As motorcyclists know, Idaho is famous for more than its potatoes. This is a state crisscrossed with some of the best motorcycle roads in the nation, thanks in part to Idaho’s very diverse terrain. This state’s northern half is mountainous and covered in forests, while its southern end is more desert like.
Some riders consider the Old Lewiston Grade, which is sometimes referred to as The Spiral Highway, as one of the best roads in the Northwest. It is an old two-lane road that stretches between US-95 and Hwy-127 and covers a 2000-foot grade in eight miles. Even though it is short, many riders consider this road worth the trip to reach it. The Spiral Highway is a technical ride for serious bikers. It boasts twisties, some nice sweepers and tight corners. The Spiral Highway can be found just off of US-95, north of Lewiston. Highway 21 is another favorite of motorcyclists in Idaho. This winding road, which is also known as the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, runs from Boise to Lowman. It is a scenic 130-mile ride through the Boise
National Forest on a narrow two-lane road that boasts some steep grades. Highway 21 can be picked up on the east side of Boise.
Riders who need another super twisty road will want to try Forest Service Road 456, which is also known as Ninemile Creek Road and NF 456. This ten-mile road is located in the Coeur D’ Alene National Forest, north of Interstate 90. Forest Service Road 456 is a very twisty, steep two-lane mountain road that features a lot of tight switchbacks that crosses over the 4200-foot-high Dobson Pass. To get to this road, riders should get off of Interstate 90 in the town of Wallace. They will find Forest Service Road 456 just north of this town.
Motorcyclists know that any road that has a sign warning, “Winding Road Next 99 Miles,” just has to be a lot of fun. Lolo Pass – which is also known as US-12 or The North West Passage Scenic Byway – greets its guest in just this manner. This 202-mile road, which stretches from Lewiston to Missoula in Montana, cuts through the Rocky Mountains and follows the old Lewis and Clark Trail. This road is one smooth sweeper after another, with a few tight curves thrown in, just to keep everyone honest. In addition, Lolo Pass is also a very scenic ride.
Some days, a rider just wants to cruise and view the scenery. Mesa Falls Scenic Byway is perfect for those kinds of days. This 27-mile road begins in the small town of Ashton and then travels through the Targhee National Forest and the Three Rivers Canyon. The road then follows Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. The highlights of this route are the Lower Mesa Falls and the Upper Mesa Falls. These are the last two undisturbed waterfalls in the Columbia River System, meaning that their waters are not used for irrigation or hydroelectric projects.
Another scenic route, albeit one that travels through high desert landscape rather than mountains, is Highway 20, which also takes riders through the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Highway 20 is a 214-mile two-lane road that runs from Interstate 84 to Interstate 15. This road features long straights and a few curvy spots. Craters of the Moon National Monument is definitely one of the more unusual sites in Idaho. This Monument and Preserve features three lava fields that make this area of Idaho resemble the barren surface of the moon. In 1969, NASA astronauts trained for their mission to the moon in these lava fields.
In addition to its excellent roads, Idaho also has a number of rallies, rides and other motorcycle-related activities, including the Big Nasty Hill Climb. This event, which is held in September in New Plymouth, is considered the largest motorcycle event in Idaho.
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.