Combining cycling and camping, bikepackers often cover 30 to 80 miles of trail a day, allowing for longer expeditions in less time compared to standard foot travel. For inspiration, check out these eight awesome bikepacking routes.
The Arizona Trail, Arizona
The Arizona Trail spans 800 miles through a variety of Arizona ecosystems ranging from the Sonoran Desert to the San Francisco Peaks, with remote landscapes and scarce water defining much of the trek. Pack and plan accordingly, and be ready to clean sand and dirt out of your derailleur. The Arizona Trail can be yours on a bike in less than a month.
Kokopelli Trail, Colorado & Utah
The Kokopelli Trail follows the Colorado Plateau for 140-plus miles, connecting Grand Junction, Colorado, to Moab, Utah, and exposing the beautiful scenery found between these two iconic adventure locations. Skirting along singletrack, hardpack, and slickrock, the Kokopelli Trail meanders along the Colorado River through ghost towns and dense pine forests.
The Kenai 250, Alaska
Easily accessible from Anchorage, the Kenai 250 begins and ends in the small community of Hope and dives into the Chugach National Forest, connecting some of Alaska’s best singletrack. With several looped route options, the Kenai 250 is customizable for the time and energy you can spend cycling. With the remote sections of the Kenai 250, wildlife sighting possibilities include grizzly bear and moose. Proper planning and self-sufficiency is vital.
Green Mountain Gravel Growler, Vermont
The Green Mountain Gravel Growler links the best mountain biking in Vermont to the area’s many fine craft breweries. Alongside 13 craft breweries found on the 250-plus mile looped route, riders on the Green Mountain Gravel Growler will pedal past postcard-worthy towns set against rural Vermont countryside–it’s especially scenic with Autumn colors.
Tour De Chequamegon, Wisconsin
Home to the American Birkebeiner, it’s no surprise that the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest hosts many adventure activities, including the easily accessible Tour De Chequamegon bikepacking route. Spanning 110 miles within the National Forest, and utilizing forest service roads to navigate the glaciated terrain and connect with over 40 developed campsites, the relatively flat terrain of the Tour De Chequamegon makes it a great introduction into bikepacking. For a little community spirit, the annual Tour De Chequamegon Group Ride takes place each October, which can help with riding logistics.
Maah Daah Hey Trail, North Dakota
Touted as North Dakota’s best kept secret, the Maah Daah Hey Trail exposes backpackers and bike riders to a scenic show of Badlands infused with prairie grass. The Maah Daah Hey Trail stretches 144 miles, and the total trail system adds an extra 50 miles of connecting trails. Each segment of the Maah Daah Hey Trail introduces users to a variety of landscapes including ice caves, massive plateaus, and jagged outcroppings, exposing a rugged side of North Dakota worth visiting. A major highlight along the Maah Daah Hey Trail includes Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where roaming bison and feral horses share the stunning landscape.
Oregon’s Big Country Trail
Spanning for more than 350 miles in Southern Oregon, the Big Country Trail takes riders into remote areas full of natural beauty. Not suitable for inexperienced riders or unprepared cyclists, the Big Country Trail has limited water sources. Despite the rugged conditions and sometimes hard to navigate dirt trail and sagebrush, the views and untouched wilderness makes it worthwhile. Highlights include the Trout Creek Mountains, the remote feeling of backcountry travel, and the southern Oregon unique sighting of wild horses.
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route—Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico
Following the Continental Divide for over 2,500 miles through four states, the Great Divide Mountain Biking Route will test your legs and spirit. Traversing upon hallmarks of the National Park System, including Glacier, Yellowstone, and Rocky Mountain, the Great Divide traverses wilderness ranging from lush river valleys to high desert plains, and follows a primarily non-paved path including forest service roads and singletrack. Riders must work for their rewards on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail, and no matter how fit you might be, 2,500 miles is nothing to sneeze at. Deeply engage in training and trip planning, and perhaps break the trail up into smaller chunks. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail will get you hooked on bikepacking for life.