Many of us are traveling via Camper/Rv/Van a lot more these days. We are visiting places that may not be THE tourist spot in a given region to avoid crowds. With the luxury of time, we can sometimes bend the trip for a great ride. Do you have a ride in your area that is worth a detour? An epic climb, perfect view, can’t miss ride anyone visiting your state/city/region just HAS to try?
Personally I am looking for road, but I am sure plenty of others would love to hear about mtn and gravel as well.
So, what you got? Give us the details. Even if we cant get to your spot this will make a great travel dreaming thread for the depth of this winter.
Michigan doesn’t have any amazing views or climbs but we have some great scenic gravel roads. You could do a 100 mile ride and only hit ~5-10 mi of pavement (and most of that would just be to reach a town for refills). The Barry Roubaix 100k route out of Hastings, MI is beautiful and is so popular with the town that the route is permanently marked with road signs. So if you find yourself in Michigan it’s worth a good spin.
I grew up in Northern VA so Skyline Drive out by Front Royal is definitely a ride to do. Along the mountain ridge, you have to pay to enter and the speed limit is 35 so there aren’t a ton of cars and they’re going a reasonable speed. It’s almost all up or down at a really manageable grade of 5-6% avg and with almost no turns on descents that require braking.
I went to school in SW VA and if you are up for a longer ride then the Mountains of Misery route is really good. It’s 100mi/10,000ft but just really pretty farmland and mountains. It ends up a pretty steep climb (~4mi, avg ~8-9%) but the descent back to your car is one of the most fun descents I’ve ever done.
That route just goes to the finish of the ride at the top of the climb but the return to your car is pretty straight forward.
I’m in Northern California, and there’s lots to ride.
If not peak season, then loop around Lake Tahoe is nice on a week day.
South of Tahoe you have the passes they use for the Death Ride, and it’s really quiet down there. Ebbets, Monitor and Carson Pass.
If you have >32mm tires, then there is a gravel/sealed way to ride Truckee-Soad Springs-Forest Hill-Auburn that looks pretty awesome if you like randoneering style. You could also ride it the other way, climbing all day and end with a soak in Soda Springs if the height of summer.
North of Truckee there is the area/gravel roads that were used for the Sagon Fondo and now Truckee Gravel
Down by Yosemite, is Tioga Pass, which some years will open to bicycles only the week before it opens to cars. It’s crazy high.
The Le Mond Loop which goes over Mt Rose, over some hills in Nevada, and back to Tahoe is a fun ride and a classic
There’s the loop out of South Lake Tahoe over to Nevada and back over that incline grade that Bernal smashed when he was like 20 on the Tour of California
I 100% recommend late Spring trips to Northern California to ride. Tons of accommodation for cheap (as not peak season), as it’s no longer ski season and it’s not yet warm enough for summer season. You can have a warm day when it’s shorts, under shirt, arm warmers and a gillet and you’re fine. You can get days when it drops down to almost sleet though, so you need to bring a wide range of clothing options.
Heres 3 epic mountain stages, all close to each other
Day 1: Foothills parkway outside of Knoxville TN -either out and back or make a loop with little river road
Day 2( not on a weekend) cherohala skyway and 129. (The dragon)- could do the Cherohala challenge loop if you want >100 miles
Day 3 6 Gap route in N Georgia
I live in Grand Junction, CO. About 1:15 drive from the more well known and heavily traveled town of Moab. THE epic road ride here is the Colorado National Monument. I prefer to start in Grand Junction as the climb is steeper and you get to start/end at The Handlebar taphouse for good food/drinks.
Plenty of other epic rides but that is THE one. Bring your mountain bike too if you’re into that sort of thing and check out Lunch Loops trails for epic tech. Do a video search for Nate Hills riding that area to get a sense.
Same. I was going to say DeathRide too, and there are sooooo many great rides between the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. I’m in the middle of those two places, and a few of my favorites in the Sierra mountains:
its better as a loop and not the out-and-back that Jay’s Rides lists.
Lesser known (and much harder) is the dirt triple, where you can ride to each ski resort. Mix of single track, fire roads, and road for the climbs. Steep, rowdy coastal descents. Not for the faint of heart, its 80km with 10,000 feet of climbing, and the descents are full on.
Lol In the context of his question, he might have a tough time getting back to his camper/RV afterward. But a guy who lives in my city did do a Coast to Coast to Coast (there and back) last year so I guess you can’t rule it out.
I’m interested in the details of this - a loop to Tahoe from the valley is a route I have been trying to figure out.
Also, I’ll second Mosquito ridge road - that is beautiful, with very little traffic, and you can take it way up into the mountains.
Another local (to me, east of Sacramento) is the loop around Folsom Lake.
If you add the out/back down Rattlesnake bar road on the east side you get some more climbing/descending, and actually get to see the lake Be sure to do this counter-clockwise, as you want to be able to climb Old Forresthill Road out of the American River confluence - you do not want to climb Hwy 49 in either direction.
Not so much an epic ride, but Donner Pass Road (old Hwy 40) is an iconic climb that could be added onto the Tahoe Lake loop if you need to make it a bit longer.
Once you head into Tahoe National Forest from Soda Springs, there seems to be a massive array of roads up there. Here’s one ridden by two youtubers which they said is fine for 32mm or more (maybe not 32mm super light road tires …).
I’ve been meaning to map out all the possible routes on CalTopo to see more options, but this is probably the best one to try, given that it was successfully ridden on 32’s only a few months back.
Mosquito Ridge road is great, and looking at CalTopo, you can (if you walk your bike or have a good gravel bike) do a dirt track from one of the lakes back towards roads to go back to Forest Hill a different way, or head back West via another lake.
So much great exploring riding in Tahoe National Forest.