Campgrounds make for great base camps, not only for hiking but biking.
Many campgrounds, in fact, are located close to North America’s premier bicycle trails.
“There are places where you can ride on trails and camp along the way,” said Dave Schneider of Indian Trails Campground in Pardeeville, Wis. “It’s a fabulous way for families to reconnect with each other.”
Schneider said some of his fondest memories involve bicycle camping with his parents during his middle school and high school years. “If you take a family on a bicycle trip it’s something the kids will never forget, even if they only do it once,” he said.
Working with the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners, Schneider helped form a “Bike N Camp” (www.bike-n-camp.com) network of 13 Wisconsin campgrounds that will haul bicyclists’ camping supplies from park to park for a small fee.
“We’ve had some bicyclists who haul their own gear, but it’s helpful to offer the service to families that don’t want to carry the extra load on their bicycles,” he said.
Across the country, there are numerous bicycle trails with nearby campgrounds.
The Rails to Trails Conservancy (railstotrails.org) notes that there are more than 1,600 preserved pathways along the routes of former railway lines and other corridors across the country, many of which are ideal for bicycling.
Several major bicycle trails are located in scenic and historic areas of the country. They include:
The C & O Canal Towpath, a 186-mile long trail that runs along the Potomac River from the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, Md.
The Carriage Roads of Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine: Bicyclists share the roads with horses and pedestrians.
The George S. Mickelson Trail, a 109-mile-long trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Great Allegheny Trail, a 130-mile-long trail from Cumberland, Md. to Pittsburgh, Penn.
The Greenbrier River Trail, an 80-mile trail in scenic West Virginia.
The Katy Trail, a 225-mile-long trail along the Missouri River.
Kettle Valley, British Columbia, a 372-mile trail that follows the route of the Kettle Valley Railway in the mountains of southern B.C.
The Pine Creek Trail, a 62-mile-long bike path in the Allegheny Mountains that runs through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.
The Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails: This 100-mile route starts in Atlanta, Ga., with the Silver Comet Trail, which later connects with the Chief Ladiga Trail, which ends in rural Alabama.
The Trail of the Couer D’ Alenes, a 70-mile-long trail in Couer D’ Alene, Idaho
GoCampingAmerica.com has a search function that enables you to pinpoint campgrounds that have bicycle routes nearby. While bicycling enthusiasts often travel with their own bikes, many campgrounds offer bicycle rentals.
Here’s a sampling of additional links to some of the more popular bicycle routes across North America. To find places to use as your bicycle base camp, simply cross check the cities near the bicycle routes of interest to you with campgrounds listed on this website. The following links will get you started: