Many recreational cyclists are drawn to bike trails for the obvious reason — no traffic.
But bicycle trails can be much more than an alternative to riding your bicycle in the street. Some head off into the wilds where cyclists can find solace from everyday worries. Converted rail-trails often link up small towns in remote areas.
Now USA Today has named “15 fantastic U.S. bike trails.” I’m glad they didn’t name these the “Top 15″ bike trails, because they certainly would have been criticized for omissions and subjective decision-making.
Here in Washington state, the editors chose the Discovery Trail in the southern part of the state on the Long Beach Peninsula.
At first, I thought they meant the Olympic Discovery Trail that stretches across the Olympic Peninsula in sections between Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles and beyond. Not so.
The Discovery Trail is a 8-mile paved trail that rolls among the dunes between Long Beach and Ilwaco along the Pacific Ocean. Carol Zahorsky writes:
“The trail is fun to ride because rather than cutting a straight path the engineers followed the contours of the sand dunes, lending a delightful serpentine structure with gentle rolling curves. … Views are sometimes of the dunes, sometimes of interpretive markers — like the 20-foot bronze tree that marks the north end of the trail — and sometimes opening to sweeping vistas of the beach and Pacific Ocean surf.”
Traillink.com says the trail is so named after the Lewis and Clark Expedition that visited the area more than 200 years Deer, bald eagles, shorebirds and other wildlife are of often seen from the trail.
The rest of the “fantastic 15″
Here are the other trails mentioned by USA Today. I’ve added links for more information about each bike trail.
If you’re hungry for more trails, check out the Trails Hall of Fame at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.