Been clipped into a spin bike all winter? Now’s the perfect time to cut loose. It’s National Bike Month, and while we like to honor the sport all year-round, we’re feeling more psyched than ever to shred the gnar (that’s mountain bike speak for going big). If you’re new to the trails — or have been sticking to the same routes for years — get ready for some epic new adventures. After catching up with dedicated riders, weeding through countless online reviews, and even tackling several of these routes ourselves, we rounded up some of the coolest, most breathtaking, make-you-love-life bike trails in the country. So find the one that suits you (listed alphabetically by state), and get out there for a fun, unforgettable ride!
15 Bike Trails Worth the Miles
1. Little Pan Loop, Black Canyon Trail
Location: New River, AZ
Distance: 24 miles (round-trip)
Referred to as the lollipop loop, this trail isn’t just famous for its cotton candy blue skies. Riders will also catch a few striking glimpses of the Agua Fria River. This particular path is many bikers’ favorite portion of the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, a 78-mile track, thanks to a superb trail design that provides a mash-up of some exciting climbs, rugged terrain and fabulous views of the desert.
When to Go: January through March, November/December
2. Big Sur
Location: Carmel to Cambria, CA
Distance: Up to 100 miles (one way)
We guarantee you’ll stop quite a few times to snap some pics on this coastal cruise. The route is cut into the mountainside, so you can watch the waves crash below you as you do a 6.5-mile climb and cover an average eight percent incline. Sign up for the Best Buddies Challenge to ride all the way to the famously gorgeous Hearst Castle.
When to Go: Year-round
3. Jalama Beach Ride
Location: Solvang, CA
Distance: 34.5 miles (one way)
This iconic route through the Santa Ynez Valley takes you on Santa Rosa Wine Road, past vineyards, ranches and rolling hills — plus involves a sweet view of the ocean. Stop for lunch by the sand and then head back to the start to complete a more than 70-mile cruise. Or end your ride at a vineyard and taste some delicious wine.
When to Go: April through June
4. Valmont Bike Park
Location: Boulder, CO
Distance: 42 acres (trail mileage varies)
Level: All levels
It’s difficult to choose a specific path in this park, because there’s one for every type of rider, depending on what you want from your trip. (Plus it’s better to ride multiple trails during your visit.) Try Escape Route or Hot Lap if you’re a newbie to the sport and Mesa Flow or Corkscrew if you want to get more technical. There’s also a terrain park with dirt jumps, a slopestyle portion and a double slalom race course. Get the family involved too — the kiddos can pedal around on the tot track.
When to Go: Mid to late spring and fall
5. Shark Valley Trail, Everglades National Park
Location: Miami, FL
Distance: 15 miles (round-trip)
When you think of Florida, gators probably come to mind. And chances are, you’ll see a few while spinning your wheels along this path. In fact, you may have to pedal your way around them. Birds, turtles and fish are also hanging out in plain view. It’s a true down-south experience and the perfect escape if you’re seeking warm temperatures and a wild ride.
When to Go: Winter
6. Sand Hog Hill, Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Location: Ironton, MN
Distance: 1.1 miles (rim to rim)
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Built on the remains of an old mine, this park’s trails have deep red sand paths and beautiful lake overlooks as you ascend. Once you make your way to the peak, gain speed and have fun performing jumps, cutting around curves and hitting berms (aka artificial dirt banks that allow for speed and angle) as you race down the hill.
When to Go: Summer and fall
7. Going-to-the-Sun Road
Location: Glacier National Park, MT
Distance: 48.7 miles (one way)
If climbing 3,300 feet (much of it in the final 10-mile stretch) and topping out at a 6,646-foot elevation sounds right up your alley, this destination is for you! There’s a sort of daredevil feel to the ride as you’re pedaling on a narrow path, carved out of the side of a mountain — but you can imagine the sights that come with it. During the spring months, you don’t have to worry about cars as it’s only open to bikers and hikers. Check here for closures.
When to Go: Spring and summer
8. Cedar Rock Trail, DuPont State Recreational Forest
Location: Between Hendersonville and Brevard, NC
Distance: 1.4 miles (half loop)
You’ll experience everything you love about mountain biking on this path, which is also open to hikers and horseback riders. Besides trees, dirt and sand, you’ll ride over some of the best granite and slickrock trails in the East. At the summit, there’s a seriously awe-inspiring panoramic view of the park, which looks even better when the leaves start changing colors. Close up the loop by taking the Little River trail (an easier 1.2 miles) and you’ll also get to see some waterfalls, too.
When to Go: Spring and Fall
9. Flume Trail
Location: Lake Tahoe, NV
Distance: 14 miles
You’ll conquer more than 1,000 feet of climbing in the first four miles, but the views of the lake make it well worth the sweat. The rest of the ride involves some other steep spots, but you can always break at the top for a picnic under the pine trees. The Flume Trail bike shop makes this and the Tahoe Rim Trail Ride (for more advanced riders; up to 40 miles) super convenient, courtesy of their shuttle rides to the starting points and bike rentals if you need it. Cool down post-pedaling with a swim in the lake.
When to Go: Mid-June through mid-October
10. Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail
Location: Jim Thorpe, PA
Distance: 26 miles (one way)
Hop on the shuttle in the cute, small PA town of Jim Thorpe and take it to the trail starting point in White Haven. Then pedal through the tree-lined path along the Lehigh River. You may even see a train on this rail-trail as one still operates along the end of the route. When you finish up in Jim Thorpe, stop for some shopping in the artsy downtown area. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday.
When to go: March through November
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11. Twin Bridges Loop
Location: Bend, OR
Distance: 36.3 miles (round-trip)
Pedal through one of the most bike-friendly (and beautiful!) towns in the US. You’ll start and end at Drake Park downtown, cruising past forestry and catching amazing sights of the snow-topped Cascade Mountains. Expect about 1,000 feet of climbing and if you need a break, stop for a local brew in the charming little town of Tumalo.
When to Go: September
12. Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail
Location: Greenville, SC
Distance: 19.5 miles (one way)
You can easily make this a casual ride that lasts for hours, thanks to the shops and restaurants along the multi-use route. It runs on an old railroad corridor along the Reedy River, which provides the picturesque scenery. Don’t have a bike? No problem. You can rent one from Reedy Rides just one block from the beginning of the trail.
When to Go: April or October
13. Captain Ahab
Location: Moab, UT
Distance: 4.3 miles (one-way)
One of the best things about Moab is its unique red rock landscape and trails that you can’t get anywhere else. Take either the Amasa Back or Hymasa routes to reach your desired locale, both of which feature fun terrain. You’ll also get amazing views of the Colorado River and Kane Creek anticline (a folded rock-like formation) – the ultimate pay-off for your hard work. Stop for a few bike selfies at the most scenic spots, then climb the renowned Captain Ahab singletrack, where you’ll make some thrilling, fast and technically-challenging descents.
When to Go: March through May; September/October
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14. Virginia Creeper Trail
Location: Abingdon, VA
Distance: 34.3 miles (one way)
Stretching from Abingdon, VA to the North Carolina boarder east of Whitetop Station, VA, you’ll roll past 47 trestle bridges and enjoy long stretches of spring blossoms (or fall foliage, depending on the season). The trail has been around since 1984 and goes through much of the state’s private land. You’re bound to see horseback riders on the course and listen closely — you might hear some banjo music playing as you pass the Iron Horse Music Hall.
When to Go: Spring and Fall
15. Cady Hill Forest
Location: Stowe, VT
Distance: 9 miles (area total)
Level: Intermediate, though there’s options for all levels
Vermont is one of the most loved destinations for outdoor adventures on the East Coast due to its jaw-dropping good looks and laid-back, welcoming vibe. (It’s particularly pretty in the fall, around the beginning of October when you’ll feel like you’re riding through an autumn painting.) Cady Hill is a premiere spot for mountain biking, particularly for mid-level riders. Complete with single and double tracks, this is your chance to cut through trees, hop over rocks and glide around berms. If you want a lesson before hitting the trails, head over to the Von Trapp Resort, a popular destination for VT visitors.
When to Go: June through October
Originally posted May 2015.