Berkeley-based Backroads has been leading fantastic small-group hiking, cycling, and other adventure-oriented tours since 1979. Cycling trips take place on custom-built titanium bikes, lodging ranges from small luxury ships (imagine cycling beside and sailing down the Danube) to five-star hotels, and the food is as finely crafted as the routes. This year, watch for new U.S.-based trips like a five-day cycling tour of the Hudson River Valley, as well as weekend or long weekend getaways in Aspen’s glacial valleys and Texas Hill Country.
How Tour Operators Are Adapting as Travel Restarts
April 6, 2021
Backroads, which has run more than 200 of its trips since the pandemic began, assigns equipment such as hiking poles to individuals at the start of a trip to minimize gear sharing (it also sterilizes equipment daily).
As part of the movement to make travel more meaningful, the active multi-sport tour company Backroads is running a new Historic Underground Railroad Multi-Adventure Tour in Georgia and South Carolina. This tour is organized in conjunction with Outdoor Afro, a not for profit network of recreation leaders in 30 states who connect people of color to the outdoors and promote inclusion.
Book now, pay later: The new trend that’s reshaping travel during the pandemic
January 27, 2021
Backroads, an upscale tour operator with a focus on active trips, now allows travelers the option to cancel and receive a full refund of their deposit up until April 1 (or until their final payment due date, whichever comes first) in order to give guests more time to decide if travel will work for them without any financial risk. The company has also pushed back final payment due dates for all of its scheduled trips departing before July 1
Traveling With a Purpose: For Some, It’s a 2021 Resolution
January 21, 2021
The tour company Backroads, which provided the Underground Railroad Ride with mapping and route logistics, plans to offer a similarly themed biking and hiking trip to the public next October in conjunction with Outdoor Afro, a nonprofit organization that encourages Black participation in outdoor recreation and conservation.
An Inn or Bike Tour of Your Own: How to Make Buyouts More Affordable
January 12, 2021
The tour operator Backroads has created a division of trips somewhere between buyouts and group tours. The new Rendezvous option allows a small group — up to seven in Europe and nine in North America — to have its own support van and guide and the option to check in and out of events scheduled for the larger group.
The new Dolce Tempo trips (that's Italian for “sweet time”) from Backroads focus on what the outfitter calls “easygoing” hiking and biking itineraries in locales like Zion National Park and the Loire Valley meant to draw in travelers who might ordinarily opt for the view from the tour bus.
"We've heard from our guests how much they've enjoyed staying at some of the best hotels on the planet while traveling with Backroads to other continents," said Tom Hale, president and founder of the company. "These new North American trips are in a league of their own, with adventurous activities and amazing hotels that reflect the character and style of their regions."
With Americans Anxious to Go Out, Walking Tours Pick up Pace
October 10, 2020
With pandemic worry reducing participants on Backroads’ walking, hiking and bike tours by as much as 90% this year, they are rebuilding business with family- and private-group expeditions with a variety of approaches.
Adventure operators' new products provide relief from cabin fever
August 28, 2020
Many guided travel companies remain on hold due the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are some adventure operators that are up and running domestically and even putting together new products to lure virus-wary travelers out of the house.
While biking and hiking and kayaking trips are at the core of popular adventure travel offerings, they are not for everyone. So Backroads, a company that has long been the leader in active travel trips, has come up with an array of softer adventures for 2021.
E-Bikes Are The Hottest Thing On 2-Wheels: Here’s Why You Might Want One
July 9, 2020
Backroads named E-bikes as one the top trends of 2020 at the end of last year and before the pandemic anticipated putting 8,500 guests on them this year. "We know there are people out there, couples, for example, who can't ride together, and we want them to be able to ride together," said Backroads founder Tom Hale, a 35 year veteran of the cycling travel industry.
Hoping to take a vacation this summer? Why bike touring could be your safest bet
June 24, 2020
“These trips are so much fun,” she said. “If we can do this safely, we will. It’s outdoors in the fresh air, and I’m convinced that Backroads will do its best to keep us healthy. I have no doubt that every place we eat and stay will be clean.”
Backroads: Adventure Travel in A Challenging New World
June 16, 2020
[Backroads] has had to make adjustments to their itineraries, their travel style and raise the levels of health and safety. The good news is that their trips will resume next week. I caught up with their founder and president, Tom Hale, to ask him about adventure travel in the wake of Covid-19.
As electric bicycles become more common, they’re opening new doors for many older adults who can’t ride a conventional bicycle because of injury and health conditions or who feel unsafe trying it. E-bikes are giving seniors new access to the outdoors and physical activities. Help from the electric motor requires less exertion, enabling riders to tackle hills and tough terrain and travel farther in less time.