We’re temporarily saying, “Goodbye!” to the sweltering heat of summer and saying, “Hello!” to the epic fall riding weather we know and love. The cool breeze in the air is unbeatable and there’s no better view of fall foliage than on the back of a bike. Are you ready to ride this autumn? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite seasonal rides you won’t want to miss.
Tunnel of Trees, Michigan
We’ve covered the Tunnel of Trees in the past, but there’s no denying it had to make our fall list. The Great Lake state is home to amazing routes for riders and the M-119 AKA the Tunnel of Trees is no exception. On this iconic route, you can expect to see coastline, small towns, and abundant forests. The narrow 16-mile road begins in Harbor Springs and ends in Cross Village. This ride is stunning during every season, especially when the leaves are changing to vibrant oranges and reds. This route is rated among one of the most scenic in the nation. There are a few sharp turns near Devil’s Elbow on this road so keep that in mind while riding. Along the way, there are many places to make a pit stop to enjoy a meal or just to take in the views.
Skyline Drive, Virginia
Fall is the perfect time to enjoy Skyline Drive, as the leaves change color all along your route. This 105-mile scenic ride rolls through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park and features views sure to take your breath away. Remember to be safe as the speed limit on most of Skyline Drive is 35mph. You will be tempted to reach speeds up to 50mph, but be careful – Skyline Drive is known for its abundant wildlife. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled on the roads. If you’re looking to take a scenic pit stop during this ride, you’ll most definitely cross paths with the Appalachian Trail, a marked hiking trail over 2,200 miles long that begins in Maine, winds along the Appalachian Mountain Range, and finally ends in Georgia.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the country, and for good reason. With over 100 species of trees and over 1,600 species of flowering plants, you know the fall colors are going to be vibrant at this park. Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the North Carolina/Tennessee border, and is home to hundreds of miles of nearby roads perfect for fall riding. The park is so large that there’s a stretch of road ideal for every rider, no matter their experience level. A few rides we recommend in the area are The Tail of the Dragon (experienced riders only), The Blue Ridge Parkway, Foothills Parkway, and Cherohala Skyway Loop. If you decide to visit this area, there are stunning mountain views at every turn and quaint towns to visit along every route.
San Juan Mountain Skyway, Colorado
Ready for more mountain views and breathtaking fall foliage? Look no further than San Juan Mountain Skyway in Colorado. This 230+ mile loop boasts incredible views of the Rocky Mountains and you’ll pass by historic mining towns, alpine trees, national parks, hot springs, and so much more. During the loop, you’ll even encounter a 25-mile section between Ouray and Silverton called “The Million Dollar Highway” named for its breathtaking views. While your eyes will be glued to the scenery, make sure you also focus on the road ahead as there are many hairpin turns and switchbacks on this ride. Many riders claim this is one of the most beautiful routes in the United States. Ready to see it for yourself?
Pig Trail Scenic Byway, Arkansas
Last, but certainly not least, to make our list is the Pig Trail Scenic Byway in Arkansas. Although it’s a shorter ride (just 19-miles along Arkansas State Route 23 ) this ride is known for its canopy of trees and beautiful views, especially in the fall season. The ride is full of curves, inclines, and hills passing through Ozark National Forest that make for an exciting ride that’s sure to keep you entertained. Although this ride is on the shorter side, there are plenty of jumping-off points along this route to fill your day.
Are you ready to ride this fall? We hope our list has inspired you to get out and enjoy the amazing weather that this season brings to many of us across the country. Do you have a favorite fall ride? Let us know in the comments below.