30 National Parks with The Most Epic Bike Trails

30 National Parks with The Most Epic Bike Trails

If you think your ebike is just for riding to work, you're dead wrong. Bikes have been a part of the art of travel for decades. From the early days of penny-farthing to today's mountain bikes, bicycles are a great way to explore a place and burn off some calories. National Parks across the country offer ample opportunities for cyclists – from dedicated mountain biking trails to road rides – there's something for everyone. So before summer ends, we've put together a list of national parks where you can take your ebike for enjoyable bike rides.

30 National Parks with The Most Epic Bike Trails

1. Prairie Duneland Bike Trail, Indiana Dunes National Park (Chesterton, Indiana)

The Prairie Duneland Bike Trail, another rail-to-trail conversion, provides a pleasant, smooth ride. This trail connects Chesterton and Hobart and is a pleasant 22.4-mile round journey through the forest. The trail is part of a 37-mile network that runs through the park. If you have the opportunity, visit the nearby Indiana National Lakeshore. Although bikes are not permitted on the lakefront trails, there is plenty to see and do on foot. More information on bike-friendly trails in the area can be found here.

2. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, Zion National Park (Springdale, Utah)

Starting in April and continuing through October, beginners and families will appreciate the relatively easy ride up to the Temple of Sinewava, a spectacular national amphitheater in Zion National Park, on roads that are closed to car traffic (save for shuttle buses). It connects to the 6.2-mile Zion Canyon Spectacular Drive through the 1.75-mile Pa'rus Trail, which features a number of scenic creek crossings on its way. There is one caveat: cyclists must board a shuttle to transit through the 1.1-mile-long Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which is small and barely illuminated due to its altitude.

3. Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park (Klamath County, Oregon)

The views from Crater Lake have long been included in "Dream Ride" lists, and for good cause. The brutal hills and breathtaking views that make the 33-mile route around the deep blue lake's edge are well worth the effort. During the winter, the road is totally closed, although it is open to cyclists and hikers on a few occasions during the year: click here for more information about car-free alternatives. At ridetherim.com, you may sign up for a free ride on specific days, which includes full support and free park admission.

4. Shark Valley Trail, Everglades National Park (Miami-Dede County, Florida)

It doesn't get much better than this smooth, 15-mile paved loop through the Everglades, which has been dubbed the "greatest biking route in South Florida." The route can be used to view deer, bobcats, and other wildlife, but the primary attraction is the chance to get up and personal with an alligator (though the park recommends staying at least 15 feet away).

5. Cactus Forest Loop Road, Saguaro National Park (Pima County, Arizona)

This gorgeous eight-mile asphalt circle winds across the Rincon Mountain District's lower altitudes. It's a moderately uphill route with spectacular views of the Santa Catalina mountains, local wildflowers, and, of course, plenty of anthropomorphic cacti of all shapes and sizes. Expect to see more bikes than vehicles on the road—one of our most critical requirements for a preferred route. Just keep an eye out for rattlesnakes when driving!

6. Carriage Roads, Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, Maine)

Acadia National Park is a cyclist's paradise for all ages and abilities, thanks in large part to the 45-mile network of crushed-rock carriage roads that are closed to motor vehicles. The park encompasses the majority of Mount Desert Island in Maine and provides spectacular panoramic views of the Atlantic Coast from Cadillac Mountain, which is famed for being one of the first spots in the United States to see the dawn each morning. The climb is gentle and gradual, with breathtaking vistas. Ride it in the summer when the wind chill at the summit isn't as severe—you'll want to stay and take in the scenery.

7. Teton Park Road, Teton National Park (Jackson Hole, Wyoming)

Cycling through Teton Park allows you to get up close and personal with some of the most stunning mountains in the United States. However, due to the geology of Jackson Hole, the Tetons rise directly from the valley floor. Grand Teton is about 13,000 feet high, so it rises 6,000 feet or so directly in front of you—quite dramatic and unusual.  Aside from the breathtaking scenery, this trip is also a winner because of the bike lane and small piece of bike path that wraps around a one-way loop road and allows you to admire the stunning peaks without having to contend with RVs and automobile tourists.

8. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park (Glacier County, Montana)

Do you want to experience the Alps in Montana? Ride Going-to-the-Sun Road today, before the park's titular glaciers, which raise the already-awe-inspiring vista a few thousand notches, vanish forever. It is a 32-mile ascent up to Logan Pass and an 18-mile descent to the park's east gate from the Apgar Visitor Center on the west side. There are certain restrictions on when bikers can ride on the road, so check the webpage before you go. Early spring is great because the road is available to bikers but not to cars.

9. Cades Coves Loop Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Townsend, Tennessee)

During the hours when it is closed to motor vehicles, this 11-mile loop is a delightful bucket-list ride (until 10 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September). The terrain is rolling and not too difficult for inexperienced riders. Highlights of the ride include a backdrop of 19th-century homesites, churches, and barns, as well as numerous opportunities to watch local wildlife. Expect to take your time on the route and to encounter a large number of other cyclists doing the same.

10. The Cowboy Trail, Niobrara National Scenic River (Cherry, Keya Paha, Brown, and Rock counties, Nebraska)

The 192-mile Cowboy Trail was previously part of a railway system that stretched from Valentine to Norfolk, Nebraska. The trail was originally built for locomotives, thus the crushed gravel path remains flat for the most of the ride, making it ideal for beginners (or anyone who doesn't want to deal with high cliffs and hairpin twists). While the trail is less of an adrenaline rush and more of a joy trip, it is nonetheless breathtaking. The park offers some breathtaking views, such as the one from the roughly 150-foot-tall bridge spanning the Niobrara National Scenic River. More railroads in Nebraska are being turned into bike paths, with the goal of eventually connecting the country as the Great American Rail-Trail.

11. The White Rim Trail, Canyonlands National Park (Moab, Utah)

The White Rim Trail, a 103-mile loop on jeep roads with beautiful vistas of sandstone cliffs and formations, continues the trend of roads with the word "rim" in the title being ideal cycling destinations. The hills are difficult, but the riding is not overly technical, making it suitable for mountain bike beginners who are also strong road riders. Most cyclists choose to divide the distance over several days, and there are campgrounds along the route to accommodate a two- to five-day excursion. Just make your reservation much in advance—campground reservations have extensive wait times.

12. Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park, Colorado)

The Trail Ridge Road spans the Continental Divide and exhibits the best of the park, with numerous views from which to take in the beautiful peaks and cliffs on all sides. The distance between Estes Park and Grand Lake is 28 miles, with 4.5 of those miles exceeding 12,000 feet in height. Due to inclement weather, the road is only open for a portion of the year—roughly from Memorial Day to Columbus Day—and vehicle traffic can be quite heavy during the summer (there isn't much of a shoulder), so plan ahead and try to visit in the early to mid fall when the crowds thin and there is more room on the road for cyclists.

13. Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park (Front Royal, Virginia)

The 105-mile Skyline Drive covers the length of Shenandoah National Park, roughly 60 miles outside of Washington, D.C. (Bicycling is only permitted on this road and not on the adjacent paved paths.) Start from the north gate in Front Royal, Virginia, or the south entrance near Waynesboro, and prepare for some challenging hills and wonderful panoramic overlooks as you ride the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you want to make the journey into a cycling tour, you can simply connect it with the famous Blue Ridge Parkway or the Transamerica Cycling Map. The roads are heavily traveled, but cars are limited to 35 to 45 mph, and commercial traffic is prohibited on both Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

14. Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, Big Bend National Park (Brewster County, Texas)

This 30-mile paved track, nestled just next to the southern border, leads you through all of the sights that make Big Bend National Park a must-see. After you've passed the Sotol Vista Overlook, Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff, and Mules Ear Viewpoint trail offshoots, you'll be shocked that the park still has more amazing vistas to offer. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive leads to one of the park's most popular attractions, the Santa Elena Canyon, which is cut through by the Rio Grande River. It's not an easy course, and the roads can get congested, so make sure to check traffic, weather, and shuttle schedules ahead of time to be properly prepared for the trip.

15. Avenue of the Giants, Redwood National Park (Humboldt County, California)

Ride through a mystical tunnel of old-growth trees so tall that you'll lose your balance attempting to look up at them. The 31.6-mile Avenue of the Giants is a pleasant ribbon of road with relatively little car traffic and plenty of chances to expand mileage via the Tour of the Unknown Coast route and Pacific Coast cycle routes. The 950-year-old Immortal Tree, a house built partially inside a redwood, a tree big enough to ride your bike (or perhaps drive) through, and numerous hiking trails are among the attractions. It's a must-see stretch in Northern California.

16. Denali Park Road, Denali National Park and Preserve (Denali Borough, Alaska)

What better way to discover the wildness of Alaska? Cyclists may ride the entire 92 miles of Denali Park Road. The route begins on paved but transitions to gravel after the Savage River around the fifteenth mile, which tends to be the busiest part. After that, traffic thins out, allowing you to enjoy all of Denali National Park's splendors, such as the thrilling downhill ride to Sanctuary River at mile 22. Denali Park Road features numerous ups and downs that can quickly tire out a novice rider. Fortunately, Denali Park's campgrounds may serve as a rest stop before continuing on to the end of the road, where you will find the appropriately named Wonder Lake at mile 85. More information about biking the Denali Park Road can be found by clicking here.

17. Bear Island Loop, Big Cypress National Preserve (Ochopee, Florida)

This trail will take you roughly 20 kilometers out and back, providing cyclists with the opportunity to see Bear Island's diverse landscape and animals. It is advisable to visit the park during the dry season (winter), as otherwise the trails may be fully submerged. Even during the dry season, some riders report having to carry their bikes across the muddy trail, but that the experience simply added to the fun! The Big Cypress Institute also organizes group bike tours where a tour guide can provide further information about the land's history and ecology.

18. Titus Canyon Road, Death Valley National Park (Inyo County, California)

Titus Canyon Road, which cuts through the Grapevine Mountains, provides a thrilling ride with steep inclines, some limited roads, and difficult terrain that brings Death Valley's dismal surroundings to life. The track is one of the most popular in the park, so expect to share the road on this 28-mile path. If you plan on staying in the area, the Goldwell Open Air Museum near the abandoned town of Rhyolite is a unique experience worth adding to your itinerary.

19. The National Mall Bike Tour (Washington, D.C.)

Even your non-riding friends and family members will like this. Take your Cruiser Bike and visit the monuments on the National Mall the next time you're in D.C. Sure, a three-hour trip may include more viewing than riding, but what better way to visit the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the rest of the National Park's prominent sites? If you still want to get some exercise, pick yourself a bike guide and head to the Mount Vernon Trail, an 18-mile paved trail that connects George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Theodore Roosevelt Island. D.C. is a terrible city to drive in, but it's a fantastic city to get around on a bike.

20. Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park (Park City, Kentucky)

For those who love gravel and a little elevation, this is an excellent mountain track. The Mammoth Cave Railroad is 9 miles one way and offers a challenge to those who prefer to keep to the road. There are various picturesque viewpoints and historic sites along the walk. To get over the steeper sections of the trail, some riders may have to dismount and carry their bikes. If you plan on staying a little longer, the park offers a variety of enjoyable activities, such as guided cave tours and horseback riding.

21. Dunes Drive, White Sands National Park (Otero, New Mexico)

White Sands National Monument is one of the country's most distinctive attractions. The park's white dunes are made up of fine gypsum crystals and cover 275 square kilometers. Dunes Drive is partially paved, with the remainder consisting of compact gypsum and coarse gravel, providing for a moderately tough ride. This 16-mile round-trip track is the park's only one that accepts bikes. Be prepared to share the road with other cars by wearing adequate tires and wearing reflective clothing. Bicyclists visiting the park must additionally pay an admission fee.

22. Gateway Arch National Park (St. Louis, Missouri)

Yes, the St. Louis Arch is a national park. Next time you visit, ride your bike along the park's trails along the Mississippi River. This less strenuous route is ideal for those who are not up for a tough ride. Even while the pathways aren't difficult, the Gateway Arch's 630-foot height makes it feel like a heroic emblem. If you've finished the park and still want more, take a ride down to the City Museum, where you can rediscover your inner child by climbing through caverns, tree houses, and gigantic whales—fake ones, of course.

23. East River Road to Scenic Loop Drive, Theodore Roosevelt National Park (Billings County, North Dakota)

For good reason, this track is primarily used for road cycling and scenic driving. The vistas from this path are truly breathtaking. This 35-mile lap showcases the best of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The trail begins near Medora, North Dakota, and follows the Little Missouri River before crossing Jones Creek and Lower Paddock Creek. This bucolic hidden treasure can be enjoyed by riders of all abilities. The traffic on this road is moderate, offering bikers some breathing room, but stay attentive when riding because traffic conditions may change. Check with the park ahead of time about traffic conditions, road closures, and entrance fees.

24. East Rim Trail System, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Peninsula, Ohio)

This trail system designed exclusively for mountain biking is located between Cleveland and Akron. The 2.5-mile East Rim Trail, the 4.7-mile Lamb Loop, and the Post Line short trail make up the system. Edson Run is currently being built and will be included in the trail system once completed. These trails are ideal for intermediate mountain cyclists seeking a challenge. The track has several challenges and varying terrain, making for an enjoyable ride through the forest. Although the system was designed for bikers, hikers are welcome on the trail as well.

25. North Cascades Highway, (State Route 20), North Cascades National Park (Marblemount to Washington Pass, Washington)

The North Cascades Highway is an asphalt ribbon that follows the Skagit River into the highlands, and bicyclists are welcome. Fifty-seven miles of paved road offer a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but be warned: State Route 20 is not for the faint of heart. The road is far from flat, reaching 5,477 feet above sea level at its highest point, which can exhaust even experienced cyclists. The road may also be congested and have barriers. Keep an eye out for fallen rocks that may obstruct your progress. This trail is obviously difficult, but it is also rewarding. Looking out over State Route 20 at Diablo Lake, for example, might provide you with all the inspiration and determination you need to finish this incredible journey. On this ride, bring food, water, and maintenance supplies because service stations are few and far between. There are bicycle campsites at Newhalem Creek and Colonial Creek. There are other camping alternatives in the local area, which can be explored here.

26. The Covington Flats, Joshua Tree National Park (Twentynine Palms, California)

Explore the famed Joshua Tree National Park on two wheels on its fascinating backcountry roads. The Covington Flats are ideal for cyclists because there are less vehicles than on the park's paved roads. Furthermore, the topography is more consistent than some of the other dirt roads. The road is 10.3 miles long from the Covington Flat picnic spot to the Backcountry Board. Palm Springs and the Morongo Basin can be seen in the distance from the highest point of the dirt road. Along this route, you may also see some of the park's most stunning Joshua trees.

27. Hike and Bike The Highway, Lassen Volcanic National Park (Shasta County, California)

Lassen Volcanic National Park prepares for the change of seasons by clearing the leftover snow from the roads. Vehicles are not permitted at this period, giving riders more room to enjoy the route. Visitors to the park are invited to take advantage of the car-free day. Section by section, the road is paved. Check the road status here to find out when Hike and Bike the Highway will be held.

28. Hermit Road, Grand Canyon National Park (Grand Canyon, Arizona)

This summer, check this destination off your bucket list. Hermit Road packs so many of the park's best views into a short seven-mile trip. Cyclists may take in all the splendor of this prehistoric occurrence by riding right next to the canyon rim. Hermit Road has nine vistas, including the spectacular Maricopa Point, where the canyon appears to stretch indefinitely into the horizon. If riding Hermit Road becomes too strenuous, the park shuttle stops at each of the nine views along the canyon rim.

29. Arrowhead Loop Trail, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (Fayetteville, West Virginia)

This trail is ideal for bicyclists of all skill levels. The Arrowhead Loop is a network of short paths with varied degrees of difficulty and length. Riders can cruise straight through parts of this fast and exciting trail system thanks to well-maintained routes. The Arrowhead loop contains some inclines as well, making it a terrific workout to do with friends or family. The Clovis Trail, the shortest of the Arrowhead Trails, is intended for novices, while the 6.4-mile Dalton Trail is suited for more experienced mountain bikers. Nonetheless, bikers on any stretch of the Arrowhead Trails will encounter stunning Appalachian Mountain views and wildflowers within the park.

30. Carbon River Trail, Mount Rainier National Park (Pierce County, Washington)

Another magnificent Washington trail—from the park's Carbon River entrance to the Ipsut Creek Campground, cyclists may enjoy this former road free of car hazards. Following the flooding of the Carbon River in 2006, the roadbed itself underwent reformation, rendering it impassable to motor vehicles. Nonetheless, both bikers and walkers can enjoy the trail. Riders may get an excellent glimpse of the glacier-sustained river and see the tactile impact of prior flooding on the terrain at numerous points where the track opens up. Riders are enveloped in this section of Mount Rainier's lush temperate rainforest—a storybook setting.

Plan an Adventure with Your Cruiser Bike

If you're thinking about traveling to one of these destinations, it's important to make sure you have all of the information on what is allowed and what is not. Check with the local authorities if your ebike is allowed in the park. Regulations change from time to time and it’s best to be prepared before you head out on an adventure.

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