If you’re not a cyclist you probably don’t realize it, but the United States is full of great bike paths and paved trails that are perfectly suited for long-distance rides. From coast to coast, there are a countless number of great trails in scenic locations that cyclists love. Let’s take a look at some of the great long-distance bike rides this country has to offer.
First up is arguably the greatest of them all, the TransAmerica Trail, which was used to celebrate the country’s bicentennial, or “Bikecentennial” in 1976. The trail starts out along the Virginia coast and weaves its way all throughout the country, coming to an end at the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. The whole trail totals 4,262 miles, and is a great way to see the country, assuming you have the time to bike that long. Even if you can’t do the whole thing, just biking bits and pieces of it will re-invigorate your love of cycling. In fact, this trail played a big role in the growth of cycling across the country, and ultimately led to more bike trails being established.
If you can’t bike across the entire country, the Pacific Coast Route is almost as good, as it will take you up and down the west coast. The trail is 1,853 miles long, taking you from the Washington-Canada border down to San Diego, but if you’d like to extend your journey into either Canada or Mexico, you can. The entire route isn’t on bike-dedicated roads, but a good chunk is, and there are plenty of camping grounds up and down the coast, making it easy to traverse the entire trail if you have the time.
If you want a challenge, try the Great Divide Trail, which is 2,493 miles long and crosses over the Continental Divide more than 50 times. The elevation on the trail goes up and down like you wouldn’t believe, and the terrain is also constantly changing, so this is definitely not for amateurs. The fastest that anybody has ever finished in 15 days, so if you decide to tackle the whole trail, you better dig in and get ready for the fight of your life.
If you’re looking for something a little more scenic, not to mention shorter, try the Green Mountains Loop. It’s a 376-mile loop that starts and ends in Burlington, Vermont, and in between takes you throughout the majestic forests and mountains that make Vermont such a scenic place, not to mention a slew of beautiful New England towns. If you go during the summer and fall before the snow comes, the beautiful view will be non-stop while you bike the trail.
Finally, head to Alaska to enjoy the Denali Highway, which is a great destination for cyclists during the summer months. The trail is 133 miles, so you can rush through it if you want. However, you may be tempted to take your time and enjoy some of the hiking and camping opportunities along the trail. Either way, you’ll have great scenery and a unique cycling experience on the Denali Highway.