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Hit the open road with one of these top 5 motorcycle road trips

Capture the last of summer and first of fall with these moto road trips

Motorcycle on a road during a sunset
Glen Alejandro / Unsplash

As summer begins to fade into the fall, we start to settle in for the cooler months. We start to make preparations to wear cashmere sweaters and start layering for the cold and wet weather. Our summer clothes get packed away, and we start to make room in the closet for the next few months. But don’t relinquish your summer too soon; you still have time to break out the motorcycle for one of the more beloved road trips in the United States.

All of the best road trips have a combination of open spaces, great views, and tourist stops that will keep you entertained the entire time you are gone. Once you ensure you have the right bike for your height and weight, you should pack tools for every eventuality on the road and clothes for every environment, from sun-baked deserts to snowy mountain tops. Also, you should absolutely pack for frequent snack breaks.

Here are the top five road trips for you to hop on the back of the bike and push the sun back up into the sky for one final summer adventure.

Pacific Coast Highway
Robson Hatsukami Morgan / Unsplash

Pacific Coast Highway

When putting together a list of bucket list road trips to embark on before you die, California’s Pacific Coast Highway has to be near the top. While the PCH runs north to south following the 1 freeway on the coast, it begins in Washington and goes all the way to San Diego. For our purposes, we suggest you start in Southern Oregon and kick off the trip with the Redwood National Forest.

Not only will you get the opportunity to see one of the most majestic state parks in the country, but you will also get to experience Big Sur, Monterey, and some of the best stretches of beach you can get to without a plane. Stop off at a few of the many viewpoints and listen to the waves while you eat lunch or snacks. Don’t forget to check out the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street in San Francisco and Hollywood in Los Angeles.

Starting at Coos Bay in Oregon and traveling the 1,080 miles is a great way to spend four days on the road. And when you stop in San Clemente, CA, do yourself a favor and stop off at the Rainbow Sandals at their flagship store and warehouse. They are the best sandals you will ever find and will last you until the next time you make it out to the coast.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
John Fowler / Unsplash

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Now that you have seen the ocean and experienced the water for four days, you can move inland for a more leisurely ride through the desert for half the time. Utah’s Scenic Byway 12, dubbed an All-American road, is littered with some of the most beautiful landscapes the Southwest has to offer.

Some of the biggest draws of this trip will be the geological wonders that bring people from all over the country to hike, camp, and shoot for the gram. Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks are on either side of the road as it worms through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, showcasing nearly two million acres of desert beauty and multi-hued pinnacles, arches, and cliffs.

While the Pacific Coast Highway road trip is four days long and spans over a thousand miles, the Scenic Byway 12 trip can be done in a few hours if you want to simply drive through it. However, we wouldn’t suggest passing up the opportunity to take a few days to explore all the desert has to offer.

Going to the Sun Road, Montana
Ashley Gear / Unsplash

Going to the Sun Road, Montana

It may seem like these trips are getting shorter and shorter, and it’s true that Going to the Sun Road in Montana is the shortest so far. While others require you to take time off of work, this one can be done in one afternoon. You have seen the beach on the coast and the desert in the Southwest. Now it is time to don the leather jacket and check out the mountains in the North.

Glacier National Park has dozens of roads and trails you can traverse to experience the everchanging glaciers, cascading waterfalls, wide-open valleys, epic mountains, and colorful wildflowers. You will also more than likely be lucky enough to see some wildlife as you ride your motorcycle over what can only be described as awe-inspiring.

The shortest so far, the Going to the Sun Road is only fifty miles long and may be more suitable for a Sunday drive than a specific trip. However, it will take longer than you think since it is only between 25 mph at the higher elevations and 45 mph at the lower. Even though you can’t open up your hog and feel the wind blowing through your hair like you can in other places, this trip will remind you to slow down and enjoy the wonder that is the world around you.

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
Back2You / Pixabay

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia

From the West’s beaches, deserts, and mountains to the forests and wilderness of the East, the Blue Ridge Parkway ride will be the creme de la creme of motorcycle trips in the United States. The journey is the go-to for motorcycle enthusiasts looking to get out into nature and open themselves back up to nature and the open road.

From exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Shenandoah National Park to the Civil War battlefields, Virginia and North Carolina have plenty to boast about when it comes to their motorcycle nirvana. While you may be thinking about a 500-mile stretch from Afton, VA to Cherokee, NC, on a 45 mph two-lane highway to slow down your life, someone else may be dreaming of navigating the Back of the Dragon. The former is a blissful jaunt through a peaceful forest. The latter is the kind of motorcycle and sportscar badassery that feels it can only be ridden while blasting the Top Gun soundtrack—3,000 curves over 32 miles featuring hairpins, switchbacks, and spectacular views.

With over 1,500 miles of byways in the area of three mountain ranges, this can be an afternoon ride or another week-long vacation from reality.

Route 66
crispy-fotografie / Pixabay

Route 66

“Get your kicks… on Route 66.”

There may not be a more famous road in the whole of the United States. Rodeo Drive and 5th Avenue may be the place to go if you want a new pair of dress shoes or a suit, but if it is Americana you are on the hunt for, this trip that will take you from Chicago to Los Angeles is perhaps the most epic American road trip in existence.

The nearly 2,500-mile stretch of roads begins in Chicago and hits St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and Barstow, and ends in Los Angeles. Because this was the country’s first fully paved highway in the 1930s, Route 66 became the path to the West. Now, you can ride it from one city to the next and pick up memorabilia, discover small-town America, and sample the best comfort food along the way.

Since it is twice as long as the four-day PCH road trip, this undertaking would need a good week to ten days if you want to experience all they have to offer. Remember that Santa Fe and Las Vegas are mere miles from Route 66 and will keep you debating extending the trip for longer.

Now that you have the motorcycle, the plan, and the desire to capture a few more days of an American summer, the hardest part is getting the time off work.

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Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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