11 Essential Bike Trails for Experiencing Fall Color
Get close to nature by cycling on one of these scenic routes in the U.S. and Canada this fall.
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Take a Colorful Ride
Cycling is an ideal way to enjoy the great outdoors. It's not only good for you, it connects you to nature in a way a scenic fall vista via car just can't. Read on for Travel Channel's picks for ten great regional biking destinations where you can really relish those autumnal colors.
The Lehigh Gorge Trail, Pennsylvania
Cyclists can see unusual rock formations, abundant wildlife and waterfalls along the 26-mile Lehigh Gorge Trail where you follow the slight downhill grade of an abandoned railroad bed. You can do a modest portion of it or do the entire route with an overnight stop at sites like the Cranberry Run Campground. Located in the Pocono Mountains near the town of Jim Thorpe, The Lehigh Gorge Trail is a top biking destination in Pennsylvania.
The Kooteney Rockies, Rossland, British Columbia
For the more experienced biker who prefers mountain biking, Rossland in the Kooteney Rockies is considered the mountain bike capital of Canada and is part of British Columbia’s Trans-Canada Trail network. Expect sparse traffic and stunning vistas along this 100 mile-plus route that takes you past old railway beds, whiskey running routes and miners’ trails.
Foliage colors are especially brilliant in Maine and cyclists can choose various scenic routes in the Bethel-Evans Notch area of the state. The 14 mile Songo Pond Loop offers a gentle terrain ride for most bikers and the same is true of the 18 mile Farm and River Loop. More experienced cyclists will want to try the 33 mile Covered Bridge Ride or the even more challenging 67 mile Evans Notch route with steep hills but stunning views of the White Mountains and area rivers and lakes.
The Cape Kiwanda Fat Bike Route, Oregon
One of the loveliest fall coastal routes for cyclists is along the shoreline of Oregon near Pacific City, the heart of the Three Capes Scenic Drive. The Cape Kiwanda Fat Bike route is a 13 mile trek for moderate cyclists and will take you from Pacific City to remote and spectacular seaside views far away from the madding crowd and then back again.
The Haley Farm Bike Trail, Connecticut
From mid-to-late October and early November you can catch the fall foliage peak in Connecticut on the Haley Farm Bike path which is a 7.5 mile bikeway that extends from Mystic to Groton. During the trek you can hit some of the area's picturesque highlights such as Bluff Point State Park, the Mystic Seaport Museum and Haley Farm State Park with its scenic shoreline.
The Virginia Creeper Trail, Virginia
With the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Ridge and Valley province of Virginia to the west, The Virginia Creeper Trail offers cyclists a rich variety of scenic wonders. You can take your time riding the 34 mile long rail-to-recreation trail or do the entire trek in one day from White Top to Abingdon. You will see quiet forests, babbling brooks and mountain meadows as well as bike shuttle operators along the way. You can even take a break and visit a microbrewery with live music in towns like Damascus.
The Haliburton Highlands, Ontario
With over 600 lakes, several rivers and the rolling hills of the Canadian Shield aka the Laurentian Plateau, the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario is a must-do destination for fall bikers. There are at least 14 mapped bike routes that range from 6 to 100 kilometers and accommodate all levels of cyclists. Take a break along the way and relax in one of the picturesque villages like Milbrook where you can grab a snack at the Pastry Peddler.
The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Ohio
The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail that winds through Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the best fall bike rides in the area and the scenery changes from farmlands to forests to lakes to the Cuyahoga River. Among the highlights are the 63-foot Brandywine Falls (pictured) and the Beaver Marsh. Almost 280 miles of the 326 mile trail are accessible, paved trails and span the state of Ohio from Cincinnati to Cleveland on former land occupied by rail lines and canals.
Cyclists have their pick of countless scenic trails in Massachusetts during the fall season. The Cape Cod Rail Track, a 25 mile paved bikeway, is a popular route and so is the Minuteman Bikeway, a 10.13 mile journey through the historic area where the American Revolution began. More experienced bikers might want to tackle the Gibbet Hill Trail (pictured) near Groton, Massachusetts which is also popular with hikers. Some of the highlights include the Bankroft Castle and Gibbet Hill Farm which hosts farm dinners during each growing season.
The Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island, Canada
For those who want to experience the entirety of Prince Edward Island, Canada, biking is the way to go. You can ride from tip to tip on the almost 271 mile Confederation Trail which was built on abandoned railway lines. The Main trail begins in Tignish and ends in Elmira but you can branch off into a scenic seaside town like Charlottetown or Murray Harbour for a meal and sightseeing.
The Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail, New York
An ideal way to explore the Finger Lakes district near Seneca Lake State Park in New York is by bicycle in the fall when you can enjoy a leisurely 5.2 mile trail that follows an old railroad bed. The beautiful autumn foliage provides the prefect background as you wind through farmland, forests and wetlands that border the famous Seneca Canal.