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Celebrating National Bike Month: Top National Parks for Cycling Enthusiasts

James Nichols |

May is National Bike Month, a time when cycling enthusiasts dust off their bikes and hit the trails in earnest. With warmer weather and the landscapes in full bloom, it's the perfect opportunity to explore the stunning vistas and unique terrains of America’s National Parks. Here are some top park picks that offer breathtaking rides, from leisurely loops to challenging trails.

1. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park offers one of the most iconic biking experiences in the U.S. with its famous Carriage Roads. These 45 miles of rustic pathways, free of motor vehicles, wind through the heart of the park's scenic landscapes. The crushed rock surfaces are ideal for bikes, and the trails offer varying difficulty levels, ensuring that everyone from families to seasoned bikers can enjoy the ride. Looking for a quick hike along the way? Don’t miss the Jordan Pond loop for a picturesque view of the Bubbles and a chance to spot some local wildlife then grab a snack or some lunch at the Jordan Pond House, famous for their popovers.

2. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is a must-visit for any cycling enthusiast during National Bike Month. This 105-mile road runs the entire length of the park and offers a challenging ride with its numerous ascents and descents. The road is also known for its 75 overlooks, offering stunning views of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Early morning rides are particularly magical, with misty vistas and fewer cars.

3. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite’s allure isn’t just for climbers—cyclists can enjoy the park's beauty too, especially along the 12 miles of paved paths throughout Yosemite Valley. These paths provide relatively easy riding and access to some of Yosemite’s most famous landmarks, including Yosemite Falls and Mirror Lake. For a more strenuous day, take the Tioga Road, which offers incredible high-altitude scenic views and demanding climbs.

4. Glacier National Park, Montana

For a truly unforgettable biking experience, head to Glacier National Park and tackle the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This road is generally fully open in late spring or early summer, just in time for National Bike Month. The road spans 50 miles and crosses the Continental Divide, providing cyclists with challenging climbs and exhilarating descents. The landscapes here are dramatic, featuring glacial lakes, rugged mountain peaks, and possible sightings of the park’s wild inhabitants.

5. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is perfect for those who enjoy a mix of natural beauty and historical sites. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail stretches for over 20 miles through the park, tracing the historic route of the canal. This flat and well-maintained path is ideal for a leisurely ride, with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore restored historical buildings, scenic river views, and abundant wildlife.

Tips for Biking in National Parks:

  • Check Availability: Some parks have restrictions or require reservations for biking on certain trails, especially during busy months. Always check the park’s website for the most current information.
  • Be Prepared: Weather can change quickly in these natural settings, so bring layers of clothing, plenty of water, snacks, and a basic repair kit for your bike.
  • Respect the Environment: Stick to marked trails to protect the surrounding flora and fauna. Remember that these parks are protected spaces, home to many species of wildlife and plants.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a new challenge or a casual rider wanting to take in some of America’s most iconic landscapes, these parks offer something special during National Bike Month. So, grab your helmet, pump up your tires, and set out on a cycling adventure that you won’t soon forget!