Biking Across America: Scenic Cycling Routes
5 min read
07 Aug 2023
Cycling across the vast and diverse landscapes of the United States is a dream adventure for cyclists of all levels. From rugged mountain trails to peaceful coastal roads, the country offers an extensive array of scenic cycling routes that allow riders to explore the nation's diverse geography and vibrant communities. Join us as we embark on an unforgettable journey through some of the most breathtaking and challenging cycling routes in the USA, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the open road and experience the thrill of long-distance biking.
1. Pacific Coast Highway, California: This iconic route along the Western coast of California offers cyclists an opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Starting from the vibrant city of San Francisco and meandering down to sunny San Diego, this cycling journey spans approximately 650 miles. Along the way, cyclists can savor the salty sea breeze as they pedal by the rugged cliffs of Big Sur, passing through charming seaside towns where seafood shacks beckon for a quick stop.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia/North Carolina: Often referred to as "America's Favorite Drive," the Blue Ridge Parkway is a cyclist's paradise. This scenic byway spans over 469 miles and offers cyclists awe-inspiring views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The route takes riders through lush forests, alongside cascading waterfalls, and provides numerous overlooks where they can rest and soak in panoramic vistas. Fall is a particularly magical time to traverse this route, as the foliage bursts into vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold.
3. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana: Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road is not only an engineering marvel but also a cyclist's dream. This alpine journey winds through pristine wilderness, taking cyclists past glacial lakes, towering peaks, and vibrant meadows. While the road is typically open from late June through September, the summer months provide the best cycling conditions and allow riders to revel in the stunning beauty of Montana's wilderness.
4. Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath, Pennsylvania/Maryland: For those seeking a longer adventure, the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath offer a combined 335-mile journey from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C. This scenic and historic route follows the path of old canals and railways, guiding cyclists through picturesque valleys, dense woodlands, and charming canal towns. The experience of pedaling through a series of historic tunnels and over iconic bridges is nothing short of exhilarating.
5. Katy Trail, Missouri: Stretching for an impressive 240 miles, the Katy Trail is one of the longest rail-trails in the United States. Following the Missouri River's course, cyclists traverse tranquil countryside, passing through vineyards, farmlands, and charming small towns. The flat terrain makes it an accessible route for cyclists of various skill levels. Along the way, you'll encounter historical markers and welcoming trailheads.
6. Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi/Tennessee/Alabama: The Natchez Trace Parkway, with its gentle grade and tranquil surroundings, is tailor-made for cycling enthusiasts. This historic route traces an ancient Native American trail and takes cyclists through the heart of the deep South. As you pedal along the tree-lined parkway, you'll have opportunities to explore preserved historical sites, encounter diverse wildlife, and soak in the soothing ambiance of this unique Southern journey.
7. The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, Florida: For a tropical cycling experience, the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail offers a sun-soaked adventure through the Florida Keys. This scenic trail spans 106 miles and provides cyclists with captivating views of turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, and abundant wildlife. Starting in Key Largo and culminating in Key West, this journey offers opportunities for snorkeling breaks, visits to historical sites, and encounters with friendly locals.
8. Route 66, Multiple States: While Route 66 is a legendary road trip route, it also offers a fantastic experience for cyclists. This historic highway stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles, covering a distance of approximately 2,400 miles. As you cycle through quirky small towns and past iconic landmarks, you'll gain a unique perspective of the American landscape. The journey is a blend of nostalgia, adventure, and the freedom of the open road.
9. Utah's National Parks, Utah: Utah's stunning national parks provide a breathtaking backdrop for mountain biking enthusiasts. The unique geological formations, such as the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon and the towering arches of Arches National Park, offer challenging terrain for adventurous cyclists. The rugged beauty of Utah's landscapes ensures that every pedal stroke comes with a view that leaves a lasting impression.
10. The Adirondack Park Loop, New York: The Adirondack Park Loop in upstate New York offers a picturesque cycling route that circles the stunning Adirondack Mountains. This journey takes cyclists past pristine lakes, through dense pine forests, and alongside charming villages. The Adirondacks provide a serene and tranquil setting for a cycling adventure that combines natural beauty with a sense of nostalgia.
In conclusion, cycling across the United States is a transformative experience that allows riders to connect with the country's diverse landscapes, cultures, and history. Whether you're pedaling along the stunning Pacific Coast, ascending the majestic Blue Ridge Parkway, or cycling through the tropical paradise of the Florida Keys, these scenic cycling routes offer an immersive and unforgettable way to explore America's vast and varied terrain. So, pump up your tires, don your helmet, and embark on an epic journey across the USA, where the open road beckons with promises of adventure and discovery.