There Are 650 New Miles of Bike Trails in the U.S. — Along Route 66 and Minnesota's 10,000 Lakes

Now covering 18,534 miles, the U.S. Bicycle Route System will eventually wind 50,000 miles across the country.

Aerial view of USBR 20 in Minnesota 2
Photo: Courtesy of Kvidt Creative-Explore Alexandria Tourism

It's getting easier to pedal across the country. Yesterday, the Adventure Cycling Association announced the designation of 650 additional miles to the U.S. Bicycle Route System in Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Delaware, which take cyclists along some of the country's most iconic pathways, including 429 miles along Historic Route 66.

"It's been 96 years since the iconic Route 66 opened to motor vehicle traffic in the U.S.," Jim Tymon, executive director of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), said in a statement sent to Travel + Leisure. "Now cyclists can follow the historic route for more than 400 miles through Oklahoma using the newly designated USBR 66."

The route, the first of its kind in Oklahoma, goes through Tulsa and Oklahoma City starting from the Kansas border in the northeast to the western side near Elk City. Along the way, it passes by some of the state's standout attractions, like the world's largest concrete totem pole near Chelsea, the Round Barn in Arcadia, Lucille's Service Station in Weatherford, and the Bridgeport Bridge from "The Grapes of Wrath."

Jack A Markell Trail along USBR 201 in Delaware
Courtesy of Delaware Greenways

Delaware also gets its first U.S. Bicycle Route, 37 miles called USBR 201, which begins at the Pennsylvania border and heads into Wilmington, where it then goes through New Castle and Newark by the University of Delaware. Much of the route traces the Delaware River, with views of waterfowl, ships, and the Delaware Memorial Bridge during its stretch by New Castle.

Minnesota gets its fourth route, 188 miles of USBR 20 from the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. Cloud and up to the North Dakota border. It crosses paths with the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, Central Lakes State Trail, North Country Trail, and Lakes Trail, much of it going around some of the state's famed 10,000 lakes.

Also as part of the announcement was the improvement of existing routes in two other states. On Michigan's USBR 20, a seven-mile extension on local roads was added so that it now crossed the state from Algonac to Bay City and Ludington, while in Indiana, sections of USBR 35 have been realigned from extensions of Starke County's Erie Trail and Marion County's Pennsy Trail.

Map of the United States of America with the bike routes and developing bike routes marked
Courtesy of Adventure Cycling Association

"This latest round of U.S. Bicycle Route System designations exemplifies AASHTO's steadfast commitment to creating active transportation facilities in rural and urban America," Tymon said.

Currently encompassing 18,534 miles in 33 states and Washington, D.C., the U.S. Bicycle Route System will eventually include 50,000 miles to encourage cross-country and regional travel, as well as more local commuting on bicycles.

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