Great Motorcycle Roads in California
Click on map links for direct Google Maps Route
The Best Roads Are Here
These are some of the best motorcycle roads in all of California. Click on each map link for the direct Google Maps route. Send us your favorite routes - along with your pictures! [email protected]
Pacific Coast Highway
State Route 1
This epic route runs along most of the Pacific coastline of California, and is about 656 miles. With that much length, there's a tremendous amount to see. There's access to beaches, State and National Parks, including Redwoods National Park, the amazing Big Sur area. This route even includes the famous Golden Gate Bridge. From south to north, the famous scenic portions are between Orange County and Mendocino County area. But nearly the entire route has varying degrees of stunning scenery along the glittering Pacific.
Routes 190, 78 (158 miles)
The hottest, driest place in North America is also an enchanting region of desolate spendor to ride through. This route takes you through the main National Park road, and west of the Panamint Mountains. As an option, take Emigrant Canyon Road for views of the highest, snowiest summit, Telescope Peak, at 11,049 feet. For obvious reasons, the cooler seasonal months are best to ride.
Route 168 (38 miles)
Westgard Pass is a narrow gap between the White Mountains and Inyo Mountains ranges in eastern California. At an elevation of 7,313 ft, this route lies entirely within the Inyo National Forest, in northern Inyo County, California. State Route 168 crosses the pass, connecting the Owens Valley to Deep Springs Valley. Route 168 is the only (paved) east-west route across the Inyo-White Mountains. Motorcycling through this region will offer pristine scenery and grand vistas.
Klamath River Highway
Routes 96 (62 miles)
This road from Happy Camp is a winding delight. It travels along the second longest river in California, the Klamath River. Overall, the pavement quality is very good for motorcycling. There is and not much tourist traffic and is not a major trucking route. The curves on this route stretch for miles, and will offer beautiful scenery.
The road around Cape Mendochine - the Lost Coast, is a narrow, twisting strip of road that is quite technical to navigate, even by car. Start this route in Ferndale and ride through dense, mossy woods and emerge to the grand vista of the Pacific. Turn inland again up towards more tight, lonely road to Humboldt Redwoods State Park. All in all, Mattole Road will not dissapoint even the most experiencde motorcyclists!
Joshua Tree National Park
The road through Joshua Tree National Park is a two-lane pleasure, with weaving stretches of gently twisting pavement. You'll ride among rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes, and of course, the region’s twisted, bristled Joshua trees scattered in the park. Being federal land, the pavement quality is very good, just watch for the occasional gravel and sand on the road's edges.
Route 74 (62 miles)
This is a famed motorcycle road south of Los Angeles through the Santa Ana Mountains. It's got great curves, a couple really nice switchbacks, and there are some spectacular views along the way, especially of Lake Elsinore. Discretion, attention and moderation are needed on this road, as this stretch has had more than its share of motorcycle tragedies over the years. Many riders comment on the excessive traffic, so choose your riding time wisely!
Coalinga to Pinnacles National Park
Route 198, 25 (48 miles)
While CA-198 covers some other great portions of the state (see below for the Sequioa & Kings Canyon section), this western side is between Hwy 101 and Interstate 5, and climbs up along the coastal range with great views. Head north onto CA-25 for more great mountain views, traffic free, up toward Pinnacles National Park.
From Ventura, hop on 33 North (Maricopa Highway) and cruise through Ojai towards the mountains. The first 70 miles or so are a looping, challenging delight, winding through the chaparral and pines of the Santa Ynez Mountains and Los Padres National Forest. It’s wild country and beautiful with amazing, twisty roads, and inspiring views most of the way. The route will take you over Pine Mountain Saddle at about 6,000 feet, and drop down into the Cuyama badlands.
This truly fantastic route begins in Three Rivers and continues north through Sequoia National Park. The road loops and curves with some hairpin turns overlooking vast mountain vistas and enters the national park forest where you'll ride alongside some of the biggest trees on earth, some of which you can actually ride through! The road quality is beautifully smooth and well maintained as with most national park roads.