Spend the Night with Your Bike: Eight Bikepacking Routes

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.

bikepacking

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.