All motorcyclists know the feeling of freedom and clarity a long ride can bring. Biking can be a great way to see the country from the open road. If you are itching to embark on a long ride, we offer you some suggestions for the best scenery and destinations from sea to shining sea.
Route 50 through West Virginia
This highway is known for its winding path of twists and turns. The scenery is unmatched, as you will pass by rivers, mountains, and through the Monongahela National Forest. You will also pass through Cathedral State Park, which can be a good place to stop, rest, and take in more scenery. Best of all, once you complete the 54 mi course, you are in the position to connect to two more mountain rides: The Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive.
When to Go: West Virginia’s autumn foliage peaks in September and October. For a truly unforgettable experience, go when the forest is ablaze with fall color.
Needles Highway through South Dakota
This course is set through South Dakota’s scenic Black Hills. Pass through tunnels that are holes in granite walls, like Needles Eye Tunnel and the Iron Creek Tunnel. You will also have the option of taking in some wildlife; bison and antelope are known to frequent the area. You will be a stone’s throw away from Mt. Rushmore, which is a must-see for anyone who visits.
When to Go: Take this ride during the first week of August. You will be in close proximity to a little town called Sturgis, which happens to host the largest motorcycle rally in the country. Join a wild community of bikers, and enjoy the vendors, food, and music before heading on your way.
Tail of the Dragon, North Carolina
This route has its own website and claims to be the best motorcycle road in America. With 318 curves built into 11 miles, this destination earns its cool name. It borders the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest. Check out the Tree of Shame, which features bike parts hanging from its branches as an homage to bikers who crashed on the twisting roads.
When to Go: Try taking this road in the late spring when the rains have dried but before the oppressive heat of the summer sets in. Just make sure you go in the morning so you can see the sunrise over the Smoky Mountains, highlighting the fog that gives them their name.
Beartooth Pass, Wyoming
Consider this ride your introduction to the Wild Wild West. Craggy mountains jut out of the frozen tundra, creating a road roller coaster-like in its topography. There are few guard rails, making this the perfect route for an adrenaline junkie. End your sojourn with a visit to Yellowstone National Park, where you can take in bears, buffalo, and fields of wildflowers.
When to Go: At 10,000 feet above sea level, early summer is the best time to take in this American treasure. Try to make it before school gets out and tourist season gets busy.
Tunnel of Trees, Michigan
Aptly named, this route along the shores of Lake Michigan offers some of the best forest views in the United States. Ride along the coastline of one of the largest lakes of America and through patches of dense forest. End your ride 30 miles from Mackinac City, which offers passage by ferry to Mackinac Island – a destination known for its fudge, ice cream, and lack of motor vehicles. While you are there, take a ride across the Mackinac bridge, a 5 mile journey that connects the lower peninsula to the upper peninsula.
When to Go: Fall foliage peaks in September, and you will still be able to make it to Mackinac Island before it closes to the public for the season. Snow comes early to this part of the country, in October.