Have you ever asked the question: Where are the best motorcycle rides near me?
Whether you are simply looking for new motorcycle rides & roads to try or if you are specifically trying to find the very best motorcycle rides in your state, learning of all your options may be more difficult than you realize. Even motorcycle riders with years of experience riding in a particular state/area can stumble on to a great motorcycle ride that they had driven past a thousand times. Or these riders can talk to another motorcycle rider and find out about a local/great motorcycle road in an area that they’ve never thought could have such a great ride. So, MotorcycleRoads.com (McR) has put together this quick guide to help you definitively answer the question - “What are my best options for Motorcycle Rides Near Me?” Note: all the route rankings you will see below were accurate as of Dec 2019, however, motorcycle ride popularity changes over time so don’t be surprised if the ranking numbers change at some point.
US Motorcycle Riding Hotspots
First, if you are a motorcycle rider that is willing to travel to wherever the best motorcycle rides are, then I need to tell you about some motorcycle riding HOTSPOTS in the USA. After 20+ years of collecting information on 1,000s of motorcycle roads & rides, collecting countless rider reviews and ratings of those roads along with endless photos and videos, I’ve been able to determine the location of some very active hotspots for US motorcycle rides. In this article I highlight four these powerful ‘magnets for motorcycling’ in the map image below and summarized each of the riding hotspots as well. Some locations are well known for attracting motorcycle riders yet others I highlight will probably surprise you!
Motorcycle Riding Hotspot #1 - The Blue Ridge Box
There is one hotspot that stands out when it comes to the having the highest quality, best motorcycle roads in the USA: The Blueridge Box (an approximate 50x50 mile “box” located at the southern end of the Blue Ridge mountains and including portions of SE Tennessee, SW North Carolina, NE Georgia, and NW South Carolina). This concentrated collection of spectacular motorcycle rides is home to a motorcycle ride that has been named a top motorcycle ride in the USA as long as the site has been running: The Tail of the Dragon (AKA Deal’s Gap). The Dragon draws enough attention and riders from around the world that it alone could probably constitute a motorcycle riding hot spot yet the Blue Ridge Box contains many, many more top motorcycle roads including:
- As mentioned above, the #1 motorcycle ride in both North Carolina and Tennessee (the route straddles the border) – The Tail of the Dragon
- The number # 1 motorcycle ride in Virginia The southern leg of the Blue Ridge Parkway
- The #4 most popular motorcycle ride in North Carolina – The Hellbender 28
- The #2 motorcycle road in both North Carolina and Tennessee (the route straddles the border) The Cherohala Skyway
- And three of the Top 5 Georgia motorcycle rides – The Suches Loop, The Extended Suches Loop, and the Northern Georgia Scenic Byway Loop
- And the #2 most popular motorcycle ride in South Carolina – The Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway
Motorcycle Riding Hotspot #2 - Southeast Ohio
Probably not the first state that comes to mind when you think of motorcycle riding hot spots, but Ohio’s southeast corner, is bustling with wonderful twisty motorcycle roads that draw riders in from all over the country. The curves come from the marvelous for motorcycles topography/terrain of this area that is referred to as the Appalachian Plateau. The Appalachian Plateau is region covered in rolling hills and valleys that get particularly steeper and more pronounced as you go further south making this the most rugged region of Ohio and potentially that of the entire US Midwest. Southeast Ohio absolutely dominates in terms of the most popular motorcycle rides in the Midwest region with 4 of the Top 5 ranked routes. So if you are looking for a Midwestern motorcycle hotspot and love curves and twistees, check out these favorites:
- #1 motorcycle ride in all of the Midwest – Ohio’s Triple Nickel – Route 555
- #2 motorcycle ride in Ohio (and #3 in the Midwest) The Ohio Cousin of the Tail of the Dragon
- #3 motorcycle ride in Ohio (and #4 in the Midwest) Ohio Route 26
- #4 motorcycle ride in Ohio (and #5 in the Midwest) Ohio’s Dragon’s Tail
Motorcycle Riding Hotspot #3 - The Colorado Rockies
Probably the least surprising of the list of four hotspots for motorcycle rides is The Colorado Rockies. Not only does Colorado have a great reputation around the world for stunning mountain scenery but the motorcycle riding community has been flocking to the state for great motorcycle roads for many decades. Putting the obviousness of this recommendation aside, if you have never been to this region of the country on a motorcycle, you really should place a motorcycle trip here high on your list. The particular regions of the Colorado Rockies that stand out for motorcycle rides are the Southwest corner (the Durango, CO area) and the Northcentral region (just west of Fort Collins, CO).
- In this region you’ll find Southwest Colorado’s epic motorcycle ride: The San Juan Skyway which is currently the #1 motorcycle ride in all of Colorado. This motorcycle road also includes the famous stretch of Colorado road referred to as the Million Dollar Highway (I was interviewed on the Weather Channel about this road – Million Dollar Highway video clip 1, Million Dollar Highway video clip 2)
- Just a short drive to the north is another truly incredible motorcycle ride referred to as The Black Canyon Run currently rated the #5 best motorcycle ride in Colorado. This route is one of my personal favorites in Colorado and was literally the road that inspired me to start MotorcycleRoads.com back in 1998! I just drove this road with my dad recently in the fall of 2018 and forgotten how amazing it is. It offers amazing yet VERY different scenery views on each side of the road … an immense canyon on the southern side of the road and alpine mountain splendor on the north side of the road (visit the description page and you’ll see what I mean)
- Over in Northcentral Colorado you’ll find two more amazing Colorado Rocky motorcycle rides … the first is the Waldon Loop (the #2 best motorcycle road in Colorado) and the second is The Peak to Peak Highway (the #3 best motorcycle road in Colorado)
Motorcycle Riding Hotspot #4 - Northwest Arkansas
When I began MotorcycleRoads.com way back in 1998, I would have never guessed that Northwest Arkansas would end up being one of the motorcycle riding hotspots in the USA but it undoubtedly is! This region of Arkansas is home to portions of the Ozark mountains and with its mountainous terrain, fertile forests, deep valleys and many waterways, it simply makes for an ideal setting for motorcycle riding. This area is home to all the Top-5 motorcycle rides in Arkansas; two of which are in the Top 20 motorcycle rides in the entire USA. It also is only fair to note that fantastic Ozark mountain motorcycle roads are also available in nearby in Southwest Missouri and Eastern Oklahoma.
- The famous Arkansas Pig Trail (Arkansas 23) is the #1 route in Arkansas and currently ranked the #9 in the entire USA
- The Talimena National Scenic Byway is the #1 motorcycle road in Oklahoma and extends into eastern Arkansas
- The Arkansas Dragon (Hwy 123) is the #2 motorcycle ride in Arkansas and also in the current Top 20 of US motorcycle roads
- Push Mountain Road and Highway 7 round out the list of Top 5 Arkansas motorcycle rides
Iconic US Motorcycle Rides
If you are however looking for motorcycle rides that are considered the very best of the best, there are a handful of US Motorcycle roads that have reached iconic status. These are rides that every motorcycle riding enthusiast should add to his/her motorcycle ride bucket list. Below we provide you with a summary as a way of wetting your appetite and each summary includes a link to a dedicated description page complete with priceless Rider Ratings & comments, photos, videos, and more!
- The Dragon – This is a route that goes by many names – The Dragon, the Tail of the Dragon, Deal’s Gap, and/or the Dragon’s Tail. Although there are many differing opinions about which of these names are correct, there is little debate about the fact that this is the most famous motorcycle road in the USA and probably the world for that matter. Despite the fact that its reputation is HUGE, its size is SMALL … it’s a mere 11mile ride … it straddles the Tennessee and North Carolina border (most of those 11-miles are in fact in Tennessee). Setting all that aside however, this motorcycle ride has earned its reputation and the throngs of motorcycle riders that travel from all locations to ride those 11miles and the notorious 318 curves it is proudly known for.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway – like The Dragon, the next motorcycle ride is also world famous yet at the entire other end of the spectrum in terms length as this motorcycle ride boast a whopping 469miles! This road was built as one of the FDR works projects and takes riders through both North Carolina and Virginia and specializes in breathtaking scenery at a leisurely pace as the highest speed limit on this route is a mere 45 MPH!
- Three Sisters – as the song goes, “deep in the heart of Texas” is another truly iconic motorcycle ride, also with a few different names: Ranch Roads 335, 336,337a, or “The Twisted Sisters,” or simply “The Three Sisters.” This motorcycle route lies in an area known as Texas Hill country https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Hill_Country which lies just north/northwest of San Antonio Texas. And, this route perpetually battles back and forth as the #1 motorcycle ride in the USA with the Dragon.
- Hwy 1 - Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) – If you’re looking for the iconic motorcycle ride in the west then you’ll need to travel to the Pacific Coast and ride one of the most famous scenic rides in all of the world – Highway 1 or simply the PCH as many of the locals call it. This classic route has been luring motorcycle riders to its pavement as a classic American road trip as long as that has been a thing. Unlike most of the iconic motorcycle roads in the list, this road is motorcycle drivable year-round as it inherits its ultra-mild climate from the Pacific Ocean the route clings to for its entire path.
- The Tunnel of Trees Road – Like the Pacific Coast Highway discussed above, the next iconic motorcycle ride is also a “shore hugger.” This route however isn’t to the west but instead to the far North as it travels through Northwestern Michigan along Lake Michigan’s eastern shoreline. A perennial favorite as a Midwest motorcycle ride, this route features not only great lake shore scenery off to the west but also, as the name implies, a shade rich canopy of foliage from above. Additionally, this route has plenty of tourism options along its path and therefore is a favorite among motorcycle riding couples.
- Beartooth Pass – the last iconic American motorcycle ride on our list is the most extreme in many aspects. It is the Beartooth Pass located in a sparsely populated area in northern Wyoming and crossing over into an equally sparsely populated area of Southern Montana. This route is also extreme not only because of its high altitudes, its hairpin turns, or its sheer cliffs along its path but also because of the snow conditions, which are often times a factor into the heart of summer.
The Best Motorcycle Rides Near You
If you don’t happen to live near any of the US motorcycle riding hotspots or iconic motorcycle rides described above and are simply asking the question, “Where are the best motorcycle rides near me?”, then below is a link to the best motorcycle rides in all 50 US states, multiple US regions (e.g., midwest, Rock Mountain, etc.) … simply click on your state or region and you’ll be taken to the one of our motorcycle ride index pages describing the best motorcycle roads near you! From there you can sort on the motorcycle roads with the best scenery, the most fun to ride, and/or the most tourism opportunities to do along the way … whatever your preferences are in choosing an enjoyable motorcycle ride. While visiting McR, make sure you add all the motorcycle rides you are interested in to your “To Ride” list as well as add the motorcycle rides near you that you have already tried to your “Rode It” list! By placing these motorcycle rides in your McR profile’s lists, you’ll be able to keep track of them over the years and come back to the list whenever you’re ready to plan your next motorcycle trip!
- Appalachian Mountains
- Atlantic Coast
- East coast
- Great Lakes
- Middle Atlantic
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- Rocky Mountain
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
As always, I hope to provide you with insightful motorcycle riding community information to help you get the most out of all of your motorcycle experiences. If you have suggestions or better yet, a favorite motorcycle ride of yours that is not yet registered at MotorcycleRoads.com, please add it to list of registered motorcycle roads.
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