12 of the Most Scenic Bike Trails Across the Country
From mountain peaks to sweeping ocean coastlines, take in the natural scenery and wildlife as you pedal out onto this state-to-state journey, and you'll discover—the mileage is worth it.
Bicycling is more than just a great sport—it also gives you a chance to explore the natural scenery in your area. One perfect example? "Exploring Summit County's multipurpose trails by bike is a great way to enjoy nature while being active at the same time," says Lindsay Smith, marketing and public relations manager at Summit Metro Parks. "Our trails, in particular, offer natural scenes and wildlife viewing opportunities that aren't available in other parts of the country." And if you visit the various bike trails across the United States, you would get a wonderful sampling of the country's natural history and wildlife, too.
What makes a good bike trail? Trails need to be well-maintained for the safety of cyclists. "That is something we pride ourselves in at Summit Metro Parks. Each of our trails has dedicated crews that perform regular checks and maintenance to offer our visitors a smooth riding experience," says Smith. Some of these bike trails connect with other trails, which allows you to travel a network from state to state or even across the country.
When you go cycling on any of these trails, you want to make the most of the experience. Plan ahead by visiting the park's website and mapping out your trip. "Consider bringing water and a snack as well as any other items that may protect you from the elements. We keep any trail alerts, including temporary construction closures, posted on our site as well so it's a good idea to check the park and trail alerts page before heading out," she says. Here, learn about some of the best trails across the country and head out onto the open road.
Summit Metro Parks Bike and Hike Trail in Ohio
"The paved, 34-mile Bike & Hike Trail runs northwest to southeast in the northern portion of Summit County and was one of the first 'rails to trails' conversions in the country," says Smith. Sections of the Bike & Hike Trail follow the course of two abandoned railroads, with a portion of the trail running alongside towering rock ledges with spectacular vistas along the way.
Down East Sunrise Trail in Maine
At 87 miles, the Down East Sunrise Trail is the longest continuous off-road segment of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile network of multi-use paths connecting 15 states from Maine to Florida. Whizz past quaint towns and cranberry bogs where you're likely to spot beavers, eagles, white tail deer, and even the state's iconic moose.
The Huckleberry Trail in New York
The Huckleberry Trail is along an old railroad track near the Catskills Mountains, so you know the view will be beautiful. Its 2.3 miles includes views of wooded areas and a lake in addition to residential homes and a golf course.
Laurel Mountain Ride in North Carolina
The tread for the Laurel Mountain Ride trail is moderately rough and features winding paths, high elevations, and scenic views across forests and mountainside. If you want to get a good workout, then this is a great bike ride for that as well.
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Ohio
"The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail is a path rich with history, remnants of which can still be viewed from the trail," says Smith. "The Towpath Trail begins in Cuyahoga County and travels south to Tuscarawas County—110 miles in total, with 22 miles in Summit County managed by Summit Metro Parks." Along the route, there are several prime spots for birding and viewing other wildlife.
The Silver Comet Trail in Georgia
Travel the entire 61-plus miles from Smyrna to the Georgia and Alabama state line. The Silver Comet Trail is paved so it is also beginner-friendly. You will also see people walking or hiking, riding horses, or taking their dogs out for exercise along the way. Overall, it's a great trail for exercise.
Swamp Rabbit Trail in South Carolina
In the city of Greenville, the Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 22-mile trail traverses along the Reedy River, an old railroad corridor, and city parks with various points where you can park to start your bike ride. Beginners and advanced riders alike can enjoy the scenery along this multi-purpose trail.
Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana
Start your experience of Glacier National Park with this 32-mile route that goes into the heart of the park. Going-to-the-Sun Road is a bucket-list item for serious cyclists, unmatched for its 3,300-foot climbs and natural beauty. You'll pass by Logan Pass, the cascading Weeping Wall waterfall, Lake McDonald, and snow-capped Heavens Peak along the way.
Flume Trail in Nevada
One of the most beautiful mountain bike trails in the Lake Tahoe area, Flume Trail traverses steep terrain. Because this trail is moderately difficult, you will want to invest in a good bike before attempting it. The ride is 14 miles at an elevation of 7,000 to 8,000 feet. Adventurous bicyclists love this trail because of the amazing views and the challenge of traveling up the path.
McKenzie River Trail in Oregon
Do you want to see lava rock, waterfalls, and long-living forest life? Then the McKenzie River Trail is the bike trail for you. Its 25-mile length is for advanced bicyclists because this trail is considered to be extremely difficult.
Highway One in California
Not just for an epic road trip, Highway One gives bicyclists a view of the California coastline. Beginners and advanced cyclists alike love riding this 20-mile journey, especially on a gorgeous day. Take a deep breath of the ocean air, feel the sun on your face and back, and just enjoy the ride.
Pupukea Trail in Hawaii
In paradise, Pupukea Trail is an intermediate trail that covers 35 miles of terrain along the Waimea North Shore. Bring your own bike or rent one from any of the bike shops in the area. The elevation of 322 feet on the gorgeous island of Hawaii makes this one of the best mountain bike trails in the country.