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Surface Types

Adventure Cycling Tours travel on a wide variety of surface types. Each of our tours, whether it is less than 100 miles or more than 4,000 miles will have a variety of surface types on it. When we describe the surface type of a tour with the labels below, we're giving a snapshot of the most common surface type on your tour. A tour may list multiple surface types if each is a featured part of the tour.

Paved

Paved tours ride on typical paved roads, our most common travel surface. These range from smooth pavement to rougher secondary roads and some with chipseal. Paved Bike Trails may be part of these tours as well.

Dirt

Dirt tours are our mountain bike tours, and utilize mountain bike trails, forest service roads, and other dirt surfaces. These tours can see a range of single track, double track, and dirt and gravel roads. Most Dirt tours also have sections of paved roads which allow the tour to connect seamlessly. A mountain bike tire with aggressive tread is suitable for this type of ride.

Gravel

Gravel tours are those for which a mountain bike is not necessary, but you'll travel on gravel roads and trails. These roads vary from hard packed dirt to loose rocks and pebbles.  The difference between Gravel and Dirt for some can be subtle, and one major factor we consider is the recommended bike type for each surface type. For tours that have lots of gravel riding, you'll want a tire size that is at least 42c.

Bike Trail

Many of our tours utilize fantastic Bike Trails throughout the country, including the C&O Canal, Great Allegheny Passage, Mickelson Trail, Katy Trail, Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes and the American River Trail. Many of the trails we find ourselves on are part of fantastic rail trail networks, and range from paved to gravel surfaces. These car-free sections of the tour are true highlights!

Tour Team Top Picks

Great Allegheny Passage
Great Allegheny Passage

Van Supported. Enjoy a long weekend of car-free riding on one of Pennsylvania’s most popular rail trails. Exchange the bustling urban center of Pittsburgh for the rolling highlands of Ohiopyle State Park and southern Pennsylvania’s vital river systems. Witness the history of the area’s once thriving coal industry, and the great push for conservation and preservation that has taken its place.

Idaho Trails Family Adventure
Idaho Trails Family Adventure

Fully Supported. With its gentle terrain, short daily distances, and gorgeous scenery, this trip is a great choice whether you’re a beginner seeking a great introduction to supported bicycle touring or a cycling veteran craving a mellow, traffic-free adventure.

Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country

Fully Supported. If you’ve been led to believe the Lone Star State is pancake flat, this weeklong bike tour through the rolling Texas Hill Country will prove otherwise. Plus, you’ll love the dazzling displays of spring wildflowers and Texas barbecue.