Riding Through California
California is home to some of the best motorcycling in the country. Riders have access to great weather year-round, scenic coastlines, and trails for every type of rider. The Golden State has so many different riding opportunities that it’s often difficult to know where to start. We’ve compiled some of our favorite rides across the state for you (and your bike) to explore.
Motorcycle enthusiasts in Northern California have plenty of dreamy options for rides. With different types of scenery, like dense forests, empty deserts, and crashing waves along the beach. Another popular draw is that it’s removed from some of the traffic and commotion that you might find along the Southern California routes.
Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway
Riding the Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll be able to see the Pacific Ocean on one side and cliffs on the other. This 71 mile route includes many tourist-friendly wineries, vineyards and attractions, but gas stations are rare. Be sure to know when and where you can fill up before you start on your trip. You may recognize much of the route from motorcycle ads, since it is so picturesque.This road often cuts into the side of a towering cliff, and the visitor's experience is dominated by these views. Millions of people visit Big Sur each year to hike and take in the breathtaking vistas.
The Redwood Highway Route is a long, 213 mile drive from the Oregon border to Leggett. The whole drive will take you a little under 4 hours. The view is definitely worth it as you’ll see everything from the Redwoods, to the ocean, and all kinds of wildlife. There are lots of state and national parks to stop at along the way to explore or have a picnic.
Feather River Scenic Byway (CA-70)
Riding the Feather River Scenic Byway is unique because it switches from canyon views to remote towns to riding alongside the Feather River and passing massive dams. You’ll drive through 60 miles of remote towns, see waterfalls and drive through tunnels that cut through the Canyon. The road is of great quality, but you’ll experience tight turns and one way bridges.
Be sure to take advantage of the few gas stations you find on this route because you’ll only find a few places to stop, rest, and get supplies.
This motorcycle ride, or Northern California Gem, is 156 miles of scenic, deserted motorcycle paradise. This is a draw for some as there are long stretches of solitude on the open road.
There are some tight turns that are perfect for those who are serious about seeing what Route 96 has to offer. The road is smooth, well paved, and there are many spots to pull over, relax, or just take in the scenery. During the summer, the rivers are a great place to stop along the way and relax, and during the fall you’ll be able to enjoy the leaves changing.
For 120 miles, the Yuba River Ride is an incredible scenic route that runs through Nevada and into the Tahoe National Forest. The road is well-maintained, with trees and beautiful views the whole way. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the Tahoe National Forest and the South Yuba River State Park and so there is plenty to see and do. There are great places to stop and cool off at swimming holes or at the river.
The best way to experience the expansive beauty of Southern California is on a bike. You can see just about anything from the ocean to towering canyons on these winding highways, making each ride a unique experience. We’ve gathered some of our favorite trails in Southern California along with everything you’ll need to help you have the best riding experience possible.
Angeles Crest Highway is a scenic, well-maintained two-lane highway that runs about 60 miles from La Cañada-Flintridge to the Mountain Top Junction. It's known for being prettier than most highways and has plenty of sights along the way. Along the winding road, you'll find forest habitats, ridges, trees, and mountain ranges, as well as a paved and maintained road.
Malibu Canyon is a very popular route that's ideal for beginners and for riders who want to enjoy the view of the ocean and lush forests. The trail can be busy so plan to leave on a weekday when there will be less traffic and patrol cars. Prepare to drive on windy, curvy roads and often go through tunnels.
If you're in the area, don't forget to stop and visit the beautiful Malibu Creek State Park. There's a $15 fee to enter, but it's worth it to enjoy the scenery and the local strawberries. The park has both picnic areas and designated trails for hiking.
Death Valley is a 250 mile stretch of desert that is known for being extreme and difficult to traverse. Yet, despite its reputation, Death Valley is also an amazing, otherworldly environment. In the summers, when the temperatures average 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be a great way to get your adrenaline pumping or heart rates up!
The ride from LA to Death Valley Park will take you a little over three hours. Be careful to avoid being in the sun after 10 am due to the extreme summer heat. There won’t be many places to stop for water or food along the way, and dehydration is common here. Be sure to invest in an tour pack before this trip, because they have plenty of room to store your supply of water, sports drinks, and other supplies you may need. There are places to stay inside the park, but you can also stay somewhere outside the park and ride in and out to check out both the park and it’s surrounding areas.
Another popular ride is to explore Joshua Tree Park. Many riders start in Palm Springs and make their way over to the park, which is about an hour away. If you follow Route 10 to 62 to Park Boulevard, you can loop around back to Route 10 for a round trip of 176 miles.
The best time of year to ride and explore the park is in the spring or fall since it can get unbearably hot in the summer. We recommend staying in the nearby small towns of Palm Springs or 29 Palms, which give you the flexibility to ride in and out of the park as you please. The Park itself is naturally very beautiful and attracts many visitors every year. Be sure to plan ahead, because there are no gas stations, restaurants, or any other supplies you might need inside the park.
No matter which trip you decide to embark on or where you end up, we know you’ll be able to experience all the beauty and wonder that California has to offer. Safe travels from all of us here at Advanblack!