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The 30 Most Epic National Parks With Bike Trails

From beginner-friendly bike paths to next-level singletrack, these getaways practically plan your next vacation for you.

by Caitlin NA Giddings and The Bicycling Editors
parks with bike trails
Cavan Images//Getty Images

While Yellowstone became the world’s first National Park in 1872, the National Park Service, which administers all of the United States’ dozens of parks, will celebrate its 105th birthday this summer (mark your calendars for August 25!). Each park is a national treasure in its own right, and though there are plenty of ways to explore, from hiking to running to scenic tours, we’re partial to thinking that riding through them on a bike is the best way to reap the great rewards of discovery, history, beauty, and awe.

Here are the 30 best national park rides (in no particular order) to add to your cycling bucket list. (Keep in mind that park operations vary based on local public health conditions because of the coronavirus pandemic.)

Find Your Park


Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park

parks with bike trails
Bruce Shippee / EyeEm//Getty Images

Where: Klamath County, Oregon

Crater Lake has long been included in lists of “Dream Rides” for good reason—the views are incredible. Ride the 33-mile road around the deep blue lake’s perimeter for the killer climbs and scenic vistas that make those climbs worth it. The road is completely closed during the winter months, but it is open only to cyclists and hikers several days each year: go here for more information on car-free opportunities. Register to ride on those days for free at, which includes full support and free admission to the park.

No matter what you’re looking to improve in your riding life, find it with Bicycling All Access!


Carriage Roads, Acadia National Park

parks with bike trails
Mark Daffey//Getty Images

Where: Bar Harbor, Maine

Acadia National Park is a utopia for all ages and levels of cyclists—largely due to the 45-mile network of crushed-rock carriage roads that are closed to motor vehicles. The park comprises most of Mount Desert Island in Maine and offers incredible panoramic views of the Atlantic Coast from the top of Cadillac Mountain, which is famous for being one of the first places in the U.S. where the sunrise is visible each morning. The climb up is smooth and gradual with stunning views. Ride it in the summer when the wind chill at the top isn’t so bad—you'll want to linger and soak in the views.


Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park

parks with bike trails
HaizhanZheng//Getty Images

Where: Glacier County, Montana

Want a little taste of the Alps in Montana? Ride Going-to-the-Sun Road now before the park’s eponymous glaciers—which kick the already-breathtaking scenery up a few thousand notches—are gone forever. From the Apgar Visitor Center on the west side, it’s a 32-mile climb up to Logan Pass and 18 miles down to the park’s east entrance. There are some restrictions as to when cyclists are allowed on the road, so make sure to check the website before planning your trip. The early spring is ideal, when the road is open to cyclists but not automobiles.

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Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

parks with bike trails
Michele Falzone//Getty Images

Where: Estes Park, Colorado

The Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide and showcases the best of the park, with plenty of overlooks where you can take in the majestic peaks and cliffs on all sides. From Estes Park to Grand Lake is 28 miles—4.5 of which are at above 12,000 feet elevation. Due to inclement weather, the road is only open for part of the year—from about Memorial Day to Columbus Day—and vehicle traffic can be pretty heavy during the summer (there’s not much of a shoulder), so check ahead and try to hit it in early to mid fall when the crowds thin and there’s more room on the road for cyclists.


Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park

parks with bike trails
Charles Johnson / 500px//Getty Images

Where: Front Royal, Virginia

The 105-mile Skyline Drive runs the length of Shenandoah National Park, about 60 miles outside of Washington, D.C. (Bicycling is only allowed on this road and not the surrounding paved trails.) Start at the north entrance at Front Royal, Virginia, or the south entrance near Waynesboro, and get ready for some killer climbs and rewarding scenic overlooks as you ride the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’d like to turn the ride into a bike tour, you can easily string this ride together with the famous Blue Ridge Parkway or the Transamerica Cycling Map. The roads receive heavy traffic, but cars are limited to 35 to 45 mph and commercial traffic is banned along both Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.


The White Rim Trail, Canyonlands National Park

parks with bike trails
Ershov_Maks//Getty Images

Where: Moab, Utah

Continuing the tradition of roads with “rim” in the title being excellent cycling destinations, the White Rim Trail is a 103-mile loop on jeep roads with stunning views of sandstone cliffs and formations. The climbs are tough, but the riding isn’t too technical, which makes it ideal for mountain biking beginners who are already strong road riders. Most cyclists choose to break up the mileage into multiple days, and there are campsites all along the route to facilitate a two- to five-day tour. Just book far in advance—there are long waits for campground reservations.

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Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, Zion National Park

parks with bike trails
miroslav_1//Getty Images

Where: Springdale, Utah

Beginners and families will enjoy the relatively easy ride up to the Temple of Sinewava, a breathtaking national amphitheater, in Zion National Park on roads closed to car traffic (except shuttle buses) between April and October. The 1.75-mile Pa’rus Trail has a number of scenic creek crossings and leads to the 6.2-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. One caveat: Cyclists must jump on a shuttle to pass through the narrow, dimly lit, 1.1-mile-long Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.


Cades Cove Loop Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

parks with bike trails
Karen Murray//Getty Images

Where: Townsend, Tennessee

This 11-mile loop is a blissful bucket-list ride during the hours when it’s closed to motor vehicle traffic (until 10 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September). The terrain is rolling and not too challenging for less-experienced cyclists, who can rent bikes at the Cades Cove Campground store during summer and fall. Ride highlights include a backdrop dotted with 19th-century homesites, churches, and barns—plus tons of opportunities to view area wildlife. Expect to take your time with the route and meet lots of other cyclists out doing the same.


The National Mall Bike Tour

parks with bike trails
Massimo Pizzotti//Getty Images

Where: Washington, D.C.

Here’s something for even your friends and family who don’t normally ride. The next time you’re in D.C., rent bikes from one of the many Capital Bikeshare stations scattered throughout the city and tour the monuments on the National Mall. Sure, a three-hour tour might involve more sightseeing than actual riding, but how better to get around to the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and all the other iconic sites in this National Park? Then, if you’re still itching to stretch your legs, grab a bike map and hop on the Mount Vernon Trail, an 18-mile long paved path between George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Theodore Roosevelt Island. D.C. might be a terrible place to drive a car, but it’s an excellent city to get around by bike.

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Teton Park Road, Teton National Park

parks with bike trails
Jared Perry//Getty Images

Where: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Cycling through Teton Park gives you an up-close look at some of the most striking mountains the U.S. has to offer. As Bicycling contributor Joe Lindsey puts it, “In most places, foothills that rise up to the base of the high peaks put some distance between you and them and reduce the sense of scale. But the geology of Jackson Hole is such that the Tetons rise straight off the valley floor. Grand Teton is something like 13,000 feet high, so it rises 6,000-plus feet right up in front of you—that’s pretty dramatic and unusual.” Aside from majestic views, this ride is also a winner due to the bike lane and short section of bike path that wraps a one-way loop road and lets you enjoy the dramatic peaks without having to fight traffic from RVs and car tourists.


Shark Valley Trail, Everglades National Park

parks with bike trails
Wilfred Hdez

Where: Miami-Dade County, Florida

It doesn’t get much more enjoyable than this flat, 15-mile paved loop through the Everglades, described as the “best bike trail in South Florida.” Deer, bobcats, and other wildlife can be spotted from the route, but the main thrill is the opportunity to spot an alligator up close (though you’ll probably want to stay at least 15 feet away, as the park advises).


Avenue of the Giants, Redwood National Park

parks with bike trails
Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon//Getty Images

Where: Humboldt County, California

Ride through a magical tunnel of old-growth trees so tall you’ll lose your balance trying to look up at them. The 31.6-mile Avenue of the Giants is a smooth ribbon of road with very little car traffic and plenty of opportunities to add on mileage using the Tour of the Unknown Coast route and Pacific Coast bike routes. Sites include the 950-year-old Immortal Tree, a house actually built partially inside a redwood, a tree big enough to ride your bike (or even drive) through, and lots of hiking opportunities. It’s a must-see stretch in Northern California.

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Cactus Forest Loop Road, Saguaro National Park

parks with bike trails
benedek//Getty Images

Where: Pima County, Arizona

This scenic eight-mile paved loop takes you through the lower elevations of the Rincon Mountain District. It’s a moderately hilly ride, with stunning views of the Santa Catalina mountains, local wildflowers, and of course, plenty of cacti of all anthropomorphic shapes and sizes. Expect to encounter more cyclists on the roads than cars—one of our most important criteria for a favorite route. Just keep an eye out for rattlesnakes on the road!


The Cowboy Trail, Niobrara National Scenic River

swallows flying over the niobrara river near the niobrara national wildlife refuge, valentine, nebraska
Diana Robinson Photography//Getty Images

Where: Cherry, Keya Paha, Brown, and Rock counties, Nebraska

The 192 miles that make up the Cowboy Trail were once part of a system of railways spanning from Valentine to Norfolk, Nebraska. Great for beginners (or anyone who just isn’t in the mood for steep cliffs and hairpin turns), the trail was originally intended for locomotives, which means the crushed gravel path remains flat for most of the ride. While it’s less of an adrenaline inducer and more of a joy ride, the trail is stunning, nonetheless. The park provides some awe-inspiring views, like the view from the nearly 150-foot-tall bridge over the Niobrara National Scenic River. More railways in Nebraska are being converted into bike trails with the vision of one day crossing the nation as the Great American Rail-Trail.


Titus Canyon Road, Death Valley National Park

desert road
photokh//Getty Images

Where: Inyo County, California

Cutting through the Grapevine Mountains, Titus Canyon Road offers a thrilling ride with steep inclines, some narrow pathways, and rugged terrain that brings Death Valley’s desolate landscapes to life. The trail is one of the park’s most popular, so be prepared to share the road on this 28-mile path. If you’re staying in the area, just a few miles northeast of the trailhead lies the Goldwell Open Air Museum near the abandoned town of Rhyolite—a novel experience worth tagging onto your trip.

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Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, Big Bend National Park

windy road ross maxwell scenic drive, big bend national park, texas usa
Blaine Harrington III//Getty Images

Where: Brewster County, Texas

Snuggled right up next to the southern border, this 30-mile paved trail takes you through all the sites that make Big Bend National Park a must-see. By the time you’ve made it past the Sotol Vista Overlook, the Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff, and Mules Ear Viewpoint offshoots of the trail, you’ll be amazed that the park still has more incredible views to offer. Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive leads to one of the park’s most popular features, the Santa Elena Canyon that the Rio Grande River runs right through. It’s not an easy trail, and the roads can get busy, so make sure to check ahead about traffic, weather, and shuttle schedules to be fully prepared for the ride.


Denali Park Road, Denali National Park and Preserve

polychrome pass
Álvaro Martín Oliva. Images

Where: Denali Borough, Alaska

What better way is there to explore the Alaskan wilderness? All 92 miles of Denali Park Road are open to cyclists. The beginning of the road, which tends to be the busiest section, starts on pavement but moves to gravel after the Savage River at the fifteenth mile. After that, traffic diminishes, and you can take in all the wonders of Denali National Park, like the sweet downhill ride to Sanctuary River at mile 22. Denali Park Road has many ups and downs, which could easily tire out a beginner cyclist. Luckily, Denali Park’s campgrounds can be your place to rest up so you can make it to the end of the road and see the accurately named Wonder Lake at mile 85. Plus, you don't even have to worry about how to get you bike all the way to Alaska—bike rentals are available at many businesses in the surrounding area. Click here for more information on biking the Denali Park Road.


Bear Island Loop, Big Cypress National Preserve

big cypress forest
Posnov//Getty Images

Where: Ochopee, Florida

This trail will take you about 20 miles out and back, giving riders a chance to see Bear Island's exotic backcountry and wildlife. It’s best to visit the park during the dry season (winter), otherwise you may find the trails completely submerged. Even during the dry season, some riders say they had to carry their bikes through the muddied trail, but that the experience only added to the adventure! The Big Cypress Institute also hosts group bike trips where a tour guide can offer more insight into the land’s history and ecology.

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Dunes Drive, White Sands National Park

driving through the white sands national park of new mexico
ehrlif//Getty Images

Where: Otero, New Mexico

The White Sands National Park is one of the nation’s most unique attractions. Fine gypsum crystals make up 275 square miles of white dunes within the park. Dunes Drive is partially paved, while the rest varies between compact gypsum and course gravel, making it a ride of moderate difficulty. This 16-mile round trip is the only trail in the park that allows bicycles. Be prepared to share the road with other vehicles and come equipped with appropriate tires and reflective gear. An entrance fee also applies to cyclists visiting the park.


Prairie Duneland Bike Trail, Indiana Dunes National Park

back road at indiana dunes national park
zrfphoto//Getty Images

Where: Chesterton, Indiana

Another rails-to-trails conversion, the Prairie Duneland Bike Trail is one nice, smooth ride. From Chesterton to Hobart, this trail makes for a delightful 22.4-mile round trip through the forest. The trail is part of a 37-mile system interwoven into the park. If you get a chance, check out the Indiana National Lakeshore close by. Bikes aren’t allowed on the lakeshore trails, but even by foot the trails have plenty to offer. Visit here for more information on bike-friendly trails in the area.

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