Escape traffic and expand your backyard by adding a little dirt to your bike rides. There's dirt riding to be savored on all sorts of different types of trails, paths and roads. These run the gamut from smooth (soft-surface paths and rail-trails) to rougher (gravel roads and doubletrack trails). But you don't need a mountain bike to try it.
One-third of all the roads in the U.S. are still unpaved—that's more than 1.4 million miles.1 Here are some places to scout a dirt ride near you:
They should be able to recommend a good route for you and even connect you with a dirt-friendly team or club in your area. Don't have a local bike shop? Find one on our Get Local Map.
Other online resources include:
» TrailLink.com - This database of rail-trails from the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy allows you search for dirt trails near you. Filter your search by choosing trails with a dirt, gravel or cinder surface.
» MTBProject.com - A search for green circle trails in this mountain bike trail database will turn up some smooth doubletrack trails.
» GravelMap.com - Heavy on Midwestern rides, this national map of gravel and dirt road loops is great for planning longer adventure rides.
» ColoradoGravelRoads.com - Nearly every dirt road in the state of Colorado is recorded on this map.
» IowaGravelRoads.com - Same thing but for Iowa
» RideOregon.com - Choose the "Gravel Roads" filter to see dirt rides in Oregon.
» Pennsylvania Unpaved Roads - This map from Penn State University displays a comprehensive map of unpaved roads in the Keystone State.
» National Park Service Dirt Roads - Our friends at IMBA compiled a list of national parks that allow bicycling on dirt roads and trails.
Know of other resources? Tell us about them.