Riding a bike on a woodsy trail can be just what you need if you don’t run and are looking for the famed state of euphoria that comes with reduced anxiety and a diminished ability to feel pain, usually called “runner’s high.”
One of the best ways to explore nature is by cycling because a bike will take you places you won’t be able to go with a car.
Mountains, forests, inspiring views and wildlife are all there for bikers to relish. The Pacific Northwest – which is a geographic region that consists of Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, Idaho and Wyoming – offers all of them.
Pacific Northwest Trail
Officially recognized in 2009, the Pacific Northwest Trail, which is one of the most scenic in the entire country, begins in Glacier National Park, and roughly follows the Canadian border for 1,200 miles to the westernmost point in the contiguous 48 states, Cape Alava on the Olympic Peninsula.
On its way it links the Continental Divide Trail, which also ends in Glacier National Park, to the Pacific Crest Trail, creating a continuous path from Mexico to Canada and back.
Threading its way through thick forests of Douglas fir, the trail traverses several major mountain ranges—the Rockies and Cascades among them—before island hopping in Puget Sound and crossing the temperate rainforests and mountains of Olympic National Park, reaching its western terminus on the rocky, remote Wilderness Coast.
See Spectacular National Parks during Fall Foliage
The Olympic National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country. It has three unique environments – mountains, coasts and rainforests. Hiking feels like you are in an imaginary world.
Mount Rainier National Park offers, beyond pure aesthetics, a chance climb an active volcano, trek through old growth forests and take photos of spectacular wild flower meadows.
Hikers consider the Glacier National Park as their own little paradise. It’s best to explore the more than 700 miles of serene trails in the fall when the leaves are changing and wildlife is out.
Alaska is not all ice and snow and Denali National Park & Preserve in the fall is proof. Fall comes early there and is shorter than in other states. Be mindful of the moose and caribou preparing for winter.
Tours Are Longer
If a biker is up for an interesting and adventurous day trip, but he or she wants to explore the area on a long, multi-day tour, there are a variety of options in the Pacific Northwest. Not only are cities like Portland and Seattle great for cyclists, the terrain and surroundings in the region are also perfect for long treks with beautiful views, according to Cyclo Camping.
Check out San Juan and Lopez islands. “North of Seattle, and near Bellingham, WA, these islands give cyclists a chance to get a feel for the Pacific Northwest in picturesque landscapes full of choppy ocean bays and lush pine trees.”
Going-to-the-Sun Road near the Pacific Northwest Trail
You will see forests, lakes, deep ravines, and a variety of wildlife in one trip – and what better time to see these stunning sights than in the fall when the weather is just right.
If you stop at the St. Mary Lake, the second largest in the park, you’ll be able to take startling photos of the 100-foot Virginia Falls.
Chinook Pass – Rainier East
Chinook Pass is a pass through the Cascade Range in Washington. It’s a 5,430-foot-high pass, about five miles east of the Cayuse Pass summit and makes for one incredible strenuous but stunning bike ride.
It’s only open in the summer and fall, according to OutdoorsNW. This is the time when the colors and views are spectacular.
Mount Rainier is in your sight all the time. As you leave Rainier’s dense forests, the landscape transforms into basalt cliffs of the Columbia Plateau.