The Best National Parks for Biking from The Best National Parks for Biking

The Best National Parks for Biking

There are 59 national parks in the U.S., and each one is astonishingly gorgeous and unique in its own way. One of the best ways to explore them is by cycling because a bike will take you places you won’t be able to go with a car. Deserts, mountains, forests, waterfalls, inspiring views and wildlife are all there for bikers to relish. Riding a bike on a woodsy trail can be just what you are looking for if you’re tired of concrete streets and the same old views of skyscrapers, cars and people.

1. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

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Bike along the famous 33-mile Rim Drive to see the country’s deepest lake – 1,943 feet. Its rich blue color and 6-mile-wide caldera, which was formed when Mount Mazama erupted more than 7,000 years ago always astonishes visitors. The road is ideal for riders who like to alternate easy paths with steeps hills and sharp curves. Bicycle Adventures offers a 7-day tour and 8-day Oregon Coast to Crater Lake Bike Tour. Spend two nights at iconic Crater Lake Lodge, high on the lake’s rim.

2. Acadia National Park, Maine

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One of the most visited parks in the U.S., Acadia offers a lot of bucket list adventures. Bikers love it for the 45 miles of proper road surfaces comprised of the famous Carriage Roads. There are a lot of paved motor vehicle roadways as well. DuVine offers tours to cycle past crashing waves and rocky shores; Acadia Bike offers the largest fleet of rental bicycles in New England; and VBT offers tours with a full range of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills, ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists.

3. Redwood National Park, California

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Redwood has 50 miles of gravel and fire-road path. Riding through the forest and along the beautiful California coastline is an incredibly refreshing experience. You’ll be challenged by steep hills, single tracks and hills while enjoying tree groves and mighty unspoiled nature. Backroads offers a family-friendly adventure tour during which you can also camp out and kayak.  

4. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Visit Hawaii’s Big Island and witness the diversity and beauty of the Volcanoes National Park. You will find trails that are as short as a mile and as long as 36 miles. The catch is that you have to stay on designated routes because volcanic activity underneath. Bicycle Adventures offers a 7-day Hawaii Bike Tour and 6-day Hawaii Family Bike Tour to discover Kilauea’s secrets. You will visit the white sands of the City of Refuge National Historic Park and stay two nights at the restored 1846-era Volcano House Lodge.

5. Saguaro National Park, Arizona

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Tucson is known as one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the U.S., according to NPS. Riders go to the park in the winter because of the nicer weather. You’ll see native plants and animals while surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Sonoran Desert. The 3 miles of doube-track in the park are attached to the 800+ mile Arizona Trail from Utah to Mexico. Bicycle Adventures has a 6-day Cactus Classic Bike Tour during which you spend a day in Arizona’s Saguaro National Park, where the cacti soar nearly 50 feet in height. Tucson Rentals offer a variety of trips as well.

6. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

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Canyonlands is known for its mountain biking terrain, especially the 100-mile White Rim Road at the Island in the Sky. The Maze also offers some multi-day trip opportunities, according to NPS. Permits are required for all overnight trips in the backcountry. Rim Tours has a variety of cycling adventures. The route in the park is super scenic and largely downhill with some challenging climbs and exciting descents.

7. Death Valley National Park, California

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If you’re looking for extreme biking, you will find it at Death Valley National Park. It’s scorching hot in the summer, but freezing at night. Avid bikers love the park because it feels like they are in a 3.3-million-acre Wild West. As you can imagine, such a huge place has hundreds of dirt and paved roads for every kind of cyclist. Bicycle Adventures has a 4-day Inn Bike Tour and a 4-day Ranch Bike Tour, taking guests throughout 5,000 square miles of salt flats, sand dunes and abandoned mines in California.

8. Big Bend National Park, Texas

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Lightly traveled roads and varied terrain make Big Bend a premier bicycling location, the NPS says. There are more than 100 miles of paved roads, and 160 miles of backcountry dirt roads for riders of all types and skills. Adventure Cycling offers a 9-day, van-supported trip explores the wild and picturesque terrain of the West Texas Big Bend region. Velo View Bike Tours has several quite challenging trips as well. You will bike between 30 and 60 miles a day and go more than 4,000 feet in elevation.

9. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

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Bikers and all other visitors as well admire the grandeur of the towering peaks. The sight of snow covering swatches of granite energizes riders because of the stunning views it forms. Teton Mountain Bike Tours will test your skills and abilities on half-day, full-day and 5-day tours. They supply a mountain bike, helmet, transportation, a local guide who will share the history of the area and offer instruction in mountain bike techniques and trail etiquette.

10. Rocky Mountain, Colorado

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Elevations range from 8,000 to 12,183 feet, according to the NPS. There are 60 miles of hard-surfaced road with a 5 to 7 percent grade. New Venture Cycling downhill guided bicycle tours are a good way to experience the famous park. You will ride by gorgeous plants, amazing wildlife and intimidating peaks. Rocky Mountain Rush offers the Epic Downhill Descent (Down Trail Ridge Road), starting in the land above the trees and clouds, in the company of marmots and elk.

11. Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio

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The Cuyahoga Valley has four major bicycle trails. Ride along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Cleveland Metroparks' Bike & Hike Trail, which have a lot of historical landmarks, the All Purpose trails in Brecksville and Bedford reservations, as well as all roads and parking lots. Bicycling is prohibited on all other trails, according to the NPS. The park has 95 miles of paths, both single-track and multi-use trails. Biking there is absolutely mesmerizing in the fall.

12. Glacier National Park, Montana

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Bike through Glacier National Parkand explore the incredible forests, tall mountains, and beautiful valleys on the Going-to-the-sun road, which is one of the most stunning roads in America. Bicycle Adventures offers a 4-Day Bike Tour that will have guests cycling past lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, bighorn sheep and the American bison. Getting up to the 6,646-foot Logan Pass is a challenge.

13. Yellowstone National Park, ID, MT, WY

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Yellowstone often tops the lists of every category when it comes to national parks. It is a captivating place year-round, but cyclist mostly go in the spring because they get exclusive access to portions of Yellowstone roads between mid-March and mid-April, according to National Geographic. Experience the iconic, wild, and magnificent Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem on your bike with Cycle Greater Yellowstone; go on an adventure tour with Backroads; or go on a wilderness experience with Escape Adventures.

14. Zion National Park, Utah

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Bicycle Adventures offers the Zion Four-Day Bike Tour, taking you on an exploration trip through the Red Navajo sandstone bluffs and the Overlook Trail in the park and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Biking Zion has many guided tours for family rides, mountain biking and road cycling. The best place to bike, according to the NPS, is on the Pa'rus Trail and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.

15. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

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From the park’s herds of bison roaming grasslands to its rugged but severe badlands, the 244,000-acre park is a living representation of classic Old West history and culture, according to Bicycle Adventures. One of the best routes is the Badlands Loop Road, which runs for 24 miles and offers extensive views of the park. Check out the Fossil Exhibit Trail and its collection of replica fossils of some of the extinct creatures. There is a 7-Day South Dakota Classic Plus Tour that takes guests to Mount Rushmore and other places.