The Motorcycle Roads

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I hesitated to compile this list. There are many lists out there giving the best motorcycle roads. As often as not, these lists are collections of two types of roads: 1) spectacular twisty roads that are the equivalent of carnival amusement rides, and 2) roads that may not be quite so twisty, but run through spectacular scenery.

Certainly, this approach will produce a list of great motorcycle roads (and I have them in my list, too), but I find that there are also roads worth considering that are special for other reasons. For instance, US highway 2 across the top of Montana (east of the Rocky Mountains) does not take you through beautiful mountains, nor does it have many curves, yet it's a memorable road. The same holds true for the lonely roads that parallel and cross the front range of the Rockies from New Mexico to Montana. Few people go out of their way to ride these roads, and many people even purposely avoid them by towing their motorcycle across the plains states before unloading and starting their riding trips over the "good roads."

I am aware, therefore, that I may be listing roads that other people would never consider as "great" roads. They might even be considered boring roads by these same people. And, so it goes.

The best road is the road you haven't been on. The roads I've listed are the ones I've ridden.


I've only ridden the northern counties (which were nice), but that's not enough to be able to list anything.


I've got nothing. I've not been there.


This is one of those states that sometimes surprises people. It is not one great flat desert. To my mind, though, the classic area of Arizona is within the Navajo Nation. It's like no other region in the country.


As measured by miles of great roads per square mile, I think Arkansas has every other state beat. I've only been through the upper left quadrant (and a little bit more in the other areas), but I don't think you can go too terribly wrong anywhere. Even the low-lying back roads along the Mississippi are nice to ride. One cautionary note, though: you should do your best to avoid the Rogers-to-Fayetteville corridor.  Except for their historic downtown sections, this is an ugly area, and you've never seen so many traffic lights to get through.  Unfortunately, there is no good way to avoid this if you're trying to get across the northwest corner.


This state has everything. The state with the widest range of truly outstanding roads is California, and I can't even think of what state would be number two.


Colorado is similar to Washington and Oregon in that it's only the western half of the state that anybody gives any thought to. Colorado is all about the Rocky Mountains, right? Well, not completely.  Having said all that, there is still no question but that more great roads are in the western half; just don't ignore the eastern half.


Nothing. I haven't ridden there.


Not a thing from me--Someday I'll go there.


Outside of the Daytona speedway and short-track, I don't know that there's anything further. In any event, I can't say.


I've covered only the northern counties, so I can really lay no claim to having seen the state. But, what I have seen is very good. So until I have more to put down, I'll list just one.


Never been there. This one will wait a very long time.


I love riding in Idaho. I can't say that I have a favorite state, but Idaho often comes to mind. While the Snake River Plain in the southern part has a certain charm (meaning that it's not for everyone), everything north is just about perfect. I think what makes this state so nice is that it is so empty and remote. All the people are mostly huddled along the Snake River, which leaves the rest of the state pretty clear of traffic.


There are several important rivers that run through (or beside) Illinois:  Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Wabash. The trick is to find the roads that follow these rivers, or their smaller tributaries.


I've only been through the lower counties of Indiana (if we don't count the interstate system), but these are well worth riding.


Iowa suffers from the same unfortunate problem of perception as a lot of states in the center of the country. No matter, there're many nice areas to ride in this state.


Many will not believe anything I write for Kansas, and that's unfortunate.


There are clearly good and great roads all over this state. I've only been through the state a few times, so I haven't probably even seen a fraction of the best.


The state is mostly quite flat, but that doesn't mean the roads aren't good.


The full extent of my riding in Maine is on Highway 26 from Bethel to Upton, so here you go:


Just passed through.


Not a thing. Never there.


The full extent of my Michigan riding was taking I-94 from Port Huron down to Toledo. As I can hardly list that road as recommended, I've got nothing.


Somehow you'd think that for all the forests and lakes in this state that there really ought to be some mountains to go along with them. Well, no. Except for the northeast part of the state, it's fairly level.


I can tell by just looking at a map that there are many, many nice roads in this state. Unfortunately, I haven't been on too many. I can, without any hesitation, recommend at least one, though.


This is a terrific state for riding, without any apologies. The bottom half has most of the hills, but there's good riding throughout.


I love riding in Montana. I love every part of it. The famous roads are in the west, but don't ignore the eastern half.


You'd be surprised. Nebraska has quite a few nice roads for you.


This state is better than most at confusing you with distances. The state is largely broken up by a disjointed series of north-south mountains, and the roads are defined by these ranges. As you ride from one range to the next, you'll find yourself not having any idea how far it is to the next range (which you can clearly see on the horizon), nor will you be able to tell if you're riding up hill or down.

New Hampshire

Having only been though the state the one time, I can't really say much except that the one road I was on was pretty nice.

New Jersey

Nothing at all. I haven't been there.

New Mexico

New Mexico gives you a nice array of different roads. The bottom of the Rocky Mountains trails off towards the southern part of the state, but you've also got the type of flat scrub land more commonly associated with west Texas.

New York

I'm not in a position to say much about New York, having only ridden through it the one time. But, one road is worth mentioning.

North Carolina

I rarely get lost, but it wouldn't take much to make that happen in this state. There are some very good roads here, but I've only just touched them.

North Dakota

North Dakota is sort of like South Dakota, only more so.


Undoubtedly there are some great roads, particularly along the southern border along the Ohio River. But, all I've done is part of the Interstate system, and that won't cut it.


Not quite Kansas, and not quite Texas. Oklahoma fills a wide gap in the middle of the country with its western border within sight of the Rocky Mountains and its eastern border that it shares with Arkansas.


Yet another state that is often considered only for its western half.  The Cascade Mountains divide the state into two almost unrelated halves.  But, don't spend all your time on the left side. Do you need to be told about US-101?


I've been from Gettysburg and north across the state to Binghamton, New York. But, by just looking at a map, it's obvious that I didn't see the best of the state. But, I'll offer this: if you're visiting Gettysburg, and you want to ride north, just stay off the Interstate system, and stay away from the larger cities, and you'll do just fine.

Rhode Island

I wouldn't think that there are any great roads, but I've not been there.

South Carolina

I've ridden some back country roads in this state. But, really, having only done the roads around Cowpens Battlefield, I'll leave off any recommendations.

South Dakota

Yes, the Black Hills are in South Dakota. But, don't think that the rest of the state isn't worth a second look.


A terrific state that I haven't done enough.


You could ride a very long time in this state and not feel that you've gotten anywhere. There are swamps and forests in the east, and the flattest and driest land you'd ever want to see in the west.


Utah has some stunning scenes that you will not find in any other state.  There are some really great roads in this one.


I've only ridden across this state on one road, but I really enjoyed it.  I don't think you can go wrong by just staying away from the Interstates.


Not enough trips through this state.


One of my favorite states. You've got the more famous Cascade routes, but there's also plenty to interest you in the east. You'll already know about US-101, right?

West Virginia

What I really remember about West Virginia is the speed of the coal trucks. They're fast when loaded, but when empty, watch out!  This state is a good one, but my experience is very limited.


Rolling hills and lots of trees. There are some very nice roads in Wisconsin although I've only been through it a few times.


Some of my favorite roads are in Wyoming. It has some spectacular riding.  I won't mention any of the roads in Yellowstone; you shouldn't need to be told about those.


last edit: 8/5/2005