The Eastern Express Bike Route

UPDATE — As of June 2019 there are still a number of detours and closures on the C&O Canal towpath because of damage caused by flooding in May 2018. For current information, go to: 

The route is also affected by flooding on the Mississippi River around Alton, IL and on the Missouri River, with closures/detours on the KATY Trail from MM 125 to MM 180.9, between Mokane and west of Rocheport. For the most current conditions on the KATY Trail, go to: 

This website is your guide to the “eastern express” addition to the Adventure Cycling Association’s legendary TransAmerica bike route. This new route provides a welcome option for TransAm cyclists to bypass the severe mountain climbs and nasty dogs that confront cyclists in southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southern Missouri on the eastern half of the existing route. Almost 600 of the 2,100+ miles of this new route are on dedicated bike/pedestrian paths, towpaths, or rail-trails. It also replaces three major high-altitude climbs in Colorado with one gradual and scenic climb to the Continental Divide.

Starting in Washington, DC, westbound riders on this route will take an estimated 36 pedaling days
(and much less climbing) to reach Walden, CO compared with a typical 50 pedaling days for Adventure Cycling’s self-contained tours to reach Walden on the original TransAm route. The downloadable materials on this site will enable you plan your ride, to ride the route, and/or to participate in crowd-sourcing the refinement of this new route.

  1. Get started by going to the “Route Overview” page, and download the documents there that will give you the big-picture view of the route and why it has been created.
  2. Then go to the downloadable PDF documents with the day-to-day riding details (maps, cue sheets, service directories, links to GPX and TCX files, etc) which are available on four other pages on this site that cover the westbound segments of the journey:

And there are two other options
(1) A TransAm eastern “connector” route that allows riders to join the original TransAm route near Eureka, KS and continue west from there, rather than following the entire Eastern Express route all the way to join the original TransAm route in northern Colorado.
(2) An extension of the route to the Atlantic coast in Delaware, using a combination of existing bikeways along the east coast of the U.S.

Although there is currently only documentation for westbound rides on the route, you can use the online RideWithGPS website to reverse the daily route data. (Updated 6/19/2017)

You may contact me directly to provide comments, corrections, suggestions, etc. regarding this new route. I am especially interested in hearing from cyclists who live near, or have ridden on, any parts of this route.

Finally, please visit the Updates & Addenda Page before riding on any part of this route, to ensure that you have the latest information that has been reported on the route and its services.


  1. The research and production of the documents for this bike route are the result of an individual voluntary, nonprofit effort. These materials are copyrighted, and may not be sold or otherwise used for commercial purposes.
  2. The user-friendly online resources at were indispensable for creating the maps and elevation profiles in these documents, and I would encourage all cyclists to make use of these tools to share and improve their own riding experience.