One of the best ways to see any country is by motorcycle. Here are the most popular motorcycle routes in North America.
Carmel to Morro Bay. This scenic trip starts up in Big Sur and takes you on Pacific Coast Highway south for 120 miles of spectacular cliff and ocean views and the freshest air anywhere. Warm clothing is needed for foggy weather. Summer weekends are the busiest time of year so stick to weekdays and other seasons. Nervous riders may prefer the riding this route northbound and stay next to the mountain instead of the cliffside.
Beartooth Highway in southeastern Montana is best for riders wanting a roller-coaster with hairpins and switchbacks. Passing through both Custer and Shoshone National Forests, it’s filled with snow-capped peaks, lakes, and alpine meadows. The route descends to the northern gateway of Yellowstone National Park. A weather check before you leave is advisable.
Reach Peak to Peak Highway 119 by going north out of Golden. It’s a 60-mile strip with twists and turns and scenery that only Colorado’s Rocky Mountains can offer. Springtime brings the alpine meadows to full bloom beauty, but stay focused and keep your speed down as moose and elk are known to enjoy it as much as motorcyclists. Great for camping, or trail hiking to stretch your legs.
Just 250 miles southeast of El Paso is River Road which runs between Presidio and Candelaria, Texas. Following the Rio Grande on a 115-mile cliff-filled trail, River Road is filled with desert vistas and lava flows. RVers, pull over and take your Enduros off the trailer and explore a 17-mile loop for off-roaders through the Valley of the Gods. Summer trips are not recommended due to the heat.
Ride south through Virginia’s horse country and historical vistas. Investigate Civil War battle sites and then continue on to the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway or detour up to Skyline Drive and Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. Set aside a couple of days for this 400-500 mile ride.
Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi
Nashville to Natchez offers 10,000 years of history through a one-time migratory trail for buffalo and Native Americans. Now known as “The Natchez Trace Parkway” it runs 444 miles through the heart of Dixie. There’s more than you can see in one trip with ghost towns, Civil War battle sites, swamps, and lush farmlands. Make time to stop in Tupelo to see Elvis’ birthplace and museum. The Natchez Trace Parkway is also popular with bicyclists, as no large trucks are allowed.
Maine’s Coastal Route 1 brings you through seaside villages with scenic detours, historic lighthouse tours, and the occasional moose, so slow down and enjoy the ride. Since fresh-caught lobster is available year-round, plan a Spring or Fall trip to avoid Summer’s bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Vancouver to Edmonton or Calgary, Alberta
Some say these routes to either Edmonton or Calgary from Vancouver are their favorites. Both follow roads along milky-aquamarine rivers and streams through the Rockies. Both go through Canadian National Parks, Banff on the route to Calgary, and Jasper National Park on the route to Edmonton where hundreds of elk and big horn sheep are known to hang out in the middle of the road. The southern route to Calgary also offers a view of some 1988 Olympic venues, or you can end your Edmonton adventure at the largest mall in the world, the West Edmonton Mall.
These are just a few of the great motorcycle routes in North America. Choose one of them, make your bucket list of rides and check them off one by one. Whatever you choose, ride safely and have a wonderful time.