California proves that the old adage, “You can’t have it all,” is wrong. With roads that skim past gorgeous coastline, twist through the mountains, and travel into endless vistas of open desert, the Golden State pretty much has everything a motorcyclist would want. With such a large state and so many types of roads, it is hard to choose a few, but there are a few standouts.
One of the best riding roads in California is surprisingly close to the perpetually clogged and stagnated streets of Los Angeles. The Angeles Crest Highway, as this portion of California State Route 2 is known, is 66 miles of curving, weaving asphalt. This road begins in La Canada Flintridge and snakes its way to Wrightwood through the Angeles National Forest, north of Los Angeles. This fun road boasts serious twisties and elevation gains.
Motorcyclists looking for a technical road along the Sonoma Coast that is only suitable for experienced riders should point their bike towards Stewarts Point-Skaggs Spring Road. Riders can pick up this approximately 35-mile road near Lake Sonoma. It is very important for bikers not to be lulled into complacency by this road’s relatively easy first ten miles, as this route is known for its wicked curves and fast sweepers. It also has a reputation for biting those riders who fail to give it the respect that it deserves.
A side note that should be addressed here is the fact that one of the most beautiful drives in all of California, the 17-Mile Drive in the Pebble Beach area, is off limits to motorcycles, so don’t plan on visiting this road unless you have a cage.
To the north of Yosemite and the west of San Francisco lies challenging Sonora Pass, which is also known as CA 108. This 79-mile is steep, full of twisties, sharp turns, sweepers, and unexpected turns that you only see after you’ve crested a hill. Because it is also narrow with sheer drop-offs, it is not forgiving to novice riders who have overestimated their skill levels. Riders can pick up 108 from Sonora and ride it until its junction with US-395.
Not to be outdone by its southern half, northern California has a large number of great roads, as well. Highway 36, for instance, announces it means serious business with a sign that declares that there will be snake-like curves for the next 140 miles. That’s right, 140 miles of twisties. This road which heads west from Red Bluff to the coast is not only curvy, it also has elevation changes and so many hills that crest and then dip sharply away that you will think you are on an actual roller coaster. But Highway 36 isn’t just a beauty of a ride, it also offers beautiful scenery, as well.
Of course, California also is the site of a number of biker rallies and events, including the West Coast Memorial Day Bike Run, which roars into the Riverside National Cemetery to honor our nation’s fallen veterans. This event typically draws approximately 7,500 motorcycles. Bikers in Northern California have the Redwood Run, which is held in June and attracts thousands of bikers to enjoy three days of motorcycle-related activities and live musical acts.
Disclaimer: All information is provided as a service to motorcycle riders, and the opinions expressed here are subjective. Although we have tried to research this information thoroughly, it is possible that changing circumstances can cause this information to become inaccurate. In addition, the conditions and roads described can change without notice for a number of reasons, including closings, weather conditions and maintenance. Motorcycle events such as rallies and rides may also be cancelled or dates changed without notice, as well. This site is not responsible for these types of circumstances, which are beyond our control, and riders relying on this information will be doing so at their own risk. This site is not liable for any actions a rider takes based on the information provided here. Please consult other sources before heading out on these roads and do not use the directions given here as a map, as again, circumstances may have affected their accuracy.