Wellness Fitness Workouts The 50 Best Bike Trails in America, State by State From mountain passes to urban oases, these are the top cycling routes to pedal in every state. By Amanda MacMillan Amanda MacMillan Amanda MacMillan is a health and science writer and editor. Her work appears across brands like Health, Prevention, SELF, O Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Time Out New York, and National Geographic's The Green Guide. health's editorial guidelines Updated on January 13, 2023 Medically reviewed by Suzanne Fisher, MS Medically reviewed by Suzanne Fisher, MS Suzanne Fisher, RD, is the founding owner of Fisher Nutrition Systems. learn more Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page Getty Images Some parts of the United States are famous for their wide-open spaces, while others take pride in their mountains or coastal views. But no matter what a state's best features are, chances are they're even better when explored on a bike. Not only is cycling a great way to take in sights, but it also boasts incredible health benefits. It's a form of aerobic activity, a type of exercise that has been shown to boost heart health and cardiovascular function. Cycling may also make your bones stronger, as suggested by a study from 2014 published in Sports and Exercise Medicine and Health that looked at the link between mountain biking and bone strength. And riding a bike may even improve your overall well-being. In a study published in PLoS One in 2019, researchers found that older adults who cycled a few times a week had improved mental health compared to those who didn't ride a bike. So we rounded up some of the best places to bike across the country, from gravel rail trails to scenic byways to technical mountain singletrack. All routes are point-to-point, and distances listed are one-way unless otherwise noted. Before you head out, check trail websites for hours, pricing information (some charge fees), and safety information. Happy pedaling! Alabama Getty Images Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham The park's 22-mile Double Oak Trail—also known as the Red Trail—is a mix of skinny singletrack and wider doubletrack sections, and its terrain is varied enough to delight any mountain biker, beginner to expert. No wonder the International Mountain Bike Association inducted Oak Mountain into its Epic Rides Hall of Fame. Ride the entire loop, and you'll climb about 1,600 feet. Alaska Getty Images Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Anchorage This 11-mile stretch of paved, car-free road meanders easily along the Cook Inlet coast and through scented forests and offers sweeping views of North America's highest peak, Mount Denali. Keep an eye out for moose, bald eagles, and beluga whales. Arizona Getty Images Fantasy Island Mountain Bike Trail, Tucson The League of American Bicyclists designated Tucson a gold-medal bike-friendly community, so you'll be right at home no matter what type of ride you pedal. For a true treat, mountain bikers love the 20-plus miles of Fantasy Island trails right within the city limits. Small hills and varied terrain throughout make them great for all skill levels; those looking for a truly unique experience can even try riding at night. Arkansas Getty Images Arkansas River Trail System, Little Rock area This 88-mile loop connects 38 parks, six museums, more than 5,000 acres of parkland, and countless gorgeous views of the Arkansas River. It's flat and easy riding on a mix of off-road paved trails, bike lanes, and rural roads. It's a favorite among locals and tourists: AAA's Southern Traveler magazine has even called this the best bike trail in the south. California Getty Images American River Bike Trail, Sacramento to Folsom Choosing one "best ride" in California is nearly impossible, but this 32-mile route makes a pretty convincing case for itself. It runs from Discovery Park in Old Sacramento to the historic Folsom Prison, following the American River the whole way. "The smooth paved road is simply spellbinding," wrote Bicycling magazine, as it named the trail one of the 10 best car-free bike paths in the country. Colorado Getty Images Trail 401, Crested Butte The town of Crested Butte is an outdoor-lover's paradise and is known as one of the birthplaces of mountain biking. You can choose from hundreds of miles of high-alpine trails, including the super popular Trail 401 loop: It's 14 miles of intermediate-level ups and downs, leading to an 11,339-foot summit and 360-degree views of the Elk Mountains. Connecticut Getty Images Litchfield Hills B&B Bike Trails, North Canaan to Woodbury One of eight Connecticut B&B Bike Trails (all with bed-and-breakfasts along the way), this 97-mile road route takes you through the foothills of the Berkshires, the Housatonic Meadows, and Dennis Hill State Park. The route is rated moderate to difficult, with lots of hills and low mountain ranges. Delaware Mike Mahaffie/Flickr Bicycle Route 1, Montchanin to Fenwick Island Bike from one end of the state to the other on this scenic route that passes beaches, dunes, boardwalks, marshes, and even World War II submarine watchtowers. The entire route stretches 150 miles from the Pennsylvania border to Maryland; the last section, from Rehoboth Beach south, runs along the coast. You'll share the road with cars, but the generous shoulder provides security for two-wheeled travelers. Florida David Johnson/Flickr Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, Jacksonville to Baldwin This 14.5-mile paved asphalt trail gets you away from the noisy city and deep into the woods. It's a popular route for road and recumbent touring bikes, although the 20-mph speed limit keeps everyone at a recreational pace. The trail abuts Camp Milton Historic Preserve, an important Civil War site. Georgia Getty Images Jekyll Island Coastal Living named this upscale vacation destination home to one of the country's best coastal bike trails. An easy 16-mile loop runs beside the beach on a mostly paved, flat path. Not only will you take in the island's natural beauty, but you'll also get a close-up look at the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel in all its grandeur. Can't take your bike from the mainland? There are plenty of places to rent one for your stay. Hawaii Getty Images Old Mamaloa Highway to Waipio Valley Overlook, Big Island This 40-mile out-and-back (and out-and-back again) starts with a four-mile, 1,000-foot climb and features views of Mauna Kea volcano, the Kohala Mountains, and the Waipio Valley. The Hawaii Cycling Club says this could be the best ride on the Big Island. And Bicycling magazine called the return downhill trip a "glorious, twisty, forest-shaded" ride. Idaho Getty Images Bald Mountain, Sun Valley/Ketchum Sun Valley's 400-plus miles of singletrack trail earned it a place in National Geographic's best mountain biking towns—and its 30 miles of paved paths make it a great place for road cyclists, too. Downhill enthusiasts can access 13 miles of world-class trails on Bald Mountain, via a chairlift at Sun Valley Resort. Illinois Getty Images Illinois Prairie Path, Maywood to the Fox River Midwest Living named this 61-mile multi-use trail one of its 14 great Midwest bike trails. It winds past prairies, ponds, wetlands, and forests, for a varied and always eye-pleasing view. The path is paved from Maywood to Wheaton, then branches off into four gravel spur trails that run west to the towns of Elgin, Aurora, Geneva, and Batavia. Indiana Getty Images Cardinal Greenway, Marion to Richmond Expect lots of spacious skies, fruited plains, and amber waves of grain: according to the Rails to Trails Conservancy, the Indiana countryside along this route may have inspired the lyrics to "America the Beautiful." The 60-mile greenway serves as a great way to get around the city of Marion or to escape from downtown and get out into the open air. Iowa Picasa Raccoon River Valley Trail, Jefferson to Waukee This flat, paved rail-trail is a great way to see Iowa's countryside. It runs 89 total miles, with a 72-mile interior loop. You'll pass through wide-open prairies, shady wooded areas, and several small towns with rest areas and amenities—like restaurants, bars, and shops—for tired, hungry riders. Kansas Getty Images Flint Hills Nature Trail, Osawatomie to Herrington The longest rail-trial in Kansas, this 117-mile route passes through five counties while crisscrossing the Flint Hills—one of the last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems in the world. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy recommends mountain or hybrid bikes, since certain parts of the path may be a bit rough for skinny tires. Kentucky Charley Miller/flickr Land Between the Lakes Canal Loop, Golden Pond These 11 miles of trail in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area feature "fast and flowy" singletrack and good views of Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, says MTB Project. It's rated moderate to difficult, with 3 miles of additional connecting trails for those who are up for a longer ride. The nearby rural highways are popular destinations for road biking, as well. Louisiana Getty Images Mississippi River Trail, New Orleans to St. Charles Parish Also known as the Levee-Top Trail—because it's literally on top of the city's levees—this 60-mile system of multi-use, car-free trails run along both banks of the Mississippi River in southern Louisiana. One of the most popular sections for cyclists is the 25-mile stretch of the zoo in Audubon Park upriver to the Bonnet Carré Spillway. Maine Getty Images Carriage Trails, Acadia National Park "If you only have a day to spend biking in Maine, this is where you want to be," said Bicycling magazine in its roundup of the country's top 10 car-free bike paths. These 45 miles of hard-packed gravel roads have it all: waterfalls, stone bridges, coastal views, and Somes Sound, North America's only fjord. Maryland Getty Images The Delmarva Peninsula, Easton area Gear Patrol named this stretch of land one of its best cycling routes in America, calling it "a crazy quilt of fields, small towns, coves, and sinuous tributary rivers." Start from the historic city of Easton, stop in St. Michaels for a seaside lunch, take a ferry from Bellevue to Oxford, and pedal back to Easton for about 50 lovely miles. Massachusetts Getty Images Cape Ann Loop, Gloucester and Rockport Less than an hour's drive from Boston, this series of rural roadways circumvents the coast of Massachusetts's North Shore. You'll get ocean views, coastal breezes, and small-town vibes the entire way, with plenty of places to stop for rest and refreshments. Choose from a 10-, 14-, or 16-mile loop, or combine them for all-day scenic riding. Michigan Getty Images Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Empire to Port Oneida This paved, multi-use trail passes through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and provides access to (and great views of) Lake Michigan at its finest. It currently runs about 20 miles, with several more miles of expansion planned in the near future. Bicycles aren't allowed on hiking trails or beaches within the Lakeshore, but mountain bikers may also want to explore some of the secondary, non-paved roads within the park. Minnesota Getty Images Root River State Trail, Fountain to Houston The Root River Valley's soaring limestone bluffs are on full display along this 42-mile paved rail-trail. Ride the whole thing and you'll cross dozens of bridges and pass six bike tune-up stations (with air pumps and bike maintenance tools), installed as part of the state's Pedal Minnesota initiative. Mississippi Getty Images Natchez Trace Parkway, Natchez to Tupelo The Natchez Trace Parkway travels 444 miles from Mississippi to Tennessee. The entire route is a National Park Service bike route, with a 50-mph speed limit for cars. (Commercial traffic is prohibited.) If you get tired of the gorgeous natural scenery, along the way you'll find plenty of bike-friendly bed and breakfasts—and even some bicycle-only campgrounds. Missouri Getty Images Katy Trail, Clinton to St. Charles One of the longest rail-trails in the country, this route runs 225 miles across the entire state. There's a five-day Katy Trail Ride every summer, or you can explore smaller sections on your own. (For a small additional fee, you can even take your bike on Amtrak to several of the trailheads.) The road is flat and scenic, passing through forests, wine country, prairie, and a stretch of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Montana Getty Images Going-to-the-Sun Road, West Glacier to St. Mary Gear Patrol called this legendary climb in Glacier National Park one of the best road cycling routes in America. Bikers share the road with cars on the 50-mile stretch from the park's west entrance to Logan Pass, near the east entrance. You'll gain more than 4,000 vertical feet, but the breathtaking views of mountains and glacial lakes will make you forget how exhausted you are. Nebraska Nebraska Government/Flickr Cowboy Trail, Norfolk to Valentine "You haven't seen Nebraska scenery if you haven't been on the Cowboy Trail," writes the Omaha World-Herald. Nearly 200 miles have been developed for bike use; when the entire 321 miles is complete, it will be the world's longest rails-to-trails route. Start (or end) your ride in Valentine for a chance to cross an old 148-foot high railroad bridge over the Niobrara River. Nevada Getty Images Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's charity ride held here every year isn't called America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride for nothing. Two options—a 72-mile or 100-mile loop—follow the highways around Lake Tahoe, starting and ending in Nevada but passing through California on the way. The altitude—and the more than 4,000 feet of elevation gains—make for a challenging (and breathtakingly scenic) ride. New Hampshire Getty Images Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia/Lincoln The nine miles of dedicated pedestrian-and-bike path in this state park are family-friendly and great for all bike types (and skill levels), with fun surprises around every turn. After you work up a sweat pedaling, cool off with a dip in Echo Lake or the Basin swimming hole. You can also visit the famous "Old Man in the Mountain" rock face, or hike down into the magnificent Flume Gorge. New Jersey Getty Images Island Beach State Park When you think of the Jersey shore, you probably don't think of secluded shoreline, dense forests, and wildlife sightings at every turn. But that's what you get at this state park, located on a barrier island just south of Seaside. The park's 8-mile road with bike lanes in both directions leads to views of the Barnegat Lighthouse, on the tip of Long Beach Island. New Mexico Getty Images South Boundary Trail, Angel Fire to Taos There are some challenging sections on this 23-mile singletrack route, including a hard four-mile climb in the beginning and a long, sometimes steep descent toward the end. Topping out at over 10,000 feet, the trail offers scenic overlooks with views of Taos and the surrounding mountains. New York Getty Images Erie Canalway Trail, Albany to Buffalo About a third of this trail is built on former railroad tracks, offering a mostly smooth and level ride for cyclists of all levels. The route runs 360 miles along the historic Erie Canal and offers stunning views of the Adirondack Mountains and the Hudson, Mohawk, and Niagara rivers. The route has some history, too: in the town of Lockport, for example, you can see an original lock built to accommodate the canal's 600-foot elevation change. North Carolina Getty Images Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville to Brevard The entire Blue Ridge Parkway stretches more than 400 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The whole trip has gorgeous scenery for cars and cyclists alike, but Gear Patrol named a 25-mile stretch from the quirky city of Asheville to the mountain-biking mecca of Brevard one of its favorite road rides in America. North Dakota Getty Images Math Daah Hey Trail, Watford City to Medora This 97-mile multi-use trail showcases the true beauty of North Dakota's badlands, buttes, and prairies, and it's one of the International Mountain Bicycling Association's designated Epic rides. Bikes aren't allowed on the main trail through Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but the Buffalo Gap Trail provides a scenic detour around those areas. Ohio Getty Images Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, Athens to Nelsonville Ride more than 20 paved miles along the Hocking River—through woods, countryside, and the Ohio University Campus—on what USA Today called one of 15 scenic bike rides in the U.S. Along the way, you'll pass historic sights like the old Eclipse Company Town mining village and the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Oklahoma Getty Images Oklahoma River Trails, Oklahoma City Complex called this 13-mile paved trail—6.5 miles each on the north and south side of the river—one of the 50 best bike trails in the country. One reason? Not a single stop sign or traffic light. (The trail actually travels over or underneath all of the cross streets.) Oregon Getty Images Willamette River Loop, Portland Portland is often considered America's best biking town, and Sunset magazine called this 30-mile loop the city's "most scenic ride by far"—not to mention, one of the country's top 10 urban bike rides. It crosses several of Portland's iconic bridges and passes through Waterfront Park and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Pennsylvania Getty Images Great Allegheny Passage, Pittsburgh to the Maryland border Combined with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, this trail series travels more than 330 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. The 150-mile Pennsylvania leg is a bucolic, car-free option for all experience levels (and all bike types), with an average 1.4% grade and a smooth, packed gravel surface. Rhode Island Getty Images East Bay Bike Path, Providence to Bristol Complex called this one of the 50 best bike trails in America, thanks to its gorgeous bay and river views and carefree, easy-riding feel. The 14.5-mile trail is also practical: It connects residential neighborhoods with schools and the business district and is popular among students and commuters. If you're just riding for pleasure, there are plenty of spots to stop and picnic or hike along the way. South Carolina Getty Images Deep Step Trail, Clarks Hills Mountain bikers of all skill levels will love exploring the 37 miles of trails in the Forks Area Trail System, tucked between the Savannah River and the Smoky Mountain Range. Men's Journal called the 5-mile Deep Step Trail one of its best 10 mountain biking trails in America, thanks to its grueling but non-technical climbs and its gentle turns on the descent. South Dakota Ken Ratcliff/Flickr George S. Mickelson Trail, Deadwood to Edgemont Bicycling magazine named this one of its 10 best car-free trails in the country, calling it a "movable feast for the eyes as you pass ponderosa pine forests, prairie lands, rugged mountain terrain, grazing cattle, swimmable creeks, and rocky canyons." It'll take about three days to ride the whole 109-mile rail-trail, which passes near Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial, through four tunnels, and more than 100 converted railroad bridges. Tennessee Getty Images White Oak Mountain Biology Trails, Collegedale This 15-mile system of mountain bike trails is located on the Southern Adventist University campus and maintained by the school's biology department. The beginner-friendly loops are closest to the parking lot; the ones farther out have more advanced features like jumps and drop-offs—and amazing views of the Oolteway Valley. Texas Getty Images Willow City Loop, Fredericksburg area The Texas Hill Country is home to miles and miles of challenging but beautiful road riding, including this popular 55-mile loop—what the group Cycle Text calls the "queen cycling attraction in Gillespie County," according to Bicycling magazine. In the spring and early summer, the rolling meadows are alive with colorful bluebonnets and other wildflowers in every direction. (Watch out for photographers on foot!) Utah Getty Images The Whole Enchilada, Moab "This has to be the finest mountain bike ride anywhere," wrote Outside magazine in its list of 9 Great American Mountain Biking Trails. This challenging, highly technical, 33-mile route combines four popular trails—Burro Pass, Hazard Country, Kokopelli Trail, and Porcupine—and runs (almost entirely downhill) from high in the La Sal Mountains to the cliffs along the Colorado River. Local shuttles are available to take riders to the start. Vermont Getty Images Kingdom Trails, East Burke Bike magazine readers once voted Kingdom Trails the best mountain bike trail network in the country, and the town of East Burke is consistently ranked as a top mountain biker's haven. The International Mountain Bike Association called this place, with its rolling green hills and a lush forest canopy, "one of the last truly wild areas in the lower 48." Trails range from beginner to expert and total about 35 miles. Virginia Airman Magazine/Flickr Harrisonburg National Geographic named this college town, home to James Madison University, one of America's 20 best mountain bike towns. About 500 miles of trails, beginner through expert, wind through the George Washington National Forest here; there's also the Bryce Mountain Bike Park (complete with a chairlift) for steep downhill runs. Washington Getty Images San Juan Islands This Pacific Northwest archipelago has something for every level of cyclist: On Lopez Island, even beginners can make it around the entire island in a few hours—with time to spare for a leisurely picnic lunch or a short hike along the way. San Juan Island's loop is longer and more challenging but still doable in a day. And Orcas Island is perfect for experienced cyclists, with narrow, winding roads and an exhausting climb to the top of Mount Constitution. West Virginia Getty Images Greenbrier River Trail, North Caldwell to Cass Biking in the Monongahela National Forest is one of the best ways to see the true beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. This 78-mile rail trail runs along the picturesque Greenbrier River, with a hard-packed surface and an easy 1% grade. It's also home to the annual Great Greenbrier River Race—a triathlon of canoeing, biking, and running. Wisconsin Getty Images Rock Lake Epic, Namakagon area This series of twists and turns spans 27 miles in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and was recently named one of Outside magazine's 10 great American mountain biking trails. Both intermediate and advanced bikers will enjoy this ride, which features five wilderness lakes, primitive campsites, and a 90-foot wood plank bridge. Wyoming Getty Images Continental Divide Mountain Biking Trail, Pinedale area This nearly 3,000-mile trail runs from Canada to New Mexico, but "the prettiest alpine ridge on the whole route" can be found in the Cowboy State, according to the Adventure Cycling Association. The trail is challenging and remote—with sharp turns and steep mountain climbs—but the views are well worth the effort. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 26 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. 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