It’s vacation time and cycling enthusiasts are lining up their bike adventures for the summer.
Sure, it sounds exotic to visit another country and get another stamp in your passport, but we have some of the world’s most beautiful places – and bike rides – right here in the USA. National parks, scenic byways, and hidden gems off the beaten path offer some authentic natural experiences.
But how to choose the perfect adventure?
We’re betting you’ve got a tour type – and here’s a cheat sheet to help you figure it out.
If you can’t live without water, beaches and coast, you’ll love these tours.
On Day 1 of our six-day San Juan Islands tour, you’ll get a taste of the magic in store for you: Gorgeous views of Mt. Constitution and the San Juan Islands, an afternoon browsing Friday Harbor’s eclectic museums and shops (Conde Nast Traveler named Friday Harbor—where you’ll spend a good bit of time—one of the Most Beautiful Towns in America), and a stay at idyllic Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes (did we mention the Fine Living Channel named Lakedale one of the 10 most romantic resorts in the world?)
And it only gets better from there…biking, hiking, kayaking, glorious mountain views, seal-watching, private gourmet feasts and a spectacular chartered floatplane ride over the islands and sound and back to Seattle. Is it any wonder Fodor’s Travel Guide gushes, “You won’t find a nicer place to ride than these islands in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound.”
Of course, if you want more of the deep blue sea, why not spend six days in Hawaii riding the Kohala Coast and exploring Volcanoes National Park and the black sand beaches of Punalu’u? There’s also sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving, sea turtles and whale watching, a spa day if you like—and a chance to ride part of the IronMan course at Waikoloa Beach.
As Paul Theroux said, “Hawaii is not a state of mind, it’s a state of grace.”
Deserts more your style? Enjoy spectacular sunsets and breathtaking views on these tours of the desert southwest.
If the colors of the desert stir your soul, ride the Sonora Desert in southern Arizona—land of saguaro cactus, fragrant mesquite, fluttering hummingbirds, and acres of flame-colored desert paintbrush blooms. Saguaro National Park is a magical place to ride.
You’ll also be tempted by the surprisingly excellent Elgin and Sonoita wines and the colorful birds and butterflies at Casa de San Pedro. A spa day, a ride up the fabled Mount Lemmon, and some of the best Mexican food you can imagine round out your Sonora adventure.
And if the mountains of the desert southwest set your pulses racing, why not travel the peaks of Taos and Santa Fe? It’s the land that inspired Ansel Adams’ stark photos and Georgia O’Keefe’s lush florals—awash in the most glorious jewel tones of nature. You’ll ride the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the mesas and hills of Chimayo and cap your adventure with the Enchanted Circle and the High Road to Taos.
There’s rafting the Rio Grande and three pampering nights at the Casa Benavides in Taos, ranked by Sunset Magazine as one of the best in the southwest.
Finally, the ultimate bucket-list adventure for every desert lover—the haunting landscapes and breathtaking panoramas of Bryce and Zion National Parks. Bicycling Magazine’s editor called it “the most awe-inspiring and unique landscape I’ve ever pedaled through.”
Hike the Fairyland Trail and get a glimpse of the famed hoodoos. Ride downhill beside Bryce Canyon and get an eyeful of them. The Zion Canyon Scenic Ride is a lifetime ride—no cars, just the quiet sounds and fabulous sights of massive red cliff canyons. You can spend some time hiking, or challenging yourself on some amazing rides. A quiet stroll to a stunning waterfall is also an option.
Love lakes and streams and emerald forests? Take a look at these delightful destinations.
There’s no more magical lake destination that Oregon’s Crater Lake. No, really—just check out these accolades:
- Bicycling Magazine calls it one of the most spectacular one-day rides in the country.
- PureWow Travel Pages calls it one of the 11 Most Zen Places on the Planet.
- And our guest Lynn P. of Florida says, “If I had one last day on Earth, I’d ride the rim at Crater Lake.”
Need we say more? There’s also the stunning McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway, the lodgepole pines of Willamette National Forest, stellar hiking and mountain biking, a little flyfishing if that’s your jam, and a brewpub crawl in quirky Bend.
If low-to-no traffic and one of the most beautiful lakes in the world is more your style, spend four days biking the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes in Idaho. Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of the five most beautiful lakes in the world according to National Geographic, and there’s 109 miles of shoreline to explore and gorgeous rail paths and bike trails—including the Route of the Hiawatha Trail. And you’ll love every minute of your stay at the historic five-star Roosevelt Inn, just a short walk from the lake.
If weird but wonderful is more your ethos? Your taste? these tours will tickle your fancy.
Bend, Oregon, is a place where nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts love to get their adrenaline pumping. Cyclists, climbers, skiers, snowboarders—there’s something for everyone in Bend. Ride the smooth pavement of the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway and Deschutes National Forest.
Test your skills in the high desert forest and volcanic peaks near Sunriver and spend a day enjoying the resort’s swimming pools and water parks. Pedal the Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway to one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon: Smith Rock, a climber’s mecca with over a thousand bolted routes. End your adventure with a trip up to the incredible volcanic moonscape atop McKenzie Pass.
For something a little more “out there,” don’t miss the Death Valley Ranch Bike Tour, four days in one of the most weird and wondrous scenery in the world. Where else can you see sailing rocks, abandoned mines, and of course, jump off from wacky Las Vegas?
Dante’s View, Ubehebe Crater, the Badwater Basin (the lowest point on the continent!), hiking onto immense salt flats and a lovely stay at Furnace Creek Resort are just a few highlights—plus a day riding Death Valley’s sand dunes.
Taking your family on a weird and wonderful adventure? Spend six days on the Mount Rushmore Family Tour pedaling “Big Mick,” the Mickelson Trail (dubbed by Bicycling Magazine the number one bike trail in the country). What kid—or his parent, for that matter—can resist active mammoth digs, Wind Caves, Wall Drug, waterslides, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, Crazy Horse Monument, and the world’s largest indoor pool?
When only a challenge will do, get your adrenaline fix with these epic tours.
Sometimes you just have to push yourself to the limit on a bicycle adventure—steep mountain climbs, 100-mile days, the sweet sense of accomplishment when you know you’ve done something truly awesome.
Our Empire Builder Epic, a National Geographic Adventures Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime, has everything you’d expect with a name like “epic.” Ten days, 700 miles, Glacier National Park the Cascades, 5,000-feet climbs, Lake Roosevelt and the Grand Coulee Dam,an 83-mile ride over the Continental Divide and an overnight ride on the Amtrak Empire Builder train back to Seattle. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for the true cycling enthusiast.
If the word “glacier” caught your attention, take a look at our eight-day Glacier-Banff-Jasper tour through the Northern Rockies and some of the most amazing scenery of your entire life. Ride Going-to-the-Sun Road past waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and sweeping glacial valleys. Canada’s Icefields Parkway is equally spectacular, winding past pristine mountain lakes and ancient glaciers; don’t miss the Weeping Wall, a 2,000-foot cliff decked with cascading waterfalls.
Have you figured out your type yet? Found your perfect match? Then let us help you arrange a date with your ideal tour and get your summer adventure underway – just fill in some details here!