One of the fastest growing outdoor sports and methods of adventure travel is bike-packing. As with backpacking, this activity involves carrying all of your equipment and supplies with you as you travel, remaining completely self-sufficient throughout your journey. The main difference of course is that instead of hauling all of your gear in a backpack and traveling on foot, bike-packers carry their equipment on their bikes instead. This gives them the ability to continue to travel independently while potentially covering longer distances in a single day.
1. Great Divide Mountain Biking Route (U.S.A And Canada).
Arguably the greatest bike-packing trail on the planet, the Great Divide Mountain Biking Route covers more than 2,100 miles stretching from Banff National Park in Canada to Antelope Wells, NM along the U.S.-Mexican border. This gives it the distinction of being the longest off-pavement route anywhere in the world, which in turn makes it a major draw for bike-packers across the globe.
2. The Arizona National Scenic Trail (U.S.A).
At 800 miles in length, the Arizona National Scenic Trail gives bike-packers an opportunity to ride across the entire state of Arizona north to south. The route actually passes through a brief section of the Grand Canyon – where riders must push their bikes for a short time – and offers access to the beautiful Huachuca Mountains not far from the Mexican border.
3. The North Sea Cycle Route (Europe).
Crossing through nine countries (Scotland, Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway) and covering more than 3,728 miles, the North Sea Cycle Route (a.k.a Euro Velo Route 12) is a favorite amongst long-distance bike-packers. This route stays mainly on paved trails throughout its length, which can take weeks to complete.
4. The Dolomiti Trail (Italy).
The Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy have been drawing hikers and climbers for decades, but the region also happens to be home to a spectacular bike-packing route too. The Dolomiti Trail stretches for roughly 160 miles and features over 31,000 feet of climbing, requiring most riders roughly five to six days to complete. The route is a mix of both paved and unpaved roads, with a bit of single track mixed in for good measure.
5. The Adriatic Crest Trail (Croatia).
Croatia’s Adriatic Crest Trail provides everything a bike-packer could ask for in an adventurous route, and a whole lot more. The trail remains largely free from crowds, offers stunning scenery, and provides a great challenge without completely crushing a rider’s legs and spirit. Stretching for 380 miles along the rugged, rocky Croatian coast, the ACT doesn’t fail to deliver on its promise of breathtaking views.
6. The Old Ghost Road (New Zealand).
New Zealand’s Old Ghost Road is the longest single track route in the entire country, stretching for 52 miles across a remote section of the South Island. The trail was originally used by gold miners back in the 1800s but has received a modern overhaul to make it a top mountain biking and hiking route instead. While not particularly technical in nature, the twisty single track does require riders to be attentive and on point at all times.
7. Pan American Highway (North And South America).
Riders looking for the ultimate bike-packing challenge may want to consider riding the Pan American Highway, but if they do, they better have plenty of time to spare. This epic route runs from Prudhoe Bay in northern Alaska to the southernmost tip of South America in Ushuaia, Argentina. Riding the road end-to-end requires traveling more than 19,000 miles and passing through 14 different countries along the way.