From riding around North America for the past few years, discovering different roads, engaging with the locals, taking in all the scenery and smells, a Top 10 list has been created based on the experience of the rides.
- Do you describe it with enthusiasm and vigor as you tell them of the road, the scenery, the smells and the people you met on the way?
- Do you dream about this as a perfect motorcycle road?
- Is it a ride that that you would take time off work; sneak away and do over again?
- Is it a ride when sit around with fellow enthusiasts you explain to them how great it was, enough to convince them that they may want to go and find out for themselves?
- Is it firmly engrained in your memory?
and now….The 10 Best Motorcycle Rides in North America.
In no particular order, this is the list.
- Blue Ridge Parkway (USA)
- Virginia and North Carolinas all American road is the incredibly, scenic Blue ridge parkway. The parkway runs for 469 miles starting from nearby Waynesboro Virginia to the southern terminus near the Cherokee Indian reservation in North Carolina. Our experience and the attached map took us on approximately 200 miles down the parkway to one of the hidden treasures, Tuggles Gap.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was built to connect Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We are sure the engineers where motorcyclists as this road allows no commercial traffic or business. The pavement is smooth, the beautiful views are amazingly endless and rode during the week it can be a motorcyclists favorite lonely road. A great two or three day ride that you probably will be saddened as you come to its end. It is also very close to Deals Gap and the Tail of the Dragon.
We rode the Parkway in 2011 and shared some details about it.
- Top of the World Highway-(Canada-USA)
- Although Alaska (highway 5) and Yukon (highway 9) is only 79 miles long , do not plan on riding this scenic road at your redline. This incredible highway may not be for the faint of heart as you will find yourself in the last frontier. The mostly hard packed gravel road with the occasional mile of pavement will amaze your senses as well as your motorcycles.
The highway actually starts in Dawson City Yukon Canada and ends around Chicken Alaska although the nearest main center is Tok another 80 miles to the south. The top of the world highway winds its way along the crests of hills giving looks down into valleys far below. There seems nothing else is near no matter what direction you look you are literally on top of the world and in reality, you really are. It is just you, your bike and your senses. For those of you who ride north and choose to brave the wild frontier, you will be rewarded. Note-We rode this route on our Harleys with no problem as it was dry and hot but do not recommend riding this road in wet conditions.
We Rode the Top of the World Highway on Season 2 Episode 3
Our 2013 Mexico / Alaska / Sturgis tour took us up north to Alaska. A lot of the footage we shot went into season 2 episode 3 of our show as you can get a taste of above.
We loved Alaska so much, we put together an Alaskan ride cheat sheet. Everything you ever wanted to know about riding to Alaska.
- North Cascades Highway (USA)
- Washington’s state highway 20 from Burlington on the western edge to the arid heat of Okanagan on the eastern slope has to be one of the hidden treasures in the motorcycle world. We owe local Native American tribes many thanks for using this corridor as a trading route and leaving today’s engineers a challenge that succeeded in making a road made for riders.
The North Cascades provided motorcyclists a close up view of one of the nicest ranges in western north America. With the construction of the Diablo dam and the ensuing Diablo lake many years ago has provided riders with one of the most beautiful viewpoints anywhere in North America. Not to mention a very well maintained and underutilized road.
Don’t get us wrong we are not complaining, nor will you.
- The Black Hills of South Dakota-(USA)
- Although synonymous with Sturgis and the biggest motorcycle rally in the world; the black hills of South Dakota should not be over looked. Where else in North America can you take in two great iconic and patriotic engineering marvels; Mt Rushmore and the Crazy horse monument all in one great riding day.
If crowds and traffic are not your thing, ride the black hills before or after the rally.
This is what biking is.
If you’re thinking about going to Sturgis, make sure to get very clear on what to expect, what to take and what it’s all about. We thought it might be good to put together a Sturgis Rally cheat sheet for you too. Know before you go as we say!
- Mexico Federal Highway 1 -(Mexico)
- The Transpeninsular Highway as it is more commonly known runs down the Baja Peninsula for over 1000 miles. Starting just south of San Diego in the city of Tijuana to its terminus in the resort town of Cabo San Lucas this ride will leave you breathless. If wide open spaces, low arid deserts, high mountain plateaus, beautiful ocean views, great local people and some pretty damn good pavement are your thing; start planning.
We found the local people friendly, the military were fascinated and the scenery was something we will never forget.
There was a lot about riding in Mexico that we got wrong. We assumed much, and it wasn’t at all what we thought it would be like.
- The Kananaskis Trail – (Canada)
- As part of Alberta Canada’s highway 40 this portion south of the Trans Canada Highway leads you up the highest paved road in Canada, The Highwood Pass. It is located just west of the city of Calgary. Snow on the peaks and common sense tells you this ride must be closed in the winter months.
Riding through Canada’s Rocky Mountains is something to behold and this lesser traveled route through the Kananaskis Range and Peter Lougheed provincial park is no exception.
The emerald green lakes, crystal clear rivers, amazing snow capped peaks, abundant wildlife and great pavement with long sweeping corners will want you coming back for more.
Top it off with a great burger in Longview’s twin cities saloon makes this ride one you will not forget.
Lots of footage of our riding the Kananaskis Trail made it’s way into our first season of On the Backroads. Good riding for sure.
- Death Valley – (USA)
- California’s Death Valley is probably one of great surprise for a motorcycle ride top 10 list. But taken for what it is, on simplicity alone if you have not rode the hottest place in north America and probably the world, you may be missing out.
Leaving Pahrump on highway 178 west you would not even know the Valley exists until you climb high through the colorful mountain range and as you start to descend you immediately sense something else, not necessarily heat but perhaps middle earth.
The sometime slippery highway meanders along the shores of the basin and as you reach the lowest point in North America; Badwater Basin you may realize how special it is.
Most riders turn around at Furnace Creek and head back to Vegas but recommend heading westerly on highway 190 towards Owens Lake as the views from this area and the twist and turns of this crater like oasis will be ever entrenched in riders memory.
- Beartooth Highway and Chief Joseph Scenic Byway – (USA)
- These two rides that are in Montana and Wyoming could have by themselves been two separate inductees in the top 10. Their close proximity to each other and the fact that they can be and should be rode in one day hopefully attracts you to ride these incredible highways.
Following the series of switchback and steep zizags will find you at the 10,947 ft mark at the top of the Beartooth pass, and as you make your way down and up the Chief Joseph highway you will find yourselves at the equally beautiful but not quite as high, dead Indian pass at 8,071 ft.
This encompasses one of the most beautiful motorcycle rides of your lifetime.
Note-It can snow at any time at the higher elevations. Pack appropriately.
- Highway 89 and 89A Jerome to Wickenberg – (USA)
- Arizona has some great biking roads and this ride is the best of the best in the desert state. Highway 89A from Jerome to Prescott is a series of switchback, hairpins and long sweepers that will awaken your senses. It is said to have well over 100 curves in a 12 mile stretch.
Allow some time for this ride as you may just want to turn around and ride it in the opposite direction.
- Going to the Sun Road -(USA)
- Another fantastic ride in Western Montana and some have said the most scenic ride in the USA, they may not be far off. Going-to-the-Sun Road is an engineering marvel and the only road that crosses Glacier National Park. Through this route you rise and transverse the Continental divide at Logan Pass.
The scenery is amazing, the smells of the evergreens and the snow capped peaks will leave your senses dazed. Take a day off work and ride it during the week, what you lose in pay will be rewarded in memory.
Honourable Mention – Creston BC to Nakusp BC – (Canada)
Honorable mention has to be British Columbia Canadas very popular Creston to Nakusp scenic ride. This incredible ride follows the gentle curves and turns up the Kootenay lake shore on highway 3A. After a short, free ferry ride across the lake highway 31 takes you up the other shore to the small town of Kaslo.
This is where the fun really begins.
Great pavement, little traffic, perfect corners, twists and turns, up and down. It is a motorcyclists dream roller coaster all built for two wheels, and as the added bonus your not quite done.
Going north on highway 6 along the shores of the beautiful Slocan lake will slowly wind you down as you end up at one of our favorite haunts, Riders Retreat Motorcycle campground.
Does not get much better than that.
The 10 Best Rides in North America
Although we have not rode our motorcycles on every stretch of great blacktop in North America, we have rode many.We have taken our trusted Harley’s hundreds of thousands of kilometers between us around this great continent. We have compiled this list and we have personally rode all these rides together and amazed what North America has to offer. Many of you have done many of these rides, many have done none of these rides and we hope many may be encouraged to go and experience at least one.
Look forward to seeing you on the road in 2015 and hopefully you have the time to show us one of your top ten.
Cheers from T&A
Want to know about riding in Canada?
Click the button below for more info
Wondering what it is like to ride in the USA?
Click the button below for more info