Some cyclists ride for the challenge. Others ride for the camaraderie. Still others ride to take in the sights and visit new places. Me, I like to ride for all of those reasons. In the summer, cycling is an excellent evening activity to cool down from a scorching hot day. In these rides, it’s less about working up a sweat and more about relaxation. If you’re riding to unwind, it’s best to enjoy the view.
Of course, your local biking trails are probably scenic enough, but if you happen to live near enough, you should definitely check out one of these five biking trails that rank among the most scenic in the United States.
- Highway One. Big Sur, California
You’ve probably seen this iconic stretch of road in movies and TV; Highway One in Big Sur, California is the epitome of a scenic coastal ride. While you can cruise the highway in your car, the best way to experience California’s coastline is on two wheels, where you can breathe in the fresh salt air. You should look at a map of the area before you start and plan out a route between Carmel and Cambria, with some rest stops in between, based on your skill level.
2. Banks Vernonia Trail. Portland, Oregon
This idyllic path through the Oregon forest 45-minutes West of Portland is completely free of cars, so you can take in the towering trees and the woodland creatures without distraction. The BVT is Oregon’s first rail-to-trail and will take you through 21 miles of forest, past historic bridges and railroad trestles dating back to the 1920s. After you’re all tuckered out from your bike ride, Portland, with its vibrant arts and foodie scene, is just a short drive away.
3. Carriage Trails. Acadia National Park, Maine
You’ll be able to cover much more of Main’s 47,000 acre Acadia National Park on wheels than you would on foot. On 45 miles of car-free bike paths, you’ll ride past picture-perfect lakes, ponds, waterfalls, rocky beaches, granite peaks, and woodland. You may even encounter some of the park’s wildlife inhabitants as well, including moose, bears, whales, and seabirds. After your ride, you can visit the onsite restaurant Jordan Pond House or the bayside town of Bar Harbor for a scenic bite to eat.
4. Flume Trail. Lake Tahoes, Nevada
Lake Tahoe’s Flume Trail is not for the faint of heart. It reaches a height of 1,600 feet at its highest point of elevation. Although it may be a challenging and daunting ride up the canyon trail, the spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the Rockies that you’ll be treated with make every labored breath worth it.
5. Shark Valley Trail. Everglades National Park, Miami, Florida
If the possibility of an up-close encounter with an alligator doesn’t scare you, then this 15-mile loop is a scenic treat. Shark Valley Trail in Florida’s Everglades National Park will take you on a serene journey through wetlands and prairie land where you’re sure to run into a cast of other creatures as well, such as birds and turtles.