13 Best Bike Tours You Can Take Around the Country
The most memorable and rewarding way to experience travel across the United States? Head from sea to shining sea on two wheels. Here are our picks for great guided cycling trips from Ashville to Alaska.
Bryce and Zion National Parks
Zion offers dramatic cliffs formed of sandstone and painted in brilliant streaks of crimson, with waterfalls crashing into emerald pools. Combine that experience with Bryce’s shocking expanse of otherworldly stone spires during Trek Travel’s six-day tour of southwest Utah. Beginning with the breathtaking formations of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and continuing through the ochre-hued plateaus, hoodoos, and gracefully curving archways of some of America’s most strikingly beautiful desert terrain, this tour is any cyclist’s dream. Don’t miss these stunning hiking trails while you’re at it.
Hawaii, Big Island
Each of the Hawaiian islands has its own unique form of captivation, but the Big Island is tailor-made for exploration by bike. On a 12-day journey with Adventure Cycling, you’ll traverse black sand beaches that set off the blazing azure of sea and sky, volcanoes, lava tubes, and coastlines backed by plumeria and papayas. Check out the 11 things you should know before booking a Hawaii vacation.
San Juan Islands and Victoria
This small archipelago off the coast of Washington State is a well-kept secret outside of the Pacific Northwest. Discover the lush interiors, picturesque harborfront towns, and of course glorious coastal and mountain vistas of these islands across the sparkling Puget Sound with a seven-day tour with Bicycle Adventures. After four days spent on the switchbacks of Mt. Constitution and spotting orcas from beautiful Friday Harbor, you’ll be ferried to British Columbia to kayak Victoria’s Inner Harbor and wander amongst the colorful blossoms of Butchart Gardens. The San Juans happen to be one of the 12 best island vacations you can take in the United States.
Coastal New England
On a six-day tour of New England’s coastline with Easy Rider Tours you’ll see photogenic lighthouses, rugged cliff-lined beaches, enticing lobster and crab shacks, and, depending on the season, either glorious autumn foliage or fields strewn with daisies, apple blossoms, and asters. Explore the beautiful and varied landscapes of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine—from the undulating golden sand dunes of Crane’s Beach to the mansions of lovely Kennebunkport.
Bicycle Tour of Colorado‘s seven-day road cycling tour through the spectacular Colorado Rockies tackles 12,095-ft Independence Pass before mellowing out for a leisurely pedal around Aspen with views of the Elk Mountains. This beautiful state offers mirrored lakes, aspen groves that blaze gold in October, and fields that explode with verdant wildflowers in August. This year’s June tour takes advantage of some of the most pleasant weather of the year, with average daytime temperatures in the mid-seventies and crisp, cool evenings.
Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
Those looking for a serious challenge with the views galore should consider the Blue Ridge tour in Ashville, North Carolina with Cycle of Life Adventures. This five-day cycle takes in the dreamy mountainscapes and idyllic little towns of the Blue Ridge Mountains, providing cyclists with ample opportunity to work up the appetite for some filling classic Southern cuisine and a craft IPA at one of the many excellent locavore restaurants in Mars Hill, Brevard, and Ashville.
If you’re willing to commit to Adventure Cycling‘s 2,398-mile tour in its entirety, you’ll be cycling the Sierra Cascades on a route that runs parallel to the Pacific Crest Trail that Cheryl Strayed made famous in her 2012 memoir Wild. The tour begins at the U.S.-Canadian border in Washington and continues all the way to Tecate, California, climbing scenic but punishing mountains and traversing west coast gems like Mt. Rainier National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Lake Tahoe, the Mohave Desert, and incredible Yosemite. Here are some of the best states in America for a road trip.
Famous for the splendor of its autumn leaves, Vermont has so much more to offer cyclists and outdoor adventure enthusiasts of all kinds. Vermont is a great spot to pedal away a day or a week. VBT‘s six-day tour of the region that encompasses Middlebury, Vergennes, and Lake Champlain includes gorgeous pastoral scenery, mountain peaks, lush forest, and splurges like a stay at a charming historic inn and local wine and maple syrup tastings.
Glacier and Waterton Lakes Bike Tour, Montana to Alberta
Experience the blue and green majesty of Big Sky country on Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. Continue on Backroads‘ six-day tour of two national parks as the route winds past carved valleys and bucolic flats, ascending on the third day to Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. Hug the edge of the ethereal beauty of Glacier National Park as you continue the loop back to Whitefish, Montana. Backroads guide Alex Mainthow describes it as his hands-down favorite, citing “massive waterfalls (sometimes so strong there’s some spray to cool you down along the way), glaciers, and—as you spin your way to the peak and cross from the west side of the continental divide to the east—there are usually families of bighorn sheep or mountain goats ‘baaaaaahing’ to cheer you on!”
On a four-day trip with Bicycle Adventures called “Bend Breakaway,” you’ll experience some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the Pacific Northwest. The tour manages to cap days filled with gorgeous cycling past jagged peaks with evenings spent testing out the region’s delicious cuisine and incredible microbrews. Mix up your workout with some rock climbing at Smith Rock Parke park on the way to Sisters. Bend has also deservedly earned a place on this list of vacation destinations for adrenaline junkies.
One of the last places in the country and perhaps even the world to offer vast expanses of true, pristine wilderness, Alaska offers true adventure. With Alaska Bike‘s seven-day All-Alaskan Tour, you can ride through Fairbanks south down the Richardson Highway and catch a glimpse of Denali’s oft-elusive peak. The tour continues to the gorgeous weaving inlets of Southeast Alaska. A cruise across the shimmering Prince William Sound takes you back to the Anchorage area, which is also included in these bike-friendly cities.
Napa and Sonoma
For those who like their cycling to involve some of the prettiest scenery in the country with tasting wines from world-class vineyards, Wine Country Bikes offers a five- to seven-day pedal through Sonoma and Napa. The tours take in some of the best of the northern California coastline, the Redwood Forest, and the Russian River Valley. For those with limited time, shorter two- to three-day escapes are available.
Ask any road trip, hiking, or photography enthusiast about the most stunning stretches of the United States and they’re sure to mention the Big Sur coastline. Frothy waves roll toward towering cliffs as rugged as they are beautiful while seals bask on rocky outcroppings. California Bicycle Tour‘s six-day, 288-mile cycling tour from Monterey to Santa Barbara covers this absurdly picturesque coastline, magnificent redwoods, and the mesmerizing vistas and boutique wineries of Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo. Next, check out these bucket list adventures for every state.