10 Scenic Bike Rides Along Historic Routes | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Scenic bike rides offer an engaging blend of history and natural beauty.
  • These trails provide unique insights into the nation’s past and landscape.
  • They are accessible ways to experience historic and picturesque terrains.

Imagine pedaling along, with each push of your pedals you're riding through pages of history.

Wouldn’t that amplify your adventure?

Now you can turn that fantasy into reality on trails carved through natural wonder and steeped in cultural lore.

Biking along historic routes is not just exercise; it's an immersive journey through time and landscape.

You’re not simply a traveler; you’re a live witness to the tales etched in the path under your wheels.

Riding these trails is your ticket to experiencing the grandeur of the past, all while taking in breathtaking views that have enthralled riders for generations.



Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail (Oregon, USA)

Have you ever pedaled through a place so enchanting, you felt like you were gliding through a postcard?

That's what you can expect on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail in Oregon.

This remarkable bike ride takes you on a journey through the Columbia River Gorge, a designated National Scenic Area known for its jaw-dropping vistas.

Key Highlights:

  • Scenery: Revel in panoramic views of the Columbia River as you cycle past.
  • Historic Tunnels: Ride through restored tunnels that are a testament to early 20th-century engineering.
  • Accessibility: Paved paths make for a smooth ride.

Here's what you need to know:

Trail Sections:

  • Three separate paths.
  • A combined total of over 12 miles.

Noteworthy Stops:

  • Eagle Creek Trailhead: Features a 40-foot staircase with bike wheel grooves.
  • Must-see sights, such as the dramatic curves atop Rowena Plateau.
  • Don't miss the iconic Multnomah Falls!


  • Leash your furry friends; dogs must be leashed (6 feet max).
  • E-bikes? Absolutely, they are welcome here.

The trail embraces chunks of the old Highway 30, which, before the I-84 was a thing, was the sole road connecting Portland with The Dalles.

As you meander through this "King of Roads," imagine cruising in the early 1900s, when this area was a newfound travel fascination.

The thoughtful design of bridges and rock walls contribute to the highway's esteemed legacy as "A Poem in Stone."

Remember to plan ahead—checking trail maps is a good start.

Are you ready to embark on a historic ride that will make your heart race just as much from the beauty as from the biking?

Grab your helmet and discover why this trail is a genuine jewel in the crown of Oregon's outdoor experiences.

Great American Rail-Trail

Ever thought of biking across the country?

You can, on the Great American Rail-Trail!

Imagine pedaling 3,700 miles through breathtaking landscapes and bygone historical eras, all bridging Washington State to Washington, D.C.

Here's a sneak peek into what awaits you:

  • Scenic Variety: You'll traverse diverse terrains, from winding rivers and sprawling plains to dramatic mountains and serene valleys.
  • Cultural Heritage: The trail offers a living history lesson, as many sections follow historical railroad routes with stories that predate the establishment of the United States.
  • Accessible Adventure: Designed as a non-motorized trail, it's a safe and sustainable way to explore the vastness of America at your own pace.

What makes it extraordinary?

  • Stretch: Spanning across 12 states, it interconnects four time zones.
  • Connectivity: Linking more than 125 existing trails, this is a project that symbolizes unity in diversity.

Key Highlights:

  • The Ohio to Erie, GAP, and C&O Canal trails showcase the industrial backbone of the nation, once buzzing with railroad activity.
  • In Pittsburgh, connect with the Three Rivers Heritage Trail for urban cityscapes.
  • The Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail in Washington State offers a taste of the wild, wide West.

Embark on this ride of a lifetime, where each pedal stroke marks your journey through America's majestic landscapes and the echoes of its past.

Grab your bike and hit the trail – your cross-country adventure awaits!

George S. Mickelson Trail

Ever wondered what it's like to cycle along a piece of history?

South Dakota's George S.

Mickelson Trail might be just what you're looking for.

Spanning over 100 miles and winding through the heart of the Black Hills, this trail is where adventure and heritage meet.

Route Overview:

  • Start/End Points: Deadwood to Edgemont
  • Distance: 109 miles, with extra branch trails
  • Highlights: More than 100 railroad bridges, four tunnels, and Sheep Canyon

Remember to grab a trail pass, which you can easily purchase at any of the trailheads.

Let's break down a typical ride, shall we?

  • Elevation: Get ready for breathtaking views from Dumont, which is the highest point on the trail at about 6,300 feet.
  • Slope Grade: Gentle for the most part, not exceeding 4%, but there are stretches that will challenge your legs—a good mix, isn't it?

Imagine pedaling over sturdy bridges and through mountain-carved tunnels, each pedal stroke taking you further into the history etched into these landscapes.

It's not just a trail; it's a journey through time.

And what if you get tired?

No worries!

The route is dotted with perfect stops to rest and refuel.

Bring your kids along!

The trail is family-friendly, though remember to pace yourself—previous riders have taken anything from three days for 80 miles, tailoring their ride to suit little legs or personal stamina.

Activities Off the Trail:

  • Rock climbing
  • Hiking
  • Swimming

So, ready your bike for the George S.

Mickelson Trail, where every mile tells a story and every ride is an entry in your adventure diary.

Can you hear the Black Hills calling?

Katy Trail State Park

Ever wondered where you can find the longest developed rail-trail in the United States?

Look no further than Missouri's Katy Trail State Park.

Imagine biking nearly 240 miles where the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad once ran.

You'd be wheeling through history, landscapes that shift from verdant fields to towering bluffs, and charming small towns, wouldn't you?

  • Length: Nearly 240 miles
  • Surface: Majority crushed limestone
  • Grade: Gentle 3% incline, max

Why should you cycle here?

Well, for starters, it's not every day you get to ride along the scenic Missouri River on a trail that's virtually flat.

And if you're the sort that appreciates a good view (who isn't?), the Katy Trail has plenty:

  • Views: River vistas, wildlife sightings, and historic towns

And it's not just solo riders who find this park appealing.

Families enjoy the gentle grade, while history enthusiasts appreciate the stories each town whispers as you pass through.

Plus, getting here and around is pretty easy:

  • Accessibility: Trailheads dotted across the route; Amtrak's Missouri River Runner line allows bikes

Whether you're looking to log miles, take in the sights, or dive into a bit of Missouri history, it's all here on the Katy Trail.

Need to know more about where to stay or grab a bite?

You'll find a smorgasbord of cozy inns and local eateries eager to welcome trail-goers with open arms.

Lace up those sneakers, pump up your tires, and get ready for a ride to remember on the Katy Trail State Park.

Your adventure awaits!

Silver Comet Trail

Hey, are you itching for a bike ride that packs in history, nature, and some sweet Southern charm?

Let's talk about the Silver Comet Trail.

Embark on this paved pathway where the old Silver Comet train once chugged along, stretching 61.5 miles from the outskirts of Atlanta to the welcoming arms of the Alabama state line.

Where Does the Adventure Begin?

Just outside Atlanta in Smyrna, your journey takes off.

The Silver Comet Trail is your ticket to freedom, boasting a wide path that accommodates bikes of all sizes and styles.

What Can You Expect Along the Way?

  • Scenery: Roll through rural Georgia with scenes straight from a postcard. Think open fields, lush forests, and the kind of peace that makes you want to take deep, happy breaths.
  • Accessibility: With a pathway that's 12 feet wide and paved all the way, everyone's invited. Whether you're wheeling in a chair or cruising on a bike, this trail's made for all.

Key Features to Look Out For:

  • Mile Marker 61.5: Near the end, you'll hit the State Line Gateway Park with its iconic arches that celebrate the Georgia-Alabama border.
  • Trial Services: Along the route, you'll find 15 restrooms and 10 water fountains, so you're never caught off-guard.

Feel free to take your pick from road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, or cruisers, as this trail’s versatile path is friendly to all.

Don't miss out on the western section, as it's particularly bucolic—where the charm of the countryside truly unfolds.

Remember those trailside services, handy for every avid cyclist or a casual rider out enjoying the day.

Happy riding!

Bicycle Route 66

Have you ever felt the urge to pedal along a slice of American history?

Bicycle Route 66 beckons with an open road that invites you to trace the tire tracks of history from vibrant Chicago to sunny California.

Imagine cruising past a tableau of quirky roadside attractions and natural wonders, spanning a wowing 2,448 miles!

  1. Start Your Journey: Your two-wheeled adventure kicks off at the scenic Grant Park in Chicago, near Lake Michigan. Breath the lakeside air before embarking on a journey of monumental proportions!
  2. What to Expect:
  1. Diverse Terrains: Be prepared for varying landscapes as you cross eight states: from the skyscrapers of Illinois to the rolling plains of the Midwest and the deserts of the Southwest.
  2. Cultural Landmarks: Each pedal brings you face-to-face with nostalgic sights of a bygone era, like vintage gas stations, diners, and motels that dot this iconic route.

Meal Planning: You won’t go hungry with myriad dining options reminiscent of the old Route 66 culture.

Stop in at a classic diner and refuel with some home-style cooking.

Key Highlights Description
Illinois Start Begin at the soothing shores of Lake Michigan
Eight States Cross from the Midwest to the Pacific Coast
Historic Spots Experience America's cultural gems along the way

Remember, starting slow is the way to go to enjoy the full splendor of the ride without wearing yourself out.

With each mile, you're not just biking, you’re reliving a storied past on a road that's seen countless journeys.

Take it from the Adventure Cycling Association – there’s no better way to experience the legendary Route 66 than on two wheels!

Happy cycling!

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath

Ever dreamed of biking along a route drenched in history?

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath is for you!

You'll pedal 184.5 miles on a trail that effortlessly weaves past woodlands and the calm, flowing Potomac River.

But it's not just nature's beauty that'll accompany you; there's a wealth of history to encounter along the way.

Why the C&O Canal Towpath?

  • Historic: Once a lifeline for communities transporting goods, today it invites you to a journey through the past.
  • Scenic: Lush trees, the serene river, and an array of wildlife make it a picturesque escape.
  • Accessible: A trail free from motors means a peaceful ride minus the city bustle.

What Can You Expect?

  • Start at Georgetown in Washington, D.C.
  • Finish up in Cumberland, Maryland.
  • Enjoy car-free paths and occasional rest stops.
  • Experience wildlife sightings and cool forest covers.

Quick Facts:

  • Length: 184.5 miles
  • Start/End: Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, MD
  • Terrain: Mixed, primarily flat

Biking Tips:

  • Pack water and snacks; there are stretches with few services.
  • Check your bike beforehand; some areas are remote.
  • Respect the trail; stay on marked paths to protect both heritage and habitat.

Ready for an adventure that combines fitness, fun, and a touch of American history?

Lace up your biking shoes, and let the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath transport you through a living museum where every pedal brings a new discovery!

Pine Creek Rail Trail

Ever dreamt of a bike ride through a scenic route drenched in history?

Well, hit the Pine Creek Rail Trail, and you'll be pedaling along the same paths once traversed by the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek, and Buffalo Railway.

Imagine a 62-mile journey surrounded by the splendor of what's lovingly called Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon.

Why should you ride the Pine Creek Rail Trail?

  • Historic Charm: Travel a route that's woven into the fabric of Pennsylvania's history.
  • Long Distance: With more than 60 miles of trails, you can ride to your heart's content.
  • Incredible Views: The trail carves through the picturesque Pine Creek Gorge, giving you vistas that are postcard-perfect.

Here's a taste of what you'll experience along the way:

  • Blackwell to Slate Run: Prepare for a 10-mile stretch with one of the longest straightaways. Perfect for finding your rhythm!
  • Wildlife & Scenery: Look out for gorgeous cliffs and an opportunity to connect with nature.

Let's Get Practical:

  • Parking is aplenty, so no need to worry about where to leave your car.
  • A portion of the trail is earmarked for our horseback riding friends.

Mile by Mile: Each segment offers unique sights.

Whether it's a peaceful picnic spot at Black Walnut Bottom or a stretch alongside the babbling waters of Ross Run, every mile is a new discovery.

Remember to bring your camera, because these memories deserve a snapshot or two!

So, what do you say?

Ready to take your bike out for a spin through history on the Pine Creek Rail Trail?

Get pedaling and take in the beauty that Pennsylvania has to offer with every push of the pedal.

Mississippi River Trail

Have you ever dreamed of pedaling through America’s heartland, following the twists and turns of the legendary Mississippi River?

The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) offers just that, an epic 3,000-mile journey from the clear waters of Lake Itasca in Minnesota down to the balmy deltas of Louisiana.

Imagine, you could traverse 10 whole states on two wheels!

Here's the route you'd be conquering:

  • Start: Lake Itasca, Minnesota
  • Ends: Venice, Louisiana

Key Points Along the MRT:

  • Great River Road: Shared road with fantastic river views
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul: Urban trails with a nature vibe
  • Illinois Section: A 585-mile stretch with off-road trails

What Can You Expect?

  • Scenic Views: Paddle steamers, wildlife and historic towns decorate your journey.
  • Cultural Landmarks: Glide past Civil War battlefields and various historical sites.
  • Rest Stops: Plenty of towns along the way to restock and refresh.

Plan Your Ride:

Proximity to the river and roadway bike-friendliness were prime factors in designing the route.

Fancy a challenge?

This trail is a cyclist’s buffet with its mix of off-road trails and on-road sections.

And don’t miss the Illinois American Discovery Trail for a delightful detour.

Whether you're in for the full voyage or just a day trip, the Mississippi River Trail serves up slices of America on a platter.

So, have you got your bike ready for what could be the ride of a lifetime?

Natchez Trace Parkway

Have you ever fancied a ride through a corridor steeped in history, flanked by picturesque landscapes that whisper tales of the olden days?

Buckle up your helmet and pump the bicycle tires, because the Natchez Trace Parkway is just the place you’ve been dreaming of.

Spanning 444 miles through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway is where scenic beauty meets history.

It’s more than just a path; it's a journey through America's past, used by Native Americans, European settlers, and even future presidents.

Noteworthy Facts Natchez Trace Parkway
Length 444 miles
States Encompassed MS, AL, TN
Designation National Scenic Byway
Speed Limit 50 mph for cars
Major No-No's No commercial traffic

Why should your two wheels carry you on this adventure?

  • National Park Service recognized biking road: You’re officially rolling on a designated bike route. Feel special yet?
  • Share the love (and road): Signs remind those four-wheelers to play nice and make room.
  • The big chill: Commercial trucks looking to hustle past? Not on this Parkway! Plus, no stop signs or red lights to kill your vibe.

Imagine cycling surrounded by an orchestra of rustling trees, chirping birds, with the open road ahead.

With light motorized traffic, except near Tupelo and Jackson, the Parkway is your oyster – explore away from peak times and have the trails virtually to yourself!

Whether you're an avid cyclist or someone who craves a leisurely pedal, your ride on the Natchez Trace Parkway promises a blend of tranquility, natural beauty, and an intimate brush with the history that shaped this nation.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get out there and make those pedals count!