10 Best Bike Trails for Fall Foliage Views | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Autumn cycling offers an unparalleled experience of nature's fall colors.
  • Trails across the U.S. cater to different styles and levels of bikers.
  • These paths provide a mixture of beauty, accessibility, and adventure.

Autumn leaves are Mother Nature's confetti!

Isn't it magical when the green canvas of summer gives way to a vivid palette of oranges, reds, and yellows?

When the crisp air beckons, it’s time to hop on a bike and head to trails that offer more than just a workout—these paths are ablaze with fall colors, turning your ride into a visual feast.

Imagine coasting along a bike trail, a colorful canopy overhead and the sound of leaves crunching under your tires.

The best fall foliage views are found off the beaten path, and there’s nothing like experiencing them on two wheels.

Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or just looking for a leisurely ride to soak in the season, there are trails that are perfect for every level of fitness and interest.

These biking paths aren't merely about the distance covered or the speed; they are your gateway to some of the most breathtaking seasonal scenery around.

Trust us, with our handpicked selection of the most scenic trails, your autumn adventures are about to get a lot more colorful.



Katy Trail State Park (Missouri)

Looking for an autumn adventure that's picture-postcard perfect?

Katy Trail State Park in Missouri is your go-to destination!

Imagine riding through 240 miles of scenic landscapes, where the Missouri River is your constant companion, and the fall colors transform the view into a vibrant tapestry.

What's not to love?

Here's what you can expect:

  • Trail Length: An impressive 240 miles, making it one of the longest rail-trails in the United States.
  • Scenery: Dense forests, serene river views, and majestic limestone bluffs.
  • Surface: A flat, crushed limestone path that's easy on the tires.

Did you know that the Katy Trail follows the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad corridor?

Yup, it's a slice of history and nature bundled into one.

With 26 trailheads and four restored railroad depots, you'll have plenty of spots to hop on and off.

Perfect for tailoring your ride to your fitness level or schedule!

Bike Suitability:

  • Cross or hybrid bikes are recommended.
  • Road bikes with a minimum of 25mm tires work well.
  • Mountain bikes and fat tire bikes are also suitable.

Elevation Gain: Modest climbs, with one section boasting about 1,000 feet over 50 miles.

Hot Tips:

  • Best Section for Stunning Views: Between Cooper County and St. Charles County. It's an official part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
  • Parking: Available at numerous points—very handy!

What about the difficulty, you ask?

Well, with minimal grades, it's great for beginners and seasoned cyclists alike.

Plus, the west end offers a bit more challenge for those of you craving a good workout.

So, ready to pedal through a fall paradise?

Katy Trail calls your name this season!

Great Allegheny Passage (Maryland and Pennsylvania)

Ever wondered where you can catch some of the most breathtaking fall foliage views while pedaling through history?

Well, let me introduce you to your next autumn adventure—the Great Allegheny Passage.

This rail-trail spans 150 miles and connects Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with Cumberland, Maryland.

Imagine yourself cycling along a path where trains once chugged, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of fall colors!

Here's what you can expect on the GAP Trail:

  • Scenic Views: Ride through the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, with vistas of rivers and lush forests. It's like being in a postcard!
  • Trail Surface: You'll be rolling on a crushed limestone surface, friendly for bikes and providing a smooth ride.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Keep your eyes peeled for deer, turkeys, and various bird species. It's like a nature safari on two wheels!

Did you know that roughly 130 miles of the trail lie within Pennsylvania's picturesque landscapes, including the Laurel Highlands and along the Allegheny River?

Plus, with a trail that long, there's plenty of space to find your special spot away from the crowds.

Accessibility and Maintenance: The trail is well-maintained, well-marked, and the gentle grade makes it perfect for cyclists of all levels.

And yes, for those who are wondering, it's absolutely doable for a weekend getaway.

So, pack your water bottle, grab your camera, and get ready to experience the vivid fall foliage while indulging in the great outdoors.

Trust me; this is one ride that should be on your 'must-do' list this fall!

Happy cycling!

Swamp Rabbit Trail (South Carolina)

Ever fancied a bike ride with a splash of color?

Well, the Swamp Rabbit Trail is your ticket to vibrant fall foliage views.

Nestled in Greenville, South Carolina, this 22-mile trail is more than just a path; it's an autumnal adventure that winds along the scenic Reedy River.

Trail Details:

  • Length: 22 miles
  • Location: Greenville, SC
  • Trail Endpoints: Travelers Rest and Greenville
  • Duration: 3-4 hours round-trip

Got a couple of hours?


Grab your bike and hit the Swamp Rabbit Trail for an uninterrupted ride through nature's art show.

Starting from Cleveland Park, you'll pedal your way to downtown Travelers Rest, with the trail stretching a comfy 11.4 miles one-way.

If you're thinking of timing, plan around 1 to 2 hours for a one-way trip, including those all-important selfie breaks.

Along the way, why not pace yourself with a pause at quirky cafés or refuel with a craft beer at a local brewery?

These pit-stops aren't just tasty; they offer a peek into the local life.

And if you're wondering about the full round-trip time, you're looking at approximately 3 to 4 hours—perfect for a morning or afternoon outing.

The trail doesn't only cater to cyclists; walkers, runners, and skaters are welcomed with open arms too.

Don't have a bike?

No sweat!

Bike rentals are readily available at spots like Sunrift Adventures and Reedy Rides, sprinkled conveniently along the trail.

Remember, the Swamp Rabbit Trail isn't just a path, it's a journey.

So pull out that bike, lace up those sneakers, or strap on those skates – your leaf-peeping adventure awaits on this picturesque South Carolina trail.

Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina and Virginia)

Ever dreamed of biking along a path that weaves through some of the most breathtaking mountainside scenery?

Look no further than the Blue Ridge Parkway!

This isn't just any trail; it's a 469-mile journey that pirouettes along the high ridges of North Carolina and Virginia.

Imagine pedaling past a patchwork of orange, red, and gold leaves—a real-life autumn tapestry!

Let's break down what makes the Blue Ridge Parkway a cyclist's paradise:

  • Scenic Overlooks: Strategically positioned along the parkway, they offer you a chance to rest and soak in the Appalachian beauty.
  • Variety of Trails: With over 100 hikes accessible from the parkway, you're spoiled for choice. Find a trail that matches your cycling skills and off you go!

Biking here in fall?

You're in for a treat!

The fall foliage views are the stuff of legend—nature's fireworks display just for you.

Don't forget to charge your camera; the photo ops here will have your Instagram followers turning green with envy.

Few things to remember before you set off:

  • Check the weather, as it can change quickly in the mountains.
  • Make safety a priority. Helmets on and stay hydrated.

So, what are you waiting for?

Grab your bike and witness the serene beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It’s not just a trail; it's an experience that stays with you!

Cape Cod Rail Trail (Massachusetts)

Ever imagine cycling through a technicolor tapestry of fall foliage?

Well, pack your bike because the Cape Cod Rail Trail awaits you!

This gem weaves you through 25 miles of Massachusetts' most charming scenery, starting from South Dennis and stretching all the way to Wellfleet.

Curious about the towns you'll encounter?

As your tires hum along the pavement, you'll breeze through historic communities like Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, and a few more, each offering its own slice of New England charm.

And the scenery?

Prepare for an Instagram-worthy journey through forests dressed in autumn's best.

What can you expect on the trail?

  • Flat Terrain: The ride is enjoyable with only gentle hills to navigate.
  • Well-Marked: Rest easy, the path is clearly marked so you won’t lose your way.
  • Paved Surface: Smooth and steady, perfect for all levels of cyclists.

Don’t own a bike?

No worries — there are rental spots dotted along the route, so you can easily join in on the fun.

Here's a quick snapshot of the trail:

  • Distance: 25 miles
  • Start Point: South Dennis
  • End Point: Wellfleet
  • Accessibility: Open year-round, dawn to dusk

With well-marked crossings and an even terrain, it’s a breeze for riders of all skill levels.

Whether you're out for a leisurely solo ride or making memories with the family, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is your ticket to experiencing the fall spectacle that is Massachusetts.

So why wait?

The autumn leaves won't pause for anyone, and neither should you.

Get out there and experience the Cape Cod Rail Trail for yourself!

C&O Canal Towpath (Maryland)

Have you ever craved a bike ride surrounded by a mosaic of fall colors?

Well, the C&O Canal Towpath is your ticket to a vibrant autumn adventure.

Stretching a generous 184.5 miles from the hustle of Washington, D.C., to the quaint town of Cumberland, Maryland, this trail is a flat, stone-dust path where you can soak up the crisp fall air and the mesmerizing scenery.

  • Distance: 184.5 miles
  • Start Point: Washington, D.C.
  • End Point: Cumberland, Maryland
  • Surface: Mostly flat, stone-dust
  • Best For: Bikers of all levels

Imagine pedaling alongside the serene Potomac River, aren't the reflections of the fall foliage in the water just picture-perfect?

And guess what?

You won't be vying for space with cars; this is a motor-traffic-free zone.

Need more good news?

You can embark on this journey anytime, especially during the cooler months when the trail is dotted with the warm golds and reds of autumn leaves.

Here's what you might adore about the C&O Canal Towpath:

  • Car-free bliss: Just you, your bike, and nature.
  • Historical vibes: Ride through America's past along the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
  • Flora and fauna: Keep an eye out for local wildlife against the backdrop of the season's best colors.

Whether you're gearing up for a multi-day escapade or just craving a day's escape from the city, this trail won't disappoint.

Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking foliage!

Ready for a ride that's as leisurely or as challenging as you make it?

The C&O Canal Towpath awaits you, friend.

Happy cycling!

Kennebec Valley Trail (Maine)

Ever felt the crisp autumn air while biking through a kaleidoscope of fall colors?

If not, let me take you on a scenic journey along the Kennebec Valley Trail in Maine.

We're talking about a 14-mile path that will treat your eyes with picturesque river views and an autumnal palette that Mother Nature reserves just for you!

Distance: 14 miles

Surface: Varied

Difficulty: Easy

Here's what you can expect:

  • Scenic Views: The trail hugs the Kennebec River, ensuring you're never too far from water vistas and the sound of a gently flowing river.
  • Vibrant Foliage: Imagine forests ablaze with oranges, reds, and yellows. That's your backdrop when cycling in the fall, and trust me, it's a sight to remember.
  • Trail Activities: Apart from cycling, the trail is also perfect for cross-country skiing, hiking, and horseback riding. And yes, it's not overly crowded, giving you that peaceful, serene ride.
  • Accessibility: Starting just north of US 201A at Fahi Pond Road, the trail weaves through North Anson and ends at Goodrich Road, between Somerset Lane and River Road in Bingham.
  • Pet-Friendly: Got a furry friend? Bring them along but keep them on a leash.

Remember, you're not in a race (unless you want to be!), so take your time to soak in the beauty.

Whether you're on two wheels or on foot, the Kennebec Valley Trail serves up nature's best.

Don't forget to check local resources like TrailLink for any updates before you set off.

Ready to experience Maine's autumn charm up close?

Your next outdoor adventure awaits on the Kennebec Valley Trail.

Happy trails to you!

Virginia Creeper Trail (Virginia)

Ever ridden a bike through a kaleidoscope of fall colors?

If not, let me introduce you to the Virginia Creeper Trail.

This 34-mile stretch is where Mother Nature puts on a spectacular autumn show.

Starting at Whitetop Station and winding all the way to Abingdon, this trail isn't just a path—it’s a journey through some of Virginia’s most breathtaking scenery.

Did you know the Virginia Creeper Trail changes in elevation as you ride?

This means you're in for a treat—vibrant foliage views that shift as you pedal along.

You'll cruise through scenic forests, roll past open farmlands, and glide by small, charming towns, each providing its own unique splash of color.

What should you expect on your ride?

Here's a quick overview:

  • Length: 34 miles
  • Start Point: Abingdon or Whitetop Station
  • End Point: Whichever you didn’t start from

Terrain Highlights:

  • Forests
  • Farmlands
  • Quaint towns

And hey, it's not just about what you see—what you feel on this trail matters too.

The crisp autumn air, the soft rustling leaves beneath your tires, and the sense of adventure heighten your experience as you bike this celebrated trail.

Curious about the ride itself?

It's versatile!

Start from Whitetop if you're all about the downhill thrill, or begin at Abingdon for a gentler ride with equally pleasing views.

If you're worried about getting tired, remember, there are shuttle services available.

They'll whisk you to the top so you can enjoy a leisurely ride down.

Top Tips for Bikers:

  • Plan ahead: Consider shuttle services if you prefer a downhill ride.
  • Stay alert: Share the trail with hikers and other bikers.
  • Pack right: Bring water, snacks, and a camera for those picture-perfect moments.

So, are you ready to trade the sound of an engine for the rhythm of spinning wheels and whispers of the Virginia wilderness?

The Virginia Creeper Trail awaits your exploration, and trust me, the fall foliage is worth every pedal!

Hudson Valley Rail Trail (New York)

Ever imagined pedaling through a kaleidoscope of fall colors?

Well, you're in luck!

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail in New York is your go-to destination when the leaves start their vibrant dance.

Spanning 7.1 delightful miles, this trail is a feast for the eyes, especially when autumn unfurls its painterly touch across the landscape.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Location: Connects New Paltz, Lloyd, and Highland
  • Length: 7.1 miles
  • Scenery: Hardwood forests, Black Creek, and stone-arch bridges

Feel the gentle breeze as you bike beneath a canopy of hardwoods, then cross over Black Creek where the sunlight sparkles on the water just so.

And don't forget to look up when you glide under those majestic stone-arch bridges — they’re seriously a picture-perfect moment.

Guess what else?

You get to tick off a major cycling bucket list item!

This path links up with the Walkway Over the Hudson, the world's longest elevated pedestrian bridge.

Talk about an extra treat—more views, more colors, more “Wow, I'm so glad I did this” moments.

Trail Features Details
Surface Paved
Accessibility Family-friendly, Bike-friendly
Nearby Attractions Walkway Over the Hudson

Pack your water bottle, grab your camera, and set your bike gears to "stun," because the Hudson Valley Rail Trail is calling your name.

Bike it, walk it, jog it – whatever floats your boat.

Just make sure your cameras are fully charged, because every turn offers a snapshot to cherish!

Keep an eye out for the bursts of yellow, orange, and red that make this trail an autumn must-visit.

Ready to see those miles of fall foliage beauty?

See you on the trail!

Katy Trail (Texas)

Have you heard of the Katy Trail in the heart of Texas?

It's an absolute gem, especially during the fall when the leaves start putting on their annual color show.

Picture this: you're riding your bike, the crisp autumn air brushing against your face, and everywhere you look, there's a burst of red, orange, and yellow leaves.

Sounds pretty idyllic, doesn't it?

Here's what you'll find on the Texas Katy Trail:

  • Rails-to-Trails Excellence: Originally a railway line, this trail offers paved lanes for both pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Easy Ride: With separate lanes just for bikes, you can pedal smoothly without dodging foot traffic.
  • Scenic Stops: Want to rest your legs? Why not catch your breath and snap some photos at any of the scenic spots along the way?

This trail isn't a one-trick pony.

Accessibility is a big plus here!

You'll find designated parking spaces in the lot off Turtle Creek, making it a breeze to start your journey.

Hit the Turtle Creek trail, merge onto Katy Trail at Reverchon Park, and take in the sights all the way to the north end before looping back – or, for a change of pace, take a detour near Lemmon Avenue.

And while the Katy Trail in Missouri might get bragging rights for its length, Texas's own version has its unique charm and tranquility.

Whether you're an avid cyclist or just looking for a leisurely ride through nature's art gallery, this trail won't disappoint.

So grab your helmet, hop on your bike, and see for yourself why Texas's Katy Trail is a superb pick for your fall foliage tour!