This blog post was updated on August 17, 2020.
Anybody who rides will tell you that few experiences can compare to cruising a perfect ribbon of road or conquering the curves of a winding mountain pass. Are you hoping to hit the highway this summer for a motorcycle road trip? Consider one of these 10 rides.
More prosaically known as US 212, this 69-mile stretch of National Scenic Byway runs from Red Lodge (Montana) to the Wyoming border at Beartooth Pass, leading into Yellowstone National Park at its northeastern entrance. It’s considered by many to be the most beautiful road in America. Heavy snowfall can keep it shut well into May and it closes for winter as early as mid-October.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Country roads take me home! America’s longest linear park – the Blue Ridge Parkway – runs more than 465 miles along the Blue Ridge section of the Appalachian Mountains through the states of North Carolina and Virginia. Highlights along the way include the Cherokee Indian Reservation, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Shenandoah National Park. For an extra epic panorama, cruise the parkway in the fall to witness its vibrant foliage.
California State Route 36
The “Curves Next 140 Miles” sign at the eastern end of this road in Red Bluff perhaps sums it up best: California State Route 36 is as twisty as it gets with a lot of shifty elevation changes and even a patch of Redwood Forest to take in as well along its 250-mile route. Not for the faint-hearted or the inexperienced – exercise caution if riding here.
This National Scenic Byway connects Tellico Plains (Tennessee) to Robbinsville (North Carolina). Ranging in elevation from 900 feet above sea level at the Tellico River in Tennessee to 5400 feet above sea level at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line at Haw Knob, the 43-mile Cherohala Skyway offers motorcyclists sweeping views and gentle curves along its route.
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With 318 curves in 11 miles of scenic mountain pass along US 129, Deal’s Gap (aka the “Tail of the Dragon”) offers the ultimate rush for experienced bikers. The route borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and winds along the Tennessee/North Carolina border (the hairiest bits are in Tennessee) and is a short ride away from the Cherohala Skyway.
Pacific Coast Highway
The classic road trip route, the famous Highway 1 runs 550 miles along the stunning California coast. The best bit for bikers is widely considered to be the 125-mile stretch from Big Sur to Morro Bay. Word to the wise: the ride’s more scenic and the sea’s more accessible if you do the trip north to south.
Get your kicks here and enjoy 2,450 miles of open-air Americana from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California. For small-town charm, kitschy roadside attractions, and plenty of amazing scenery, Route 66 is the way to go!
A word to the wise: this open road doesn’t have many signs, so do some prep work beforehand and map out where you want to go or any stops you want to make along the way. Or, you can even purchase a tour kit at the National History Route 66 Store.
The 109-mile Skyline Drive runs the full length of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Especially popular in the fall, the National Scenic Byway is among America’s prettiest and an ideal destination for lovers of the great outdoors.
The Three Sisters
The Twisted Sisters of Texas – comprised of Hill Country ranch roads 335, 336, and 337 – yield an exhilarating ride for confident motorcyclists looking for hilly curves and gorgeous views. This winding road stretches out to 100 miles!
With steep climbs and jagged hills, you won’t run out of adrenaline. One section even has 65 curves! If you’re an experienced, thrill-seeking rider, this road is definitely for you. There’s also an awesome panoramic view that you’ll probably see. Just make sure you keep your eyes on the road before you snap a photo.
Tunnel of Trees Road
The M-119, aka the Tunnel of Trees, could easily be described as one of the most scenic routes in Michigan, especially during the spring and the fall. While only 20 miles long, the ride hugs the lake, takes you past quaint towns, and through colorful forests.
Are you a motorcyclist cruising across America? Leave us a comment below about your best road trip memories.
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