Bikepacking has gained tremendous popularity among cycling enthusiasts. Blending the joys of cycling with the adventure of self-supported multi-day journeys, bikepacking has bridged gaps in how and where people ride. Luckily for us, the United States offers an array of bikepacking routes that cater to riders of all skill levels, with diverse landscapes and stunning natural beauty. In this blog we will take you on a virtual tour across the country, highlighting the best bikepacking routes from each region. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure!
Bikepacking the Pacific Northwest
Route: Oregon Outback
Distance: Approximately 360 miles
Description: The Oregon Outback route winds through the picturesque landscapes of Oregon, taking you from Klamath Falls to the Columbia River. Traverse the stunning Oregon high desert, pedal along the Cascade Range, and experience the solitude of remote backcountry roads. The route showcases the region's diverse terrain and offers breathtaking views of volcanic peaks, lush forests, and crystal-clear lakes.
Bikepacking the Southwest
Route: Arizona Trail
Distance: Over 800 miles
Description: The Arizona Trail, spanning from Mexico to Utah, is a true gem for bikepackers seeking a desert adventure. Journey through saguaro cacti forests, cross the Grand Canyon, and explore the rugged beauty of the Sonoran Desert. This challenging route is best suited for experienced riders who can handle long, demanding stretches, but the rewards are unparalleled, with awe-inspiring sunsets and a sense of untouched wilderness.
Bikepacking the Rocky Mountains
Distance: Approximately 2,800 miles
Description: The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is one of the most renowned bikepacking routes in the world, following the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. Traverse five U.S. states, including Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, as you pedal through majestic mountain ranges, charming small towns, and vast open spaces. This epic route offers a true test of endurance and rewards riders with breathtaking vistas and encounters with abundant wildlife.
Bikepacking the Midwest
Route: The Mickelson Trail
Distance: Approximately 109 miles
Description: Explore the beauty of the Black Hills region in South Dakota on the Mickelson Trail. This former railroad line has been converted into a scenic multi-use trail, perfect for bikepacking enthusiasts. Ride through stunning landscapes, including rolling hills, granite spires, and pine forests. The trail takes you through charming towns like Deadwood and Hill City, where you can experience the rich history and culture of the area. Enjoy panoramic views, encounter wildlife, and bask in the tranquility of the Midwest's natural beauty.
Bikepacking the Northeast
Route: Vermont Green Mountain Loop
Distance: Approximately 350 miles
Description: Explore the enchanting landscapes of Vermont on the Green Mountain Loop. This route showcases the state's picturesque countryside, charming covered bridges, and rolling hills. Ride through quaint New England towns, taste delicious local cuisine, and enjoy panoramic views of the verdant Green Mountains. The route combines gravel roads and quiet backcountry trails, providing a perfect balance between challenge and tranquility.
From the rugged mountains of the West to the picturesque landscapes of the Northeast, the United States offers an abundance of incredible bikepacking routes. Whether you prefer the solitude of the desert, the grandeur of the mountains, or the charm of coastal towns, there is a route to suit your taste and skill level. These five routes we've explored are just the tip of the iceberg, and each region has numerous other amazing options waiting to be discovered. So grab your bike, pack your bags, and embark on an unforgettable bikepacking adventure across this vast and diverse country. Happy trails!
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1. What are the basics of bike packing?
Bikepacking involves long-distance cycling while carrying lightweight gear on your bike. It combines elements of backpacking and cycling, focusing on self-sufficiency and exploring off-road routes
2. What is the average daily distance for bikepacking?
The average daily distance for bikepacking varies depending on terrain, fitness level, and personal preferences. It usually ranges from 40 to 80 miles per day.
3. How do I prepare for bikepacking?
To prepare for bikepacking, consider training for endurance cycling, plan your route and campsites in advance, pack essential lightweight gear, and do a test ride with your fully loaded bike before the actual trip.
3. How much weight should you carry bikepacking?
As a general rule, aim to keep your total bikepacking gear weight (including food and water) below 30-40% of your body weight. Lighter loads will make your journey more enjoyable and manageable.
4. What is a good pace for bikepacking?
A good pace for bikepacking is around 8-12 miles per hour (13-19 kilometers per hour) on mixed terrain. However, the pace can vary depending on factors like the terrain's difficulty and your physical condition.
5. What is the best single speed ratio for bikepacking?
The best single-speed ratio for bikepacking depends on the terrain you'll be riding. A commonly used ratio is 32:18, but it's advisable to choose a ratio that suits your fitness level and the expected terrain challenges.
6. What is the difference between bike packing and cycle touring?
Bikepacking and cycle touring share similarities, but there are key differences. Bikepacking typically involves off-road riding, using lightweight gear, and focusing on self-sufficiency. Cycle touring, on the other hand, often involves road riding and allows for heavier gear and a more leisurely travel approach.