Best 8 Motorcycle Rides In California: Discover My Top Picks

Golden State, they don’t call it that for nothing! California boasts a stunning range of landscapes, from the sun-kissed coastlines to the majestic mountains, which certainly makes for some of the best motorcycle rides in the Western US. From endless twists and turns on the Angeles Crest Highway to the serene wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park, the state offers something for every rider out there. Let’s take a look at few of the amazing Motorcycle Rides In California.

Nothing screams California quite like the iconic Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH). With its dramatic coastal views and refreshing sea breeze, it’s no wonder why it’s considered one of the top motorcycle routes in not only California, but around the world. For a more inland experience, California Route 74 and California Route 33 provide fantastic vistas of vineyards, orchards, and rolling hills as you navigate through the idyllic Sonoma County and Ventura County backroads motorcycle rides.

For those who crave the tranquility of a forested route, the breathtaking Redwood Highway (California 101) and Feather River rides immerse you in a world of towering trees and lush greenery. And who can forget the breathtaking views from Dantes View Road or the thrilling twists and turns of the Palomar Mountain Loop? Whether you’re in the bustling heart of San Diego, exploring the charming Inland Empire Motorcycle Rides or simply going Yosemite to Bay Area Motorcycle Rides, California’s diverse riding terrain promises a thrilling adventure every time you hit the road.

Exploring California’s Scenic Coastlines

I’ve ridden through the magnificent coastlines of California and discovered some of the most beautiful and unforgettable rides. In this section, I’ll talk about a few of these, all perfect for anyone who loves the open road and the breathtaking beauty of the Golden State.

Angeles Crest Highway provides an exhilarating ride through the San Gabriel Mountains just north of Los Angeles. Known for its smooth pavement and challenging twists, this route is a popular destination for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH) is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic and scenic rides in California. From the stunning cliffs of Big Sur to the quaint beach towns like Carmel, this route is a must-ride for all motorcyclists.

California’s motorcycle rides are nothing short of breathtaking. In Joshua Tree National Park, the landscape changes dramatically, offering the unique beauty of stark desert landscapes and intriguing rock formations.

California Route 74 takes you on a journey through the picturesque San Jacinto Mountains and into the heart of the Inland Empire. A mixture of twisty mountain roads and vast, wide-open spaces makes this ride a memorable experience.

Sierra Heritage Highway is one of my favorite rides, with its mix of towering trees, pristine lakes, and the iconic California gold rush history. The winding roads through the Sierra Nevada Mountains make for an unforgettable motorcycling adventure.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Redwood Highway (California 101), which weaves through the tallest trees on Earth. Riding along the Avenue of the Giants is an unforgettable experience in both solitude and grandeur.

Here’s a short table highlighting some other scenic rides worth considering:

California Route 33Remote wilderness, beautiful landscapes
Feather RiverWaterfalls, granite walls
San Rafael LoopRolling hills, beautiful vistas
Petaluma to Point ReyesCoastal views, charming towns
Dantes View RoadSpectacular desert scenery, Death Valley panorama

Don’t forget that Southern California has a wealth of beautiful rides as well. The Palomar Mountain Loop and Glendora Mountain Road both offer incredible mountain vistas, while the legendary Montezuma Valley Road is famous for its exhilarating twists and turns through the Anza-Borrego Desert Terrain.

Some of the best motorcycle rides in the region include the San Diego area, Inland Empire Motorcycle Rides, and Sonoma County. No matter where you are in the Western US, you’re sure to find amazing backroads motorcycle rides that will provide you with a truly unforgettable experience.

Cruising the Majestic Sierra Nevadas

Majestic Sierra Nevadas

As a motorcycle enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for the most stunning and thrilling rides. And when it comes to exploring California’s scenic locales, nothing compares to the majestic Sierra Nevadas. In this section, I’ll share my experiences and recommendations for some of the best routes that allow you to experience the splendor of these awe-inspiring mountains.

The Sierra Heritage Highway offers an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Sierra Nevadas. Surrounding riders with natural beauty, this renowned stretch of road winds through picturesque mountain vistas, pristine alpine meadows, and quaint small towns. Along this 70-mile route, I was enthralled by the iconic California landscapes, featuring endless stretches of Sequoia and Redwood forests.

Another unforgettable route in the Sierra Nevadas is the Feather River ride. Following the breathtaking Feather River Canyon, this ride offers a thrilling combination of twisty roads, deep canyons, and awe-inspiring waterfalls. The excitement of taking on this challenging ride, coupled with the serene landscapes that unfold before me, make this route an absolute must-ride.

Of course, no discussion of the Sierra Nevadas is complete without mentioning the iconic Yosemite to Bay Area Motorcycle Rides. With its panoramic views of granite cliffs, lush valleys, and vast meadows, Yosemite National Park is a paradise for riders seeking unparalleled natural beauty. I recommend taking California Route 120 through the park, as it allows you to truly immerse yourself in the breathtaking majesty of Yosemite’s landscape.

Here’s a quick summary of some other noteworthy motorcycle rides in the majestic Sierra Nevadas:

  • Big Bear Lake: Located in San Bernardino County, this stunning alpine lake offers thrilling rides through densely forested mountains and scenic lake views.
  • Mt. Baldy: Nestled in the heart of the San Gabriel mountains, this ride takes you along the picturesque San Gabriel Canyon Road to the iconic Highway 39.
  • Inland Empire Motorcycle Rides: This expansive region offers a wealth of exciting routes, such as California Route 74, Palomar Mountain Loop, and Montezuma Valley Road, making it a must-visit area for motorcycle enthusiasts.

I also can’t help but give an honorable mention to the following rides, which, although not specifically in the Sierra Nevadas, are definitely worth exploring in California:

  • Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH)
  • Angeles Crest Highway
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Redwood Highway (California 101)
  • San Rafael Loop
  • Petaluma to Point Reyes

Embarking on one (or all) of these exhilarating rides is a surefire way to create lifelong memories while experiencing the unmatched grandeur of the Sierra Nevadas. Whether it’s the winding roads, spectacular mountain vistas, or unique wildlife encounters, these routes are guaranteed to make any motorcycle outing an unforgettable adventure.

Discovering Big Sur and Carmel’s Stunning Views

Big Sur

Big Sur and Carmel should definitely be on your list of places to visit when travelling on the Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH). This stretch offers some of the most breathtaking motorcycle rides in California. Throughout the journey, you’ll discover many beautiful locations that make for memorable experiences.

The first part of this ride takes you through the scenic Monterey Peninsula. Along the way, you can stop at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve to marvel at the dramatic coastline. Continuing along the PCH, you’ll soon find yourself among some of the tallest trees in the world. A recommended detour is capturing the beauty and grandeur of the Avenue of the Giants which lies in the heart of California’s redwood country.

Another must-stop location is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It’s here you’ll find the enchanting McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that plunges directly onto the beach. This magical spot is perfect for a quiet and picturesque pit stop.

As you approach Carmel, consider taking a detour on the 17-Mile Drive. This famous coastal route offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as numerous glimpses of luxurious seaside mansions. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the splendor of the California coastline.

Here’s a quick summary of the highly recommended locations along this journey:

  • Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
  • Avenue of the Giants
  • McWay Falls
  • 17-Mile Drive

The Big Sur and Carmel ride also puts you in close proximity to various other fantastic California motorcycle rides. Feel free to explore the nearby regions, such as:

  • San Gabriel Canyon Road and Mt. Baldy
  • Angeles Crest Highway
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Sierra Heritage Highway
  • Yosemite to Bay Area Motorcycle Rides

This ride through Big Sur and Carmel captures the essence of California’s incredible coastal scenery. The twists, turns, and beautiful sights make this one of the best motorcycle rides in California! So, strap on your helmet, rev up your engine, and prepare to be blown away by the majestic environment waiting for you.

Riding the Iconic Pacific Coast Highway

the Iconic Pacific Coast Highway

As an avid motorcyclist, I’ve experienced many thrilling rides, but one that has remained my constant favorite is Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH). The PCH is known as one of the most scenic and iconic highways in the United States, offering riders unparalleled coastal views and a genuine taste of California’s beauty.

The motorcycle ride begins in San Diego and takes you along the spectacular coastline through Sonoma County, Ventura County, and onwards to the Western US. Along the way, you’ll be treated to sensational vistas, including jaw-dropping cliffs, sandy beaches, and quaint coastal towns. Some highlights of this journey include:

  • Big Sur: An 80-mile stretch of breathtaking rugged coastline flanked by towering redwoods
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea: A charming coastal village with enchanting architecture and a fantastic food scene
  • Santa Cruz: A vibrant beach town boasting a historic boardwalk and a thriving surf culture

Don’t forget to add some backroads motorcycle rides to your PCH adventure. Venturing inland will present opportunities to tackle routes such as the Angeles Crest Highway, California Route 74, and California Route 33. Each of these routes offers unique challenges and landscapes that will further showcase California’s natural beauty.

If nature is your thing, you’ll want to include visits to nearby Joshua Tree National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Redwood Highway (California 101) during your PCH ride. The stunning scenery and abundant wildlife make them ideal stops to immerse oneself in the Californian wilds.

While PCH can be enjoyed year-round, the best time for a motorcycle ride is between April and October when the weather is warmer and drier. Be prepared for varying temperatures, as you’ll experience both coastal and inland climates during your journey.

MonthAvg. Temps (ºF)Rainfall (in)
April55 – 750.78
May60 – 800.28
June65 – 850.07

In summary, a ride along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway One is unmissable for any motorcycle enthusiast. This singular experience offers stunning coastal views, diverse landscapes, and cultural attractions that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Make sure to branch out and explore the wealth of inland routes, such as:

  • Feather River
  • San Rafael Loop
  • Petituma to Point Reyes
  • Dantes View Road
  • Palomar Mountain Loop
  • Montezuma Valley Road
  • Glendora Mountain Road
  • Mt. Baldy
  • San Gabriel Canyon Road
  • Highway 39

So, whether you’re a seasoned rider or looking for a unique Californian adventure, the Pacific Coast Highway has got you covered. Just ensure you plan your ride well, remain flexible, and be ready to enjoy the ride of a lifetime!

Taking on the Adventures of Joshua Tree

 Joshua Tree National Park

When it comes to memorable motorcycle rides in California, Joshua Tree National Park never disappoints. For those of us who love winding roads and stunning desert landscapes, the park offers an unforgettable experience. Aside from the unique mix of Mojave and Colorado desert ecosystems, Joshua Tree is surrounded by fantastic roads, making it an ideal destination for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Situated near the park, California Route 74 provides a brilliant starting point for this motorcycle adventure. The route traces the San Jacinto Mountains’ eastern edges and then descends into the heart of the Coachella Valley. Blending smooth curves and spectacular views, California Route 74 promises a thrilling journey.

As you make your way to Joshua Tree, you’ll also have the chance to explore some of Southern California’s most inviting motorcycle routes. Just a short detour from the park, you can indulge in the fantastic twists and turns of the Palomar Mountain Loop. Alternatively, you might choose to head west and discover the coastal beauty along the Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH). If you’re looking for a more extended excursion, don’t miss out on some of the best backroads motorcycle rides, such as:

  • Angeles Crest Highway
  • Sierra Heritage Highway
  • California Route 33
  • San Rafael Loop
  • Feather River

Upon arriving at Joshua Tree National Park, be sure to check out some remarkable park attractions, like Dantes View Road and Montezuma Valley Road. Each of these roads features stunning vistas and intriguing geological formations that’ll make any stop worthwhile.

While exploring Joshua Tree, you may want to add other nearby attractions to your itinerary. The beautiful Big Bear Lake region and San Diego area, with its diverse mix of landscape and culture, are both within reach. Meanwhile, the Inland Empire Motorcycle Rides showcase captivating valleys, historical sites, and astonishing viewpoints.

To sum it up, Joshua Tree National Park serves as a hub for many of California’s most alluring motorcycle rides. Whether you’re drawn to picturesque backcountry roads or prefer the thrill of cruising down more challenging routes, this remarkable location has it all. Prepare to be amazed as you embark on the adventure of a lifetime while exploring the captivating splendor of Joshua Tree and its surroundings.

Mulholland Highway

Mulholland Highway is one of the best motorcycle rides in California and a must-ride for any avid motorcyclist. It’s nestled among other famous routes such as Angeles Crest Highway, Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH), and California Route 74, so you’ve got plenty of options when exploring this beautiful state.

What makes the Mulholland Highway so special is its challenging curves and twists that test even the most experienced riders. While enjoying the ride, you’ll also come across some stunning scenic spots, like the iconic Rock Store and the San Rafael Loop.

One thing to keep in mind while navigating the Mulholland Highway is to always be prepared for the unexpected. Due to its challenging nature, motorcyclists should stay focused and alert, as hazards may include tight corners or dirt and gravel on the roadway. With that said, here are some tips to ensure a memorable and safe ride:

  • Plan your route carefully: Choose the most suitable rides for your skill level, and plan breaks at interesting points like Joshua Tree National Park or Redwood Highway (California 101).
  • Check the weather conditions: Be aware of the forecast and the road status, as certain parts of the highway may become difficult to ride on during heavy rains or extreme temperatures.
  • Choose the right gear: Make sure your tires are in good shape, brakes are checked, and you’re wearing comfortable and safe riding gear before hitting the road.
  • Ride with others, if possible: Not only will this make the journey more enjoyable, but it’ll also add a level of safety, should you need any assistance along the way.
  • Stay within your limits: Remember that it’s a public road, so don’t push your speed or take unnecessary risks.
  • Visit other awesome routes in California: Once you’ve conquered Mulholland Highway, make sure to explore some of the other epic rides throughout the state, like Feather River, Inland Empire Motorcycle Rides or Dantes View Road.

Exploring Mulholland Highway and its surrounding routes is a thrilling experience every avid motorcyclist should add to their bucket list. This challenging and scenic road offers the perfect mix of adrenaline and natural beauty, showcasing the finest landscapes that California has to offer.

Experiencing Wine Country’s Backroads

Wine Country's Backroads

Located in the heart of California’s Wine Country, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring some of the most picturesque landscapes and exciting motorcycle rides in the area. The backroads of both Sonoma County and Ventura County offer countless opportunities for riders looking for a taste of California’s unique charm.

As a motorcyclist, I’ve taken countless trips weaving through the scenic valleys and vineyards of California’s wine country. One of my favorite routes was the Petaluma to Point Reyes ride. This route brought me through the stunning Tomales Bay and past the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse.

Another thrilling journey in Wine Country’s backroads is the San Rafael Loop. Riding along this loop, I was treated to a perfect blend of picturesque coastal roads, rolling vineyards, and breathtaking redwood forests.

Here’s a quick snapshot of these incredible routes:

RouteKey Highlights
Petaluma to Point ReyesTomales Bay, Point Reyes Lighthouse, scenic vineyard roads
San Rafael LoopCoastal roads, redwood forests, rolling vineyards

The Wine Country’s backroads have a lot to offer to motorcycle enthusiasts with more than just wine. Be sure to also check out some of the other great motorcycle rides throughout the state of California, such as:

  • Angeles Crest Highway
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH)
  • California Route 74
  • Sierra Heritage Highway
  • California Route 33
  • Redwood Highway (California 101)
  • Feather River
  • Dantes View Road
  • Palomar Mountain Loop
  • Montezuma Valley Road
  • Glendora Mountain Road
  • Mt. Baldy
  • San Gabriel Canyon Road
  • Highway 39
  • Yosemite to Bay Area Motorcycle Rides
  • Avenue of the Giants
  • Big Bear Lake
  • San Diego
  • Inland Empire Motorcycle Rides

These routes showcase the unparalleled beauty of California’s countryside and its western region, stretching across the winding coastal highways and the majestic Redwood forests. I suggest taking your time to explore these backroads, and let the captivating surroundings sink in, creating an unforgettable experience.

Conquering the Demanding Ebbetts Pass

Ebbetts Pass

When it comes to thrilling motorcycle rides in California, there are countless options for riders of all skill levels and preferences. One such challenging route that never ceases to amaze is the Ebbetts Pass. Located in the picturesque Sierra Nevada mountain range, it’s a captivating experience that’ll pique the interest of even the most seasoned riders.

The Ebbetts Pass is a part of the Sierra Heritage Highway, which is known for providing riders with a wide variety of terrain and spectacular views. This ride allows you to discover and admire natural wonders like the Avenue of the Giants, the Redwood Highway, and the Feather River along the way. The steep climb and narrow, curvy roads offer a thrilling experience as you connect with other popular destinations like Big Bear Lake and Yosemite.

Riders exploring the Ebbetts Pass can veer off and explore several other exciting routes in the vicinity. Some of these fantastic routes include, but are not limited to:

  • The world-famous Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH)
  • The awe-inspiring ride through Joshua Tree National Park
  • The adventurous California Route 33 and California Route 74
  • The scenic backroads of the Inland Empire

By conquering the Ebbetts Pass, riders will also get a chance to venture across the beautiful Angeles Crest Highway, another amazing route that offers stunning views and hair-raising curves.

As riders ascend the pass, they’ll enjoy the exhilarating experience of navigating the twists and turns of some of California’s most striking roads like the Montezuma Valley Road, Palomar Mountain Loop, and Dantes View Road. With such a diverse set of roads, it’s no wonder Ebbetts Pass continues to be a favorite amongst both local and visiting riders.

The Ebbetts Pass doesn’t just offer a heart-racing experience; it also provides numerous beautiful and scenic views. Along the way, riders will pass through locations like San Rafael Loop, Petaluma to Point Reyes, and the unforgettable Angeles Crest Highway.

When planning a ride through the Ebbetts Pass, it’s essential to remain cautious and respectful of the surrounding nature as well as the road itself. The route can be demanding, and it’s important to be aware of potential hazards like narrow lanes, oncoming traffic, and sudden changes in weather. Motorcyclists are encouraged to ride within their limits and take time to enjoy the captivating scenery.

So, if you’re up for a challenge, Ebbetts Pass is a ride you won’t want to miss! With a wide variety of terrain, breathtaking views, and the thrill of navigating some of California’s most exciting roads, it’s certainly an adventure you’ll never forget.

Venturing Across the Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66

As a motorcycle enthusiast, I’ve had my share of iconic rides across California. One such ride that cannot be missed is the historic Route 66, which spans nearly 2,500 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. This legendary highway is not only an essential part of American culture but also a true paradise for motorcycle riders. In this section, I’ll highlight some of the amazing California motorcycle experiences you’ll encounter while venturing across Route 66.

During my ride along Route 66, some of the must-visit places in California include Angeles Crest Highway, Joshua Tree National Park, and the breathtaking Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH). These routes offer diverse landscapes and thrilling twists and turns to keep your adrenaline pumping. Among other great rides are California Route 74, also known as the Ortega Highway, and the stunning Sierra Heritage Highway. These routes provide gorgeous scenery and enjoyable twists that make for an unforgettable ride.

While exploring the Golden State on Route 66, I made sure to ride along California Route 33, often called the Coalinga Road and renowned for its challenging twists. Another fantastic motorcycle ride is the awe-inspiring Redwood Highway (California 101), where you’ll be surrounded by towering trees creating a unique California experience.

Along the way, I highly recommend checking out the scenic Feather River, the picturesque San Rafael Loop, and the cozy ride from Petaluma to Point Reyes. For riders who enjoy a great view, don’t miss out on the spectacular Dante’s View Road, which offers an epic viewpoint over Death Valley National Park.

During my motorcycle journey across Route 66, I also enjoyed memorable rides on the tight twisties of the Palomar Mountain Loop, the stunning desert landscapes along Montezuma Valley Road, the challenging switchbacks of Glendora Mountain Road, and the breathtaking views from Mt. Baldy. I ventured through the stunning San Gabriel Canyon Road and the skyward-reaching Highway 39 for some additional excitement.

Other notable motorcycle rides during my Route 66 journey include the beautiful Yosemite to Bay Area Motorcycle Rides, the lush Avenue of the Giants, the serene Big Bear Lake, and the picturesque coastal views around San Diego. Don’t forget about the exhilarating hills through the Inland Empire Motorcycle Rides and the lush landscapes of the Sonoma County and Ventura County backroads.

In summary, a motorcycle ride along historic Route 66 offers a diverse array of experiences for riders, showcasing the finest landscapes and routes that California, and the Western US, have to offer. As a passionate motorcyclist, my journey through these backroads motorcycle rides has left me with memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.

Wrapping up Your Motorcycle Rides In California

I’ve had the pleasure of riding some of the most scenic and exhilarating motorcycle routes in California, and it’s time to share my thoughts on what makes the Golden State the ideal destination for bikers. From the twisty Angeles Crest Highway to the gorgeous Joshua Tree National Park, California truly has it all.

The Pacific Coast Highway One (PCH) and California Route 74 are classic rides showcasing the state’s stunning coastline, while the Sierra Heritage Highway and California Route 33 take you through mesmerizing mountain ranges. Don’t miss the majestic Redwood Highway (California 101) and Feather River, which offer a rare glimpse of California’s unique wildlife and landscapes.

Some of my favorites include:

  • San Rafael Loop
  • Petaluma to Point Reyes
  • Dante’s View Road
  • Palomar Mountain Loop
  • Montezuma Valley Road
  • Glendora Mountain Road
  • Mt. Baldy
  • San Gabriel Canyon Road
  • Highway 39
  • Yosemite to Bay Area Motorcycle Rides

These routes showcase the diverse scenic beauty of California, making it the perfect destination for motorcycle enthusiasts.

The state is also home to some of the best routes for exploring the charming Avenue of the Giants and the enchanting Big Bear Lake. The San Diego and Inland Empire Motorcycle Rides feature beautiful landscapes and exciting twists and turns, while Sonoma County and Ventura County are perfect for wine lovers, boasting picturesque vineyards and charming backroads motorcycle rides.

Finally, the Western US is a motorcyclist’s paradise, with countless hidden gems tucked away in its vast stretches of open road. From the coastal vistas of the Pacific to majestic mountain ranges, California offers an unparalleled riding experience that is not to be missed.

So, consider packing your bags, and gear up for the adventure of a lifetime as you explore the magnificent motorcycle rides that California has to offer. Hop on your bike and let the Golden State take your breath away with its enchanting beauty and unrivaled riding experiences.

Motorcycle Rides in the US by States

Alabama RidesAlaska RidesArizona Rides
Arkansas RidesCalifornia RidesColorado Rides
Connecticut RidesDelaware RidesFlorida Rides
Georgia RidesHawaii RidesIdaho Rides
Illinois RidesIndiana RidesIowa Rides
Kansas RidesKentucky RidesLouisiana Rides
Maine RidesMaryland RidesMassachusetts Rides
Michigan RidesMinnesota RidesMississippi Rides
Missouri RidesMontana RidesNebraska Rides
Nevada RidesNew Hampshire RidesNew Jersey Rides
New Mexico RidesNew York RidesNorth Carolina Rides
North Dakota RidesOhio RidesOklahoma Rides
Oregon RidesPennsylvania RidesRhode Island Rides
South Carolina RidesSouth Dakota RidesTennessee Rides
Texas RidesUtah RidesVermont Rides
Virginia RidesWashington RidesWest Virginia Rides
Wisconsin RidesWyoming Rides

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Vishwanath Mathpati

I am Vishwanath Mathpati, a full-time Blogger and Motorcyclist from Bidar, Karnataka. I love writing about my Motorcycles Stories and Riding Gears on this blog.

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