Overall Route Rating
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4.33 out of 5 Rider Rating 4.33
3 Reviews

Motorcycle Route Author

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By GJRonK (2501 McR Points) on Jul 10, 2020

Rider Reviews

GJRonK
2501 McR Points
July 11, 2020
-- I forgot to mention that the first 100 miles…
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Desert Rider
11 McR Points
July 28, 2020
Nice ride, but wouldn't place it in the top…
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Written Directions

California State Hwy. 96 is on Hwy. 299 about 40 miles east of Arcata on the coast and 100 miles west of Redding, CA. and runs about 150 miles north to Yreka. If you start at Willow Creek you'll have the sun at your back all day. Head due north for 80 miles, then the road curves and heads east along the Klamath River. The final 10 miles head south on Hwy. 263.

Scenery

What to do when one finds a gem. That is exactly what this 'Rider's Road' is all about. This is riding a gem in the most northern part of California without hardly any tourists crowding anything. It's nearby and map due north of the well-known Hwy. 36, is about the same length, same types of conifer trees and similar geology. While 36 cuts east/west across the mountain range, 96 travels north/south along the mountain ridges and along several rivers. Virtually every road along this route, except in the small towns, is on the side of a mountain. Therefore, you have a curve every time you cross where a stream flows. The big kahuna is the Klamath River which is the 2nd longest river in the state at 257 miles and is a free flowing river along here. You follow closely along its east/west route for about 60 miles, so not so much up and down, but still side to side. You???ll see tourists along the way on the east/west portion swimming, rafting, kayaking, and fishing at the many pullouts.

Drive Enjoyment

90% of the road is as smooth as you can get which makes the sweeping and occasional tight curves fun and easy to stay in control. I don???t know how many, but along some stretches there is turn after turn, most wider than the tight slow curves like on the Dragon, for example. There are many shady sections in the first half of the ride that during rainy periods, the wet spots will keep you awake. Some of the stretch in the last 30 miles have some tar snakes, but no potholes or sunken spots.

Tourism Opportunities

While the towns are every 30 miles, or so, they are small and no service can be guaranteed in any, although many have some food establishment. Willow Creek will always have gas and lodging, as will Yreka which has everything (although only one shop that can work on bikes that is listed). Also in Willow Creek is the Bigfoot Museum which some folks like. If you have time, the locals in the small towns are pretty friendly. Many are ancestors of the original Indians in the California mountains, so stop and visit if you can. I rate this area a 5 for those into river sports and hiking but don???t want large organized campgrounds. There are a few Forest Service campgrounds and a couple of private camps. The citified crowd would rate it a 2.

Motorcycle Road Additional info

Comparing this to Hwy. 36, same curves but less traffic, more trees. To ride only one, I would pick 96. I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked as there are rarely any good shoulders to pull over on.

Top Images

Alongside the Klamath
Rafting
Klamath River
Happy Camp Bigfoot
Perfect pavement
Share Your Comments ( 3 )
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GJRonK
July 11, 2020
2501 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Touring
-- I forgot to mention that the first 100 miles along the canyon walls gives wonderful views of the rivers below, some side roads to old mining camps, and heavily forested mountain sides of conifer trees (with needles that stay all year) rising up on unclimbable slopes, but there are so many curves, it's hard to take it all in. The last 50 miles are less curvy, and have more deciduous trees (that lose their leaves in winter), as you are at a lower elevation. --
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Desert Rider
July 28, 2020
11 McR Points
Motorcycle Type :
Nice ride, but wouldn't place it in the top category
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David Weis
September 20, 2020
8 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport - Touring
This route is one for the books. Great scenery and wonderful twisty roads. I went SW to NE, and the end of the route was really fun to ride. Heck. The whole road is fun to ride. I went in Aug 2020 before the fires, so the air was clear and the temp's hot. Very little traffic, with people moving over as needed. Will I ride this route again? Probably not unless I need to go from the coast over to the highway. But one for the books
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