The South’s Best Bike Trails
Cyclists who feel the need to get out and put some miles behind them will love their time on the biking trails of the South. Because winters in the South are cool enough to let you push yourself but seldom cold enough for snow, your time on the trails should be both cool and safe.
According to Alek Asaduryan, founder of Yes Cycling, these are the best bike trails in the South:
Chief Ladiga Trail is located between Birmingham and Atlanta on the eastern border of Alabama. One endpoint is on the borderline in the city of Esom Hill. If you choose to head east, you’ll be on the Silver Comet Trail of Georgia. As cyclists head west, the trail passes through Borden Springs and Piedmont. The trail then curves south through Jacksonville, Weaver and to the restroom trail stop just south of Weaver. The Chief Ladiga Trail cuts through the northern edge of the Talladega National Forest before it curves down along the western edge of this remarkable topography.
The trail is relatively flat and smooth when tackled from the Southern edge. As you move north and east, you’ll be pedaling a bit harder, and you may share the trail with wildlife. No matter where you are on this trail, you’ll find it’s well maintained and smooth. The trail is suitable for any bike type, including tandem bikes.
The Richmond and Danville Rail-Trail, or the Ringgold Trail, opened in 2001. This is an ideal trail for hikers and cyclists as the scenery is amazingly varied, but the trail is fairly flat. Bring your binoculars and a picnic basket where you can stop and watch the birds along the wetland. There are three different access points on the trail: Danville, the Kerns Church Road Trailhead and the Shawnee Road Trailhead.
The Ringgold Road Trailhead has an old red caboose and a fully restored railroad depot for families and pets. This region offers multiple access points, and the majority of this trail is wheelchair accessible.
The Tanglefoot Trail of Mississippi is the most extensive stretch of converted rail track. The full trail runs over 40 miles and offers the chance to view flat fields, lush forests, lovely meadows and wetlands full of birds and other wildlife. Bring your binoculars and your curiosity so you can enjoy both the topography and the small towns featured all down this tidy, easy-to-ride trail.
If you start at the North end of the trail in New Albany, you’ll find amenities at multiple points. There are whistlestops along the trail, including Ingomar, Ecru, Algoma and New Houlka. There are also multiple points along the trail where you can stop and grab a meal or even book a hotel. Most importantly, there are several bicycle shops along the way.
You can enjoy 15 miles of fun and an easy-to-pedal trail from Southern Raleigh all the way out to Lake Johnson and the Neuse River Trail. This trail offers you the chance to view the older architecture of Raleigh, then takes you along the East Coast Greenway Trail (ECG). If you’re really ready for a ride, the ECG will actually allow you to cycle from Canada all the way down to Key West.
There are multiple trails that branch off of the Walnut Creek Trail, including the Centennial Bikeway Connector, the Rocky Branch Trail, the Little Rock Trail and the Neuse River Trail. While riding this trail, you’ll find that most of the route is paved. The only unpaved sections of this trail are near the rock quarry at the eastern edge and around Lake Johnson at the western end. If you know that recent rains may have made the unpaved portions a bit sloppy, you can still find plenty of trail that’s paved, stable and safe.
The McAllister Park Blue Loop Trail is just under seven miles and gives hikers and cyclists plenty of space to get some fresh air and enjoy the wildlife and beautiful flowers of Texas. This trail is near the city of San Antonio, where cyclists and hikers can also enjoy great food, the waterway through the heart of the city and the beautiful San Antonio Botanical Gardens.
Getting on the McAllister Park Blue Loop Trail is fairly straightforward; the Jones Maltsberger Road gives you a short parallel stretch with parking access. As you loop the park, you’ll easily pass by several restrooms and other useful amenities. Be aware that this route is also used by hikers, so be sure to ring your bell and let folks know you’re coming through.