Guest contribution by Lorenzo Esposito
Getting off the beaten track and exploring nature is one of our nation’s greatest pastimes, whether by foot, car, or bicycle. Spending time in green spaces can elevate your mood, and riding an electric mountain bike can benefit your physical health.
Trail riding is an easily accessible activity for bike riders of all ages, and there is a huge range of trails at different elevations and difficulty levels to try. Exploring available bike trails in the U.S. can give you an idea of where to ride your bike, whether for a vacation or to search for similar trails in your local area.
How to Find the Right Trails
Trails that offer picturesque landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and unique natural features are more enjoyable and memorable for riders and enhance the overall biking experience. However, there are several other important factors to consider when choosing a bike trail to explore.
● Trail Difficulty and Accessibility
The trails should cater to riders of different skill levels, from beginners to experienced cyclists. Accessible trails with clear signage and well-maintained paths allow for a safer and more enjoyable experience for all riders.
● Variety in Trail Lengths and Terrain Types
Some cyclists prefer shorter, leisurely rides, while others enjoy more challenging and lengthy adventures. Trails with different surface types, such as paved paths, gravel roads, or singletrack, can offer unique experiences and cater to various riding styles.
● Safety and Maintenance of the Trails
Well-maintained trails with minimal hazards, such as overgrown vegetation, loose rocks, or eroded surfaces, are safer for riders. Trails with safety features, such as guardrails or clear markings, can also help prevent accidents and injuries.
● Availability of Amenities and Facilities Nearby
Convenient access to rest stops, restrooms, bike rentals, repair shops, and lodging can make the journey more comfortable and enjoyable. Additionally, nearby attractions, such as restaurants, cafes, or historical sites, can add extra value to the experience and encourage riders to explore the local area.
Top 6 Bike Riding Trails in the US
The U.S. offers multiple bike trails for adventurers of all ages and skill levels. Whether you travel to a trail or live nearby, heading out to one of the following locations can provide you with hours of exercise and exploration.
The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 150-mile scenic rail trail from Cumberland, Maryland, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It provides breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains, rivers, and small towns. The trail follows the historic route of the Western Maryland Railway and the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad.
The GAP is considered an easy-to-moderate trail suitable for riders of all skill levels, as it has a gradual uphill grade of less than 1% for most of the route. The trail is well-maintained and features amenities such as restrooms, water fountains, and campsites, making it a popular destination for bike tourists worldwide.
The GAP permits e-bikes with 750 watts or less, are no more than 36″ wide, weigh less than 100 lbs., and have fully operating pedals.
The Route of the Hiawatha is a spectacularly scenic trail located in northern Idaho and western Montana, stretching 15 miles along the old Milwaukee Railroad line. The trail offers stunning views of the Bitterroot Mountains and follows the path of the St. Paul Pass or Taft Tunnel, which spans nearly 1.7 miles.
The trail is considered a moderate level of difficulty. While traditional bicycles are allowed, Lookout Associates, which operates under a Special Use Permit through the USDA Forest Service, also allows Class 1 and disabled Class 2 e-bikes on the trail. Class 3 e-bikes are prohibited.
Hartman Rocks is a premier mountain biking destination just outside Gunnison, Colorado. The area boasts over 30 miles of trails, ranging from easy to challenging, making it suitable for riders of all levels. For example, beginner trails include Evan’s Loop, Nine-0, and Enchanted Forest, while Josie’s, Beck’s, and Graceland are intermediate options.
The trails at Hartman Rocks offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and high-desert terrain. E-bikes are permitted on all trails except for designated hiking-only trails. Riders using e-bikes are asked to follow specific rules, such as yielding to other trail users and keeping speeds under 20 mph.
Image: Unsplash/ Thomas Ciszewsk
One of the best ways to explore the Golden State’s Pacific coastline is on two wheels. Starting at San Simeon and ending at Ragged Point, this 20-mile stretch is ideal for cycling enthusiasts. The charming coastal towns along the way provide a much-needed rest at the numerous cafes and wineries. You can also cruise down the beachside boardwalk, a perfect trail for families with young kids.
With plenty of high-traction loamy dirt and well-maintained trails, Post Canyon offers some of the best mountain biking trails in the Beaver State. The complex trail system has flowing downhill descents, exciting jump lines, and winding cross-country single tracks. The best time to ride is spring through fall, but avoid any days after heavy rains; the trails are prone to mud and landslides.
Image: Unsplash/ Steve Iverson
SkyPark is heaven for mountain bikers and is one of the few dedicated bike parks to allow e-bikes (Class 1 pedal-assist only). Just an hour and a half out of LA, in the San Bernardino Hills, this park features seven miles of track with numerous ramps, wall rides, jump lines, and bermed flow tracks for mountain bikers to practice their skills. The trails are exceptionally well-kept, and the facility offers numerous amenities for tired, hungry riders, including restaurants, bakeries, and cafes.
Tips for Bike Riding on Trails
Selecting the appropriate bike for the trail is essential. Consider an electric city bike for urban or paved paths, a mountain e-bike for more challenging off-road terrain, or cheap electric bikes if you’re on a budget.
Familiarize yourself with trail etiquette and safety guidelines before planning your biking adventure. This includes yielding to pedestrians and other riders, properly warning when passing, and adhering to posted trail rules.
Before heading out, check the weather forecast and be prepared for any potential hazards on the trail, such as steep descents, sharp turns, or wildlife encounters, to approach these situations with caution and confidence.
Carry enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your ride. Consider bringing a small backpack or saddlebag to store your supplies, a basic first aid kit, and tools for minor repairs.
Unforgettable Bike Riding Adventures
Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting, there’s a trail out there that’s perfect for you. Explore these trails and experience the joy of bike riding firsthand. Embrace the opportunity to connect with nature, challenge yourself and create lasting memories.
Featured Image: Unsplash/ Sterlinglanier Lanier
Lorenz Esposito is a contributor at Upway, a retailer of e-bikes based in New York, USA. In his free time you could find him hiking, exploring bike trails, or trying out water-based sports.