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  1. #1
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Bike Packing Rails to Trails

    I've been a pretty avid mtn biker since 2004 and in 2009 I started bikepacking the Colorado Trail, local singletracks, Fruita and Moab.
    This past fall I was starting to get just a little burned out riding and camping on the same old trails and in need of something new to keep my stoke.
    What I found was the Rails to Trails system. These are old rail road beds that have been converted to bike,hike,horse trails. The trails can be anything from concrete to packed gravel with inclines not exceeding a 3% grade.
    This past fall I decide to check one out in Glenwood Springs Colorado. This trail runs thru Glenwood canyon and it did not disappoint.

    Here are a few pict of this trip and a link to whole trip.

    members/singletracklovr/albums/rails-trails/780183-dsc00390.JPG



    members/singletracklovr/albums/rails-trails/780175-dsc00332.JPG

    members/singletracklovr/albums/rails-trails/780178-dsc00374.JPG

    members/singletracklovr/albums/rails-trails/780182-dsc00401.jpg

    members/singletracklovr/albums/rails-trails/780181-dsc00400.jpg

    members/singletracklovr/albums/rails-trails/780174-dsc00325.jpg

    Link to all picts from this trip:

    Glenwood Canyon Bike Path Overnite

    I am really looking forward to this Spring when I can get out and explore more of these trails. With a little research I have found just about every State has these trail systems with something to offer just about any bikepacker from Credit Card Bed and Breakfast campers to access to single track trails for a little mtn biking minus the camping gear.

    If you've been bikepacking on one of these and have a favorite I'd love to hear about it.

    thanks for checking out my thread.

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  2. #2
    mlo
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    Last fall I did the Greenbrier River Trail in West Virginia. Its about an 80 mile trip from end to end and we went up and back in about 5 days of riding. Campsites are great a lot of them have potable water. The best part is it runs along the river most of the way so you can get in and cool off. I did the ENO hammock setup also. Works great.

  3. #3
    rigid bruce
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    NJ has an excellent one to ride. The Sussex Branch and Paulinskill rail trails. They intersect to make about a 60 mile trail through very pretty country. There are days and days of singletrack trails to ride directly off of them.

  4. #4
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    There's a great trip report on a rails-to-trails ride across Washington here: John Wayne Pioneer Trail/Iron Horse State Park Cross-State Tour

    The remoteness, tread, and weather combine to make this an epic undertaking.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  5. #5
    A guy on a bike Moderator
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    Here's a good one in British Columbia:
    Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway

  6. #6
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    Bike Packing Rails to Trails

    The pine creek rail trail is pretty nice if you have a partner who doesn't want to ride hard.


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  7. #7
    slow:biker
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    Good to see you posting again CCB - I guess you were making like the bears and hibernating for the winter?

    I'll add the Newfoundland Trailway to this list; it runs 900 km from one end of this province to the other, with options to ride a couple of spur lines as well: Newfoundland T'Railways

    I'm kicking around the idea of riding it this summer - if anyone is interested PM me.

  8. #8
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    There is a series of bike paths near where I live (Ohio).. I didn't realize it was apart of the Rails to Trails until this thread. It is not as gorgeous as the pics you posted, and is mostly in urbana and follows the highway system.. but other than that, they did a great job with the route. It seems like they are wanting to connect Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, up through to Cleveland (along with the minor cities like Xenia, Yellow Springs, etc..)

    Can't wait until I get some biking camera equipment to take some pics!

  9. #9
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    After a lot of research this winter I have found two Rails to Trails I plan to try this spring.
    The first is George S. Mickelson Trail in South Dakota. Edgemont to Deadwood. It's a little over 100 miles with little towns along the way. It even has a hot spring which should be very relaxing break from peddling. Anyone out there ridden this trail?

    Info here:
    SD GFP | State Parks | Directory | Mickelson Trail | Trailheads

    The second trail is the Rio Grande Trail Glenwood Springs to Aspen CO.
    This is only 42 miles but and up and back should make it pretty decent.
    Again has anyone ridden this trail?

    Info here:
    Rio Grande Trail | Colorado Trails | TrailLink.com

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  10. #10
    troll
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    We wife and I did the Mickelson Trail in July of 2011. Our plan was to do it in 2 days, from Deadwood to Edgemont, with about 55 miles each day. Since there's not much in the way of camping along the trail, we planned to stay in Hill City, which was the halfway point, and Hill City is actually a pretty nice little town, with a few options for hotels, bars and restaurants. We booked a room in advance in Hill City, and our hotel was right on the trail. There's a little bike shop there called Rabbit Bicycle, and they will shuttle you to either end of the trail. We had them shuttle us up to Deadwood on the first day, then we biked back into Hill City. Trail is crushed gravel, ranging from firm packed to rather loose. We were both riding 26" Long Haul Truckers, with 1.75" tires, and our bikes did fine, although there were a few sections where the gravel was a bit loose and we slid out a bit. The 2nd day plan was to again get Rabbit to shuttle us to the end (at Edgemont), then we'd bike North back to Hill City, but forest fires caused us to cut the 2nd day short by about 20 miles, and we had to start a bit north of Edgemont.

    The Black Hills in July were particularly brutal that year (hence the fires), and it was in the mid 90's both days. I'd recommend picking a month where the chance of high heat isn't as big of an issue. Gorgeous ride, though and fairly easy even for somewhat novice cyclists like my wife.

  11. #11
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Thank you brokebike for a few details on shuttles and bike shops.
    Depending on where I am at the end of the day I was either going to
    get a room or stealth camp (LNT) off the trail in the woods.
    Not a fan of biking in the 90's so a Spring trip seems like a good idea.

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  12. #12
    troll
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    I'm a big fan of stealth camping too, but based on what I had researched about the Mickelson Trail, much of the trail system runs along rural, private property, and you'll see that a lot on the trail. I didn't want to run the risk of getting bear shot fired over my campsite!

    The Mickelson is practical in terms of a nice, compact two day bike jaunt. It's a well maintained trail and you can do half the trail within a day no problem at all. In fact, I read about a lot of people doing the entire trail in a day, but I'd rather take it easy and enjoy the sights. A Hill City stay is almost a no-brainer in terms of its location on the trail and the amenities there for travelers.

    Contact Joey or Ed at Rabbit Bikes in regards to more detailed info about the trail, where to stay and shuttles. They're really cool. And they give tattoos, too!
    Rabbit Bike is your Mickelson & Centenial Trails Rental & Shuttle service in the Black Hills

  13. #13
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    I'm a big fan of enjoying the sights as well. I would like to do this trail over 4 days (20-25mi per day)stopping in the small towns and checking out what's going on. As I understand it there's a hot springs pool about half way up. Not right on the trail but a worthy side trip.
    I will give Rabbit Bike a call, thanks for the link. Would like to know about the local weather. 65-70F degree days with 30-40F nights would perfect weather.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    I'm a big fan of enjoying the sights as well. I would like to do this trail over 4 days (20-25mi per day)stopping in the small towns and checking out what's going on. As I understand it there's a hot springs pool about half way up. Not right on the trail but a worthy side trip.
    I will give Rabbit Bike a call, thanks for the link. Would like to know about the local weather. 65-70F degree days with 30-40F nights would perfect weather.
    I use this site a lot when I go up there,, SD GFP | State Parks | Directory | Mickelson Trail

  15. #15
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    They are on face book too, George S. Mickelson Trail

  16. #16
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    /www.facebook.com/MickelsonTrail

  17. #17
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    This seems like a great idea. I wonder though, do many of these trails run parallel to highways? I love the idea of an easy ride through scenic areas (would be easier to take my wife along, compared to singletrack or other more conventional forest roads) but being near car traffic would be a deal-breaker for me.
    Bend, OR

  18. #18
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    Depends on the area and route. While I haven't ridden the entire track in ohio, the one going from dayton -> xenia follows the highway. It isn't too bad though, since its kinda hidden away from view.

    There is actually a couple of good views where the trail goes above the highways near an exit/entrance ramp to another major highway. Although, I would much rather have SingleTrackLover's views instead!

  19. #19
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Quote Originally Posted by TroyS600 View Post
    This seems like a great idea. I wonder though, do many of these trails run parallel to highways? I love the idea of an easy ride through scenic areas (would be easier to take my wife along, compared to singletrack or other more conventional forest roads) but being near car traffic would be a deal-breaker for me.
    Portions of the Iron Horse Trail through Washington are close to I90, but they don't last too long. Quite a bit of it is remote enough that you really need to have your stuff together, as it will be 10+ miles until the next road access.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    The second trail is the Rio Grande Trail Glenwood Springs to Aspen CO.
    This is only 42 miles but and up and back should make it pretty decent.
    Again has anyone ridden this trail?
    [/url]
    I have. I don't think it's much of a bike packing trail. It parallels the main road to Aspen from GS. There is a substantial amount of private property on the east side of the trail. Not much open space to bed down on. This is a great trail for a day excursion but not one i would want to bike pack. If you do bike pack it, expect more of a credit card tour experience than a camping experience.
    "Ride what you love, love what you ride"

  21. #21
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Quote Originally Posted by jddjirikian View Post
    I have. I don't think it's much of a bike packing trail. It parallels the main road to Aspen from GS. There is a substantial amount of private property on the east side of the trail. Not much open space to bed down on. This is a great trail for a day excursion but not one i would want to bike pack. If you do bike pack it, expect more of a credit card tour experience than a camping experience.
    Thank you for the feedback on the Rio Grande Trail.
    In my research of the RGT it did sound like it was more of a day trip path.

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