From volcanic rims to epic mountain roads, from historic routes to desert rides, cycling in national parks of the USA is as glorious as any other activity. In fact, it’s usually among the very best ways to really get to know a park and its intricacies. Not all parks are equally suitable for exploration on a bicycle, yet some are an absolute cyclist’s paradise.
Top 5 Roads for Cycling in National Parks
There are many awesome and scenic roads for cycling in national parks of the USA, but we’ve limited the following overview to the five greatest ones. These are by far the best national park roads to bike on. Check them out, they’re surprisingly varied!
5. Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park
The 48-mile-long Trail Ridge Road is North America’s highest paved road, a challenge to any cyclist, amateur or professional. It passes through beautiful alpine meadows and pine forests, offering glimpses of wildlife, such as elk and moose, on the way. This is a breathtaking road no matter the vehicle you’re using. If you’re up for a challenge, this is truly one of the best roads for cycling in national parks.
4. Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park
Looping around the Crater Lake caldera, the 33-mile Rim Drive is one of the greatest roads in the USA. It’s essentially the only road in the national park, offering access to a variety of trailheads and overlooks, but also lodges and campgrounds. The best time of year to cycle the Rim Drive is summer, when the weather is best, temperatures highest and the road is completely open to traffic.
3. Park Boulevard, Joshua Tree National Park
Cutting through the northeast part of Joshua Tree National Park, Park Boulevard is pretty much flat and runs through stunning desert landscapes. This area is why the park is so famous, home to boulder fields and countless Joshua trees.
2. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park
About 50 miles long, the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is one of the absolute best roads for cycling in national parks of the USA. This is a phenomenal mountain road, offering sensational views of the Rocky Mountains, valleys, meadows and the rivers that flow through them.
1. Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park’s 105-mile Skyline Drive is the unbeatable number one. This extraordinary mountain road winds its way along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia, offering cyclists spectacular views and beautiful woodland scenery. There are over 70 overlooks on the way, excellent places for a break or a picnic.
These are the best roads for cycling in national parks in our opinion. If you know another national park road that’s worth exploring on two wheels, let us know in the comments below!