Discover The Best Cross Country Motorcycle Routes

American Motorcycle Trading Co. - April 28, 2021

The majority of bikers long for trips across the country, but virtually no one knows all the best options for an epic ride. That’s why it’s always a good idea to explore all the best cross country motorcycle routes. While looking at what other riders feel makes a great motorcycle tour across the USA, don’t be afraid to chart your own course.


So, what does chart your own course mean? Not everyone will agree on a single definition of what the best cross country motorcycle routes should include. Some riders want to see specific sites, while others are looking for challenging roads. Bikers looking for a comfortable trip with frequent stays at nice motels will take different routes than a rider who’s looking forward to camping out under the stars most nights.


That means your first chore is deciding what experiences are most important to you. Once that’s established, you’ll have a much better idea of what your ideal trip must include. Here are a few options riders planning motorcycle trips across the USA can consider, but remember it’s perfectly okay to alter the routes to see the sites you want to include.


Virginia to California With Routes Full of Adventure


For a coast-to-coast trip, numerous options take riders through entirely different types of scenery, and the ride from Virginia to California certainly accomplishes that goal. One rider’s plan started in Front Royal, Virginia. The first leg includes the Blue Ridge Parkway, where riders experience incredible scenery and good road conditions. 


That first leg also runs through Tennessee’s beautiful backcountry areas and to the amazing Deal’s Gap and the Tail of the Dragon. If you’ve never run the Tail of the Dragon, the 318 curves in only 11 miles are stunning. Be adventurous and go for a little more speed through the curves or sit back and enjoy the views.


The second leg of your adventure on one the nation’s best cross country motorcycle routes runs through parts of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, including the Natchez Trace Parkway.


During the third stage of the trip, you’ll travel across the Pig Trail Scenic Byway and through parts of Arkansas and Missouri. Whether you’re on a new bike or are part of a group riding used motorcycles, make sure you take time to check out your bike’s condition now while finding local shops for parts or repairs is relatively easy. Finding shops may get a little harder on the next section of your trip.


Stage four of your tour runs across Arkansas and on to Colorado. While some riders may feel this stage is the least scenic of the trip, as much of the land is flatter and contains prairie, not everyone will agree. In many areas, it’s easy to see for miles in all directions. The views are different but have their own beauty.

Once you reach the foothills, with the mountains stretching out in front of you, everything changes. Take in the San Juan Skyway in Colorado and enjoy the absolutely breathtaking scenery.


During the final leg of the journey, your trip over some of the best cross country motorcycle routes includes the Pacific Coast Highway in California. You’ll travel through San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Ventura, as well as Santa Barbara and Big Sur. To end the trip over some of the best motorcycle roads in America, you’ll ride through Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Jose and, finally, San Francisco.


Portland, OR to Washington, DC Via Some of the Best Cross Country Motorcycle Routes


Another coast-to-coast trip starts farther north. This would be a great ride during any warmer time of the year, but adventurous riders may take on the challenge even during cooler spring and fall months.


The first leg of this trip runs from Portland to Cody, Wyoming. That’s just under 1,000 miles, so plan accordingly. The rider who published this trip data made that in one day, but most riders would prefer to split it into a two-day trip. Doing so makes it easier to enjoy the sights and visit with a few locals along the way.


The second leg of this trip over more of the best cross country motorcycle routes runs between Cody, Wyoming and Denver, Colorado. Again, since this route includes incredibly scenic areas, take whatever time you need to take in the sights. Unless you’re on an Iron Butt trip, there’s no reason to push harder than you’re comfortable doing.


On the third leg of the trip, you’ll ride from Denver to Kansas City, Missouri. The obvious route here is taking I-70, but there are other possible highways to take. Those alternate routes will add a few miles, but the trip will be more fun for most riders.


The next leg of the trip runs from Kansas City to Nashville. Again, I-70 and I-24 make the trip faster, but alternate routes offer more relaxing and scenic possibilities. Take the time to ride through the Mark Twain National Forest and experience what that part of the country is really like. Remember, many of the best cross country motorcycle routes are nowhere near the interstate system.


During the fifth leg, you’ll ride from Nashville to Richmond, VA. Since this leg runs through incredibly scenic areas and includes numerous historical sites, take time to stray from the interstates or plan on taking blue highways for the entire leg of the trip.


The trip’s final leg over the nation’s best cross country motorcycle routes runs from Richmond to Washington, DC. Again, available routes make it easy to enjoy the ride while, at the same time, provide access to historical sites.


Some of the Nation’s Best Cross Country Motorcycle Routes Run from North to South


If you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime motorcycle trip, don’t limit your ideas to those east-to-west routes. Numerous north-south routes offer stunning scenery, challenging riding conditions, or those plush hotel accommodations some riders enjoy. Travel from Maine to Key West, take a trip from Duluth to New Orleans. Of course, there are also many shorter trips riders always seem to enjoy. Take time to choose some of the best cross country motorcycle routes and you’re sure to create wonderful memories.


Before you leave, make sure your bike is ready for the trip. If necessary, consider investing in a new or used motorcycle that’s ideally suited for a major trek. At the very least, let your favorite technician go over your bike and take care of any needed service.

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