PROBLEM: You just picked up a shiny new gravel or all-road bike, but you don’t know where to ride it yet. How do you find gravel roads that are within a reasonable distance from your home?
SOLUTION: Turns out that there are several different options to easily find nearby gravel roads and routes. Here are some that you might find helpful.
Start by heading directly to Gravelmap.com. Gravelmap is an interactive database of gravel and dirt roads and paths that’s submitted and managed by cyclists. As they put it, “Gravelmap was started with two purposes in mind: give people a way to discover new gravel roads in their area, and allow them to post and manage their favorite routes for others to enjoy.”
When I checked my local area, I instantly found a gravel route along the Trinity river levee system that’s just miles from my home, even though I live in Dallas, Texas. You can just keep zooming out on the map to see which other gravel routes are in your area. Since these are uploaded by other gravel riders, they are generally pretty good.
What I love best about Gravelmap is that you can download any routes you like as GPX files, which work with most GPS bike computers that allow you to navigate.
Other ways to find gravel roads
Ask your local bike shop. They’ll often know the best spots.
See if there are any gravel grinder events near you at BikeReg.com. Many of those events publish their routes as GPX files or just on a map, if you don’t want to actually sign up for the registered event. (But you should sign up for a gravel grinder, because they’re fun!)
Search Trail Link for rides using the keyword gravel, and you’re likely to come up with some options in many areas. These are rails to trails routes around the country, which are often well maintained. https://www.traillink.com
You can also find a few sites that focus on specific states: