Cycling the Exceptional: 5 of the World’s Most Extraordinary Trails

1. The Old Ghost Road – New Zealand
Prepare your senses for a visual feast – and a satisfyingly challenging ride. 80 KM in length, the Old Ghost Road is a part of New Zealand’s Cycle Trail Project. The route began as a gold miner’s trail and has since been completely restored to accommodate cyclists from all over the world. Over the 2-3 day ride, you will see rainforests and alpine havens, caverns and deepwater lakes. It feels like an otherworldly sampling of a bygone era – and you get to be a part of it.
Resources: New Zealand Cycle

old ghost road trail in New Zealand
courtesy of

2. Alpe d’Huez – France
You might not be ready to tackle the Tour de France in its entirety, but the doesn’t mean you can’t add a slice of it to your “success list.” Alpe d’Huez is not for the faint of heart: with 21 switchbacks, a climb of 13.8 meters, and an elevation rise of 7.9%, this is the sort of ride that you’ll be feeling the next day. But it’s also well worth it – with rewarding views at the top and the remarkable landscape of the Central Alps surrounding you, you may never want to leave.
Resources: Cycling Tips

Alpe d'Huez
courtesy of Cycling Challenge

3. Annapurna Circuit – Nepal
This is truly the trip of a lifetime. Long beloved by trekkers, the Annapurna Circuit is a 200 km-long trail that snakes around the Annapurna Mountain Range. Prepare for an uphill first few days – the trek leads up to a pass 17,000 feet in elevation. This journey is a sampling of the unique climates and landscapes that Nepal has to offer – from lush rainforests to stark alpine scenery to deserts,you’ll see it all during your ride. Stay in teahouses that are abundant in the villages scattered throughout the region. For less than $10 a night, you can get a bed, a hot dinner, and a tasty breakfast.
Resources: Lonely Planet

courtesy of Dmitry A. Mottl

4. Olympic National Park – Washington
This otherworldly area will make you feel like you have descended into a Tolkien Novel. The Olympic Discovery Trail is hailed as the “Pathway to the Pacific,” spanning over 130 miles in this unique region. Taking you through dense rainforests and the towering Olympic Mountains, this is the perfect way to experience the Pacific Northwest.
Resources: Olympic Discovery Trail

Olympic National Park
courtesy of Wsiegmund

5. Carretera Austral – Chile
Stretching from Central Chile down to Patagonia, this 810-mile trail is the makings of an epic journey. This is a true “wilderness” journey – you will be experiencing places that most of the world has never seen. Ride alongside towering mountains and through leafy forests. This is the sort of adventure that brings a new surprise to the trail every morning.
Resources: Carretera Austral

Carretera Austral
courtesy of Teo Romera




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