There’s something very liberating about traveling by motorcycle. The feeling of being exposed to fresh air. The vivid images of the landscape. The comforting thrill you get when you take a turn. Being as up close and personal with your surroundings never feels as good from the inside of a car — which is why we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 motorcycle routes in California. Happy Trails.
1. Pacific Coast Highway
- Distance: 524 miles
- Major Junctions: I-5 in Dana Point – US 101 near San Francisco
Pacific Coast Highway runs along virtually all of the west coast and is the longest State route in California. Displaying some of California’s finest territories, PCH runs through some notable areas such as Big Sur, Ventura, up to the Golden Gate Bridge. This route can rival most in it’s breathtaking combination of large, mountainous terrain and overwhelming oceanic views. No matter which portion of this Highway you choose to explore, you will not be disappointed.
2. Redwood Highway (CA-101)
- Distance: 61.5 miles
- Major Junctions: US 101 near Leggett – Crescent City, CA – I-5
Redwood Highway is California’s northern emphasis on US-101, inserting near Leggett all the way up and through Crescent City just before Oregon. Truly one of the purest experiences of organic nature you can get in it’s 175 miles, this route displays some of the largest trees in existence today. Aside from historical-scaled redwoods, you can also visit the Drive-Through Chandelier Tree, Battery Point’s beautiful Lighthouse, and Howland Hill Road.
3. California Route 74
- Distance: 115 miles
- Major Junctions: I-5 in San Juan Capistrano – Palm Desert
California Route 74 is one of the lesser-known trips on our list as it serves in connecting Orange County to Riverside County. Make no mistake, though, this route provides as it passes through several parks and National Forests between the pacific coast and Coachella Valley. Route 74 is also known for it’s dramatic turns and thrilling weather conditions making it a paradise for adrenaline junkies.
4. Sierra Heritage Scenic Byway (CA-168)
- Distance: 71.4 miles
- Major Junctions: SR 41 / SR 180 in Fresno – Huntington Lake
This route begins in Fresno and climbs up to the alpine lakes and granite peaks of the Sierra National Forest. Enjoy all the wilderness you can handle with recreation activities such as camping, rafting, fishing, hiking and even horseback riding to name a few.
5. California Route 33
- Distance: 83.7 miles
- Major Junctions: US 101 in Ventura – SR 166 from Cuyama Valley to Maricopa
Starting off initially as a Ojai Freeway from Ventura, CA-33 travels up north transitioning into Maricopa Highway and presenting some of the most compelling terrain for adventuring motorcyclists. You can often find yourself relaxing as the lone rider within the distance and taking turns at a comfortable speed(visit our Motorcycle Safety Tips article here) while enjoying fine scenery and wildlife through the Los Padres National Forest.
We hope that we’ve piqued your curiosity and inspired you to explore the beautiful state of California — and we wish you the best of travels. Here are some related articles that you definitely want to check out when considering planning a trip.
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