Bear Creek Greenway, Central Point, Oregon
Start in Central Point, Oregon. Go south | 18 miles round-trip
Wildlife lovers will savor this easy route. About a mile in at Mingus Marsh, pied-billed grebes and other ducks glide among the water lilies. Three miles later you come to Medford’s Hawthorne Park where returning chinook salmon, some as large as 40 pounds, struggle upstream through the clear water to spawn each fall. Roughly nine miles into the ride, turn left on to Fern Valley Road in Phoenix, where you’ll find the Grass Shack Cafe serving up delectable Hawaiian food. Try the kalua pork and wash it down with a passion fruit–flavored iced tea.
Smart Tip: Bring binoculars for the critters.
Provo River Parkway, Provo, Utah
Start just east of Provo, Utah. Go northeast | 30 miles round-trip
Beginning at Utah Lake State Park amid farm fields, a ribbon of asphalt runs through the dry, cragged Provo River Canyon. The parkway is often shaded and the first few miles offer various spots for wading in the river. Near the three-mile mark, look for a footbridge over the river that leads to secluded Paul Ream Wilderness Park, where you can picnic beside a small duck pond. The marquee attraction is ten miles later: Bridal Veil Falls, a double-cataract cascade that plunges 607 feet.