Our Picks for the Greatest Motorcycle Roads on the Pacific Coast
California is a beautiful state. That’s no secret. It’s not a secret that California is also a HUGE state, with some of the best motorcycle rides in Southern California. That could be why if you’re trying to find the best place to go for a motorcycle ride, it can be hard to choose. With so many different routes, destinations, and riding styles, you want to make sure you’re picking the right trip before heading out for the day.
From the Los Angeles National Forest to Death Valley and everywhere in between, Southern California has some great scenic routes for motorcycle riding. But we know that you don’t have time to take your hog down every winding road. So whether you want to see the mountain peaks or the ocean coast, take a look at our favorite places to take your bike inside or outside the city.
Our Favorite Winding Roads in and out of Los Angeles County
There are so many great places to ride in California. So many, in fact, that we couldn’t possibly name all of them. So if you’re in the Southern California area, you’re in luck. Check out these awesome rides in and around the Los Angeles, California area. In our humble opinion, these are the best motorcycle rides in Southern California. You’ll see why.
1. Sunset Blvd to Pacific Coast Highway
If you want to see it all, this is the trip for you. Start out anywhere on the world-famous Sunset Boulevard. For the full experience, we suggest starting around Highland and Sunset to get the most out of your Hollywood sightseeing. You see landmarks like the Beverly Hills Hotel and the sunset strip while Sunset leads you right towards the coast. Following the 405 freeway, the Pacific Coast Highway will lead you directly to the beautiful ocean breezes of the Santa Monica Pier.
This is a great ride if you want to get the “Hollywood” experience. There are so many fun sights to see on Sunset and you can make custom pit stops anywhere you want. But if you’re aching to get out of the city, this is a great route for you, too. Enjoy that beautiful California coast as you’re ripping up and down the highway.
2. Angeles Crest Highway
Just 20 minutes north of Los Angeles, there is a secret oasis for motorcycle riders who want to take the scenic route. Follow the entrance to Highway 2 all the way to that oasis, the Angeles Crest Highway. The ACH takes a beautiful winding mountain road into the state park. Even better, the national forest areas are just north of the city.
There are beautiful sights and leisurely roads that are great for everyone from beginners to full-fledged pros. If you head up that way, a really popular dining destination for hungry bikers is Newcomb’s Ranch. Great food and a biker-friendly environment keep people coming back year after year!
3. Big Bear
Highway 38 leads East out of the city of Los Angeles. It then goes through the San Bernardino national forest and towards beautiful Big Bear Lake. Riders will enjoy the quiet nature roads and beautiful looks at the surrounding mountains. There are also several wonderful rest areas for bikers to take a break and soak up the amazing mountainside views of the national forest.
If you’re looking for a place to eat, we would highly suggest the Seven Oaks Mountain Resort. It’s a great place to sit down and get a sandwich before cooling off in Big Bear Lake for the afternoon. This is an easy trip to make a day or a whole weekend out of.
4. Ortega Highway
Located in Riverside County, the Ortega Highway, AKA Highway 74, is a load of fun. If you start your journey in San Juan Capistrano you’ve got a wonderful 30-miles of pavement ahead of you. It all leads to beautiful Lake Elsinore, a premier swimming destination in Southern California. And definitely one worth making the trip for.
If you’re looking for some really great and affordable food after taking a dip in the lake, check out Guadelajara Mexican Grill & Cantina. They serve excellent and authentic Mexican cuisine, and it’s the perfect way to end a long, hard day of riding.
Following Interstate 10 from Banning, you’ll eventually find signs for Highway 243 headed southeast towards Idyllwild. One part of what makes this trip so much fun is that it is extremely quiet. These roads are safe from a lot of the heavy traffic that plagues some other great motorcycle riding routes. Highway 243 is truly a hidden gem in that way. It takes you past lovely palm deserts and national forest without the hassle of too many other riders or drivers.
“Little traffic” might raise a red flag in your head, but rest easy knowing this route is well maintained. So if you’re looking for a little more privacy or solitude in your trip, this might be a great pick for your needs.
6. Death Valley
Death Valley National Park is a place of extremes. It is the hottest and driest place in all of America. While that might sound a little intimidating, you should also know it’s one of the most fun motorcycle trips you can take in North America. It lies almost 300 miles outside of LA, so it’s not a trip for the faint of heart.
However, if you want to put your skills and your bike to the test, there’s no better way to do it. Just make sure you have a ton of water with you! It’s best to do your research to ensure you’re prepared; no one wants to get lost in the desert without water! It’ll be hard to tell if this is one of the best motorcycle rides in Southern California if you don’t prepare!
7. The Snake
30 miles northwest of Hollywood is a spot that is equally famous for its stars. “The Snake”, as the locals call it, is two miles of pristine riding on Mulholland Highway. It was a frequent stomping ground for Steve McQueen in the past, and it’s not uncommon to see Jay Leno driving one of his famously expensive cars on the highway. If you want to eat like a biker, too, make sure you stop by The Rock Store.
Plan for the Trip of a Lifetime with the Best Motorcycle Rides in Southern California
Well there you have it, some of the best places (in our opinion) to get your bike out on the pavement in Southern California. We talk about a wide variety of places, and they appeal to a wide array of skill sets, so make sure you do some research before you get your boots on.
It’s also important that you have the proper safety gear when you get out on the roads. Check out our blog about some of the best helmets for riding, you won’t be disappointed! No matter what your riding experience or what kind of bike you have, California has something for everybody riding around on two wheels. And we hope that you can see how these are some of the best motorcycle rides in Southern California.