If you want to get the most out of your riding, touring across the country is one of the best adventures to take on. There's nothing like the sense of freedom that comes from travelling the open roads and zipping through all the twists and turns along the way.
So if you're looking for a satisfying road trip with plenty of scenery, here are some of the best touring routes that the USA has to offer. No matter where you're located, there's no shortage of fantastic routes with breathtaking views to enjoy.
Top 25 Motorcycle Routes in the United States in 2023
Skyline Boulevard - California
A popular riding destination in the San Francisco Bay area, this route features stunning views of the Santa Cruz mountains along with plenty of curves for a challenging but exciting riding experience.
Riders can enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean along with iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Silicon Valley, and the city of San Francisco itself. Measuring about 50 miles, this is a popular route full of winding mountainous roads where you'll have no shortage of company from fellow riders, especially on weekends.
Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1 – California
Running along the California coastline, this route is perfect for experiencing majestic coastal views. Covering about 655 miles, you'll pass through plenty of coastal cities like Malibu, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Monterey, and San Francisco.
With curvy roads and stunning views, not to mention all the places you can stop to take a load off, this route offers a bit of everything to keep every kind of rider satisfied.
Coastal Route 1, US Highway 1 – Maine
Maine is an often-neglected but unique state that offers riders an experience that can't be found anywhere else in the country. U.S. Highway 1 will take you through the state's Eastern region, providing an opportunity to enjoy the lobster and forestry that Maine is known for along the way.
Clocking in at about 526 miles, this route can be accomplished in just a few days or over an entire week if you want a more relaxed ride. The most scenic part of this highway, known as the Coastal Route, runs along the coastline and offers bikers some gorgeous ocean views.
Officially it's not called the "Devil's Highway" anymore, but this wild ride got its name for a reason. Tight curves and elevation changes make this a challenging experience that will put your riding skills to the test.
Starting near the town of Ganado, this route crosses the Navajo Nation and continues northward before leaving Arizona and entering Colorado. Enjoy a sense of solitude and peace as you drive through the open desert roads of Arizona.
Death Valley Loop - Nevada
As the name suggests, the Death Valley Loop is a thrilling but challenging ride that will test the mettle of a motorcycle rider. Starting in the town of Lone Pine in California, this ride will take you between 250-300 miles, depending on which route you take, and ends at the Death Valley National Park.
Sweeping curves, dramatic landscapes, and extreme temperatures make this loop a ride you won't soon forget. Try to plan your ride during the milder seasons to avoid the scorching desert heat. You might find yourself unable to resupply for long stretches at a time, so plan accordingly.
Twisted Sisters - Texas
This 100-mile loop is a wild ride that takes you through canyons, jagged hills, and plenty of high-energy twists. There's one intense 15-mile section where you'll encounter about 65 curves!
With little in the way of guardrails, this journey will test both your skills and your courage. While there's plenty in the way of scenery to enjoy, riders are cautioned to focus on the road ahead when taking on this route. Don't forget to start with a full gas tank either.
Tail of the Dragon, US 129 – North Carolina
The Tail of the Dragon, or simply The Dragon, is one of the most famous motorcycle rides in the world. Despite only stretching for 11 miles. this high-octane road boasts a stunning 318 curves!
Taking on this road, or "riding the dragon", has become something of a destination point among motorcyclists because of its fearsome reputation. Riders are cautioned to bring their wits and their skills if they dare to brave this famous route. Do you have what it takes to ride the dragon?
San Juan Mountain Skyway - Colorado
Located in Southwestern Colorado, this majestic ride forms a loop that covers the incredible San Juan mountains. This scenic route combines exhilarating curves with spectacular mountain scenery to make for an unforgettable ride.
Covering about 236 miles, this mammoth ride will test both your endurance and your skills. With thrilling turns, switchbacks, and dramatic elevation changes, the San Juan Skyway is an engaging experience for motorcycle riders.
Route 66 - New Mexico
You had to know it was coming. This iconic highway holds a special place in American culture and is perfect for anyone looking for that classic road trip. Stretching 2,448 miles from Chicago in the east to Santa Monica in the west, Route 66 crosses eight states and gives riders the ultimate experience of what the U.S. has to offer.
From small towns to bustling cities, this legendary route will take about 7 to 10 days and bring you across plenty of diverse landscapes. Some notable attractions include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, and the Santa Monica Pier in California.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina – Virginia
This ride stretches for 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains, packing a healthy mix of scenic beauty with mountain riding. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the states of Virginia and North Carolina, connecting the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
It's a long ride that provides a chance to explore some of America's natural beauty firsthand. Visit some of the charming towns along the way or feel free to jump off the bike and explore the Appalachian Trail on foot.
Black Hills - South Dakota
Whether you've come to South Dakota to hit up the Sturgis motorcycle rally or you're just taking in the sights, the Black Hills of South Dakota is a huge area that's ripe for exploration. It's a massive 1.2 million acres of rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, and deep blue lakes.
The Black Hills have routes that cater to riders of all skill levels, so just pick your poison and set off. Some popular routes include the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, Iron Mountain Road, Wildlife Loop Road, and Needles Highway.
The region is home to some iconic landmarks including Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, and the Needles Highway. The whole area is just a smorgasbord for bikers, with every kind of attraction you could ask for.
Cherohala Skyway - Tennessee and North Carolina
If you're looking for an isolated ride away from civilisation then this is the road for you. The Cherohala Skyway, named after the two nearby national forests, is a rider's dream that offers breathtaking views as far as the eye can see.
This lonely, sometimes desolate road extends for about 43 miles and gives riders a special feeling of isolation and peace. Just make sure to stock up on fuel and supplies, because there's little evidence of civilisation on this scenic route.
Going-To-The-Sun Road - Montana
Located in Glacier National Park in Montana, this ride offers up incredible mountain scenery and alpine meadows. With a healthy dose of tight corners and elevation changes, you can enjoy the incredible views but still get a kick out of the challenge.
This 50-mile journey will take you through the heart of the park, so you can stop at any point of your choosing and take in some nature along the way. Services and amenities may be limited, so take along some provisions and fuel if you plan to take on this ride.
A scenic byway that stretches from Montana to Wyoming, this motorcycle ride offers stunning mountain vistas, challenging curves, and high elevations. At its steepest point at Beartooth Pass, it reaches an elevation of 10,947 feet!
This 68-mile journey traverses the Beartooth Plateau and packs plenty of majestic views along the way. Riders can explore the charming town of Red Lodge and finish up near the famous Yellowstone National Park.
Needles Highway - South Dakota
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, this route gets its name from the surrounding towering granite rock formations referred to as "needles". With amazing views of forests and valleys, this scenic motorcycle route is one for nature lovers.
A short ride at only 14 miles, you can smash this out in the morning or afternoon, or make an entire day out of visiting the surrounding sites. Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Crazy Horse Memorial are all within range if you fancy some additional sightseeing.
Million Dollar Highway - Colorado
If the entire San Juan Skyway is too much to chew off at once, try taking on this popular section of the ride instead. At only 25 miles, this legendary stretch of road goes from Silverton to Ouray so you can still experience the beauty of the San Juan mountains without committing to a monster journey.
Tunnel of Trees Road - Michigan
The Tunnel of Trees is a short but memorable ride that stretches for 20 miles along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Its unique name comes from the canopy of trees that hang overhead as you ride, creating a spectacular and immersive tunnel-like effect.
Beginning in the coastal town of Harbor Springs, this ride offers great views of the shoreline and surrounding forests. It can be a challenging trip as well. The journey has plenty of twists as you navigate through hills, and the road itself is quite narrow so you'll need to be on top of your game for this route.
Ozello Trail Ride, State Route 494 – Florida
Florida might not be the first place your mind goes to for great motorcycle rides, but the Ozello Trail is a great ride to knock off in the morning or afternoon. At just 11 miles, it's a short but sweet journey that takes you through the coastal wetlands and marshes of the Crystal River Preserve State Park.
Despite the short distance you can still expect to hit one or two technical curves. You'll notice a lack of commercial establishments along the way, which can make for a serene and immersive experience depending on what floats your boat.
Independence Pass – Colorado
Independence Pass is situated in the central part of the Rocky Mountains, between the towns of Aspen and Twin Lakes. This scenic mountain pass reaches a stunning 12,095 feet above sea level, so expect some awe-inspiring views as you traverse the Colorado Rockies.
The pass is about 23 miles in length and will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half to complete. A steep ride with some narrow roads and tight curves, it's a challenging but thrilling journey. The pass is typically closed during winter months due to heavy snowfall and dangerous conditions, so plan accordingly.
Arches National Park – Utah
Riding through the Arches National Park is a relaxing experience that allows riders to take in some pretty spectacular views. The park gets its name from the surrounding rock formations like the Balanced Rock, Sheep Rock, and Parade of the Elephants which all make an epic backdrop for your journey.
At 22 miles, this route is not particularly challenging besides a few hairpins turns. It's all about the scenery. Try to time your ride for the late afternoon so you can experience the sun setting while on the return journey. It's a special experience that you won't soon forget.
Lolo Pass - Idaho and Montana
Lolo Pass is a scenic mountain pass located in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana. It's part of the larger Lolo Trail, which was famously used by the Lewis and Clark expedition. The road lasts for about 99 miles and will take you all the way across Idaho and into Montana.
The main draw of the Lolo Pass is its stunning scenery. The route passes by the Bitterroot Mountains and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, not to mention the scenic Lolo National Forest. Riding the Lolo pass is an immersive and relaxing experience for nature lovers.
The Ozarks – Arkansas and Missouri
When it comes to the best motorcycle touring destinations, it's hard to go past the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri. Amazing scenery and winding mountain roads make it a treat for any style of rider.
Riders are spoiled for choice when it comes to riding this massive region. One of the most famous routes is the Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway in Arkansas which stretches for 35 miles. Another is the Pig Trail Scenic Byway which takes riders through the Ozark Mountains.
Natchez Trace Parkway - Mississippi and Tennessee
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a historic and scenic ride that takes you from Natchez in Mississippi all the way to Nashville, Tennessee. Originally used as a Native American Trail, the Natchez Trace was later utilised by European settlers and has since been designated as a national parkway for its cultural and natural significance.
At 444 miles this is a monster ride that packs all the nature you could want. Lush forests, rolling hills, and open fields will be yours to enjoy on this leisurely, smooth journey. Soak in the history along the way, including Native American burial mounds and landmarks from the Civil War era.
Northwest Passage Scenic Byway – Idaho
Alternatively known as Idaho State Highway 13, this 202-mile journey runs through the Panhandle region of Idaho. Starting in Lewiston, it follows the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers before eventually reaching the Montana state line.
This is an adventurous ride that mixes lush scenery with plenty of twists and turns as you ride up through the Rocky Mountains. You'll be following the river along the way, which makes it a perfect riding opportunity for both thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.
Puget Sound - Washington
This 95-mile journey in the northwestern part of Washington features stunning coastal scenery, vibrant cities, and a variety of winding roads to explore. Puget Sound is known for its natural beauty, with deep blue waters, lush forests, and snow-capped mountain ranges.
The Puget Sound offers a mix of urban and rural delights. Cities like Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia have numerous cultural attractions to enjoy, while quieter sections allow riders to soak in the serenity of some surrounding nature.
Things You Need to Know Before Going on a Road Trip
Dress the part: Since you'll be flying up and down the country at some pretty high speeds, wearing the right gear is crucial to keeping yourself protected. You've probably already got a helmet, but what about the rest of your body? A good motorcycle jacket and proper riding pants are the best ways to keep your body armoured up. Speaking of armour, try to grab some gear that has armour pockets for crucial areas like your knees and elbows. Comfortable riding boots are also a must for any long riding trip. READ MORE: A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO MOTORCYCLE GEAR
Travel light: It's always best to pack light for a trip, and biking is no different. There's a whole market of motorcycle luggage to choose from that can suit any style of bike, so you can maximise space as much as possible. In saying that, less is more. Try not to overpack or you risk weighing yourself down with a bunch of unnecessary junk. You can free up space by packing fewer clothes and washing and reusing clothes as you travel. If you can, find one of those travel-friendly toiletries bags that have mini versions of everything. It's all about minimising.
Know where you're going: The last thing you want to do on your big touring trip is waste time by screwing around with directions. Sure, you might get a bit lost at some point but try to have a fair idea of where you're going to avoid getting disoriented as much as possible. Try to have a map or screenshot handy on your phone along with a paper backup. If need be, ask a local for directions or even just general advice. You might even get lucky and learn about some hidden local treasures this way.
Build up your riding stamina: If your riding routine consists of a 50-mile trip every weekend, it might be a struggle to jump straight into full-on touring miles. Instead, try to build up your long-distance stamina over time. Touring is about endurance, so first build yourself up to 100 miles then 150, 200, and so on. This also gives you a chance to experience the reality of longer rides and play around with luggage options. Touring can be taxing both physically and mentally, so think about your fitness levels as well. We're not saying you should be able to run a marathon, but good cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance will prepare your body for taking on those more challenging rides.
Prepare for all kinds of weather: Veterans of motorcycle touring will tell you that it's essential to be prepared for both rain and shine. There's nothing worse than getting soaked from head to toe while you've still got hours of riding ahead of you. It might be worth investing in some water-friendly riding gear like this armoured puffer jacket, or alternatively, you can always throw on a light outer coat over any motorcycle jacket.
Tips For Long Motorcycle Trips
Know when to take breaks: Motorcycle tours are more like marathons than sprints. Long hours in the seat will not only give you a sore ass but tire you out mentally and physically. Strategic breaks allow you to reset and stay motivated over long trips. Try not to take loads of breaks or it just ruins the flow of your riding. Think strategic. A rest might be needed after a few miles if you've been riding over rough terrain, or after a whole hour of smooth riding. There's no iron rule to it, just take breaks whenever the situation calls for it.
Keep hydrated: It's easy to forget about your fluids on the road. Keeping hydrated is necessary if you want to stay focused for long rides, especially on hot days. Small, frequent sips are the best way to keep your fluids up, and you should make a habit of taking a sip during every break, even if you're not thirsty. You can make things easier by getting a hydration pack that slings over your shoulder and lets you sip water without taking your helmet off. Additionally, try adding Gatorade or a hydration supplement to your water if the day ahead looks to be scorching hot. READ MORE: 18 TIPS TO STAY COOL ON HOT MOTORCYCLE RIDES
Don't go big on breakfast: When faced with a big day of riding it's tempting to go for a huge breakfast to fuel up. In actual fact, you should do the opposite. Big meals take a lot of energy to digest and will leave you feeling drowsy, so instead have a light breakfast and try an early lunch instead. Throughout the day it's best not to overeat as well for exactly the same reason. Small meals are fine, but try to pack some snacks and energy bars to keep yourself fuelled throughout the day.
How long does it take to ride a motorcycle across the United States?
If you're an ambitious rider then journeying across the entire country at once might be on your bucket list. But exactly how long does it take to ride a motorcycle across the United States?
There's no one answer, but we can give you a rough idea. If you're looking to ride from coast to coast, it can take anywhere from one to two weeks, depending on how you do it. The most direct route could be accomplished in one week flat with a good 400-500 miles of riding every day.
Of course, most riders would prefer to pace themselves and enjoy the ride. This figure is just for demonstration purposes. There's a whole lot to see throughout this massive country so take your time and enjoy what it has to offer.
How long does it take to ride Route 66 on a motorcycle?
Route 66 is a classic motorcycle journey and an inseparable part of motorcycle folklore. So you might be wondering, how long does it take to ride Route 66 on a motorcycle?
The answer depends on how you want to ride this famous route. How many stops choose to take along the way, how fast you ride, and where you start from will all affect your travel time. To give an idea, the entire length of Route 66 spans about 2,448 miles, so it's pretty big.
A common estimate for travel time is about two to three weeks for the entire route. Of course, some riders will opt to take on just a portion of this famous route if a weeks-long journey is too much to bite off at once.
What is the most famous motorcycle road?
We've talked about a lot of iconic rides here, but what is the most famous motorcycle road in America? There are a lot of contenders, but we'd have to go with Tennessee's awe-inspiring "Tail of the Dragon".
Also known as Deal's Gap, this road has gained legendary status among bikers for its wild, challenging turns that will push even the hardest of riders to their limit. Despite measuring at only 11 miles, The Dragon has a stunning 318 curves! So if you decide to take on this beast, just make sure you've got the skills to back it up.
Which state has the best motorcycle roads?
There's good riding to be found all across the United States, but which state has the best motorcycle roads? These things are subjective and really come down to individual preferences, but a few certainly stand out. Here are some of the top contenders:
California: With diverse landscapes and scenic coastal views, California has always been a favourite destination for bikers. Rides like the Pacific Coast Highway offer some amazing scenery, while more challenging routes like Angeles Crest Highway and Mulholland Drive pack plenty of action.
Colorado: Mountain scenery and high-altitude rides make Colorado an epic place to journey for your next motorcycle tour. Highlights include The Million Dollar Highway, Pikes Peak Highway, and Trail Ridge Road, which all display Colorado's natural beauty.
North Carolina: Home of the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina is renowned among riders for its sweeping curves, stunning vistas, and foliage in the fall. It also has the famous "Tail of the Dragon" ride and the scenic Cherohala Skyway.
Tennessee: Home to the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee is packed full of awesome motorcycle rides including the Cherohala Skyway and the Foothills Parkway.
What state has the best motorcycle weather year-round?
Nobody likes riding in the rain or the cold, so which state has the best motorcycle weather year-round to guarantee a great touring experience? Here are some of the standouts:
California: California is highly rated among motorcyclists because of the generally mild climate. Many areas enjoy pleasant temperatures all year-round and relatively little rainfall.
Arizona: Known for dry and sunny weather, Arizona is a popular riding destination for those looking to ride through immersive desert landscapes. It gets seriously hot in summer, but temperatures are manageable in the cooler months.
Texas: Texas is a huge place that experiences a varied climate, but many parts of the state have mild winters. The summers can get pretty brutal so try to keep your riding to the cooler parts of the year.