A splash of yellow. Bright fiery red. Deep russets. Mottled pumpkin orange. There’s something special about the natural kaleidoscope of fall foliage, isn’t there? We look forward to it every year. And there’s no better way to experience this annual wonder than on a bike. So, in gleeful anticipation of autumn, we’ve put together a brief list of the best bike trails where you can see the leaves turn technicolor.
Great Places for Autumn Rides
There are lots and lots and LOTS of great trails out there for fall rides. Here’s just a sampling of a few of our favorites:
Lake Champlain Bikeways, Vermont/New York
This vast trail network encircles Lake Champlain on the border between New York and Vermont and stretches all the way up to southern Quebec. It consists of both paved and unpaved sections, but no matter which route you choose, you’re in for a treat – with the lake, the trees, the mountains, and more, the Lake Champlain Bikeways has some truly breathtaking views.
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Enjoy the beautiful gold and crimson colors of Virginia in autumn! This ride includes all the beautiful countryside and mountain vistas you could ever want. And if you want to befriend fellow autumn cycling enthusiasts, there’s even a Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival.
Kebler Pass, Colorado
Ride through glittering yellow groves of aspen trees on these trails located just outside of Crested Butte, Colorado. Plus, you’ll be able to view Mt. Emmons for even more epic scenery.
Katy Trail, Missouri
Follow the Missouri River on this – mostly flat! – bike path. Not only can you enjoy the rich autumn colors and crisp cool air, but this route just so happens to go past quite a few vineyards… y’know, if you feel so inclined.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Dogwood, sassafras, and maple trees put on quite a show on this autumn ride. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a paved motorway that stretches 469 miles between Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – both of which sport some pretty spectacular scenery of their own.
Eastern Sierra, California
In an area sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of California,” this 24-mile loop includes lake views and gorgeous mountain vistas… not to mention tons of fall foliage this time of year! Just make sure you’re used to the altitude before starting your ride, though. This trail is at an elevation of 7,600ft!
And that’s just to name a few.
There’s also something to be said for enjoying the fall colors wherever you are! Even if you’re just riding around town, take time to enjoy and admire the fantastic fall leaves.
Time It Right
Timing is everything. How do you know when the fall colors will be at their peak where you want to ride? You get a fall foliage map, of course. While it’s hard to predict exactly, these maps can help you determine when the autumn colors will be at their best in each region throughout the country. From there, you can plan your bike rides accordingly.
Fall Gear to Go
Before you go, don’t forget to get the right gear! For autumn rides, it’s a good idea to dress in layers because the temperature can vary quite a bit throughout the day. A sweatshirt or light jacket usually does the trick, and a pair of light gloves isn’t a bad idea either. Later, as the day gets a little warmer and you shed layers, you may want a pannier bag or other cargo option to store those layers until they’re needed again. And then, of course, last but never least, a good helmet is a must. Once you’ve got your gear in place, you’ll be ready to enjoy those autumn rides.
We hope you enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer on your rides this autumn. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to put on our chunkiest sweater and go for a spin. See you out there!