Our top five favorite motorcycle routes in the U.S.

Once you’ve purchased a motorcycle you love, it’s time to take it out for a spin.

 While many motorcyclists use their bikes to commute or take trips around their home state, taking a road trip specifically to enjoy scenic highways and byways the way only a motorcyclist can is also a popular activity for many riders. 

While there are any number of gorgeous places to ride in our great country, we’ve taken the time to compile a list of what we consider to be the best motorcycle rides in the U.S. Whether you live on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, Southwest, or elsewhere in the U.S., here are the best places near you to ride your motorcycle. 


While not as long as other roads on our list, this stretch of US 129 starting at Deals Gap is easily one of the most fun rides you’ll ever take, and one of the top motorcycle destinations in the U.S.

Named for its twisty appearance that resembles a dragon’s tail, this road features a staggering 318 curves along 11 miles. New riders, take caution! If you crash, medical help could take more than 45 minutes to arrive.

While the numerous tight curves provide riders with white-knuckled thrills, the view along this road is pretty spectacular too, especially in the fall, thanks to the bordering Great Smoky Mountains and Cherokee National Forest.

However, don’t be distracted by the sights while riding, as taking your eyes off the road for even a moment could end in devastating results. There are a few designated areas to pull over along the route where you can safely enjoy the scenery.

What to Know:

  • The Tail of the Dragon is a two-lane mountain road with a speed limit of 30 MPH, with some curves reduced to 15-20 MPH. No intersections or driveways interrupt it. Its busiest times are weekends between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., so for the best enjoyment, wake up early! We don’t recommend attempting to ride the Tail of the Dragon in the dark.
  • What Else to See and Do Nearby:

  • If you are planning to make a visit to the Tail of the Dragon, the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort is the go-to for souvenirs, a cold drink, or a bed for the night. And of course, for a selfie with the eponymous dragon sculpture. The nearby 225-ft. tall Cheoah Dam (featured in the 1993 movie The Fugitive) just two miles south down US 129 is also a popular spot for taking photos.

    Spanning Michigan Highway 119 from Harbor Springs to Cross Village, this road gets its name from the tree branches that seem to knit together to form a bower over riders’ heads.

    With the gleaming expanse of Lake Michigan on one side, and picturesque hardwood forest and rolling meadows on the other, Tunnel of Trees is lovely and peaceful at any time of year. While not as exhilarating as the previous entry, Tunnel of Trees measures its enjoyment in beautiful views from start to finish.

    There are also plenty of quaint towns and restaurants to pull over to take pictures or enjoy a bite to eat along the way.

    What to Know:

  • This road spans a distance of about 20 miles with approximately 200 curves. Tunnel of Trees is exceptionally narrow, with little to no shoulder. The road is paved its entire length, but its proximity to the lake means there is a danger of sand accumulating on the road that could cause riders to lose traction, especially on its curves.
  • What Else to See and Do Nearby:

  • Petoskey, MI, can be found just south of M-119. This charming town along the Bay features more than 400 homes on the National Historic Register – make sure to visit the historical Gaslight Shopping District for a blast from the past. You’ll feel like you’re back in the Victorian days! For more modern-day fun, you can also visit the casino.

    This road stretches 68 miles along U.S. Highway 212, starting at Red Lodge, Montana, and ending at Cooke City, Wyoming. Unlike the previous entry on our list, this route isn’t known for relaxed cruising – rather, for its extreme dips and rises and harrowing twists and turns.

    The highest elevation paved road in the Rockies, Beartooth Highway reaches nearly 11,000 feet above sea level with spectacular views of mountains, lakes, tundra, and alpine meadows. You may even catch a glimpse of wild bears, moose, and mountain goats! You won’t have trouble seeing why this road has been named “America’s most beautiful highway.”

    What to Know:

  • This road features exceptionally steep grades and few guardrails. Furthermore, Beartooth Pass is often closed October through May due to heavy snow, so make sure to check the forecast before planning a trip, as snow can be present even in August. Dress warmly!
  • What Else to See and Do Nearby:

  • Beartooth Highway ends at the gateway into Yellowstone National Park, a beloved vacation spot for outdoor lovers, with plenty of options for hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting, fishing, and more. Make sure to time a visit to see Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s most famous geyser, erupt.

    Located an hour outside San Antonio, the Twisted Sisters actually refers to three ranch roads – TX-335, TX-336, and TX-337 – that collectively form a “twisting” and turning 100-mile loop through Texas hill country, starting and ending in Kerrville, TX.

    This destination trip is recommended for only the most experienced of riders, as it stretches through steep canyons featuring narrow passes along towering rock walls and sheer drop-offs with no guard rails, and it is generally considered the most challenging route in the state.

    What to Know:

  • Take it slow – this is not a road for pushing your bike and riding skills to their limits, especially with its 10-30 MPH speed limits on turns. Make sure you have a full tank of gas when you start out, as there will only be four gas stops along the full route: in Medina, Vanderpool, Leakey, and Camp Wood. Furthermore, watch out for cattle crossing in front of you – they’re called ranch roads for a reason!
  • What Else to See and Do Nearby:

  • Lonestar Motorcycle Museum off TX-337 along TX-187 boasts more than 60 classic motorcycles dating back to the 1910s. Meanwhile, the Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area off TX-335 along Highway 41 is home to the state’s largest single-chamber cave, along with its resident 3 million bats, which can be seen emerging each evening in the summertime.

    Also known as Highway One or “PCH,” this highway stretches more than 650 miles along the coastline of California from Dana Point in Orange County to Leggett in Mendocino County, where it joins up with US 101. Even if you’ve never been on this road yourself, you will likely recognize it from any number of motorcycle magazines, ads, and even movies.

    Whether you choose to follow the whole route or just a portion of it, there is plenty to see along the way, including a number of lighthouses, beaches, and cliffside vistas – although, like the other routes on this list, the Pacific Coast Highway is full of sheer drop-offs with few guardrails or shoulders, and plenty of hairpin turns that need to be taken at low speeds. Unlike other routes on this list, which are mostly scenic two-lane highways, some portions of PCH will take you through crowded urban areas, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    What to Know:

  • The Pacific Coast Highway is a long haul that you should plan on taking several days to enjoy, not just a few hours of fun. You will get tired, especially if you are carrying extra weight in gear and/or passengers. Plan on practicing low speed turns on a loaded bike before the trip.
  • What Else to See and Do Nearby:

  • PCH takes you right through beautiful coastal Big Sur, “the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the [contiguous] United States,” and the many state and federal parks included within are all worth visiting. If hiking and camping aren’t your thing, you may enjoy touring Hearst Castle instead, a sprawling 165-room mansion encompassing 123 acres of gardens, terraces, and pools, and designed by California’s first female architect in 1919 for publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

    It doesn’t take much to turn your best motorcycle ride into your worst. While all of the routes on this list are both beautiful and engaging on a motorcycle, they can be equally dangerous in a crash.

    And when your crash is caused by someone else’s negligence, having to suffer through your injuries and medical bills alone is even worse. But that’s where we want to help.

    Insurance companies tend to discriminate against riders, even when they weren’t at fault for their own accidents. But with the help of an experienced and dedicated attorney, there’s a way to push back and get the compensation you deserve.

    After a crash, you have the right to tell the negligent driver to Back Off My Bike and get a free consultation with an attorney who will fight for your rights.