By Kristin Butcher
The Active Times
Ever had one of those days when you couldn't decide whether to head for the horizon on your road bike or hit the trails with your mountain bike? Now imagine a bike vacation where every day is like that. Yeah, it sounds pretty awesome to us, too.
Don't get us wrong; we love us a good bike beer-cation or foreign road tour as well as long trips to the trails, but give us both and we couldn't be happier.
From the big, mountainous western destinations you probably know -- Durango, Jackson Hole and Sedona -- to a few that might be new to you (we're talking about you, Raystown Lake and St. Charles), we've rounded up 10 vacation destinations across the country where the best bike to bring is, well, both!
Though the 6,512-foot elevation will make you wish there was more O2 in Durango's air, it's the beauty of the area's roads and trails that will leave you breathless. Classic mountain bike rides like the Hermosa Creek Trail and Horsethief Bench Loop will have you out on the dirt one day, then hitting the pavement on one of Durango's many popular road cycling routes the next. Top off each ride by wandering down historic Main Street before grabbing a bit to eat or a brew at either Steamworks Brewing Company or Ska Brewing. Rinse and repeat for the perfect dual-bike vacation.
Whether you're drawn to Sedona by its beautiful red rock formations or the energy vortices rumored to exist there, you'd be remiss not to bring your bikes with you. Grab your mountain bike and head over to Submarine Rock or take an easy ride on the Bell Rock Pathway. Afterward, you can hit the roads to explore the eclectic area's quirky art shops, old mining towns and gorgeous geological features, including Montezuma Castle National Monument.
Smooth pavement and astounding views await cyclists traveling to Jackson Hole. As one of only 16 cities to receive a Gold Bicycle-Friendly City designation by the League of American Bicyclists, the road riding in and around Jackson Hole is some of the best in the country. Visit Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park via the new North 89 Pathway, or tour around town on the excellent bike path system. In addition to a wide singletrack network, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers several lift-served trails and a bike park.
Albuquerque is quickly becoming known as one of the Southwest's premier bike destinations. With a 400-mile network comprised of bikes lanes and trails, riders can follow the Rio Grande along 16 miles of separated paved path known as the Paseo Del Bosque Trail or head out for a big climb up Sandia Crest Road. Meanwhile, knobby tires will enjoy the well-marked foothills trails or exploring the maze of trails in the Sandia Mountains.
Rapid City is located in the foothills of the gorgeous Black Hills of South Dakota and is the headquarters of Black Hills road cycling. Every year, thousands of motorcyclists flood the area for Sturgis Bike Week, but Rapid City is also seeing crowds of non-motorized bikers come to sample the scores of trails, bike paths, road routes, dirt jumps and bike parks accessible from town. Visit during Black Hills Fat Tire Festival (May 25-27) for plenty of guided ride opportunities.
The trails around Sun Valley dance back and forth between dry sagebrush landscapes and the moist verdant pines of the Big Wood Valley and surrounding mountains. Take the lift up Bald Mountain for a fun and fast descent, or string together any of the area's hundreds of miles of trail to create your own route. Paved bike paths make getting around town easy, but the best way to see Sun Valley might have to be on the Wheels & Wine Guided Bike Tour, hosted by Pete Lane's Mountain Sports.
Winter Park is one of those vacation spots where you should take everything: The road bike, the mountain bike, the kids, and even the mother-in-law. Younger kids can spend the day playing in bounce houses and riding the Alpine Slide at the base of Winter Park Resort, while Mom and Dad can ride to Hot Sulphur Springs, head out on one of the area’s 200 miles of trail, or try to keep up with Junior on downhill runs at Winter Park Resort. There's even a restaurant/bar with scenic views at the top of the lift for your mother-in-law.
For the complete slideshow of America's Best Bike Vacation Towns, go to TheActiveTimes.com.
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