Top Ten National Parks for Biking

Olympic National Park
  |  Gorp.com
About 95 percent of Olympic National Park is designated wilderness—off-limits to all wheeled vehicles. While that means bicycles, too, the roads and trails you can pedal are definitely worth the ride. Olympic covers three distinct ecosystems—the wild Pacific coast, the lush rainforest, and the rugged, glacier-bedecked high-country. Bring your bike to this three-in-one park for a taste of Olympic's amazing scenic diversity.

On the Road

Go wet and wild on the Hoh River Road—an 18.8-mile out-and-back that passes through Hoh Rainforest, one of the few temperate rainforests in the world. The ride is pretty easy, although the road is narrow and sometimes heavy with traffic. Before you saddle up, stretch your legs on the Hall of Mosses trail (0.75 miles); the spongy stuff carpets the ground and the trees, hanging from the branches like green fringe.

As you pedal along, look for a downed Sitka spruce lying beside the pavement. These trees can live for 600 years and grow over 200 feet high; this one's a mere 190, but riding along its length will give you a sense of how tall that really is. The wild and scenic Hoh River runs parallel to the road for much of the route—look through the trees for a peek at its glacier-fed, milky-white waters.

We suggest: Wear your rain gear and consider fenders—but let's be honest, with up to 145 inches of rainforest precipitation each year, you're still bound to get wet.

Hit the Trail

Whenever you find honest-to-god single-track in a national park, you gotta ride it. The 8.2-mile out-and-back Spruce Railroad Trail was built during WWI, when planes were made out of spruce. The war ended shortly thereafter, and the overgrown railtrail became the single-track that bikers enjoy today (plus a few sections of gravel road). The trail is mellow with a few rollercoaster sections. One narrow bit of single-track may require kids and newbies to dismount and walk, since taking a dive into Lake Crescent's blue waters ought to be saved for Devils Point. This popular swimming hole features the Devil's Punch Bowl, which some guess to be 300 feet deep. Cool off, dry out on the rocks, and take in the view of Storm King Mountain.

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