The Longest Car-Free Bicycle Routes In The Northeast

Car-free bicycle routes in the Northeast can be found on rail trails and local town greenways. With 392 open trails encompassing 3,233 miles, the Northeast region can rival the rail trails of the Midwest, where the rail trail movement began. With heavily traveled and traffic-congested roads, cyclists and other transportation advocates embrace the development of bicycle routes in this area.

The Rails to Trails Conservancy is just one organization dedicated to building a network of bike trails across the northeast and the rest of the country. The states encompassing this region of course offer some of the most stunning scenery that can’t be seen from a car, especially during the autumn months. Following are just a few of the more notable car-free bicycle routes to explore in the Northeast.

 Down East Sunrise Trail

Down East Sunrise Trail


The Down East Sunrise Trail travels through scenic coastal Maine for 87 miles from Ellsworth to Ayers Junction near the Canadian border. Utilizing the Calais Branch rail corridor, the Down East Sunrise Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway, a bicycle route stretching from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida. While the trail offers breathtaking views of mountains and crosses through conservation areas, salmon rivers, and coastal waterways, the route is basically flat and bicycle friendly. Though ATVs are allowed, cyclists say that this helps keep the trail smooth and users boast that everyone is respectful of each other along the route. The trail virtually parallels US Route 1, a state designated scenic route, offering plenty of opportunity for excursions to restaurants, inns, and other recreational outings. For more visit the Sunrise Trail Coalition.

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