The United States is a country of diverse landscapes and scenic beauty, and there’s no better way to explore it than on a bicycle. One of the most popular and enjoyable ways to experience the beauty of America is by riding its extensive network of rail trails. These former railroad routes have been transformed into recreational pathways for cyclists, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the best rail trails in America, offering breathtaking views, rich history, and memorable experiences.
- The Katy Trail, Missouri
The Katy Trail, often dubbed “the longest rail-trail in the USA,” stretches for a remarkable 240 miles across the beautiful state of Missouri. Named after the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, this trail passes through charming towns, lush forests, and offers stunning views of the Missouri River. Cyclists can immerse themselves in the heartland of America, with plenty of opportunities for picnics, birdwatching, and camping along the way.
- The Great Allegheny Passage, Pennsylvania and Maryland
The Great Allegheny Passage is a 150-mile rail trail that connects Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cumberland, Maryland. As you ride through lush forests and cross towering viaducts, you’ll be treated to the remarkable scenery of the Appalachian Mountains. This trail also connects with the C&O Canal Towpath, allowing riders to continue all the way to Washington, D.C., for an epic 334-mile adventure.
- The Cape Cod Rail Trail, Massachusetts
For those seeking a coastal experience, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is the perfect choice. This 22-mile trail winds through charming Cape Cod, passing through quaint towns, salt marshes, and picturesque beaches. Cyclists can explore the beauty of the Cape, indulge in fresh seafood, and even take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
- The Virginia Creeper Trail, Virginia
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34-mile downhill delight, starting in Whitetop, Virginia, and ending in the historic town of Abingdon. This trail takes its name from the old steam engine that once crept along these tracks, and today it offers cyclists a scenic journey through forests, trestles, and a 3,000-foot descent. Be prepared for breathtaking views and the feeling of riding through time.
- The Root River Trail, Minnesota
The Root River Trail, situated in the picturesque Bluff Country of southeastern Minnesota, is a 60-mile trail that meanders through rolling hills, valleys, and charming small towns. It’s a popular choice for those who enjoy a relaxed and peaceful ride, with opportunities to explore local art galleries, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfasts.
- The American River Bike Trail, California
In the heart of California’s capital city, Sacramento, lies the American River Bike Trail, also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. This 32-mile trail follows the American River, taking you through urban and scenic landscapes, including Folsom Lake, making it an excellent choice for both city and nature lovers.
- The Banks-Vernonia State Trail, Oregon
Oregon is famous for its stunning natural beauty, and the Banks-Vernonia State Trail is no exception. This 21-mile trail, located just outside Portland, takes you through dense forests, over historic trestles, and past an old logging town. It’s a fantastic escape into the Pacific Northwest wilderness.
America’s rail trails provide cyclists with an incredible opportunity to explore the nation’s diverse landscapes, from the heartland of Missouri to the scenic beauty of Cape Cod and the Pacific Northwest. These former railroad routes have been transformed into a cyclist’s paradise, offering adventure, history, and a connection to nature. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, you’ll find the perfect rail trail to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the great American outdoors. So, grab your bike, plan your journey, and get ready to ride the best rail trails in America!