Road cycling can offer breathtaking scenery, peaceful contemplation, or heart-pumping ascents and descents. While devoted cyclists will argue passionately for their favorite routes, there’s always another road to ride. So, consider exploring what these roads have to offer if you haven’t experienced one or more of the top five cycling routes in the U.S.
The Kancamagus Highway (New Hampshire)
Location: White Mountain National Forest
Distance: 34.5 miles
Many know “the Kanc” as one of the most beautiful drives in North America, and the Kancamagus Highway doesn’t disappoint when it comes to cycling either. The 34.7-mile route traverses the heart of the White Mountain National Forest, climbing more than 2,800 feet before descending again. Along the way, you’ll experience panoramic views, numerous pull-offs, and the magnificent Swift River.
Going-to-the-Sun Road (Montana)
Location: Glacier National Park
Distance: 50 miles
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is an iconic North American cycling route that takes you on a 50-mile journey through Glacier National Park. Pedal your way up 3,300 feet of elevation gain, enjoy jaw-dropping vistas of glacial valleys, and keep your eyes open for wildlife. The ride is challenging, but with views like these, you’ll forget the burn.
The Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia and North Carolina)
Location: Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Distance: 469 miles
This 469-mile meandering road connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina is a cyclist’s dream. You’ll encounter long ascents, thrilling descents, and numerous overlooks that showcase the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Riding the entire route is an ambitious undertaking, but even tackling a section of the parkway rewards cyclists with unforgettable experiences.
The Oregon Coast (Oregon)
Location: Astoria to Brookings
Distance: 363 miles
Discovering the rugged beauty of the Oregon Coast by bike is nothing short of incredible. The 363-mile journey, which begins in Astoria and ends in Brookings, treats riders to pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming seaside towns. Although a few challenging hills exist along the way, the coastal views and cool sea breezes will keep you energized.
The Mickelson Trail (South Dakota)
Location: Deadwood to Edgemont
Distance: 109 miles
The Mickelson Trail is a hidden gem nestled in South Dakota’s Black Hills. The 109-mile route, once a railroad corridor, provides cyclists with an excellent combination of scenery, history, and adventure. You’ll pedal through pine forests, past abandoned gold mines, and alongside murmuring creeks. It’s the perfect route for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
These top five U.S. cycling routes offer some of the most thrilling experiences for dedicated cyclists, from the misty Oregon Coast to the rugged peaks of Glacier National Park. Don’t forget to pack your fuel of choice (G.O.R.P.? Sandwiches? Bananas?) plus water, of course. And make sure you wear acooling headband that keeps sweat out of your eyes, diverting rather than absorbing it, so it can evaporate and help regulate your body temperature while you pump your way up the inclines or pick up speed on the descents. Comment below and tell us your favorite cycling route!