Dec 01

Great Plains Trail Featured in Bootprints

Long-distance Trail

rainbow on the plains of eastern colorado

Pawnee Buttes in Eastern Colorado

The worlds of hiking and biking are mainly set in the mountains. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but hopefully hikers and bikers will discover that America has an amazing ecosystem unlike that found anywhere else in the world. Oh sure, our mountains are beautiful, but nearly every continent and country has similarly beautiful mountains. However it’s our great plains that are extraordinarily unique and under-utilized when it comes to non-motorized recreation.

Bootprints Features Article about Great Plains Trail

Finally, folks are starting to discover the joys and scenery of the Great Plains. As the Great Plains Trail begins to take shape, hiking and biking publications are gradually starting to take notice. Recently, the online outdoor magazine Bootprints published an article about the Great Plains Trail. It’s a short but sweet article that notifies hikers and bikers that America’s greatest frontier is now open for business and recreation. Please take a moment to peruse the Bootprints article about the Great Plains Trail. It’s a nice, short summary of what’s going on in this new recreational frontier.

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Nov 22

Ireland Mountain Bike Trails

Mountain Biking Trails in Galway, Ireland

I have been working in the hospitality industry in Ireland for many years and in recent years there has been huge rise in popularity of activity holidays. I work for the Drury Court  Hotel which is located in Dublin, however a lot of our guests would travel from here to Galway, in the west of Ireland for its mountain biking. Although, there is very good biking trails located in the Dublin Mountains and the Wicklow Mountains. Below I take a look at two of the most popular Mountain Bike trails in County Galway.

Derroura Mountain Bike Trail

Bike: On this trail it would be advisable to use a mountain bike with full suspension because of the terrain. However there are people that bike this trail with a range of bikes from basic to high quality mountain bikes.

Close By: The closest town to the trail car park, which has parking for approximately 30 cars, is Oughterard.  The town of Oughterard is approximately 6km away and has a variety of shops and restaurants.

The Trail: The Derroura Mountain Bike Trail is a forest trail and has quite a variable terrain and begins with a winding single track over natural granite. This leads to a steady climb which soon turns into very stoney ground, this is why we advise bikes with full suspension. When you reach the summit you will be treated to incredible views of the surrounding landscape. The descent is my favourite part of this trail and is made up of a long north shore that brings you through the beautiful Connemara bogs. This is not a difficult trail but it is a lot of fun and the country side location makes it all the better.

Derroura Mountain Bike Trail in Ireland

Derroura Mountain Bike Trail

Graph of Bike Trail Elevation for Ireland mountain bike trail

Graph of Bike Trail Elevation


 Portumna Mountain Bike Trails

Bike: This trail is suitable for riders of any type of mountain bike or even hybrid.

Close by: This trail is located just 1km away from the town of Portumna. This is a wonderful town and there are plenty of restaurants and bed & breakfasts in the town itself and the surrounding areas. There is also a car park and toilet facilities at the beginning of the trail.

The Trails: There are three mountain bike trails at Portumna, these are called Bonaveen, Rinmaher and Woodland. They are all relatively easy trails which makes them ideal for younger riders as well as those who may be just starting off in mountain biking. More experienced riders would definitely prefer the Derroura trail. The terrain is made up of compacted hardcore which means that it can be a little loose but it is ideal for these short and quick trails. There can also be walkers on these trails so it is advisable to visit the Portumna trails during the week when it is quieter.

The weather in Ireland can often be cold and wet, even in the summer months, so it is advisable to bring appropriate clothing if you are planning on biking in Dublin or in Galway.

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Nov 11

Five Mountain Bike Trails You’ll Want to Ride Before you Die

Mountain biking is a great physical activity both for the family and the individual thrill seeker. It’s also happens to be one of the easiest sports to get into, as you only need a bike, a good trail and the willingness to pump your legs.

If you bought a bike it means you probably have the willingness to pump your legs, so the only thing left is a great trail. You’ll most likely start off with shorter trails near you, but eventually you’ll want to try out something more spectacular and challenging. Below we’ve listed five of the most popular mountain bike trails in the world you should make a point of riding before you die.

1.       Machynlleth, Wales

Go out as far you want on natural trail through the beautiful Dyfi forest. Different routes of varying difficulty and length can be taken directly from the centre of town. Locals maintain the trails as far as they can without damaging the natural environment, so finding your way around is easy.

This trail also plays host to the Raw Dyfi Enduro a 15km round trip with the longest descent in Wales, a massive jump and flowy turns all round.

2.       Moab, Utah

Moab is widely known as one of the best mountain biking trails, not only in the US, but also in the rest of the world.  It’s most well-known trail is the Slickrock bike trail, which is runs for 9.6 miles over boulders and various type of rock surfaces. Being next to the Arches National Park all Moab trails provide great scenery and several trails each varying in difficulty.

3.       Whistler, Canada

Whistler is a two hour drive from Vancouver and ski resort in the winter and full on mountain bike in the winter. It has a wide variety of trail, built over the years by mountain biking enthusiasts and professionals. Visited by thousands of local and tourists Whistler is perfect for group excursions and provide lodgings, food and beer all year round.

4.       Tyrol,  Austria

Tyrol Austria is a popular international mountain biking destination due its beautiful scenery and ridden out tracks in the Nordkette mountain range. Tickets are a bit on the steep side at $40 for one day ticket and should preferably be visited in the late summer time for the best riding conditions. It lacks in terms of facilities, but makes up for it in terms of sheer riding pleasure.

5.       Emerald Isle’s legendary Cliffs of Moher

Named the world’s most dangerous trail, this one is only for the adrenaline junkies with years of mountain biking experience. With its rugged coastline and vertical drops it’s by far the most scenic route your will ever take and by far the most high risk. Fly to Dublin and drive over to the Emeral Isles or make a pub crawl of it and traverse the whole of Ireland on your bike, making Moher your final destination like Hans Rey and Steve Peat.

Of course there are many other great trails around the world, which most of us won’t have the luxury of visiting in our lifetime, but the five mentioned in this post are the ones I’m most excited about finishing before kicking the bucket.

Jason O’Reilly is an avid bicycle rider, professional product reviewer and all-roud outdoorsman. You can find more of his articles at, where he review the latest bicycle storage options.

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Oct 25

New Zealand’s Best Bike Trails

The Top 6 Off-Road Cycling Trails New Zealand Has to Offer

new zealand trail

(Cycling through New Zealand’s breathtaking scenery is a unique experience)

Cycling is one of the best ways to explore New Zealand and have a face to face experience with what the country really has to offer. The spectacular scenery, natural beauty, and unique culture are best experienced while going on one of the numerous bike-rides through the many available cycling trails. Most of these follow paths that were established by the early indigenous settlers of New Zealand. The country has made efforts to restore and extend historic pathways which enable cyclists to stopover and visit a large number of historical and cultural heritage sites. A few of the best cycling trails that New Zealand has to offer are:


Soak Up the Sun Riding the Stunning Queen Charlotte Track

bike new zealand

stunning views from trail

This track is located in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of South Island. It stretches for 71 km between the Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sound. The Queen Charlotte track is well known as one of the best cycling trails that New Zealand has to offer. It is renowned for its picturesque views, the sunning scenery, distinct landscape, historical sites, and native wildlife. A ride through this trail will serve as a unique and memorable experience as it traverses through lush forests, historical bays, and also along ridges that provide beautiful views of the Sounds.


Otago Central Rail Trail will Reveal the True Beauty of the South Island

new zealand rail trail

Otago Central Rail Trail

This cycling trail stretches for 150 km through the South Island. It runs between Middlemarch and Clyde, following the former route of the Otago Central Railway. This trail is one of the most popular tourist attractions of South Island. The towns along the trail have developed facilities to aid tourists on the trail. The Otago trail is well known for its historical value and is a tribute to human endeavor. The scenery, bridges, and tunnels along the length of the trail are what make this ride fascinating and adventurous.


Te Ara Ahi – Ride through an Active Thermal Landscape

This bike trail offers tourists a 74 km riding exploration through the thermal lands of steam vents, natural hot bubbling mud pools, and outstanding geysers. The trail travels from Rotorua to Lake Ohakuri and passes through four different geothermal fields, each with their own unique flora and fauna. The trail is also rich in Maori history and lore as it passes through many Maori villages.


The Timber Trail: Cycle the North Island

new zealand's timber trail

Timber Trail

The Timber trail at the North Island is a couple of hours away from the Te Ara Ahi trail. It travels through the beautiful and peaceful Pureora Forest and several other important ecological areas. The trail follows old tramlines, stops at old timber milling establishments and even passes through eight large suspension bridges which provide for breathtaking views across this 85 km trail.


This trail is within easy reach from the Te Ara Ahi trail at Rotorua, it is also a short distance away from Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington. There are many options that are available for traveling between these two cycling trails and other cycling trails across the country. One of the best options is to hire a car or book with one of the main bus companies or specialized cycle tour companies.

The Queenstown Trail – Cycle through Prehistoric Forrest

The Queenstown cycling trail stretches for nearly a 100 km within the Wakatipu Basin. This winding trail offers travelers some of the most stunning natural scenery that the country has. It also travels through the Gibbston Wine area and the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown. Hidden ruins, incredible architecture and significant bridges, such as the historic Kawarau Bridge, are also a part of this cycling trail. After finishing the bike trail there are a wide range of other tourist attractions that Queenstown has to offer.

Mountains to Sea Trail

This 317 km trail is one of the most epic traveling experiences that the North Island has to offer. The Mountains to Sea cycling trail is a combination of mountain biking trails, public road and jet boats to cross the water. Travelers start off from the Mountains of the Central Volcanic Plateau and end up near the sea in Whanganui. The cycling trail also traverses through two national parks full of natural beauty, stunning scenery and cultural heritage.

Angela Hallberg is Omega Rental Cars’ Marketing Manager – one of New Zealand’s most trusted car hire companies.  Like Omega on Facebook or follow on Twitter @OmegaRentalCars.

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Oct 10

Nebraska Trails

Great Plains Trail

historical trail

portion of Bison Trail

I recently added two new Nebraska trails to One was the Bison Trail and the other was the White River Rail Trail. Both of them may some day be part of the Great Plains Trail that will run from the U.S./Canada border all the way down to the Guadalupe Mountains in Texas.

White River Trail

The White River Trail is a short but sweet rail trail that runs from Crawford, Nebraska to historical Fort Robinson. Although short on length, it is long on charm. The trail itself is peaceful and easy-riding. At each end, trail lovers will enjoy the history of Fort Robinson and the quaint, small-town joys of Crawford, NE.


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Sep 24

Bike Trails in France

Dream of Cycling International Trails

French bike touring guide

Experience France by Bike

I devour bike trail guides like most people read fiction novels. Trail guides are my way of living vicariously through the writing of others. I’ve had the good fortune of traveling all over the United States riding bike trails and traveling all over the rest of the world leading student tours. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to combine those two and ride the great international trails like the ones found throughout Europe.

French Canal Trail Makes Great Bike Ride

So it is with great pleasure that I introduce an incredible bike guide by Maggie LaCoste of Experience France by Bike. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, Maggie’s bicycle blog is excellent and a must for those who enjoy active traveling. Now Maggie has published the first in a series of bicycle touring guides that will highlight the best bike routes in France. What I like best about Maggie’s guides is that they’re well written and easy to follow and, most important, they are extremely valuable for the rest of us. By “the rest of us,” I mean those of us who enjoy biking as a way of experiencing the splendors of the destination. In other words, the guides are for those who are as much into traveling, site-seeing and local culture as we are into bicycling.

From Blois to Chateau de Chambord

Maggie’s premier bicycle touring guidebook is entitled A Weekend Trip from Blois to Chateau de Chambord and makes a great read for those who plan to do enjoy a bike vacation in France or even those who just love to dream of enjoying a bike vacation in France. The guidebook is not at all expensive, but it makes great reading and provides invaluable reading material for European bicycle tourists. The book can be purchased as a PDF publication or as an e-book for Kindle, iPad or Nook. I hope you decide to read Maggie’s wonderful bicycle guide so we can have an online discussion about it. Please feel free to contribute comments here on the Trailsnet blog once you have started reading the guide. I look forward to your feedback.

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