Sunflowers line the Tour de France

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Going the Extra Miles

The Link Trail is not only a scenic and interesting intermodal route for backpackers, cyclists, auto tourists and more. It ranks very high as one of the nation's best candidates for an American version of the world-renowned Tour de France.

The Tour de France is a 21-day multi-stage cycling road race that takes place over 23 days, roughly covering 2,200 miles. It passes through scenic regions and by iconic landmarks of France and adjacent countries.

The Link Trail covers some of the United States' most scenic landscapes, and passes by many of the nation's most intriguing iconic and storied places. A preliminary survey concludes that a multi-stage race across the American Heartland will utilize many prominent and exciting routes and challenging terrain, covering about 1,800 miles in 18 days, over a 21 day period.

A few of the exciting routes, iconic and storied places, and scenic landscapes are listed below.


Above photo: Sunflowers line a section of the Tour de France route. Photo courtesy of Le Tour de France.



A multi-stage road cycling tour presents opportunities for spectators from across the nation and around the world to witness
the action up close along a scenic route. Photo courtesy of Le Tour de France.


The Route

1,800 Miles of Dramatic Scenery and Challenging Terrain

The route will cross a wide variety of natural, rural, agricultural and industrial landscapes, including:

Appalachian Mountains
Tennessee Valley
Eastern Highland Rim
Red Clay Hills
Mississippi Delta
Ouachita Mountains
Kiamichi Mountains
Blackland Prairies
Arbuckle Mountains (hills)
Wichita Mountains
Grasslands
Anadarko Basin
Canadian River
Southern Great Plains/High Plains of the Texas Panhandle
Black Mesa
Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field
Rocky Mountains
More

Alternate possibilities for stages include: Ozark Mountains, Texas Hill Country, Llano Estacado (Palo Duro/Caprock Canyons region), San Juis Valley, Zuni Mountains, Plains of San Augustin, Gila Wilderness and the Turquoise Trail


The tour will pass near and stop in many interesting American cities, including:

Chattanooga, TN
Huntsville, AL
Decatur, AL
Florence, AL
Muscle Shoals, AL
Tupelo, MS
Oxford, MS
Memphis, TN
Little Rock, AR
Hot Springs, AR
Paris, TX
Plano, TX
Dallas, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Denton, TX
Davis, OK
Lawton/Medicine Park, OK
Clinton/Elk City, OK
Shamrock, TX
Amarillo, TX
Raton, NM
Las Vegas, NM
Taos, NM
Santa Fe, NM
More


Many of the cities on the corridor are prominent tourist attractions and recreation communities. They provide visitors with many dynamic experiences and serve a wide variety of interests, from diverse cultures, historic and political events, and storied industries, to America's rich music legacy.


Map of the 2017 Tour de France
A map of the 2017 Tour de France displays the way multi-stage competitive cycling tours function. A road cycling tour on the Link Trail corridor will present similar opportunities and challenges, while highlighting many of the nation's best features.



Exciting Potential Stages

Moonshiner 28
Tail of the Dragon
Cherohala Skyway
Mississippi Scenic Highway 315
The Great River Road Scenic Byway
Arkansas Scenic Byway 7
Talimena Scenic Byway
Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway
Dry Cimarron Highway
Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway
The Mountain Road (the High Road to Taos)
Carson National Forest (Tres Piedras to Abiquiu)
More


Iconic and Storied Places

Mississippi River
Historic Route 66
Tennessee River
Natchez Trace
Hot Springs National Park
Tupelo, MS (birthplace of Elvis Presley)
The Crossroads (Hwy 49 and Hwy 61)
U.S. Highway 61 (the Blues Highway)
Memphis, TN
Clarksdale, MS
Medicine Park, OK
Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
Santuario de Chimayo (Chimayo, NM)
Taos Pueblo (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Santa Fe Square
More


Scenic Landscapes

Great Smoky Mountains (Appalachian Mountains)
Fontana Lake
Guntersville Lake
Wheeler Lake
Cumberland Plateau
National Grasslands (Black Kettle National Grassland, Rita Blanca National Grassland, Kiowa National Grassland)
National Forests (Holly Springs National Forest, St Francis National Forest, Ouachita National Forest)
Sierra Grande
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Sangre de Cristo Mountains (Rocky Mountains)
Rio Grande Gorge
More


The Link Trail corridor also provides access to many historic places and educational resources. View an overview on the Trail Details page.


Competition on the Tour de France
A multi-stage competitive tour along the Link Trail corridor will attract the caliber of athletes who seek world-class
racing that is a hallmark by the Tour de France. Photo courtesy of Le Tour de France.



Scenery on the Tour de France
Like the Tour de France, competitors and fans on a tour across the American Heartland will witness spectacular scenery
and visit exciting places. Photo courtesy of Le Tour de France.




Though many of the best scenic routes will pass through natural and rural areas, some stages during the three-week race
will start and end in interesting communities along the cross-country route. Photo by Heidas.



To volunteer or support the prospect of a competitive cycling tour on the Link Trail corridor, please review the What You Can Do page.



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