1.George S. Mickelson Trail, South Dakota
Fat tires were created for adventures like this 109-mile rail trail in South Dakota’s Black Hills, known by the Lakota natives as Paha Sapa and “the heart of everything that is.” It’s a movable feast for the eyes as you pass ponderosa pine forests, prairie lands, rugged mountain terrain, grazing cattle, swimmable creeks, and rocky canyons, feeling with every pedal stroke that you’re traveling on sacred ground. Though the route peaks at 6,100 feet of elevation, it rarely exceeds a four percent grade and diamondback bike reviews is for this.
2.BanksVernonia Trail, Oregon
Early in the morning, when the soft pink light cascades through the towering Douglas firs and cedar trees, the forest will be all yours. Forty-five minutes west of Portland, the flat, well-paved BVT is Oregon’s first rail-to-trail and follows a 21-mile line that dates back to the 1920s.
3.American River Bike Trail, CaliforniaAmerican River at your side, you’ll pedal much of the way under a canopy of trees, past California poppies, turkeys, lush vegetation, and over Guy West Bridge, a mini replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. The smooth paved route is simply spellbinding. Finish the ride back in Sacramento at beloved, bike-friendly Hot Italian for a rewarding slice of pie.
4.Katy Trail, Missouri:
Spanning 225 miles across the state of Missouri, from Clinton to St. Charles, the Katy Trail is one of the longest rail-trails in the country and a great escape for thousands of bikers who ride here every year. For those seeking a taste of the trail, Amtrak charges $10 per bike (reserve in advance with ticket purchase) and will drop two-wheelers near some of the 25 trailheads on the MKT (Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad); there are also numerous inn-to-inn tours available. If you have five days, cross the Katy Trail off your American Bike Adventures Bucket List and join the annual Katy Trail Ride in the summer or plan a self-guided fall trip.
5.Island Line Rail Trail, Vermont
It’s the closest thing to walking on water. Cruising up a narrow gravel path, you see the lapping Lake Champlain right there on either side of your feet, topped with big blue sky and views of the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. Though the celebrated mountain bike trails of the Northeast Kingdom are just a few hours from here in Burlington, this is as pure a Vermont moment as one can get (remember to keep a packet of Ted King’s Untapped energy gel made with the state’s maple syrup in your jersey pocket). The 14-mile Island Line Rail Trail is a great introductory ride to the area that connects the Burlington Bike Path,