If you love to cycle, the world is essentially your playground. So long as there’s an improved trail that you can hop on, you can go where you please. You don’t ever have to worry about running out of gas; you can just keep going for as long as you can pedal.
Cyclists visiting the United States will find that certain parts of the country are very accommodating for long bicycle trips. These hidden gems throughout the American heartland often have some of the most beautiful scenery to be found in the whole of North America.
If you’re planning a visit to the USA soon, and you love to cycle, you should definitely plan to bring your bike. Additionally, make sure you check out these six destinations that will provide you with thousands of miles worth of enjoyment as you pedal your way to utter bliss.
1. The Pacific Coast Trail
Spanning over 1,800 miles, the Pacific Coast Trail will take you all the way from the Washington-Canadian border and down into the heart of San Diego, Calif. Along the way, you’ll parallel the Pacific Ocean on the western seaboard. You can go at your own pace, drinking in the fresh salt breezes and the endless stretches of sand and surf as you go along.
If you still aren’t satisfied, the trail continues on down into Mexico and further beyond to South America. No one’s really sure where the trail officially ends. Maybe you’ll be the one to finally put the pin on the map!
2. The TransAmerica Bicycle Trail
Spanning an incredible 4,262 miles, the Trans-America Trail isn’t just the longest biking trail in the US – it’s one of the longest in the world. First begun in 1972 to celebrate the country’s bicentennial (or “Bikecentenial” as it was known), the trail begins along the Atlantic coast in Virginia. From there, you chart a course over the Rockie Mountains, straight through heartland America. Over 4,000 miles later, your journey will end next to the Pacific Ocean near the town of Astoria, Ore.
You should always remember that cycling can be a dangerous activity. This is especially true on a trail as long and difficult as the TransAmerica. Even during its inauguration, two cyclists were killed by a motor vehicle. Always take the necessary safety precautions, and share the trail with others. If you do become the victim of an accident while you’re cycling, take the necessary action to hold the perpetrators responsible for their actions. If they can do it to you, they can do it to others as well.
Don’t be Confused
If you’re into bicycling, the trail you want is the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. There is a second Trans America Trail (TAT) that spans over 5,000 miles of much more arduous terrain. TAT was designed more for dirt-bikes than bicycles, so unless you sport a heavy duty mountain bike, you probably need to avoid the TAT.
3. The East Coast Greenway
Connecting 15 states across over 3,000 miles of trail, the East Coast Greenway is the USA’s longest combined walking/biking trail. Starting in Maine, the trail extends all the way down to the Florida Panhandle. All of the trail’s 3,000 miles are protected from development, motor vehicle traffic, and other hazards to visitors who walk and bike their way along the east coast.
Along the route, you’ll pass through several of America’s most famous cities, including:
- Augusta, Me.
- Boston, Ma.
- Hartford, Ct.
- Baltimore, Md.
- Washington D.C.
- Richmond, Va.
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Savannah, Ga.
- Miami, Fl.
4. The Great Divide Trail
If you enjoy a good challenge, then this will be the perfect biking trail for you. Spanning nearly 2,500 miles, the Great Divide Trail will carry you across the Continental Divide more than 50 times. As you navigate this arduous mix of terrain, you can expect to encounter gravel trails, single-track lanes, repurposed railroad beds, and many other surface types. Most challenging of all, you’ll experience an increase in altitude of more than 200,000 feet from the trail’s lowest point to its highest peak. This is a trail only the most fearless cyclers should attempt!
5. The Mississippi River Trail
At a cozy 2,000 miles, the Mississippi River Trail is a fairly easy trip along the length of the Mississippi River. As you parallel one of America’s oldest waterborne shipping corridors, you’ll start at the river’s mouth in Minnesota. From there, you’ll follow the river all the way through the old steamboat routes, down into the historic ports of New Orleans.
A fascinating trek through one of America’s most alluring regions, the Mississippi River Trail is an easy-to-moderate level trail that both you and your family should have no problem navigating with ease.