If you’re looking for a unique and challenging way to explore the great outdoors, bike-packing might be just what you need. This thrilling activity combines the best of both worlds: the freedom and excitement of cycling with the adventure and exploration of backpacking. Bike-packing allows you to travel long distances, reach stunning remote locations, and experience nature in a whole new way.
But where to start? There are countless bike-packing routes around the world, each with its own unique challenges and rewards. To help you plan your next adventure, we’ve put together a list of the top bike-packing routes for the ultimate experience:
1. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is one of the most iconic and challenging bike-packing routes in North America. This 2,700-mile trail runs from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border, following the spine of the Rocky Mountains through some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes in the continent. The trail is a mix of gravel roads, singletrack, and dirt paths, and offers stunning views of mountains, rivers, and forests. The route can take up to several months to complete, so make sure you’re well prepared and equipped.
2. The Silk Road Mountain Race
The Silk Road Mountain Race is a relatively new but already legendary bike-packing race that takes place in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. The race covers 1,700 km of rugged and remote mountain terrain, with some of the highest passes in the world. The route follows ancient trade routes and passes through traditional villages and nomadic camps, offering a unique insight into the local culture and way of life. The race is self-supported, meaning that you have to carry all your gear and supplies with you, making it a true test of endurance and self-sufficiency.
3. The Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route
The Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route is a relatively short but intense bike-packing route that takes you through the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. The 600 km trail follows a mix of dirt roads, singletrack, and paved roads, and includes several steep climbs and descents. The route offers stunning views of the snow-capped volcanoes, lush valleys, and traditional villages. The trail can be completed in about 2 weeks, making it a great option for those who want to experience the beauty and challenge of bike-packing without committing to a long-term trip.
4. The Cape Wrath Trail
The Cape Wrath Trail is a challenging and remote bike-packing route in Scotland, UK. The 200-mile trail runs from Fort William to Cape Wrath, the northwesternmost point of the British mainland, through some of the wildest and most beautiful landscapes in the country. The trail includes several river crossings, steep climbs, and rugged terrain, and offers stunning views of the Scottish Highlands, including the famous Loch Ness. The route is not for the faint-hearted, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
5. The Colorado Trail
The Colorado Trail is a classic bike-packing route in the United States, covering 500 miles of rugged and remote terrain in the Rocky Mountains. The trail starts in Denver and ends in Durango, passing through six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges. The trail includes a mix of dirt roads, singletrack, and jeep tracks, and offers stunning views of the mountains, forests, and alpine lakes. The trail can be completed in about 3-4 weeks, depending on your pace and level of fitness.
These are just a few of the many bike-packing routes around the world that offer the ultimate adventure. Whether you’re looking for a short and intense trip or a long and epic journey, bike-packing is a great way to explore the world on two wheels and experience the beauty and challenge of nature.