Ready to hit the open road? And looking for an epic adventure? Add these ten incredible motorcycle rides to your bucket list and start checking them off.
Did you know that there are more than eight million registered motorcycles in the US alone? With the arrival of more sunshine and warmer temperatures, one of the major questions on many motorcyclists’ minds remains, “Where to next?”
While large events such as Sturgis and Daytona tend to get all of the coverage, they are by no means the be-all and end-all when it comes to chopper life.
Check out our list of 10 epic motorcycle rides sure to get your adrenaline pumping.
1. The Pacific Coast Highway in California
For the perfect mixture of scenic beauty and relaxation, you can’t beat the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Enjoy stunning beaches and towering redwood forests on this iconic route stretching 120 miles.
You’ll also see plenty of historic landmarks, such as the famous Hearst Castle, as you gently wind your way from Malibu, California, to the Oregon border.
To avoid crowds, consider motorcycle trips during the spring or fall when traffic dies down. Since temperatures at these times of the year can hover around chilly, pack plenty of layers so that you stay prepared for whatever nature metes out.
2. The Salmon River Scenic Byway in Idaho
You’ll have to stay on your toes throughout this 160-mile long ride. Why? Because the pristine forests you’ll drive through are filled with elk, deer, and moose.
That said, you’ll also pass through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the contiguous US.
Start in Stanley, located in the Sawtooth Mountains, before hopping on State Route 75 and then U.S. Route 93 roughly following the Continental Divide. On the border between Idaho and Montana, cross at the 7,104-foot Lost Trail Pass.
Consider bringing a rod and a fishing license. Much of the road mirrors the path eked out by the Salmon River, and its sunny banks will tempt you to angle for a fresh dinner catch.
3. U.S. Route 6 in Nevada
Although Nevada’s U.S. Route 50 gets all the attention as the “loneliest highway in the world,” truth be told it sees a fair amount of traffic. If you’re looking for true isolation surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Great Basin, pick U.S 6 instead.
It sees about five times less traffic than 50 and goes through some of the most gorgeous, high-elevation terrain in the Silver State. The road runs from the California border eastward towards Ely, a quaint town with a quirky Wild West past.
4. Navajo Route 13 in New Mexico
In the 19th century, emigrants headed West via Conestoga wagons named the present site of “Shiprock” in New Mexico. Why? From a distance, the rock formation evoked a towering ship with sails set.
Their wagons traveled on average eight miles per day, so they had a fair amount of time to think about what to call that rock. While you won’t have as much time, flying by on a hog, the sight remains impressive.
And that’s just the beginning. Departing along Navajo Route 13 from the adjoining town of Shiprock, New Mexico, you’ll enjoy iconic desert views on your way to Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona.
5. Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
If you’re ready to take John Denver up on a “Rocky Mountain High,” then Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado may just be the road for you. Sixty miles of twists and turns take you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of the Rockies.
Like the Salmon River Scenic Byway, you’ll trace your way up the Continental Divide. You should also take extra caution as you wind your way from Golden to Estes Park because deer, elk, and moose prove profuse.
6. Grand Staircase National Monument in Utah
Nothing beats Scenic Byway 12, one of the Southwest’s most iconic motorcycle trips. You’ll travel through 125-miles of stunning landscapes, from Capitol Reef Park to Petrified Forest State Park and Grand Staircase National Monument.
Just remember to give yourself extra time for this trip as there are many roadside attractions that you’ll want to stop and check out. These include some Native American villages more than 1,000 years in the making.
7. Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia
For a more substantial road trip, check out the 450-mile-long motorcycle roads of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Stretching from North Carolina to Virginia, you’ll enjoy countless historic destinations including 19th-century Civil War battlefields and monuments.
Passing through the Blue Ridge Mountains and ending near Asheville, North Carolina, you’ll have to take this one at an easy 45 miles per hour. Why? Due to the roadway’s serious curves and changes in altitude.
8. Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee and Alabama
Another great way to explore old Civil War battle sites, the Natchez Trace Parkway passes through 450 miles of pastoral farmland punctuated by cypress swampland. You’ll need to pack in supplies as there are no stores along the byway.
But you’ll find plenty of opportunities to stay at a quaint bed and breakfast. Other accommodations include campgrounds and lodges. A National Scenic Byway, Natchez Trace Parkway requires a minimum of three days for sufficient exploration.
9. Beartooth Highway in Montana and Wyoming
Ready for a fun challenge? Then, give the Beartooth Highway in Montana and Wyoming a try. One of the best motorcycle roads out there, you’ll get opportunities to practice hairpin turns as well as reach heights of more than 10,000 feet.
The scenic drive features awe-inspiring meadows filled with wildflowers above which snow-capped mountains tower. Ending at Cooke City, the drive also plants you in the perfect spot to access Yellowstone National Park from the northern entrance.
10. Going to the Sun Road in Montana
If you’re looking for a more remote route like U.S. 6 in Nevada, you should also give Going to the Sun Road a try. It offers 50 miles of hilly, adrenaline-pumping roadways only accessible during the summer.
You’ll run through Glacier National Park in the process and visit Lake McDonald after more than half a mile climb.
Although Montana doesn’t require helmets for adult motorcycle riders and passengers, bring them anyway. Windy, unpredictable conditions make them a must.
Motorcycle Road Trip Planning Checklist
We hope our list provided you with a little inspiration for your next motorcycle road trip. But before you head out, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Invest in an excellent windshield so that you don’t spend your whole trip fighting the wind.
As for maintenance, check your bike out thoroughly before leaving. That means changing out the fluids, getting the valves calibrated, having the fuel system cleaned, and more.
Make sure you always wear a full-face helmet and consider investing in earplugs, extra gloves, and a neck wrap (to stay cool). Get the full motorcycle road trip planning checklist here.
Finally, keep contact information for a good motorcycle accident lawyeron hand, just in case.
The Best Motorcycle Rides
From the Rocky Mountain heights of Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado to the historic path cut by the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee and Alabama, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to stunning motorcycle rides.
Ready for more inspiration to pump up your summer travel options? Check out these other great road trip ideas.
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze