There are more than 8 million registered motorcycles in the United States. The biggest question that owners face is where to travel during the spring, summer, and fall touring seasons.
Large motorcycle events like Daytona, Sturgis, and Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary Celebration attract thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts every year. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the great motorcycle rides across the country!
1. Route One in Maine
This road is more than 150 miles of scenic asphalt that leads from Brunswick to Machias in Maine. Rider-0s who would like to travel light will find scores of hotels along their path — and beautiful ocean views.
Many of the great motorcycle rides include opportunities for tourism. Route One offers detours through towns that have historic lighthouses and fresh seafood. Lobster restaurants are plentiful and fall is a beautiful time of year to visit.
Riders are advised to keep their eyes out for moose on the road and to avoid traveling at the peak of summer to bypass tourist traffic.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina & Virginia
Motorcyclists who are into stunning views will enjoy this 450 mile stretch of road between North Carolina and Virginia. Great motorcycle rides start off in historic Virginia and go through beautiful countryside. The journey goes past Civil War monuments and battle locations.
There is a 45 mile per hour speed limit due to the parkway’s altitude and curves. The second part of the ride passes through the Blue Ridge Mountains and finishes south of the city of Asheville in North Carolina.
Guidebooks recommend allotting at least two days to make this ride. Motorcyclists who are looking for longer rides can ride along the 100-mile long Skyline Drive that goes through Shenandoah National Park.
Booking hotels in advance are also recommended.
3. Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina and Tennessee
This 11-mile curvy, long stretch of U.S. Route 129 offers excitement for veteran riders. Every list of great motorcycle rides has to include the Tail of the Dragon, but caution is required.
The Tail of the Dragon has been featured on television and in movies. It offers opportunities for scenic detours through the town of Deal’s Gap, which is on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
There are no trucks allowed on the road. Experts recommend avoiding the Tail of the Dragon route during the winter months. There is a high possibility of encountering ice and snow on the road. Miatas at the Gap, formerly known as the Crossroads of Time, offers camping and annual beer and wine tasting events.
4. Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee & Alabama
The Natchez Trace Parkway traces a scenic route through more than 450 miles of historic Civil War sites, farmland, and cypress swampland. There are no stop signs and no trucks along one of the great motorcycle rides of the South.
Built in the 1930s, the Natchez Trace Parkway also offers riders the chance to tour ghost towns and to sample local barbecue. There are no stores on the parkway itself. However, there are local bed and breakfast places that offer camping and lodging options for travelers.
One of the great motorcycle rides in the United States, the Natchez Trace Parkway has received the title of National Scenic Byway. Motorcyclists are advised that running the entire road will take at least two to three days.
5. River Road in Texas
This is one of the shorter rides on this list of the great motorcycle rides in America. River Road follows a 115-mile path along the Rio Grande in Texas. Known for its scenic view of desert cliffs, River Road offers smooth cornering and relaxed traffic flow.
River Road offers travelers the chance to discover ancient volcanic eruptions, the Fort Leaton Historic Site, and even an old movie set in Big Bend State Park. There are opportunities for camping, hiking, and hunting abound. Locals recommend avoiding this road during the high summer season due to the risk of heat stroke.
Other local attractions include barbecue, trout fishing, local craft beer festivals, and a 15-mile driving loop through the Valley of the Gods. River Road begins in Candelaria and ends in Presidio, Texas.
6. Grand Staircase National Monument in Utah
Scenic Byway 12 offers one of the great motorcycle rides of the American Southwest. Its captivating scenery moves through Capitol Reef National Park and Petrified Forest State Park for more than 125 miles of curvy clifftop roads.
Travelers are advised that they should take at least two days to tour the entire area. There are Native American villages that are almost 1,000 years old.
Traveling during the area’s dry season is strongly encouraged. Tourists have a wide selection of camping sites to choose from.
The Grand Staircase Ride begins in Utah and follows U.S. Route 89 east to Torrey, Utah, passing through scenic canyons, cliffs, and mesas. Local hotels offer fly fishing, horseback riding, and hiking tours.
7. Going to the Sun Road in Montana
This remote road is considered one of the great motorcycle rides in the American West. It is only accessible during the summer months and stretches over 50 miles of thrilling, hilly roads.
Going to the Sun Road runs through Glacier National Park and climbs more than half a mile up to Lake McDonald, ending at the 6,600-foot tall peak of Logan Pass. Travelers are advised to check the weather before making this ride and to bring extra layers of clothing for colder weather.
Montana only requires helmets for underage motorcycle passengers. However, travelers are encouraged to wear helmets due to unpredictable and windy local weather.
Local hunting, fishing, and nature hikes are available to motorists. Meanwhile, Red Lodge, Montana hosts the Bear Tooth Rally every year.
8. Beartooth Highway in Montana & Wyoming
Beartooth Highway is an appealing stretch of road for motorcyclists who are ready to tackle hairpin turns. It starts in Red Lodge, Montana, and cuts through Beartooth Pass – more than 10,000 feet high!
The views of snowy mountaintops and meadows full of flowers are sensational. Beartooth Highway is one of the great motorcycle rides for travelers who would like to tour Yellowstone National Park. The highway ends right at Cooke City, which is the northern entrance to the park.
The best time of year to tour Beartooth Highway is in spring, summer, and early fall. Beartooth Pass is typically closed from October through late May due to heavy snowfall. Travelers should always check the local weather forecast before starting any trip.
9. Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
Peak to Peak Highway offers stunning scenery and almost 60 miles of twisty roads. It starts in Golden, Colorado and goes though Lake Canyon Park to Estes Park, one of the great motorcycle rides for spring and summertime.
There are lots of moose and elk along the road, so experts recommend being cautious with regard to speed. There are local hiking and scenic camping opportunities abound with the best time to visit in the spring and summer.
Peak to Peak Highway offers some of the best views of the Rocky Mountains from the viewpoint of the Continental Divide. It is often closed during the winter months due to inclement weather and travelers are advised to check local weather advisories.
10. Pacific Coast Highway in California
One of the truly great motorcycle rides in the West, the Pacific Coast Highway offers relaxation and scenic beauty. There are beaches, redwood forests, and curvy roads that stretch for more than 120 miles.
The entire Pacific Coast Highway runs from Malibu, California into Oregon. Travelers have a wide range of hiking and camping options. There is the famous Hearst Castle, which does require advance booking in addition to hundreds of dining options for day trippers.
Experts advise that the best time to travel the Pacific Coast Highway is in the spring and fall, as summer can be crowded in that part of the country. The road can get chilly and motorcyclists should dress in layers.
Take Great Motorcycle Rides at Any Time of Year
Driving a motorcycle is all about freedom, adventure, and new horizons. Whether the destination is Daytona Bike Week, Roar on the Shore, or anywhere else we’ve mentioned, the important thing is to get out on the road and experience the thrill.
Motorcycles are more environmentally-friendly than most cars and can be driven through most national parks. Traveling light, making new friends, and finding new roads make for some of the best adventures.
To find out more about motorcycle rallies across the United States, stay up to date with Biker Report’s latest posts about events and rallies. While summer is rally season, there are major events during spring and fall, as well.