The Top Fifteen Motorcycle Riding Trips in the USA – And Our List of Hidden Gems
The Perfect Motorcycle Road Trip
Without the proper road, riding your motorcycle would just be, well, dull.
A long jaunt down the highway surrounded by cagers commuting to their jobs while they simultaneously apply makeup, text their pals, read the news on Yahoo! and fiddle with their XM satellite radio dials is not only horrible in the extreme, but dangerous as well.
Beginning in 1924, the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) has carefully considered the future of motorcycling and promoted motorcycling in all it’s various forms. One of the most useful things the association has done recently is poll its 230,000 members to come up with a list of roads sure to make your ride scenic and memorable. AMA President and CEO, Rob Dingman, asked his members to nominate 100 roads they think are the best in the U.S. for motorcycling, and then narrow that list down to the top fifteen.
Given that riders in the Western states have the advantage of year-round weather conditions most conducive to riding, the list is heavily biased along those geographic lines, so here it goes.
A List of the AMA’s Top Fifteen Roads to Ride
- Washington Route 129 and Oregon Route 3, Clarkston, Wash., to Enterprise, Ore.
- Ohio Route 170, Calcutta to Poland.
- California Route 58, McKittrick to Santa Margarita.
- U.S. Route 33, Harrisonburg, Va., to Seneca Rocks, W.Va.
- Natchez Trace, from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville, Tenn.
- Angeles Crest Highway, California Route 2.
- U.S. Route 12, Lolo Pass, Idaho and Montana.
- California Route 36.
- Cherohala Skyway, North Carolina and Tennessee.
- Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana.
- California Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway.
- U.S. Route 550, from Ouray to Durango, Colo.
- U.S. Route 129 — The Tail of the Dragon — on the North Carolina-Tennessee border.
- Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina.
- Beartooth Highway, Montana and Wyoming.
The Honorable Mention List
- Highway 12, Colorado
- Route 191, 180, 78, Arizona, New Mexico
- U.S. 191 (Alpine to Morenci) Arizona
- U.S. 16A South Dakota
- U.S. 50, Nevada
- Farm to Market 336, Texas
Our Killer List of Secret Midwest Favorites
I-135 from Bloomington, Indiana to the Ohio River at the border.
Most sections of the run include sharp turns which lead to breathtaking climbs and descents. The fall colors are awesome, and Brown County and the northern tip of the route is a camping and hiking mecca.
M 119 from Mackinaw City, Michigan to Harbor Springs, Michigan.
This ride follows the Lake Michigan lakeshore through what the locals call the “tunnel of trees,” and features perfect road surfaces and stunning scenery. Do yourself a favor and stop in lovely Wequetonsing, Michigan to see how the other half lives along Little Traverse Bay.
Want to forge your own path and ignore the excellent advice we’ve put together? Yeah, we know, you’re a rebel and you have to go your own way.
The AAA Triptik Travel Planner can give you an excellent starting point for your journey.
Now that you’re ready to roll and you’ve picked your route and destination, here are a few things to consider to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch:
- Leave a copy of your route and itinerary with someone reliable.
- Bring your spare bike and lock keys and keep them in your wallet.
- Hide a little cash somewhere on your bike.
- Throw a bottle of eye drops in your kit. You won’t be sorry.
- Seal important documents and smaller electronics in plastic bags. It might rain. Nuff said.
- A cell phone with a GPS app is a nice idea.
- Electricians tape, some zip ties, a multi-tool and a flash light are critical additions to your tool kit.
- Bring a camera with video capability, not optional.
- Pack light and buy what you need when you need it. A package of t-shirts is dirt cheap and space is at a premium on your bike.
- Cover your bike overnight. Saves time in the morning wiping off bird doody and dew
- Plan to ship any purchases you make on the road back home. It sucks tying stuff to your machine.
- Don’t stop in the middle of larger cities and thereby avoid the commuter traffic the next day.
- Keep your wits about you if you have to travel east or west directly into the sun in the morning and evening, you can’t see them and they can’t see you at those times.
- By all means, give your bike a fast road-worthiness check every day and every evening. What you might find could
- save your life, or at least keep you from suffering some serious road rash.