If you’re a motorcycle owner, you probably already know all about the sense of freedom it offers. This kind of road trip is a much better way to get close to the beauty of nature than being behind the wheel of a car. The question isn’t whether to drive on four wheels or two, it’s probably where to go. These journeys are some of the very best motorcycle road trips you can take in the United States.
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The Black Hills, South Dakota (Hotel Prices & Photos)
As most bike owners know, the Black Hills of South Dakota is a world-renowned region that hosts the famous Sturgis Rally. During the rally, which dates back to the 1930s, every town within 100 miles of Sturgis, including places like Deadwood, Custer and Hill City, as well as one of the country’s largest and most scenic state parks: Custer State Park, is filled with motorcycles and their riders. Of course, you can go anytime the weather cooperates, rolling across places like the park’s Needles Highway, a 67-mile-route filled with switchbacks and tight curves, as well as three tunnels designed to frame Mount Rushmore, making it one of the best. Along the way, take a break at beautiful Sylvan Lake – jump in for a dip or rent a boat and paddle around.
Pacific Coast Highway, California (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Highway One is one of the world’s most legendary drives, particularly along the 123-mile winding, cliff-hugging stretch between Monterey and Big Sur on California’s central coast. Here, mountains plunge down to the roaring waves of the Pacific on one side while majestic, towering redwoods are on the other. Just when you thought the views couldn’t get any better, as you venture further south, you’ll continue to be amazed at the increasingly beautiful scenery that includes deep gorges cutting through rugged mountains, pine forests that extend to the edge of sandy beaches and even cascading falls that plunge to the sea below. Pfeiffer State Beach is a great stop near Big Sur, home to a rare purple sand beach, with its hue derived from the manganese garnet deposits that are found in the surrounding rocks.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Blue Ridge Parkway travels some 500 miles through the famous Appalachian Mountains, with plenty of noteworthy stops like the Peaks of Otter, Humpback Rocks, and the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. In North Carolina, check out Linville Falls as well as the Craggy Gardens where you’ll see colorful flower-filled summits, while Doughton Park offers fantastic wildlife watching. If you want to stretch your legs, there are more than 350 miles of trails to hike along the route too, including access to the Appalachian Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Golfing, kayaking and canoeing, cycling and fishing are just a few of the other options.
Million Dollar Highway, Colorado (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Million Dollar Highway follows a 25-mile stretch of US Highway 550 between Silverton and Ouray in southwestern Colorado. It features endless twists and turns along the edge of sheer cliffs, which is why many consider it to be rather harrowing, but it also brings some of the world’s most jaw-dropping views. As you wind around each bend, there are more and more dramatic vistas of the soaring, jagged peaks of the San Juan Mountains. You’ll find lots to do in the towns at either end as well, with Ouray offering a fabulous hot springs pool and a main street lined with century-old Victorian and old western mining town-style buildings as a National Historic District. Much of Silverton is also designated National Historic District and there are a number of places for uncovering the past, like the old county jail, Old Hundred Gold Mine, and the Mayflower Gold Mill National Historic Site.
Turquoise Trail, New Mexico (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Land of Enchantment offers plenty of enticing rides, although the Turquoise Trail is truly one of the best of the best. Often ranked as New Mexico’s most scenic motorcycle drive, this historic National Scenic Byway links Albuquerque and Santa Fe traversing woodland areas and quaint historic mining towns while boasting breathtaking views of the mountains and wildlife.
Rocky Mountain National Park Loop (Hotel Prices & Photos)
This 184-mile loop features some of the most jaw-dropping views in Rocky Mountain National Park. There are plenty of tight curves and hairpin turns along the way, with one of the highlights along Trail Ridge Road, the “Roof of the Rockies” at 12,183 feet above sea level. Even in the summer, you may see at least a dusting of snow on the peaks. The four-hour road trip begins in Denver and leads to Estes Park before traveling through the national park, west to Grand Lake, Granby, Fraser and Winter Park.
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (Hotel Prices & Photos)
A motorcycle road trip of a lifetime, this one is for the highly experienced, with bumpy gravel roads, turns and twists, as well as a good possibility of rain and even snow on the way to Prudhoe Bay, passing national parks like Denali and the Gates of the Arctic. There is about 60% of paved and 40% dirt or gravel road on the 1,885-mile-route, with plenty of awe-inspiring scenery and wildlife in one of America’s few true unspoiled landscapes, riding as far north as you can go on the North American Continent.
Going To The Sun Road, Montana (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The 50-mile highway that divides Glacier National Park east and west is aptly named, as it feels as if you’re truly “going to the sun” as you cross the Continental Divide. Often ranked among the most scenic roads to travel in the entire country, you’ll not only see plenty of gem-like turquoise glacial lakes, cedar forests and waterfalls, but lots of wildlife. At Logan Pass, the highest point on the road at 6,645 feet, mountain goats and bighorn sheep frequently hang out enjoying the rays of the sun right alongside the roadway.