The Golden State is one of the finest in the United States for jaw-dropping and head-spinning motorcycle routes. Motorcycle rides in California encompass such an incredible diversity of stunning landscapes and communities that they can constitute a lifetime of two-wheeled adventures.
It’s easy enough to find iconic motorcycle roads in this gigantic state of mountains, rolling valleys, towering forests, and rugged seacoast, which ranges from sprawling metropolis to far-flung wilderness. Route 1 takes you along one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, from the mist-bound redwood forests of Northern California to the sprawling beaches pointing the way to Baja.
Motorcycle tours inland lace quiet back roads of the Central Valley, or head into innumerable mountain ranges. State Route 3, for example, takes in windswept lava plateaus and views of the Sierra Nevada and Klamath Mountains, all in the shadow of mighty Mount Shasta. Take Highway 49 to trace the oak-studded foothills of the Sierra, the backbone of California, and enjoy both reaches of pastoral quiet and passages through lively towns.
And few motorcycle trips can compare to the byways of California’s southern deserts, where you’ll whizz past eccentric Joshua-trees and crest golden ridgelines on gloriously empty highways.
From Twentynine Palms to Crescent City, from Mount Lassen to Mount Baldy, California is a state of hugely varied terrain and equally diverse population—and an indisputable mecca for outstanding motorcycle routes.