6 Biker's Bucket List Destinations in the US
There is nothing quite like visiting someplace new to help someone feel alive and in the moment. This is also true of motorcycle riding in general. As the entire experience is more elemental than most other forms of popular transportation, it raises living in the now moment to an art form. Combine the two with a bike trip to a carefully chosen destination, and you have an experience likely to occupy a spot on your lifetime's highlight reel. If this sounds appealing, consider the following not-to-be-missed biker destinations in the U.S.
U.S. trip destinations are apt to be influenced by the geographic location in which one resides. Fortunately, great trips await in all regions of the country. Below are some favorite routes, some famous, some more off the beaten path, that are sure not to disappoint. Determine which sounds like the best next trip for you and before you know it, you'll be ready to pack your favorite bike and hit the open road.
Ozello Trail Ride (Florida)
There are several reasons why Florida is one of the top destinations for travelers everywhere. Florida offers unparalleled weather, spectacular views of land and sea in every direction, fabulous food, and best of all, a host of hospitable locals who are happy to have you there. The Ozello Trail begins in the western part of Citrus County, Florida. It provides a short but exquisitely beautiful trip through some of the most beautiful aquatic marshlands Florida has to offer
Nine scenic miles long, this two-lane asphalt highway features precisely 67 turns along the way. Make the trip last longer by stopping at one of the unique local eateries located along the way and mingling with locals and tourists alike. Be safe, sharp, and aware as you ride as impediments such as sand, pebbles, and even the occasional alligator are apt to be present.
Portion of Route 66 (Oklahoma)
Alas, the iconic Route 66 is no longer the intact entity it was in the fabled days of yore. However, preserved for us in Oklahoma is a section of Route 66 (now Highway 44) that gives the rider willing to get off the beaten path a glimpse of how things used to be. The route abounds with various small, locally-owned cafes offering country cooking and a glimpse into the communities they serve.
Not to be missed along the way is the Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum in Miami. The museum houses a notable collection of items previously owned by Evel Knievel and other associated memorabilia. Also not to be missed is the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum located in Clinton, Oklahoma.
Red River Gorge Scenic Byway (Kentucky)
This winding trail is perfect for motorcyclist photography enthusiasts. Located inside the Daniel Boone National Forest area, the Red River Gorge National Geological Area is a motorcyclist and photographer's delight. This geographical area offers plentiful scenic photo opportunities. It contains more than a hundred stone arches, waterfalls, and panoramic views. The trail starts in Stanton, KY, and meanders for 47 miles before ending in Zachariah, KY.
For those inclined to linger, the area also offers a variety of backcountry delights, including camping, canoeing, hiking, and climbing opportunities. Don't forget to bring your camera as the views are magnificent. The area is gorgeous in the fall because of the number of hardwood trees. Each season in Kentucky is a different experience.
Tunnel of Trees Trail (Michigan)
If there was ever a path for tree lovers, this is it. Located on route 119, the Tunnel of Trees Trail runs alongside the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. The road starts in Petroskey, but the tunnel officially begins north of Harbor Springs, Michigan. The highway narrows at that point to slightly less than two standard lanes, and be warned, offers zero road shoulder.
The Tunnel of Trees runs for just over 20 miles atop a breathtaking bluff that rises above Lake Michigan and offers exceptional views. A spectacular, not-to-be-missed bucket list experience. Do be on the lookout for the Devil's Elbow and Horseshoe curve, as they are notably challenging turns.
Beartooth Highway (Wyoming and Montana)
It is impossible to create a list of epic motorcycle destinations and not list both the Wyoming and the Montana sides of the Beartooth Highway. Widely thought to be the most beautiful drive within the continental U.S., the entire Beartooth Highway ride comprises 68 miles with 35 miles in Wyoming and 25 miles in Montana.
Beginning in Red Lodge Wyoming, and ending in Cooke City, Montana, the road also provides for traffic along the western edge of Yellowstone National Park. Seasonal snowfall at the upper elevations of this ride necessitate seasonal travel restrictions. Typically, the pass is open annually from the middle of the month of May through to the middle of October, and even this is conditional to current weather conditions.
Pacific Coast Highway (California)
California has many beautiful places to ride, but if you could only choose one, it would have to be the epic Pacific Coast Highway that stretches as State Route 1 for an incredible 655 miles. The beautiful scenery, wildlife, and visual diversity that graces this route must be experienced to be fully appreciated.
The Pacific Coast Highway runs along most of California's coastline. It provides access to incredible vistas and opportunities such as the Redwoods National Park, Big Sur, and epic structures like the Golden Gate Bridge. The ride is a virtual history tour alongside the beautiful, blue Pacific Ocean.
Final Thoughts and Suggestions
When planning a trip, cyclists must factor the time of the year into every trip equation. Not all areas are accessible year-round. Some drives may seem like entirely different experiences when undertaken in different seasons of the year. Also, consider the benefits associated with finding a motorcycling group with like interests with whom to travel.
Group road trips have much to offer when it comes to enjoying all that the U.S. Social biking groups are also an excellent way to discover new places to ride is to join up with a motorcycling group. These social clubs exist in abundance in nearly every area and unite people across various ages, backgrounds, and interests. There you'll find new friends, gain valuable trip tips, and learn of hidden places to travel.