I recently read a post on a the American Motorcyclist Association website about which roads in the US had been voted as the top biking roads in the US.
Here are the top five. I am very lucky to have ridden some of them.
Number 1 – The Beartooth Pass.
On the Wyoming / Montana border, this is US Highway 212 which runs 69 miles between Red Lodge in Wyoming and Cooke City in Montana. Rising up to 10,947 feet / 3,337 metres, the road climbs and falls quickly. Even though I rode the Beartooth Pass in August, it was cold and very windy on the top of the mountains, so careful riding was a must. Snow was still on the ground and the temperature had plummeted thanks to the strong winds. The term windchill factor takes on a whole new meaning when you are exposed to the elements on top of a mountain.
Occasionally you hear people say they are “feeling on top of the world.” On Beartooth Pass, I truly felt it was – as the overall impression when looking down from a mountain upon other tall mountains is – quite literally, like being on top of the world. It is a remarkable feeling to stand and gaze out over so much land. The road surface was in tip-top condition and the overall feeling of riding the road was simple – wow. Just wow.
No wonder it was voted as number 1.
Number 2 – The Blue Ridge Parkway
I haven’t ridden this road yet, but it is very close to the top of my list of those I want to do. The road is 469 miles / 755 kilometres long, mainly along the Blue Ridge mountain chain. The road connects the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Its construction started in 1936 and took 52 years to complete. Those who have ridden it tell me the scenery is wonderful and the bends sweeping. The parkway is often closed from November to April due to the harsh weather.
Number 3 – The Tail of the Dragon
|Photo by Tim Vines|
From the longest road in the top five to the shortest. At just 11 miles long, you might not think this is much of a road, until you find out it has 318 curves in that short distance. The road is a section of the U.S. Route 129 along the Tennessee - North Carolina Border. Notorious in the biking community, this is one of those roads that people travel a long way to ride. I look forward to riding it one day.
Number 4 – The Million Dollar Highway
Part of US 550, the Million Dollar Highway runs between Silverton and Ouray in Colorado. As it cuts its way through the San Juan Mountains, the 23 mile / 37 kilometre road has many hairpin bends, narrow lanes and steep unprotected drop-offs, which is precisely why it is so exhilarating. There are very few guardrails. Cresting at 11,075 feet / 3,376 metres on Red Mountain Pass, the most exciting part of the road is at its Ouray end, where it passes through Uncompahgre Gorge and the roadway clings to the side of the mountain. One slip here and it would be curtains for sure. The scenery and views are dramatic, which adds to the effect and, of course, the thrill of this exciting road. My video of riding this road gives just a taste of what the road is like.
Number 5 - California State Route 1
I have ridden the main part of this road, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, twice. It is truly spectacular.
Sometimes foggy, this road runs alongside the Pacific Ocean, right next to beautiful beaches and the stunning rocky coast.
Very remote in places, some of the best parts are Big Sur, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Santa Barbara and many others. With so much to see and take in, this has to be one of the most relaxing, chilled out roads anyone could ever ride. The ocean has some of the best surfing waves in the world and there are plenty of opportunities to see surfers in action alongside the road.
These are some of the best roads in the USA. Have you ridden any of these and what did you think of them?