Poudre Trail – Ft. Collins, CO

It’s always been a pretty good bet that college towns have good bars and, in recent years, that bet has been natural to extend to bike rides and breweries. So, when we speculated to each other that Fort Collins, Colorado, the “college town” home to Colorado State University, would have great bike rides and breweries – in abundance – we felt our bet was a safe one.

It was. Of course, we don’t live under a rock, so we knew that Fort Collins was home to New Belgium Brewing Company, creator of the eponymous craft beer Fat Tire, as well as several other buzzworthy microbreweries. (Not to mention gummy shops, but that’s not appropriate for this blog.)

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Hank Aaron State Trail – Milwaukee, WI

We thought we’d start at the western end of the Hank Aaron State Trail, but we followed a sign off the freeway to a trailhead that turned out to be a few miles east at 71st street. There we found a large parking lot next to a cement-surface RV park in an industrial area only a block from the trail.  So, we missed a few miles of the trail in the west, but we made up for it on the waterfront.

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Flint Hills Nature Trail – Kansas

Our quest to ride in every state in America landed us in Vassar, Kansas, a one-horse town about 30 miles south of Topeka, at a trailhead for the Flint Hills Nature Trail. Thankfully, we’d read that it was near a grain silo, otherwise, we might have missed the small dirt clearing we used as a parking lot.

The seventh longest rail-trail in America, the Flint Hills Trail stretches 117 miles across eastern Kansas on what used to be the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Today, it is a crushed stone path with occasional pieces of shale and deeply rutted soft dirt that, at one point, caught one of Kellie’s tires and caused her to careen into Jim. The riding was slow and bumpy the first several miles and we kept a tight grip on our handlebars.

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George S. Mickelson Trail- South Dakota

We knew the George S. Mickelson Trail would be challenging both from what we’d read about the unrelenting climbs and from the wind blowing Kellie’s gloves several yards from where she’d laid them atop of the car.

The 108-mile trail runs south-to-north and we started at the northernmost point in the “old Western town” of Deadwood, South Dakota. (We’re thinking casinos and its proximity to Sturgis have helped to keep it alive.)  It was the first time either of us had been to South Dakota, so we hit Mount Rushmore the night before, then began the next morning on a paved trail that ended approximately one-quarter mile later. From then on, it was cinder and dirt, but well-maintained and lined with globe streetlamps for the next mile and a half.

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Katy Trail State Park — Missouri


The Katy Trail’s inclusion in the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame is totally deserved. While we only had time to ride a small stretch of the 240-mile trail that bisects the state, if the rest of trail is anything like what we experienced midway, it’s not to be missed.

As of 2021, it’s also the longest continuous rail-trail, built upon the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT) or the Katy, for short. One astonishing fact we learned about this railroad track involved a poorly executed publicity stunt in 1896 that drew 40,000 people to witness a staged train collision, called the Crash at Crush.

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Greenbrier River Trail – West Virginia

Only a 15-minute drive from the famed Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs lies the southern trailhead of the Greenbrier River Trail, a 77-mile rails-to-trails that cuts through the center of West Virginia.  We’ve been the frequent guests of wonderful friends who have a home in the mountains overlooking the resort, so we’re very familiar with this almost heavenly area and have ridden the trail and kayaked on the river in the past.  (We won’t lie, though, Jim comes for the golf!)

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Cherry Creek Trail – Denver, CO

Starting in downtown Denver and heading 40 miles southeast to Franktown, the Cherry Creek Trail is a true gift to the bikers, runners and walkers of the city. And based on the number whom we passed on our ride, they are well aware of it!

For the first five miles from downtown, from the scenic falls where the creek meets the Platte River, we rode nearly on the edge of the rock-strewn creek. The trail runs below street level, hence there are many overhead bridges and on/off ramps from nearby neighborhoods. We had to wonder what happened when the creek rose – the sign below was our answer. 



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Baltimore & Annapolis Trail plus BWI Trail, MD

The Baltimore and Annapolis Trail plus the BWI Trail  are two distinct trails that connect at the  northwestern trailhead of the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail via the  John Overstreet Connector.  We found this to be a good place to start because it’s closest to one of our favorite breweries (scroll down if you’re curious!).  So, back and forth to Annapolis is about 28 miles, then the loop around the Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshal airport is another 10.5 miles. 


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Delaware & Raritan Canal Trail, NJ

While on our way for a weekend in NYC, we decided to stop off in Princeton, NJ to bike a portion of the 70-mile Delaware & Raritan Canal Trail.  If your only exposure to New Jersey has been a stressful and decidedly UN-scenic drive along the Turnpike, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this picturesque waterside trail.  

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Natl’ Central Railroad & York County Heritage Trail, MD-PA

By Guest Blogger, Dave Stratton

The National Central Railroad Trail (aka Torrey C. Brown Tail), known in Maryland as the NCR Trial, is a popular and true rails-to-trail bike path maintained in part by the Gunpower Falls State Park. The trail runs north-south and connects Hunt Valley, Maryland with York, Pennsylvania. It is approximately 45 miles in length and the terrain is relatively flat. Once in Pennsylvania, the trail becomes the Heritage Rail Trail County Park.  This combo trail description claims it is 48 miles long, while this one claims it is only 41 miles long – so, as always, only YOUR odometer knows for sure!

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