Top Ten National Parks for Biking

Shenandoah National Park
  |  Gorp.com

Like to take the high road for killer views? Or would you rather pedal into the thick of things? Either way, Shenandoah is the park for you. From high atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, you'll see Shenandoah Valley's classic pastoral vistas to the west and the Atlantic and the rolling Virginia Piedmont to the east. Come down from the heights to roam through the oak-hickory hardwood forests alongside black bears and white-tail deer. May is prime wildflower season, while mid-October kicks off fall color.

While countless hikers pass through these parts on their way down the Appalachian Trail, you can make an epic journey of your own by pedaling the length of Skyline Drive. This 105-mile, two-lane road runs through the park along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where sweeping ridgetop vistas make the tough climbs worthwhile.

As you tackle the hills and take in the scenery, keep an eye out for your four-wheel counterparts; while the speed limit is 35 m.p.h., distracting views, blind curves, and the lack of a paved shoulder create the need for defensive cycling.

Hit the Trail

Mountain bikers, fret not—though Shenandoah National Park prohibits biking on its trails, the nearby George Washington National Forest offers thousands of miles of bikeable roads and trails. If you're ready to test your two-wheel mettle, check out the 11-mile Bear Wallow and Little Passage Loop, a mere six miles west of Front Royal, Virginia. This highly technical single-track runs through remote, mountainous backcountry, with more than 1,000 feet of long, steep climbs.


advertisement

Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »