights of the Cape Cod Rail Trail is the Nickerson State Park, which is located in Brewster and offers cyclists a chance to explore the natural beauty of Cape Cod. The park has a network of trails that wind through the woods and around several freshwater ponds, making it a popular spot for hiking, biking, and wildlife watching.
Another notable feature of the Cape Cod Rail Trail is the scenic Bass River Bridge, which spans the Bass River and offers stunning views of the surrounding water and marshland. The bridge is a popular spot for birdwatching and fishing, and is one of the most photographed landmarks along the trail.
Overall, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is a popular and well-maintained trail that offers cyclists a unique and memorable way to explore the beautiful Cape Cod region. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride through charming small towns or a challenging bike trip with stunning views, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is a must-ride for any cycling enthusiast.
4. The Olympic Discovery Trail – Washington
The Olympic Discovery Trail is a 130-mile-long multi-use trail that runs through the stunning Olympic Peninsula region of Washington state. The trail offers cyclists a chance to explore the diverse landscapes and natural beauty of the region, from rugged coastlines to pristine forests and mountain ranges.
The Olympic Discovery Trail is a relatively new trail, having been officially completed in 2018. It was built through a collaborative effort between local communities, volunteers, and government agencies, and offers cyclists a safe and well-maintained path to explore the region.
One of the highlights of the Olympic Discovery Trail is the stunning views of the Olympic Mountains, which rise majestically in the distance as you cycle through the lush forests and rolling hills of the region. The trail also passes through several charming small towns and villages, including Port Townsend, Sequim, and Port Angeles, each with their own unique attractions and amenities.
In addition to its natural beauty and charming towns, the Olympic Discovery Trail also offers cyclists a chance to explore the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region. The trail passes through several historic sites, including the Dungeness Spit and the Elwha Dam Removal Project, which offer insights into the region’s past and present.
Overall, the Olympic Discovery Trail is a must-ride for any cycling enthusiast looking to explore the stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of the Olympic Peninsula region. With its diverse landscapes, charming towns, and well-maintained trail, the Olympic Discovery Trail offers a truly unforgettable cycling experience.
5. The Silver Comet Trail – Georgia
The Silver Comet Trail is a 61.5-mile paved multi-use trail that runs from Smyrna, Georgia to the Alabama state line, offering cyclists a scenic and enjoyable ride through the heart of the southeastern United States. The trail is built on a former rail line and is relatively flat and easy to ride, making it popular with cyclists of all skill levels.
The trail passes through several charming towns and communities, including Smyrna, Mableton, Powder Springs, Hiram, Dallas, Rockmart, and Cedartown, each with its own unique attractions and amenities. Along the way, cyclists can enjoy beautiful views of the Georgia countryside, including rolling hills, forests, farmland, and small streams.
One of the highlights of the Silver Comet Trail is the opportunity to connect with the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama, which continues for another 33 miles and offers cyclists a chance to explore even more of the region’s natural beauty and historic sites.
In addition to its scenic beauty, the Silver Comet Trail is also known for its excellent amenities and services, including plenty of parking, restrooms, and picnic areas. There are also several bike rental shops and bike-friendly accommodations along the trail, making it easy for cyclists to plan a multi-day trip.
Overall, the Silver Comet Trail is a great option for cyclists looking to explore the southeastern United States, with its stunning scenery, charming towns, and excellent amenities. It’s a must-ride for anyone looking for a fun and enjoyable cycling experience in Georgia and beyond.
These are just a few examples of the many incredible bike trails in the USA. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, there’s a trail out there for you. So grab your bike, hit the road, and explore the beauty of America’s bike trails!