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Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail
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The greatest fall foliage bike trails in the U.S.

Admire stunning autumnal colors while riding along these scenic fall foliage bike trails across the U.S.

Written by
Shoshi Parks
Sarah Medina

If the summer heat kept you from taking your wheels for a spin as often as you wanted this year, don’t fret: these fall foliage bike trails should scratch that itch. As autumn creeps across the States, cyclists aren’t just looking forward to cooler weather — they’re also on the lookout for beautiful fall colors. From Colorado to New York and Texas to North Carolina, there are plenty of locations to catch the stunning fall leaves from the saddle, whether you’re an adrenaline-charged mountain biker, a leisure-seeking easy-rider, or something in between.

While some of these cycling trails require serious calf muscles, others are easy on the legs and the eyes. Spots like the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in Lexington and the Trinity Trails in Fort Worth are more relaxed, with plenty of stops for drinks and eats along the way. And depending on your route, the autumn fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down: if you park your bike at one of the best campgrounds in the U.S. for fall foliage, you’ll dream in gold, red and orange.

Of course, If you’d rather cruise on four wheels than two, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the most colorful time of year. We’ve rounded up the best places to see fall foliage in the U.S. and, if you are seriously committed to the season, check out the ultimate fall foliage road trip. While you’re at it, don't miss the best corn mazes in the U.S. or a stop at one of the country’s eerie ghost towns (ones you can actually visit in the flesh).

RECOMMENDED: The best bike trails in the U.S.

Best fall foliage bike trails

 Lexington, KY: Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Photograph: Courtesy VisitLEX

1.  Lexington, KY: Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Explore Kentucky’s famed bluegrass hills, country roads lined with golden trees, historic bourbon distilleries, and thoroughbred horse farms by biking along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. You'll start in Lexington, home to more than 400 historic horse farms and 14 of the state’s biggest distilleries, and you’ll travel through 188 miles of picturesque trail. Along the way, stop to taste historic spirits at the likes of Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve.

Crested Butte, CO: Kebler Pass
Photograph: Pixabay/CC

2. Crested Butte, CO: Kebler Pass

Just outside Crested Butte, a winter resort town southwest of Denver, the aspens grow in dense groves that shimmer with yellow and red in the autumn sun. Two bike trails weave through the changing trees from the heart of town to the mountain summit on a mix of paved and dirt roads. For added alpine drama, take the junction at Kebler Pass to Lake Irwin (2.5 miles) where the views of nearby Mt. Emmons are unbeatable.

Discover the best things to do in Colorado

Greenville, SC: Swamp Rabbit Trail
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Greenville, SC: Swamp Rabbit Trail

A top-notch bike trail is a welcome perk in most towns, but this one is truly the hub of its community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Running nearly 20 miles along the Reedy River on an old railroad bed, the paved Swamp Rabbit Trail brought the once sleepy town to life and continues to draw cyclists of all ages and skill levels to the stretch between Greenville and Travelers Rest.

Discover the best things to do in South Carolina

Swain County, NC: Blue Ridge Parkway
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4. Swain County, NC: Blue Ridge Parkway

Known for its long autumn season and spectacular fall foliage, North Carolina is the perfect place to take in a kaleidoscope of orange, red, and yellow leaves along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. Stretching 469 miles between Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the motorway is lined with yellow, red, and orange dogwood, sassafras and maple trees that guarantee a gorgeous ride no matter how many miles you put in.

Discover the best things to do in North Carolina

Fort Worth, TX: Trinity Trails
Photograph: Courtesy Visit Fort Worth

5. Fort Worth, TX: Trinity Trails

The Trinity Trails, located in Fort Worth, extend through the city for more than 100 miles along the Trinity River with two mountain bike trails that can be found in Fort Worth Sansom Park. Along the way you'll find local attractions like the Panther Island Pavilion, the only waterfront stage in Texas, and Woodshed Smokehouse, the perfect stop for cold beer, live music, backyard games, and amazing food.

Discover the best things to do in Texas

Jim Thorpe, PA: Lehigh Gorge Trail
Photograph: Courtesy

6. Jim Thorpe, PA: Lehigh Gorge Trail

On the Lehigh Gorge Trail, in Lehigh Gorge State Park, cyclists are in for a treat. Pedal on vibrant tree-lined paths along the Lehigh River from Francis E. Walter Dam at the northern end to the quaint small town of Jim Thorpe (named for the Native American Olympian) at the southern end. Be on the lookout for the park's namesake — a steep-walled gorge — plus tons of waterfalls along the way.

Discover the best things to do in Pennsylvania

Lake Forst, IL: Middlefork Savanna Trail
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7. Lake Forst, IL: Middlefork Savanna Trail

Located just 40 minutes from Chicago, the small town of Lake Forest is filled with charming destinations and tons of hidden-gem bike trails. Try the 4.5-mile, gravel-packed Middlefork Savanna Trail (access points to this trail can be found at Elawa Farm, a popular local attraction). Home to a rare tallgrass savanna, the trail features a mix of oak savanna and woodlands, wet and mesic prairies, sedge meadows and marshes. 

Discover the best things to do in Illinois

Aurora, NY: Long Point State Park
Photograph: Courtesy Inns of Aurora

8. Aurora, NY: Long Point State Park

Explore the vibrant lakeside foliage in Aurora, New York by heading to Long Point State Park, which juts peninsula-like into Lake Chautauqua. The park and marina mostly serve as a day-use area with thickly-wooded stretches of beech, maple, spruce, poplar, and oak trees. But the park is also a popular destination for cyclists who pedal under a canopy of the season’s brightest hues reflecting off pristine Cayuga Lake. 

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