10 Biking Trails Where Wildlife Sightings Are Guaranteed | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Themed bike trails offer both exercise and wildlife encounters.
  • Specific trails increase the likelihood of spotting a variety of animals.
  • Trusted paths lead to enriching experiences for cyclists of all levels.

Imagine pedaling along a sun-dappled path, a gentle breeze in your face, and a chance encounter with an eagle or a deer just around the bend.

Biking and wildlife enthusiasts rejoice!

Trails abound where the twirl of your wheels meets the thrill of the wild.

You're in good company on this journey.

As a seasoned guide through America's vast natural tapestries, I'm here to share routes that promise not only a great ride but also a rendezvous with nature's finest.

Every turn holds a new surprise, from the sun-soaked valleys of California to the majestic peaks of Montana.



Cades Cove Loop Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Ever pedaled through a place where the wildlife nearly outnumbers the people?

If not, you're in for a treat on the Cades Cove Loop Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Imagine yourself on a bike, with the wind in your hair, cruising along an 11-mile loop that's a wildlife haven.

It's no wonder why this road is among the most frequented spots in the park.

Circle around and keep your eyes peeled; sightings of white-tailed deer, black bears, and wild turkeys are not just possible—they're pretty much guaranteed!

The History Touch

  • 1818-1821: European settlement began
  • Today: Spot the largest variety of historic buildings in the park

Wildlife Watchlist

  • White-tailed deer: often grazing in the meadows
  • Black bears: might be spotted ambling by the roadside
  • Wild turkeys: displaying their splendid feathers

Curious about when to visit?

Dawn and dusk are prime times, making your chances of an encounter even higher.

Getting There

  • From Gatlinburg: Follow the Parkway, turn right onto Little River Road, continue for about 25 miles to the loop entrance

What to Bring

  • Camera: You'll want to capture the wildlife!
  • Binoculars: Get a closer look.

Remember to respect the park rules and the natural habitat of these animals.

Enjoy the ride, take in the sights, and always be ready to stop—for the local crossing guard might just be a bear!

Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana

Ever dreamed of biking where the wild things roam?

Picture yourself pedaling along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, and this dream is your reality.

This road isn't just a cyclist's haven; it's a wildlife corridor where you're in for a furry surprise at every turn!

Wildlife Sightings:

  • Mountain goats: Keep an eye on the cliffs!
  • Bighorn sheep: Often seen in groups, so watch out for the herd.
  • Bears: Remember, these sightings are a treat, not a guarantee!

Here's what you need to know before you go:

  • Distance: Over 50 miles of beauty.
  • Elevation Gain: Climbs to Logan Pass at 6,646 feet.
  • Time: The full ride can take most of a day.

Best Time to Visit:

  • Early Season: That's when auto traffic is light due to road plowing operations.

Remember, the road’s weather can be unpredictable, so bring layers and be prepared for changing conditions.

Trust me, your Instagram won't know what hit it with the views you'll capture here!

And those pit stops?

They're not just for a snack break; they're your chance to scan the surroundings for some majestic wildlife.

Feeling pumped for the adventure?

Lace up those shoes, prep your bike, and get ready for a wild ride in true Montana style!

Just make sure to respect the wildlife and keep a safe distance – these animals may be cute, but they're also wild.

Happy cycling!

Shark Valley Trail in Everglades National Park, Florida

Have you ever biked alongside an alligator?

On the Shark Valley Trail, it's all part of the experience!

Nestled in the heart of the Everglades National Park in Florida, this unique trail offers you an unforgettable adventure and wildlife sightings galore.

So, let's get those wheels spinning and explore what makes Shark Valley a must-visit for nature and biking enthusiasts.

Trail Features:

  • Length: 15-mile loop
  • Width: Approximately 8 feet
  • Surface: Paved and flat

You'll find the trail to be a smooth ride, whether you're on a traditional bike or an electric one—yes, E-bikes are welcome here!

Beginning at 8:30 AM, bike rentals are available until 4 PM, and they must be returned by 5 PM.

With a daily rental fee of $25, you can secure your ride online or grab one on a first-come, first-served basis in person.

As you pedal through, you'll be sharing the path with the park's famous residents: the American alligators.

Don't be surprised if you see a few sunning themselves mere feet from the trail—but remember, safety first, keep a respectful distance!

In addition to these impressive creatures, you're likely to spot an array of bird species, making it a perfect trail for a bit of birdwatching.


  • Entrance: Off the Tamiami Trail, near the Miccosukee Indian Reservation
  • Details: Suitable for any bike type

Ready for a leisurely ride or a full day of exploration?

Shark Valley welcomes you to witness the majesty of the Everglades.

Grab your helmet, bring your camera, and join the ranks of cyclists and nature lovers who've made memories on this iconic trail.

Just remember—the alligators always have the right of way!

Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park, South Dakota

Have you ever pedaled through a natural wonderland?

If not, buckle up for Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park.

This scenic byway isn't just a treat for your eyes; it's a real-time wildlife channel.

At 18 miles long, it's the perfect mix of a challenge and a unique chance to see animals in their natural habitat.

Notable Wildlife:

  • Bison
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Prairie Dogs

Imagine the wind in your hair while you're on the lookout for bison.

These majestic creatures are no strangers to the path, often seen grazing nearby.

Got a soft spot for smaller critters?

Keep an eye out for prairie dogs popping up to say hello!

Trail Highlights:

  • Length: 18.0 miles
  • Open: Year-round, 24 hours a day
  • Best Time to Visit: March through November
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes, but keep them leashed!

Let's talk accessibility.

Feeling spontaneous?


The Wildlife Loop is open 365 days, 24/7, waiting for you.

And you don't have to fret about weather conditions closing the road — that's a non-issue here.

Whether you're in it for the cardio or the critters, this road is a two-wheeled paradise.

Just make sure to grab a South Dakota State Park Entrance License or a temporary pass for Custer State Park, and you're all set.

So, ready to cycle among deer, elk, and the quirky burros?

Your bike and nature are calling!

Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Ever thought you’d bike through a piece of history and spot some wild residents along the way?

Welcome to the Mickelson Trail, your pathway through the stunning Black Hills of South Dakota.

On your ride, keep your eyes peeled—you may just get a glimpse of elk, deer, or even wild turkeys!

Trail Highlights:

  • Length: 109 miles
  • Terrain: Crushed gravel, mixed-use trail
  • Start/End Points: Deadwood to Edgemont

This former railroad route lets you pedal over 100 railroad bridges and zoom through four fascinating tunnels.

The variety of the terrain offers you a unique biking experience, with trail grades reaching up to 4%.

Plus, imagine cycling between the elevations of 3,450 to 6,300 feet.

That’s some serious altitude!

  1. Wildlife: Yes, those rumors are true!
  1. Elk sightings? Very likely.
  2. Deer prancing by? Keep your camera ready.
  3. Wild turkeys? Perhaps a surprise trail companion!

Don't forget!

You’ll need a trail pass, easily purchased at any of the trailheads.

When to Visit: Hit the trail during quieter times to bask in some solitude, or join other enthusiasts if you fancy some camaraderie.

Is it challenging?

Moderately – be prepared for an average completion time of about 36 hours if you’re going from end to end.

Mix Up Your Adventure:

  • Off-trail hiking
  • Climbing endeavors
  • A refreshing swim

So, grab your helmet, and let’s ride out for an adventure on the Mickelson Trail where the wildlife is as abundant as the views are breathtaking!

American River Bike Trail in Sacramento, California

Ready for a riverside ride where you're practically guaranteed to spot wildlife?

Sacramento's own American River Bike Trail, also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, is a hub for nature lovers and cycling enthusiasts alike.

Meandering through the urban landscape for 32 miles, this trail takes you from the hustle and bustle of downtown Sacramento all the way to the serene Folsom Lake.

Remarkably accessible, it welcomes you with numerous entry points via parks, neighborhoods, and various main roads.

Wildlife Sightings:

  • Birds Galore: Keep your binoculars handy! From waterfowl to raptors, the bird life is vibrant and diverse.
  • Playful River Otters: Watch for a splash as these agile creatures dart through the water.
  • Industrious Beavers: Spot these remarkable architects along the riverbanks.

Starting at Discovery Park and ending at Beal's Point, each pedal stroke entwines you with natural landscapes and roaring riversides.

And guess what?

If you've left your map at home, don't sweat it!

Trail maps are available for purchase, or you might just snag a view at one of the parks along the way.

With paved paths ideal for both hiking and biking, you're in for a smooth journey.

The trail's dual lanes ensure enough room for both leisurely riders and those on a more serious streak.

Whether you're seeking a tranquil escape or just a breath of fresh air during your commute, this trail offers a blend of convenience and escape, sun-dappled leaves waving you forward.

Will you catch a glimpse of a beaver family or a stealthy river otter on your next ride?

Grab your helmet and find out!

Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania

Have you ever pedaled through a piece of history while keeping an eye out for wildlife?

At Valley Forge National Historical Park, your wheels will roll over trails teeming with history and nature.

Imagine this: you're biking along, the sun peeking through trees, and a white-tailed deer gracefully crosses your path.

Doesn't that sound enchanting?

What to Expect

  1. Wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled!
  1. White-tailed deer
  2. Foxes
  3. A variety of bird species

Trails to Explore

With over 35 miles of trails, this historic site is perfect for a day of adventure on two wheels.

Let's break it down:

  • Joseph Plumb Martin Trail: It's a paved 6.6-mile loop that's rich with historic sites.
  • Schuylkill River Trail: Experience 2 miles of this trail within the park and maybe extend your ride all the way to Philadelphia!

Are you up for a challenge?

Why not join the '78 Mile Challenge'?

Bike a total of 78 miles at Valley Forge between April and October and snag yourself a fun prize!


Fancy a bit of mountain biking?

You've got 28 miles of trails eagerly waiting for your knobby tires to hit the dirt.

Tips Before You Go:

  • Check the weather.
  • Bring plenty of water.
  • Don't forget your camera—you're going to want to capture the wildlife you'll meet along the way!

So, what are you waiting for?

Your next biking adventure through history and nature awaits at Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania.

Grab your bike and explore!

Acadia National Park Carriage Roads in Maine

Ever wondered where you might gracefully pedal alongside deer and catch a glimpse of a moose without veering off the path?

The carriage roads of Acadia National Park in Maine are not just a cyclist's haven but a wildlife enthusiast’s playground too!

What's so special about these roads?

Built over a century ago, these 45 miles of rustic tracks were designed by John D.

Rockefeller Jr. to complement the stunning landscape without compromising its beauty.

Think about it — biking through nature with the security that you won't be bulldozing into a tree or getting lost.

Perfect, right?

  • Total mileage: 45 miles
  • Width: Approximately 16 feet
  • Terrain: Broken-stone roads

Typical sights along these leafy lanes include deer leisurely crossing your path or porcupines hustling into the bushes.

Can you imagine pedaling in peace as wildlife casually goes about its day around you?

Navigating the Routes:

  • Have a picnic break: Bubble Pond Picnic area with its brook and waterfalls
  • Bike Rental: Available if you don't have your bike with you
  • Rules: Yield to horses, and no E-bikes above Class 1

What about the trails themselves?

They twist and turn, aligning with the contours, preserving the natural charm.

You'll ride over stone bridges and marvel at the vistas that pop up around every bend.

Just keep your speed below 20 mph — not just for safety but also to take it all in!

So grab your helmet and fill that water bottle.

The carriage roads of Acadia National Park are calling for you — and so is the wildlife!

San Juan Island in Washington

Have you ever fantasized about biking through a picturesque landscape while spotting some of the most majestic wildlife?

Let's talk about San Juan Island in Washington, a cyclist's dream where the thrill of the ride meets the joy of nature.

Wildlife on Wheels: As you pedal around San Juan Island, keep your eyes peeled for orcas majestically breaching the water's surface.

It's not every day you get to witness these magnificent creatures from your bike!

Where to Look: The west side of the island offers the best chance for orca sightings, especially around Lime Kiln Point State Park, known as "Whale Watch Park." Gaze out to the sea, and you might just be in for a treat.

Land Lovers' Delight: While the allure of the orcas may draw you to the shore, don't forget about the terrestrial treasures.

Watch for the sly red foxes and the soaring eagles that call this island home.

Getting Here: Eager to start your two-wheeled adventure?

Hop on the convenient bike ferry to the island, and you're good to go!

  • Cycling Paths: The island boasts a variety of routes that cater to different experience levels. Whether you're looking for a leisurely ride or a challenging trek, San Juan has got you covered.

Here's a brief look at what awaits your cycling pleasure:

Route Experience Notable Wildlife Sightings
Lime Kiln Point State Park Beginner Orcas, Foxes, Eagles
San Juan Valley to Westside Road Intermediate Foxes, Deer
Roche Harbor Road Experienced Eagles, Small Birds

Remember, each turn of the pedal brings a new opportunity to commune with the wild.

So gear up, cycle on, and relish the abundant natural beauty of San Juan Island.

Who knows, you might just make a few furry or feathered friends along the way!

High Trestle Trail in Iowa

Have you had the pleasure of biking along the High Trestle Trail in Iowa yet?

If you're itching for a scenic ride complete with wildlife encounters, this is your go-to path.

Quick Trail Facts:

  • Length: 25 miles
  • Counties: 4
  • Access Points: Multiple
  • Surface: Primarily asphalt

Imagine pedaling through the heart of Iowa, where the gentle breeze nudges you forward.

Entrances to the trail are peppered across four counties, providing you easy access no matter where you're coming from.

Plus, with its smooth asphalt terrain, riders of all skills levels have found the High Trestle Trail accommodating.

As you clip along, keep your eyes peeled for the residents of the Des Moines River valley.

You might spot a deer family grazing or colorful birds darting above.

It's not just the wildlife that'll have you reaching for your camera, either.

The vernacular art installation on the trail's iconic bridge adds a dash of culture to your outdoor adventure.

What's Awaiting You:

  • High Trestle Bridge: Towering at 130 feet with distinctive art frames
  • Wildlife: Deer, various birds, and more
  • Terrain: Easy for beginners, satisfying for the experienced

Riding at night?

Don't fret.

The High Trestle Bridge becomes an illuminated beacon of beauty, allowing for a unique nocturnal cycling experience.

The glow of the lights against the night sky is truly a sight to behold.

Accessibility Notes:

  • Paved parking at trailheads
  • Accessible spaces available

Whether you're in it for the fitness, the views, or the wildlife, the High Trestle Trail promises a memorable journey on two wheels.

Who knows, maybe it'll become your new favorite ride!