One of the most enjoyable ways to experience the West is by trail, where you’re immersed in the sounds, scents, and scenes of the region’s diverse landscape. Every year, trail-building organizations create more opportunities for travelers by restoring existing trails and creating miles and miles of new ones. Out of the thousands of trails to choose from, here are seven new and noteworthy trails that have recently opened or been improved for hiking and biking in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah.
Last summer, the Adventure Cycling Association helped coordinate the development of a handful of new routes, including two in California, to add to the U.S. Bicycle Route System, a growing national network of bike routes. Explore U.S. Route 66 on two wheels with USBR 66, which shadows the historic highway for nearly 330 miles. The full route begins at the Arizona border near Needles, crosses the Colorado River and high-desert National Trails Highway, and ends at the Santa Monica Pier. Other highlights include following the nearly 20 miles of the Pacific Electric Bikeway in the San Gabriel Valley and riding through Chinatown and Hollywood in Los Angeles.
The other new California route is USBR 95, which follows scenic U.S. Highway 101 and the Pacific Coast for 440 miles from the Oregon border to San Francisco. After entering Crescent City, California, the route travels through redwoods in Eureka, climbs and descends coastal headlands, passes over the Russian River, continues on to Sausalito, crosses the Golden Gate Bridge, and finishes on the southern edge of San Francisco.
Both cross-state routes are a mix of backroads, some highways with good shoulders, bike lanes, and paths that are separated from the road when available. You can easily break these routes up into sections for day rides, including shorter stretches along the coast in Eureka, Mendocino, Bodega Bay, or Point Reyes.