The Midwest US is home to some of the most beautiful paved and unpaved bike trails in the world. Whether you prefer a mountain bike, street bike, or touring bike, you’ll love these great biking spots. Even better: they’re right up your street.
10 Great Midwest Bike Trails
We’ve divided our list up into the best two bike trails in each state of the Upper Midwest. Add them all to your bucket list, hook up your bike rack, and hit the road to cross them out!
Wisconsin Bike Trails
Wisconsin’s rolling hills, sweeping fields, and beautiful forests are a stunning backdrop for a bike ride. Wisconsin’s capital city, Madison, is also one of the most bike-friendly cities in the region, and features trails with great food stops and scenery.
Elroy-Sparta State Trail – Elroy, WI
This trail winds through the countryside of Wisconsin. You’ll pass through wetlands, woods, fields, and farms. The trail starts in the small town of Elroy, which is 60 miles north of Madison.
Capital City State Trail – Madison, WI
This 17-mile trail is one of many bike-friendly attractions in Madison. The Capital City State Trail features a fantastic loop around Lake Monona. There are also opportunities to bike to the Capitol Square and downtown areas for some classic Wisconsin food.
Iowa Bike Trails
Iowa’s massive, rolling plains and many rivers make for some of the most beautiful biking in the region.
High Trestle Trail – Woodward, IA
This 25-mile trail features a stunning run across a Des Moines River bridge with 1/2 mile of spiraling steel frames that will drop your jaw.
Trout Run Trail – Decorah, IA
Sculptures, a trout stream, trout hatchery, and 7-foot-long mosaic are just a few of the beautiful sights you’ll see along this 11-mile loop. At night, the bridge over State Highway 9 is lit with seasonal LED lights.
Illinois Bike Trails
The flatlands of Illinois provide a very relaxing ride with surprisingly good scenery. Chicago is also home to one of the best waterfront trails around.
Chicago’s Lakefront Trail – Chicago, IL
An 18-mile bike trail through Chicago that links many landmarks, the Lakefront Trail is full of great Chicago experiences and amazing views of Lake Michigan. There’s no better way to experience Chicago.
Illinois Prairie Path – Maywood, IL
Ponds, wetlands, and forests abound on this 61-mile trail. The trail rewards multiple rides by giving riders four different choices for their final destination. Depending on which fork you take, you can end up on the Fox River at Aurora, Batavia, Elgin, or Geneva.
Michigan Bike Trails
Michigan features miles of beautiful woodlands and shoreline along Lake Michigan that make for some breath-taking bike rides.
The Little Traverse Wheelway – Harbor Springs, MI
This 26-mile trail features some gorgeous beaches and hugs the shoreline of Lake Michigan in several places. There are beautiful sections of trail that pass through wooded residential areas. The Little Traverse Wheelway connects Harbor Springs to Petoskey and Charlevoix.
Kal-Haven Trail – Kalamazoo, MI
The Kal-Haven Trail connects Kalamazoo to South Haven, and runs through apple orchard country, as well as several small towns. One highlight is a covered bridge run. The Kal-Haven is a beautiful 34-mile trail that’s a great way to experience Michigan, especially in the fall.
Minnesota Bike Trails
Minnesota is one of the most fun states to bike because of its plethora of bodies of water. It’s not called the Land of 10,000 Lakes for nothing, and the geologic forces that shaped those lakes have made Minnesota one of the most beautiful places in the US.
The Gateway Trail – St. Paul, MN
Built on an old railway bed, the Gateway Trail features 18 miles of paved trail that runs through beautiful wooded and urban areas. It features multiple bridges and is a great option if you love variety in your ride.
Lake Wobegon Trail – Waite Park, MN
This scenic, 62-mile trail runs through many wooded areas, small towns and past multiple lakes. There are great opportunities to relax and experience small-town life on the Lake Wobegon Trail. Plus, there are some great places to stop for ice cream along the way.