IMBA Shares Seven National Park Rides For Bike Your Park Day

September 19, 2016 - Eleanor Blick is IMBA's Communications Manager and kindly provided Adventure Cycling this post.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has a strong relationship with the National Park Service, “unpaving” a way forward for increased off-road bicycle access to enjoy our public lands. From new singletrack projects to road-to-trail conversions and scenic gravel rides, consider these favorite routes from IMBA staff on Bike Your Park Day, September 24, in the National Park Service's Centennial year!

1) East Rim Trail — Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Even though phase one of the East Rim Trail at Cuyahoga Valley National Park is just shy of three miles, it is being dubbed the best three miles in Ohio with its flow-trail features, rolling terrain, and max fun factor for rides of all styles. Nestled outside of Akron and maintained by the local IMBA chapter, Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA), this gem is home to the first National Mountain Bike Patrol in a National Park and connects to the multi-use Bike and Hike trail for extended mileage and the option to add a few local singletrack routes along the way.

–Andy Williamson, IMBA Great Lakes Region Director 

2) Big Hollow Trail — Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

The eight-mile Big Hollow Trail highlights the aboveground treasures of Mammoth Cave, winding through gorgeous rock outcroppings and stream crossings. The trail was designed for the entire family with subtle grades, an open corridor, and a few more challenging alternate lines for the adventurous. The trail was named Best Gateway Trail of the Year at the 2014 IMBA World Summit. Gateway Trails cater to beginner riders, yet offer tons of fun to progress your skills. The trail was built by Trail Dynamics and the IMBA chapter, Southwest Kentucky Mountain Bike Association, maintains it.

–Andy Williamson, IMBA Great Lakes Region Director

3) Gravel Rides — Yellowstone National Park, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho

Our nation’s first park, established in 1872, allows bicycling on several paved and unpaved roads. Pedaling Yellowstone is truly an incredible experience that can lead you off the crowded and congested roadways and into the wild countryside where you can expect to have close encounters with buffalo, elk, wolves, and other keystone species. A few seldom-ridden recommendations for gravel or mountain bikes:

  • The abandoned railroad bed paralleling the Yellowstone River between Gardiner and the park boundary at Reese Creek is a five-mile route that is off the beaten path.

  • Bunsen Peak Road (six miles) and Golden Gate Service Road between Golden Gate and Joffe Lake (1.5 miles) are gravel paths that are hiker and bicycle only.

  • In the Old Faithful area, ride the Fountain Freight Road north of Old Faithful.

–Eric Melson, IMBA Pacific Northwest Associate Region Director and Advocacy Manager

Via Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico

4) Unpaved Routes — Via Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico

Many miles of logging roads await riders here on nearly 100,000 acres between Jemez Springs and Los Alamos in northern New Mexico. These roads make great routes for bikepacking and accessing backcountry trout streams or big game hunting grounds. Explore Valle Jaramillo by bike — a beautiful canyon at around 9,000 feet of elevation right in the center of the preserve with wildflower meadows and elk all around. IMBA recently met with the preserve superintendent on recreational infrastructure planning and discussed potential for road-to-trail conversion and developing new singletrack to encourage more visitors at this recent addition to the National Park Service.

–Patrick Kell, IMBA Southwest Region Director

5) Fort Dupont — Fort Dupont Park, Washington, DC

Fort DuPont is a nearly 400-acre wooded park managed by the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. with its name stemming from the old Civil War earthwork fort within the park. There are eight miles of singletrack that can be ridden as an out and back or pieced together into a loop. Though the trail system is preparing to undergo a major renovation courtesy of several local mountain biking organizations, including an IMBA chapter, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, Fort Dupont Park is currently a great spot for a gravel or mountain bike ride. Add in a few miles by riding along the trails that lead to Fort Dupont from downtown Washington, DC.

Liz Camstra, IMBA Pacific Northwest Associate Region Director

6) Canal Towpath — Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Washington, DC and Maryland

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is located along the north bank of the Potomac River, starting in Washington, DC and ending in Cumberland, MD. The canal was built between 1828 and 1850, operated sporadically between floods until 1924, and became a National Historic Park in 1971. Today, the canal’s towpath remains a favorite of hikers, joggers, and bicyclists. While ambitious cyclists opt to ride the entire 192-mile length, there are many shorter options available. The ride is perfect for a gravel or mountain bike and is great for all ages!

–Liz Camstra, IMBA Pacific Northwest Associate Region Director

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

7) White Rim Trail — Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The White Rim is a popular long-distance bike route in Canyonlands National Park. The route circumnavigates the Island Mesa high above the Colorado and Green Rivers. A permit is required for overnight stays along the White Rim. Expect to enjoy fast, rolling downhills, suffer through sandy sections, and traverse narrow step ledges. Each side of the rim has a long and steep section — descend in and climb out to cap off a multiple-day adventure.

–Lucas Schieffer, friend of IMBA’s Instructor Certification Program 

Photo 1 by Alex Stewart of Spectrum Trail Designs | Photo 2 by Patrick Kell | Photo 3 by Lucas Schieffer


40th Blue Length wise.jpg

Adventure Cycling celebrated its 40th anniversary all year with National Bike Travel Weekend, the Montana Bicycle Celebration, and Bike Your Park Day. Look for National Bike Travel Weekend and Bike Your Park Day in 2017. Thank you to the 40th anniversary sponsors: Raleigh BicyclesMontana Department of CommerceSalsa CyclesAdvocate CyclesBlue Cross Blue Shield of MontanaPrimal WearVisit MississippiVisit IdahoTravel OregonOsprey PacksExperience Plus!Destination Missoula and Missoulian.

Find out more about Adventure Cycling’s generous sponsors.



Nick September 19, 2016, 12:29 PM

A group of friends and I have been planning a loop ride through Valles (not Via) Caldera for 'Bike Your Park Day'. The ride is registered here at ACA, check it out. There is a 40 and a 26 mile loop recorded at "Ride With GPS'. We'll post photos on Saturday 24.

Eva Dunn-Froebig September 22, 2016, 10:42 AM

Dear Nick,

Thanks for being part of Bike Your Park Day! Thanks for posting with #bikeyourpark. You can also upload photos to

Eva Dunn-Froebig

Events & Outreach Coordinator

Adventure Cycling Association

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