The Ultimate List of Top Bicycle Touring Routes USA

The Ultimate List of Top Bicycle Touring Routes USA

The United States is filled with a countless number of stunning areas to go touring on a bicycle.

From mountain trails to state parks to beautiful coastlines, there is no shortage of excellent routes that can be enjoyed by both beginner and experienced cyclists.

Every state has its strengths when it comes to biking. For example, the lower states are good for those who enjoy easy cycling, whereas more mountainous states suit those who prefer a challenge.

Even states that don’t have very many designated bicycle touring routes can be lovely to cycle in. It all depends on the preferences of the rider (and also the bike that they have).

Washington has been hailed as one of the best states to go cycling in in the past, but Oregon seems to have overtaken it in recent years in terms of popularity.

Something could be said for every state, but below are the top 15 best touring areas in the USA.

List of Top Bicycle Touring Routes USA

Crater Lake, Oregon

Oregon is hailed as one of the best places for cycling because it is incredibly picturesque and has lots of bike-friendly terrain. And Crater Lake is one of the loveliest areas to cycle in that state.

The lake’s most popular biking route is called the Rim Drive, which stretches on for a staggering 33 miles. When touring this trail, you’ll get plenty of exercise, as well as a glorious view of Crater Lake and its surroundings.

Rim Drive is perhaps better suited to stronger riders because of the steep sections, but there are also other areas around Crater Lake for more relaxed cycling.

For those who enjoy mountain biking, there is a route specifically for that: the Grayback Drive, which goes on for 8 miles across bumpy terrain.

O’Neill Park, California

California’s O’Neill Park is another pretty place that is also bike-friendly. It has excellent mountain bike trails, including the Coyote Canyon Trail and Tijeras Creek Trail (both for intermediate cyclists), and the Arroyo Trabuco Trail (for less confident riders).

Approximately 37 miles of trails will get you plenty of fresh air, good views, and space to bike.

These routes in O’Neill Park are great for bicycle touring because you’ll get to challenge yourself and take on different aspects of the terrain, including crossing over some waters.

The views are amazing, especially when you get further into Trabuco Canyon. O’Neill Park has control over all the biking routes in the Arroyo Trabuco area too, so they are all safe and approved to try out.

East Coast Greenway

The East Coast Greenway is a massive 3000-mile route that connects 15 different states from Maine to Florida.

To tour the entire thing on a bike would take between 2 and 4 months, but you can do sections of the East Coast Greenway if you don’t want to commit to touring all those miles.

Because the route stretches so far, it goes through a lot of diverse areas with lots of different views. More than 1000 of those miles are off-road, so there’s plenty of space to tour on a mountain bike.

And though it is the dream of the East Coast Greenway Alliance for the entire route to one day be off-road, two thirds of it is still on-road, making it the perfect touring trail for road bikes too.

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

With a name like that, anyone would have high hopes for this bicycle touring route. Luckily, it lives up to expectations, with around 50 miles of road to explore.

During the spring season, Going-to-the-Sun Road is open exclusively to walkers and cyclists, so you’ll be able to tour it without worrying about traffic.

Outside of that season, though, you’ll be cycling on the road with cars.

This road is located in Glacier National Park, with beautiful views to be seen at Avalanche Creek, Lake McDonald, and the waterfalls that cross under arches in the road.

Going-to-the-Sun Road takes you high up, so you can look down at incredible green valleys and across at snowy mountain peaks. You’ll need a sturdy bike and plenty of time to tour.

Highway One (Pacific Coast), California

Another great place to tour by bike in California is Highway One, which goes along the Pacific Coast.

This route is surrounded by mountains, waters, trees, and beaches, though you need to be a dedicated, self-assured cyclist to be able to tackle all 57 miles, especially with its uphill portions.

But you don’t need to cycle it all if you’d prefer a shorter bicycle tour.

There are different sections of Highway One that you can bike to reach places, such as cycling from Grande Avenue to the picturesque Arroyo Grande Village.

The Arroyo Grande Valley is especially beautiful, with easier trails for casual cyclists and 15 miles of harder terrain for those on mountain bikes.

Cycling US Gulf Coast

The Alabama Gulf Coast has some fun bicycle touring trails that range from easy to difficult.

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, for example, is over 28 miles, but it is quite easy to tour because the terrain is pretty well-paved yet still takes you through a wonderful natural environment.

Fort Morgan Road West, which consists of 24 miles, is ranked ‘moderate to difficult’ because it is narrower and has more bends and traffic.

Any route for touring along the Gulf Coast must have spectacular views of the coast itself. You can tour all the way from Alabama to Florida (27.4 miles) on a road bike and pass by white sands and clear waters.

The Graham Creek Nature Preserve has the best trail to challenge mountain bikers.

Northeast Kingdom, Vermont

Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is sensational to look at, making it the perfect place to spend time on a bike tour. The area consists of almost one-fifth of Vermont’s land, and it is completely undisturbed.

This means that the Kingdom’s backroads are normally quiet, making them perfect for touring on. Some are paved, but some are not, so a touring bike or a hybrid bike are probably the safest choices.

This biking trail is also hilly, so a durable bike with multiple gears will fare best. There are plenty of places to stop along your tour, so you don’t need to worry about biking across all 2000 squares miles at once.

Every road you bike down will be surrounded by natural beauty, making this area well worth a tour.

The Finger Lake Region, New York

New York may not seem like the ideal place to go on a bike tour, but the Finger Lake Region is truly beautiful and perfect for anyone who enjoys off-road cycling.

You’ll get to tour through forest areas in state parks, passing by waterfalls, trees, and lakes. For a challenging tour, you could try the Canandaigua Lake Trail, which spans 43 miles and multiple steep ascents.

Mountain bikers will love the Ontario Pathways Trail, which takes you through plenty of off-road farmland and across 13 bridges where you can admire the rivers.

The Seneca Lake Trail is a whopping 77 miles long and best suited to multi-geared bicycles because of how steep it gets at points. There are countless more miles of off-road trails to enjoy in the Finger Lake Region.

Canol Road, Yukon

If you’re planning to tour Canol Road, prepare for a bumpy ride! A sturdy mountain bike will do best on this route because it is off-road and has a lot of rocky areas, some of which you’ll have to dismount to cross.

This trail is truly unique because it has you riding across some of the most isolated territory in North America, right alongside the Rocky Mountains.

A tour along Canol Road will take over a week if you are biking between 30-40 miles a day. The entire thing is 286 miles, requiring time to rest and recuperate between each stretch that you do.

All the views are of glorious alpine beauty, but you’ll need strong tyres on your bike to successfully navigate all the gravel road surfaces!

Carriage Roads, Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, located on Mount Desert Island, is another great place to tour because it feels like you are worlds away from the rest of society.

There are 45 miles of roads to explore and most of them are smooth, though you’ll find some debris. You can bike high and low, taking in hilly landscapes and lengths of beautiful water.

The Carriage Roads are shared with walkers and horse riders, so your bicycle tour should feel quite calm. The ride isn’t too strenuous, but you’ll spend a lot of time in the saddle so you need to be prepared.

You’ll go through forest routes and stretches of open road, perfect for any cyclist’s taste.

Trail 401, Crested Butte Colorado

The Trail 401 Loop of Crested Butte in Colorado seems like it was made just for bike touring. The trail takes you on a journey around the Elk range, with some exquisite views of the mountainous region from high up.

With a route length of 13.6 miles and a maximum elevation of 11,349 feet, Trail 401 makes for a breath-taking bike tour.

The descent from these high parts of the trail takes you through knee-high grasses and flowers, so you’ll be riding more slowly, but that gives you more time to enjoy the scenery.

This tour takes a lot of precise navigation, but it is very rewarding once you’ve completed it.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway, which spans across Virginia and North Carolina, covers 469 miles of ground.

There are no dedicated cycle lanes, so you should take extra precautions on this tour to ensure your safety around traffic. The road surfaces are smooth for the most part, with elevation in some parts.

Elevation ranges from 649 feet to 6053 feet, depending on how far up you decide to cycle. Mountain biking is prohibited on the Blue Ridge Parkway trails, so you’ll do just fine on a touring bike.

From the highest points of the route, you’ll be able to see for miles across a rocky landscape, making this the ultimate location for a long bicycle tour.

Trans-America Bike Tour

The Trans-America Bike Tour spans the distance of the Trans-America Bicycle Trail, which goes on for 4223 miles.

The tour takes you through 3 national parks: Grand Tetons National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Mammoth Cave National Park. You start out in Astoria, Oregon, and cycle through 10 states.

The entire tour typically takes 90 days. This is one of the best trails to tour in America because it is designed to maximize the off-road biking experience.

The route avoids heavy traffic and busy areas, so you’ll be able to observe plenty of rural America on your tour. The roads are mostly well-paved, however, so it shouldn’t take a huge toll on your bike.

If You would like to do the journey but lacks motivation, this small site from Little Miss Bike Tour ( Cynthia Ord ) will inspires you to take on the journey.

Green Mountain Loop, Vermont

As the name suggests, the Green Mountain Loop in Vermont allows you to cycle in a huge loop alongside the Connecticut River. To tour the whole loop, you’ll start off in Burlington and then ride for 376 miles, typically in the clockwise direction.

The Green Mountains are a spectacular landscape to tour around, especially as you power up the elevation points along the trail.

For the most part, the trail is easy enough to cycle on, with smooth roads at some points and packed gravel surfaces at others.

Some of the loveliest sights to see along the way include the Missisquoi Valley Trail, the Missisquoi River, and Lake Champlain. A bicycle tour of the Green Mountains Loop is well worth the energy.

The Dalton Highway, Alaska

Dalton Highway is 414 miles of gravel road, known by many as “the loneliest road in America”. It is known as such because it is so isolated and was actually only opened for public use in 1981.

Though it is a tough tour, you’ll likely never take another bicycle tour like it. Approximately 129 miles of the highway are paved, so touring will likely feel bumpier more often than not.

Starting out in the town of Deadhorse, cycling this route will probably take you a few days because of the low temperature in Alaska, the debris on part of the route, and the length.

You’ll have to do a lot of preparation, but the tour is worth it. And though it may be isolated, Dalton Highway still has some great natural sights to see along the way.

Final Words

The United States seems to have an infinite number of wonderful places to go on a bicycle tour, though the 15 mentioned in this list are some of the absolute best.

For tackling them, a good touring bike will serve you well, though some of the more uneven routes may require a mountain bike for extra support.

With a trustworthy bike and good knowledge of how to tour, you’ll be able to explore lots of places in America, both on-road and off-road.

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