Best Trails Across North America

9 of our favorite bike routes in the U.S. and Canada

With over five million miles of roads in North America - paved, gravel, dirt, cobbles or otherwise - there are thousands upon thousands of different routes one can travel by bike and even more by ebike. Millions of sights to see and experiences to be had around every bend and down every lane. Cyclists have a different and amazing opportunity to see and experience the sights. As an avid ebiker and active cyclist, working to compile a list of some of my favorite rides in North America is a difficult, near impossible task with so many options out there, but these are some of my favorites that are considered to be some of the greats.

 

The routes selected run a wide range of categories: bike friendly cities, enormous cycling routes, national park tours, coastal treks, beautiful mountaintop vistas, and plenty of rails-to-trails; there's hills and mountains for the climbers, distance rides for the endurance riders, routes for laid-back riders to cruise, and tons of sights to be seen along all of them. As you start checking out some of these rides and others, always make sure you check with the local authority on any regulations and rules regarding electric bike usage. Ebikes are currently allowed on all of these routes, but be sure to double check before you ride as the rules are constantly changing!

 

BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Carmel, CA to Cambria, CA
Distance: Up to 100 miles (one-way)
Terrain: Road

 

We guarantee you'll stop quite a few times to snap some pics on this coastal cruise. The route is cut into the mountainside, so you can watch the waves crash below as you climb and cover an average eight percent incline. Tons of sights to see across the coast, this is a trek that can be taken time and time again to catch the sights and the ocean air! A huge perk is Big Sur Adventures -  they offer rentals and guided tours of the area on electric bikes through any one of three different tour options hitting all of the sights over the course of the ride!

 

KETTLE VALLEY, COLUMBIA & WESTERN RAIL TRAILS 

 

Location: Castlegar, B.C. to Hope, B.C
Distance: Up to 400 miles of riding
Terrain: Road, Trails, Bridges, Tunnels

 

The Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail is the longest rail trail network in British Columbia extending from Hope to Castlegar. Once a comprehensive railroad system, the decommissioned tracks are now home to an extensive recreational trail providing almost 650 km (400 mi) of connected pathways throughout the region. Experiences on the trail can be self-guided or part of an organized tour, with sections ranging from family-friendly day-trips to overnight legs for experienced riders.

 

HIAWATHA TRAIL

 

Location: Mullen, ID
Distance: 15 miles (round-trip)
Terrain: Gravel, Dirt, Bridges, Tunnels

 

This 15-mile, all downhill route spans the Idaho-Montana state line, routing riders through ten tunnels and seven high-country trestle crossings, offering views of plunging waterfalls and the craggy Bitterroot Mountains. One of my favorite rides I have ever been on. It is an easy down hill jaunt, plenty of time to chat with friends and family and to explore the surrounding trailheads! With a shuttle at the bottom you can snag a ride back up, but with an ebike the old railroad grade will make the 15 miles back up feel flat!

 

GOING-THE-SUN ROAD

 

 

Location: Glacier National Park, MT
Distance: 48.7 miles (one-way)
Terrain: Road

 

If climbing 3,300 feet (much of it in the final 10-mile stretch) and topping out at a 6,646-foot elevation sounds right up your alley, this destination is for you! There's a sort of daredevil feel to the ride as you're pedaling on a narrow path, carved out of the side of a mountain — but you can imagine the sights that come with it. During the spring months, you don't have to worry about cars as it's only open to bikers and hikers. You might want an extra battery for this one. It's a longer more challenging ride, but the sights along the way and at the top are well worth it. And even the descent back down will be one to remember!

 

THE SHINING SEA BIKEWAY

 

Location: Cape Cod, MA
Distance: 11 miles
Terrain: Paved Bike Path

 

The Shining Sea Bikeway hugs the coast from Falmouth, MA to Woods Hole, MA and then beyond to North Falmouth, MA, winding along the Vineyard Sound shoreline. Another converted railway, it’s a great ride for any level of cyclist. The paved path is level for nearly its entire 10.7-mile distance with only a slight grade in a few spots. Lined with flowers and trees, it makes for a wonderful ride. Following an Old Colony rail line, there is also a newer extension that passes through Sippewissett Marsh, by cranberry bogs, and overlooks Chapoquoit Beach.

 

LA ROUTE VERTE

Location: Quebec
Distance: 3,128 miles of interconnected bikeway
Terrain: Paved Path, Roads, Dedicated Bike Space, Gravel, Dirt

 

A mix of dedicated bike trails, on-road cycle paths and dirt tracks, La Route Verte is North America's longest cycling network, and has been named by National Geographic as the world's greatest bike trails, taking in the gamut of what Quebec has to offer: from cosmopolitan cities to tiny riverside villages, from thick forest, windswept coast and rugged mountains to glistening rivers, lakes and fjords.

 

MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIFORNIA

Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Distance: Multiple routes and options for all levels
Terrain: Road, Mountain

 

Your choice of terrain, the Sierra scenery and California summer sunshine make for a brilliant combination for mountain or road biking in Mammoth Lakes. Test your suspension on the Inyo National Forest's vast network of trails and unpaved roads. There are so many different conditions and views to discover; in fact, you may even cross a few microclimates. Road riders have plenty of asphalt routes to choose, from  pedaling around town, to challenging the climb of Minaret Road to the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge, or going beyond to the breathtaking Minaret Vista, or cruising the scenic stretches of US 395. Mammoth Mountain is also the first park on US Forest Service Land to officially allow (and encourage) electric bikes. 

 

FORT COLLINS, COLORADO

Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Distance: 285+ miles of Bike Lanes and Trails
Terrain: Road,Trails

 

"Bikes, beers, and bands" are the three B's of Fort Collins, Colorado, so it's no wonder that it ranked as the number-one US city for biking in 2018. It has miles of bike lanes and special cyclist traffic signals, making it one of the easiest cities in which to run errands on your bike. There are also hundreds of miles of trail systems in place for mountain biking and trail riding beyond just bike lanes!

 

SHARK VALLEY TRAIL 

Location: Miami, FL
Distance: 15 miles (round-trip)
Terrain: Road

 

When you think of Florida, gators probably come to mind. And chances are, you'll see a few while spinning your wheels along this path. In fact, you may have to pedal your way around them. Birds, turtles and fish are also hanging out in plain view. It's a true down-south experience and the perfect escape if you’re seeking warm temperatures and a wild ride.

 

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