7 Epic Rail-Trail Adventures

Ready for adventure? Here you’ll find some of the longest rail-trails in the country that will make for an epic bike ride of 100 miles or more. With a wide variety of terrain, views, and attractions, as well as friendly communities that meet logistical needs, this is your go-to list to plan an exciting multiday experience.


Great Allegheny Passage

Maryland and Pennsylvania

Photo by: Blase Ur

Attracting thousands of visitors from across the country each year, the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage is an ideal rail-trail for multiday exploration. The trail winds its way along scenic rivers and through dramatic mountain passes from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, with numerous railroad relics and historical markers, as well as charming towns, lining the route. Highlights of the trail include traversing the 850-foot-long Pinkerton Tunnel, crossing the 100-foot-high Salisbury Viaduct, and exploring the 3,300-foot-long Big Savage Tunnel.


Katy Trail State Park


Photo by: Danielle Taylor

At 240 miles long, Katy Trail State Park spans nearly the full width of Missouri showcasing the state’s rural farmland, scenic small towns, and centers of commerce and government on its route paralleling the Missouri River. Along the way, it invites its walkers, runners, and riders on a journey to explore the region’s rich history.


George S. Mickelson Trail

South Dakota

Photo by: Pete Ryan

Experience a piece of Wild West history along the 109-mile George S. Mickelson Trail as it travels from the former gold-mining boomtown of Deadwood south over old railroad bridges, through rock tunnels, and into the heart of the Black Hills. Named after the late South Dakota governor who was instrumental in getting the trail built, this spectacular rail-trail delivers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in a stunning landscape while reliving a bit of the Old West.


Paul Bunyan State Trail


Photo: Courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Nestled among aspens, maples, and oaks, and featuring stunning views of several of Minnesota’s many lakes, is the 119-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail. This paved route immerses you in the quiet beauty of the north-central woodland region of the state while passing through welcoming small towns that cater to trail users by offering numerous amenities, including shuttle services. For those looking for even more adventure, the rail-trail connects to several other trails that travel for miles throughout the region, including up to the Canadian border.


Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail


Photo: Courtesy The Palouse to Cascades Trail Coalition

Spanning just shy of 224 miles, the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail is one of the longest rail-trail conversions in the U.S. The trail passes through remote and sparsely populated areas of Washington state that are rich in wildlife and natural beauty. You’ll also experience the corridor’s tangible past as you pedal through old railroad tunnels and visit former depots.


Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail


Photo by: Eric Foster

Cutting across northern Nebraska, the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail offers a whopping 219 miles of trail to experience. Following the old Chicago & Northwestern rail route, the rail-trail courses through a dramatic Midwestern landscape of native prairie lands, grass-covered dunes, and forested riverbanks. From the Elkhorn River Valley to Sandhill country to the Niobrara River Valley, dozens of bridges offer panoramic views, including a quarter-mile-long trestle 150 feet above the Niobrara River.


OC&E Woods Line State Trail


Photo by: Chuck Morlock

The OC&E Woods Line State Trail stretches just shy of 110 miles through south-central Oregon along former rail routes that once supported the region’s timber industry. The rail-trail offers beautiful views of Mount Shasta, Poe Valley, the Lost River, and quiet pastoral landscapes.

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