US Bicycle Route System: 19,000+ miles of public bike routes to explore

Travel, commute, or just explore on these publicly-accessible bicycle routes scattered across the nation thanks to the US Bicycle Route System.

Three bike route signs lined up in a row. All of the signs are green and white and depict a bike under the letters "US," with a number below indicating which route it is.

You may have seen signs indicating a USBRS route without even knowing what it was.

Graphics via USBRS

Did you know that an extensive system of bicycle routes connecting cities like Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA exists right here in the US?

The US Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is a network of numbered, developing bike trails that are officially approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Currently, the network features 19,000+ miles of bike routes, but it’s not pumping the brakes there; USBRS’s goal is to eventually establish a 50,000-mile bike route network that connects all of America.

While some of these routes span hundreds of miles, you don’t need years of training to take advantage of them — check out trails in your city or state and explore how you might use them below.

Know before you go

  • While the routes are open to all, most are designed for cyclists 16 or older who have at least a few years of bicycling experience. In other words, this isn’t where you should teach little Sally to ride a bike. Stick to local parks for that.
  • Not all routes are marked with signs, and route conditions can vary.
  • A red line on an individual route map indicates a shared roadway, while a green line indicates an off-road path.

Route this way

Nashville, TN
USBR 23 TN northbound + southbound

  • Connects: Kentucky and Alabama.
  • Where they can take you: Chattanooga, TN; Atlanta, GA; Cumberland Gap National Historic Park; Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and more via connecting routes.
  • Short ride: Do you commute downtown from Franklin? Try taking USBR 23 northbound for a ~25-mile ride starting on 5th Avenue that passes the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Frist Art Museum, and other downtown hotspots for pre-work endorphins (just be sure to bring deodorant).
  • Long ride: Start on USBR 23 southbound + change to USBR 121 eastbound, where you’ll ride on into a peaceful mountain getaway in Chattanooga. Fair warning: You’ll want a nice place to rest when you get there — in total, it’s a ~185-mile trip. Our friends at NOOGAtoday know of a good spot.

Chattanooga, TN
USBR 21 TN northbound + southbound, USBR 21 GA northbound + southbound

  • Connects: Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and downtown Atlanta.
  • Where they can take you: Nashville, TN; Knoxville, TN; Cincinnati, OH; and more via connecting routes.
  • Short ride: Did you know that the Tennessee Riverwalk is included in USBR 21? For a fun, ~11-mile outing, take it from the Tennessee Riverpark Wheland Foundry Trailhead to the TVA Chickamauga Dam — briefly hopping on Riverfront Parkway ~2 miles in to get back on the Riverwalk at Bluff View Art District. Pro tip: Make a pit stop at Rembrandt’s while in Bluff View for a caffeine boost.
  • Long ride: Avoid Atlanta traffic and set out on a weekend trip via bike (although a “weekend trip” may not be long enough — it’s a ~160-mile ride) by taking USBR 21 TN southbound and switching onto the Georgia section of the route just past St. Elmo. Pro tip: Take a detour on USBR 621 GA to rest up in Rome, GA around the halfway point.

Raleigh, NC
USBR 1 NC northbound + southbound

  • Connects: Virginia and South Carolina.
  • Where they can take you: Richmond, VA; Washington, DC; and more via connecting routes.
  • Short ride: Hop on USBR 1 northbound and enjoy an outdoor adventure in William B. Umstead Park by starting at Old Cemetery and biking through ~2 miles of trees and creeks. Note: This part of the route is unpaved. The park offers 10+ more miles of biking paths, if you’d like to extend your ride. Bonus: Care for a stay at the Maple Hill Lodge?
  • Long ride: We’re not joking when we say “long” — if you continue via USBR 1 NC northbound onto USBR 1 VA northbound, you can ride ~190 miles to reach Richmond, VA, where our friends at RICtoday will offer plenty of things to do.

Richmond, VA
USBR 1 VA northbound + southbound, USBR 176 VA eastbound + westbound

  • Connects: Washington, DC and North Carolina.
  • Where they can take you: Washington, DC; Yorktown, VA; Raleigh-Durham, NC; and more via connecting routes.
  • Short ride: The popular Virginia Capital Trail makes up part of USBR 176, a route that connects USBRs 1 and 76. Take it eastbound from Great Shiplock Park to The Original Ronnie’s BBQ in Henrico (~6 miles) for a fun outing with delicious eats. Pro tip: Vegetarians, try the jackfruit BBQ.
  • Long ride: Make the ~70-mile bike trek via USBR 1 northbound before hopping on the Virginia Railway Express in Spotsylvania (which features room for bikes on board) and taking it into DC to spend time exploring the capital.

Louisville, KY
USBR 35A IN northbound + southbound

  • Connects: Michigan and Jeffersonville, IN.
  • Where they can take you: Indianapolis, IN; Chicago, IL; Bloomington, IN; and more via connecting routes.
  • Short ride: Head across the Ohio River to start your cycling journey in Van Dyke Park. Enjoy a laid-back, ~2-mile ride on USBR 35A northbound to Colgate Park — making a stop at The Widows Walk Ice Creamery along the way, of course — before heading back (or staying a while).
  • Long ride: Make the ~150-mile trek to Indianapolis, IN via this route (say hi to our friends at INDYtoday while you’re there). Since this is a longer journey, you may need a pit stop; around mile 81, you’ll ride right by a Courtyard by Marriott — the perfect spot to rest up.

Indianapolis, IN
USBR 35A IN northbound + southbound, USBR 235 IN northbound + southbound

  • Connects: Michigan and Jeffersonville, IN + Indianapolis, IN and Seymour, IN.
  • Where they can take you: Cincinnati, OH; Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; and more via connecting routes.
  • Short ride: Fun fact — the popular Monon Bicycle Trail is part of USBR 35A. Start at Frank & Judy O’Bannon Soccer Park and ride up ~4 miles to just south of Canterbury Park for lunch or dinner at spots like Diavola, Mama Carolla’s, or Half Liter BBQ.
  • Long ride: Did you know that you can get to the childhood home of Grammy Award-winning singer John Mellencamp via bicycle? Take the scenic, 122.5-mile USBR 235 southbound starting at Monument Circle through country roads and farmland, ending up in Mellencamp’s hometown of Seymour, IN. This route has a few hills — just try to convince yourself that it “hurts so good.”

Columbus, OH
USBR 50 OH eastbound + westbound, USBR 21 OH northbound + southbound

  • Connects: West Virginia and Indiana + Aberdeen, OH and Cincinnati, OH.
  • Where they can take you: Cincinnati, OH; Lexington, KY; Indianapolis, IN; and more via connecting routes.
  • Short ride: Start on USBR 50 westbound at North Bank Park Pavilion and ride the off-road path ~2 miles until you get to Woodland’s Backyard. Cool off with a drink, fuel up with a burrito, watch a volleyball match, and bowl a few frames before heading back. Note: ~0.5 miles of this path is unpaved.
  • Long ride: Take the almost completely off-road ride on USBR 21 southbound from Columbus into Cincinnati for a weekend trip. After you’ve cycled the ~120 miles, you’ll probably be hungry — check out our recommendations for what to eat (and do) while there.

Madison, WI
USBR 30 WI eastbound + westbound

  • Connects: Milwaukee, WI and Bluff Siding, WI.
  • Where they can take you: Milwaukee, WI; La Crosse, WI; Minneapolis, MN; and more via connecting routes.
  • Short ride: ~4 miles of Madison’s Capital City Trail make up parts of USBR 30. Start on the trail at Olbrich Botanical Gardens and ride ~3 miles to the State Capitol, where you can enjoy one of the countless nearby eateries. Hungry? Try the Wisco-Detroit style pies at Lucille. Need an energy boost? Consult 608today’s coffee shop guide to find a cozy nearby shop.
  • Long ride: Make the ~55-mile trip on USBR 30 westbound to Baraboo, WI for a weekend trip. Upon arrival, 608today has the need-to-know info on what to do in Baraboo. Note: If you’re making a winter trip, the Merrimac Ferry will likely be closed; to reroute, you can change onto USBR 230 westbound on County Road V in Dane. USBR 230 will take you into Rock Springs, where you’ll hop back onto USBR 30 and ride into Baraboo, adding ~17 miles to the trip.

Boston, MA
USBR 1 MA: Paul Dudley White Trail

  • Loops: Starts and ends at the Museum of Science, following the Charles River.
  • Where it can take you: This USBR loop starts and ends in Boston, MA + does not connect to other routes.
  • Short ride: Start at the museum, cross the Harvard Bridge, and loop back to the museum for a quick, 4.5-mile ride. From spring through late fall, you can make a pit stop ~1 mile in at the riverfront Night Shift Brewing location, Night Shift Esplanade.
  • Long ride: Take the full, 17.8-mile USBR 1 loop, starting at the Museum of Science and passing Back Bay, Fenway Park, Boston University, Harvard, and MIT. Make it a staycation and end your trip at the Royal Sonesta Boston, or just check out other ways to explore the Charles River.
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