The 10 Most Scenic Bike Routes Through National Parks | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Cycling in national parks offers unforgettable scenic beauty.
  • Trails vary in difficulty and are accessible to riders of all levels.
  • Routes include famous roads like Going-to-the-Sun and Trail Ridge.

Imagine pedaling through landscapes so stunning, they feed your soul as much as your thirst for adventure.

Biking through national parks combines fitness with breathtaking beauty, presenting routes that weave through the very heart of nature's splendor.

National parks boast some of the most iconic bike trails; from the towering cliffs of Zion to the shimmering waters of Crater Lake, each turn presents a feast for the eyes.

You're in good hands, as we navigate the top scenic bike routes curated from the wealth of cycling experiences in America's national parks.

Whether whispered about amongst avid cyclists or heralded as landmarks, these trails offer unparalleled riding experiences.



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

Have you ever pedaled through a landscape so stunning that you had to pinch yourself to make sure you weren't dreaming?

Welcome to the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, where every turn and climb unveils views seemingly conjured from pure imagination.

Route Overview:

  • Length: Over 50 miles
  • Open: Late June/early July to late September/early October
  • Start & End: St. Mary to West Glacier (or reverse)

Why Ride Here?

Your journey on this historic route is a montage of glacial lakes, alpine meadows, and towering peaks.

Ride alongside rugged cliffs and over Logan Pass, the highest point on the road at 6,646 feet!

Don't forget a stop at Big Bend for a spectacular sunset panorama.

  1. Points of Interest:
  1. Logan Pass
  2. Big Bend's panoramic views
  3. Overlooks such as Jackson Glacier Overlook

Riding Tips:

  • Access: Begin your adventure at St. Mary and ride westward or start at West Glacier and head east.
  • Season: Due to Montana's heavy snowfall, the full road is only accessible during a brief window. Plan accordingly!
  • Stay Safe: Bring layers for changeable weather and plenty of water.

Think of the Going-to-the-Sun Road as nature's own roller coaster.

With climbs and descents that get your heart racing, those leg muscles will definitely know they're alive!

Just remember, you're sharing the road with cars, so safety is your top priority.

Are you ready to ride one of America's most iconic roads?

Gear up, check your brakes, and set forth on an adventure that’s sure to be a highlight of your biking tales.

Just imagine the stories you'll tell!

Shark Valley Tram Road, Everglades National Park, Florida

Ever wish you could cycle through a wonderland of wildlife?

Imagine pedaling on a path where the alligator might be your occasional onlooker, and the heron your frequent flyer companion.

Length: 15 miles (24 km) round trip

Accessibility: Fully wheelchair accessible

Activities Permitted: Biking, Tram tours, Walking

The Shark Valley Tram Road offers just that—a flat and leisurely bike route through the heart of Everglades National Park, Florida.

What's not to love about a paved road that meanders through a rich tapestry of wetlands, giving you a front-row seat to nature's raw performance?

So, what can you expect?

  • Wildlife Galore: Keep your eyes peeled for alligators sunbathing, herons wading, and maybe even a deer or two.
  • Panoramic Views: The observation tower halfway through your journey rewards you with sprawling views of the 'River of Grass'.
  • Freedom of Choice: Fancy a break from pedaling? Tram tours with knowledgeable guides are available to take you through the same route.

And don't worry about packing your bicycle; rentals are available right at the heart of Shark Valley.

Your two-wheeled adventure can be both enlightening and invigorating, whether you're a solo explorer or making memories with family and friends.

Before setting out, remember to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and your camera.

After all, where else can you take a selfie with an egret on one side and endless everglades on the other?

So, grab your helmet and embrace the natural beauty on this spectacular biking route through Shark Valley.

Happy trails await!

*Note: Remember to check weather conditions and park advisories before planning your visit.

Crater Lake Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Have you ever cycled along a route that made you feel like you were part of a postcard?

Well, the Crater Lake Rim Drive offers just that.

Cycling this 33-mile loop around Crater Lake, you'll be immersed in scenes so stunning, you might just forget to pedal for a moment!

What to Expect

  1. Distance: 33 miles
  2. Elevation Gain: Notable, with many ups and downs
  3. Highlights:
  1. Panoramic lake views
  2. Forests and meadows
  3. Thirty overlooks for picture-perfect memories

Not only is the picturesque blue of Crater Lake a testament to its depth, but the cliffside vistas will also leave you in awe.

As the deepest lake in the U.S., with water so blue it looks surreal, Crater Lake is encased by cliffs reaching up to 2,000 feet high.

Route Tips

  • Parking: Overlooks typically have ample parking—you won't have to worry about where to stash your bike if you want to snap some photos.
  • Stops: With 30 overlooks, you have plenty of opportunities to rest and take in the view.
  • Best Views: Sunrise at Crater Lake is breathtaking; consider an early morning ride to catch it.


  • Crater Lake Century: An annual bike ride around the caldera. Two distance options—62-mile and 100-mile—cater to different levels of cyclists.

Remember, while the route's beauty is undeniable, it's equally challenging with steep switchbacks and elevation changes.

Be prepared for a workout; the views are rewarding but the ride can be grueling.

And remember, always stay hydrated!

Whether you're there for a brisk ride or to leisurely cycle and take in the scenery, the Crater Lake Rim Drive should definitely be on your list.

Grab your helmet, ready your bike, and set out on one of the most scenic bike routes through a national park you'll ever experience.

Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Have you ever wished to cycle through a painting?

On Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, your two-wheeled journey is as picturesque as a canvas.

This 105-mile route traces the summit line of the Blue Ridge Mountains and treats you to uninterrupted views of the Shenandoah Valley.

Ready for a sneak peek into what this ride entails?

  • Distance: 105 miles.
  • Estimated Cycling Time: 6-8 hours (depending on stops).
  • Speed Limit: 35 mph, perfect for a leisurely bike pace.
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring through fall, with fall color change being a high point.

As you pedal along, you'll encounter:

  • 75 Overlooks: Rest your legs and feast your eyes.
  • Access Points: Four major entry points, each ushering you into a different landscape tapestry.

This is definitely more than just a bike route; it’s a journey that will have you stopping often, not just to catch your breath, but to capture the breathtaking views on camera.

Remember, while cars do travel this road, the speed limit is your friend here, keeping traffic calm enough for cyclists to enjoy their ride.

Make sure your tire pressure is good to go, pack many a granola bar (or two), and fill those water bottles.

Whether you're in for a multi-day adventure with stops at local campgrounds or a day trip to reconnect with nature, Skyline Drive is where you want to be._markdown

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Have you ever dreamed of cycling in the sky?

Let's talk about Trail Ridge Road in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park – a route that might just be the closest you can get to that dream without growing wings!

This isn't just any road; we're pedaling through America’s highest continuous paved path.

Curious about the numbers?

At an impressive 12,000 feet above sea level, you're in for views that'll make your heart soar as much as your altitude.

But hey, let's get practical.

Here's what you need to know about conquering this glorious route:

  • Starting Points: Your journey can begin either at Estes Park or the peaceful Grand Lake. That's your choice; both offer mesmerizing starts!
  • Stretch: The road charts a course for 48 miles, so make sure your water bottles are full and your camera's ready.
  • Altitude Alert: Yes, the air gets thinner the higher you go. Pack some snacks, take it easy, and acclimate to avoid any lightheaded surprises.
  • Biking Season: Remember, this high-altitude road is seasonal, so you can enjoy it fully around late May through October, weather permitting.
  • Scenic Spots: There's no shortage of stop-offs for that 'gram-worthy photo. Honestly, every pedal push comes with a new stunning panorama.

Ready for an awe-inspiring ride that challenges your body and rewards your spirit?

Then gear up for the Trail Ridge Road – where each turn brings a fresh gasp of wonder and an unmatched sense of achievement.

Just imagine the bragging rights after conquering the peaks on two wheels.

Happy cycling!

Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park, Maine

Hey there, ready for a scenic spin?

Imagine pedaling along a roadway that rolls out stunning views as generously as a red carpet.

Welcome to Park Loop Road in Maine's Acadia National Park, where your bike ride comes with a side of awe-inspiring landscapes.

Why Ride Here?

  • Rugged Atlantic coastline: The salty sea breeze against your face isn't just invigorating; it guides you along a coastal canvas painted by nature's best.
  • Dense forests: Dive into the tranquil realm of towering trees and breathe in the earthy scents.
  • Marvel at Cadillac Mountain: Don't miss glimpses of this famous peak—it's a sight to fill your soul!

Quick Facts:

  • Length: 27 miles of pure visual delight.
  • Timing: Avoid the peak hours from 10 am to 4 pm, and you'll have serenity as your companion.
  • One-way rules: Remember, you'll need to follow the traffic flow on this loop.

Speaking of preparations, don't forget to grab your park pass.

It's your all-access key to this biking wonderland.

And hey, while the road to Cadillac Mountain might tempt you with its challenge, it's steep and should be approached with caution.

Safety first, right?

Whether you're seeking serenity, ache for adventure, or just want to say 'hello' to the great outdoors, this bike route is your ticket.

So, have you packed your water bottle?

Got your helmet snug?


Let's ride along Park Loop Road and discover the magic of Acadia together.

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

Have you ever imagined pedaling your bike through a treasure trove of American history, flanked by the lush beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains?

Well, the Cades Cove Loop Road offers just that!

You can enjoy a leisurely ride on this 11-mile one-way loop that's nothing short of a living museum, set amidst a vast natural playground.

  • Distance: 11 miles
  • Road Type: One-way loop
  • Estimated Riding Time: 2-4 hours
  • Traffic: Seasonal peaks in summer and fall; busy on weekends all year

This scenic route takes you back in time, giving you a peek into the Smoky Mountain history through its historic buildings, from rustic log cabins to elegant churches.

Remember to bring your camera as you might catch a glimpse of the local wildlife.

You could spot a deer, black bear, or even a wild turkey!

Here's what you need to know before you set off:

  • Start at Cades Cove Visitor Center: Grab a map and learn some fascinating facts.
  • Best times to visit: Early mornings or late afternoons during the week for fewer crowds.
  • Accessibility: The loop is closed to motor vehicles on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 AM, perfect for bikers.


  • From Gatlinburg, take the Parkway to the Sugarlands Visitor Center
  • Turn onto Little River Road and continue for approximately 25 miles
  • Reach the Cades Cove entrance

Remember, you'll want to allow plenty of time to stop.

There's sightseeing to do and photos to take.

Here's a friendly tip: bring some snacks and water.

It's always nice to have a small picnic and enjoy the scenery.

Now, are you ready to ride through what is arguably one of the most picturesque bike routes in the USA?

Saddle up, and let's go!

Valley Floor Loop, Yosemite National Park, California

Fancy a bike ride where the grandeur of Yosemite's granite giants looms large?

You can't miss the Valley Floor Loop, a serene trail that invites you on a less crowded journey through Yosemite National Park.

Duration & Distance:

  • Full loop: Approximately 5-7 hours
  • Half loop: Around 2.5-3.5 hours
  • Distance: 20.3 miles full loop

What can you expect on this ride?

Think peaceful meadows, the soundtrack of waterfalls, and the chance to wave hello to the soaring El Capitan and the iconic Half Dome without craning your neck upwards—all while pedaling on a comfortably flat trail.

It's not just the views; the loop is steeped in history, tracing some of the park's original east-west trails and wagon roads.

You're literally riding through the storied past!

Here's what you need to know before heading out:

  • Start: Lower Yosemite Fall (shuttle stop #6)
  • Accessibility: The trail is open year-round
  • Activities Along the Trail: Apart from biking, it's a hit for hiking and in winter, snowshoeing
  • Popularity: It's well-liked but offers quiet moments
  • Terrain: Predominantly flat with some sections near roads

Looking for solitude with a backdrop that's nothing short of breathtaking?

You've found your spot with the Valley Floor Loop.

Just remember, while you're soaking in the sights, keep an eye out for the locals—you might just spot some wildlife on the way.

Happy riding!

Grand Loop Road, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Have you ever dreamed of biking through some of the most iconic landscapes in America?

Let's talk about cycling the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park!

Imagine pedaling past stunning geysers, witnessing the steam from hot springs, and having the chance to spot all sorts of wildlife.

This could be your adventure on the Grand Loop Road.

Route Details:

  • Length: 142 miles (229 km)
  • Shape: Figure-eight
  • Attractions: Geysers, hot springs, wildlife
  • Time Needed: 4-7 hours (dependent on stops)

Here's what you need to know:

The Route: The Grand Loop Road forms an imposing figure-eight stretching across 142 miles of diverse landscapes.

You'll weave through a series of the most breathtaking scenery Yellowstone has to offer.

  • Begin early to sidestep the traffic and grab those coveted parking spots if you're hopping off for a hike.
  • Aim for a full day of cycling, but keep in mind, your time in the saddle may vary based on road conditions and how often you're compelled to stop and gawk at the views.

What You'll See:

  • Geothermal Wonders: The Upper and Lower Geyser Basins and Monument Geyser Basin are just a few of the hotspots where the Earth's power is on display.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Keep an eye out! You might see bison, elk, and even bears from a safe distance.

Travel Tips:

  • Visibility: Some stretches are more popular, such as between Madison Junction and Old Faithful; plan accordingly.
  • Road Updates: As of April 23, 2023, updates to road conditions can be essential for a smooth ride.

Remember, you're in a national park, so always follow guidelines to protect the park and yourself.

Ready to take on the Grand Loop?

Happy cycling!

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, Zion National Park, Utah

Imagine pedaling your way through a landscape so majestic that every turn appears to spring from a postcard.

The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a stretch in Zion National Park, Utah, renowned for its stunning vistas and close encounters with nature's grandeur.

Here's why you should put this route on your cycling bucket list.

Route Highlights:

  • Virgin River: Your two-wheeled journey follows the serene flow of this river.
  • Rock Formations: Be awed by the cliffs and rocks reaching skyward.

Feeling adventurous?

Zion offers an unparalleled experience.

The wide-open roads invite you to become one with the surroundings.

The palette of colors from the setting sun over the rock faces?

Out of this world!

You're not just on a bike ride; you're on a rolling tour of one of Earth's masterpieces.

Why Zion Canyon Scenic Drive?

  • Accessibility: It's a welcoming route, suitable for most skill levels.
  • Amazing Views: You're flanked by towering cliffs and diverse formations.
  • Nature Immersion: Feel the breeze, breathe the fresh air, and listen to the gentle river.

Here's a pro tip: While the scenic drive is indeed a treat for cyclists, it's usually open to shuttle buses only during the high season.

Make sure to plan your visit during off-peak times when personal vehicles — and bikes — are allowed.

Remember, you're cruising through delicate ecosystems, so minimize your impact and maximize your enjoyment by following park guidelines.

Grab your bike, respect the rules, and prepare for a ride that's nothing short of epic!

Ready to ride through Zion's splendor?

See you at the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive!