Top Ten National Parks for Biking

Acadia National Park
  |  Gorp.com

Ocean or mountains—which do you prefer? On Maine's Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park gives you both. Pedal along the rocky Atlantic coast, and the island's 17-peak chain rises overhead. Grind up the granite heights, surrounded by groves of spruce and fir, and see sweeping ocean panoramas.

With such scenic diversity, it's no wonder that Acadia is the second-most popular park in America. Bring your wheels in April, May, late September, or October and you'll have the island nearly to yourself.

Acadia's 27-mile Park Loop Road provides a scenic introduction to the island for motorists and cyclists alike, cruising past the park's most frequently visited attractions and its most rugged coastal areas. If your legs and lungs are up for it—park roads are primarily smooth and gently graded—take on the seven-mile grunt to the top of Cadillac Mountain. At 1,530 feet, it's the Atlantic Coast's highest point.

Fat-tire aficionados reap the benefits of John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s philanthropic heart and oily wealth. A summer visitor to Mount Desert Island, Rockefeller commissioned and supervised 45 miles of criss-crossing carriage paths. The classic 22-mile Heart of Acadia loop rolls along the car-free, crushed-stone road, running through spruce and hemlock forests, over rustic bridges, and up some serious hills. If the loop's long climbs (total elevation gain: 1,120 feet) don't leave you breathless, the amazing overlooks will—the consuming force of the Great Fire of 1947 opened up the views at higher elevations.


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