At 25-miles long and with plenty of points of interest along the way, the Rock Creek Trail stretches from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to Lake Needwood Park in Montgomery Country, Maryland. As it's a fairly popular path, the Washington Area Bike Association warns that the D.C. areas of the trail can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays, especially when the weather is warm. But with plenty of sightseeing opportunities and a beginner-friendly terrain it’s well worth a ride. “I'm far from a pro, but when I can ride my bike to work, it's a true highlight,” says Kate Gibbs, Media Relations Manager for Destination DC.
Situated in Washington Heights just north of the George Washington Bridge, although this path is part of an urban landscape it presents a challenging terrain that should only be attempted by experienced bikers. Chris Wogas, President of Bike and Roll NYC, describes the trail as somewhat mountainous. According to NYC Bike Maps the entire course spans over about 3 miles and includes a few areas suitable for beginner and intermediate bike riders plus a freeride trail and a mid-level dirt jump park featuring a pump track.
Houston boasts 50,632 acres of total park space, and of course a portion of that area includes miles of meandering bike paths. Two of note: the Little Cambodia Trail and the Ho Chi Minh Trail, both located in Houston’s Memorial Park. While the latter is more frequently filled with hikers and runners, the former is a more challenging trail that features several drops and turns. “What I love about Houston is how lush it is here,” says local Lisa Martin. “It's definitely a place for people who love the outdoors and cycling is definitely a big activity.”
Located on top of the world's longest cave system, the Mammoth Cave Railroad Trail is a historic route made up of varying terrains for riders of all levels. “The trail takes you past Diamond Caverns, one of the many attractions in Kentucky's cave country, then weaves back and forth between the forested and open fields of the national park,” says Telia Butler, Public Relations Director for the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The trails are full of greenery and blossoming trees in the spring and summertime, but the bright oranges and crisp reds of the fall make for just as beautiful of a ride.” Butler rates the path as moderately difficult and recommends setting out on a hybrid or mountain bike.
“This trail on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula is by far one of the most scenic and easy to ride trails on the West Coast,” says Washington local Carol Zahorsky. Stretching from Ilwaco, over the Cape Disappointment headlands, through Beard's Hollow and paralleling the Pacific Ocean it spans over 8.5 miles and is currently being extended. “The trail is fun to ride because rather than cutting a straight path the engineers followed the contours of the sand dunes, lending a delightful serpentine structure with gentle rolling curves,” Zahorsky adds. “Views are sometimes of the dunes, sometimes of interpretive markers— like the 20-foot bronze tree that marks the north end of the trail— and sometimes opening to sweeping vistas of the beach and Pacific Ocean surf.”
Just a few miles away from BnBFinder.com’s Napa Valley inns is the Skyline Wilderness Park. Featuring narrow, rocky trails through California’s forests, Manzanita Bike Tours founder Aaron Kerson calls Skyline Wilderness Park one of the greatest riding spots in all of California. Trails here present riders with incredible views of California’s landscape, opportunities for encounters with wildlife, and varying levels of mountain biking terrain.
One of the more leisurely trails you’ll find on the west coast, Bear Creek boasts 26 miles of paved trails surrounded by serene meadows and emerald forests. Beginning in the quaint town of Ashland (considered a hidden treasure for bike enthusiasts), the greenway extends to Central Point and is strewn across more than 600 acres of what’s considered some of Oregon’s most exquisite landscapes. Somewhat of a mountain biking haven, enthusiasts will appreciate area events like the annual Spring Thaw and Ashland Mountain challenge; two downhill races held in the Siskiyou Mountains.
Park City local Cole Lehman says this trail is one of the best in Park City and the entire country. “It's probably the signature mountain bike trail in Park City— the only gold-level rated bike center in the world by the International Mountain Bicycling Association,” says Park City Mountain Resort Communications Manager Andy Miller. “It features 25 miles of singletrack climbing, descending and ridge-riding that's a favorite of locals and guests alike. One of the coolest aspects is it cuts through all 3 of Park City's ski resorts: Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and Canyons Resort.”
Cape Cod is home to 110 miles of scenic cycling paths and nearly 11 of those belong to the Shining Sea Bikeway. The only path in Cape Cod that borders the shore, the paved route runs from County Route 151 in Falmouth to the historical fishing village of Woods Hole. A 60-acre preserve that sits between the bikeway and ocean connects to a network of footpaths where visitors can spot wildlife like shorebirds, otters and muskrats.
Constructed as a response to community interests, Louisiana’s Wild Azalea Trail is recognized as a National Recreational Trail by the Chief of the Forest Service. "Follow the yellow blazes as you roll up and over the pine hills and down into Louisiana bayous on this back country single-track. Ride in the springtime for opportunities to stop and smell the azaleas while exploring the wild side of the Heart of Louisiana," says travel journalist Stacey Wittig.
“The Paseo del Bosque Trail is used by many local riders since it is located right in Albuquerque, but it never seems crowded,” says Kelly Ryan, Communications Manager for the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau. “You pass by strollers and bikers and joggers and everyone seems to be in a good mood. If you enter the trail at Alameda, there's a big parking lot to leave your vehicle. You can ride 32 miles and go back or do the 35 mile loop, but the extra miles aren't paved so your tires are susceptible to goat-heads. It's a great trail and you don't have to worry about motor vehicles the whole way. It passes through some of my favorite Albuquerque spots like Tingley Beach. ”
Following an enjoyable rolling path, the Animas River Trail is 7 miles long and just one of many incredible bike paths in the Durango area. According to Anne Klein, Colorado local and a former member of the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) Board of Directors it’s much more than just a great place to ride your bike. “It's a connector, a wonderful family outing, a lover's stroll, a dog's access to the river…”
Located 90 miles north of New York City and situated in the Shawangunk Ridge section of the Appalachian Mountains, the Mohonk Preserve is home to 30 miles of carriage road type paths that connect to even more bike routes in its neighboring Minnewaska State Park Preserve. “These trails have so much natural beauty,” says New York local Gretchen Reed. She says that one of the most popular routes is the Overcliff/Undercliff loop; a family-friendly 4.5-mile trail that offers wonderful views of the Catskill Mountains and Wallkill Valley.
Alaska’s largest city offers bikers the opportunity to experience the landscape via nearly 125 miles of paved trails that wind through the area’s pristine parks and greenbelts. The Tony Knowles Trail stretches just over 11 miles from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park and it's one of the most popular and inexpensive ways to explore the city. Highlights include vast views of Mount McKinley and the chance to spot exciting wildlife like beluga whales, moose, bald eagles, and owls.
“This is a 20-plus-mile paved path along the Hocking River through Athens, the Ohio University Campus, and up through the woods and countryside to the next town, Nelsonville," says Jeff Wilson, a lifelong cyclist and runner and the host of Real Rail Adventures on public TV. “This bikeway isn’t just scenic and well-tended, it’s also a hidden gem and never over-crowded.”