Many of those who enjoy CHaines‘ Blanket Fort segments, in which the intrepid rider has been seen careening through winding countryside roads in Idaho, have expressed in chat during the show that they’d love to accompany CHaines on one of his rides through the American countryside. Others expressed interest in mapping out their own routes and taking to the road themselves. Whether you are a lone cyclist, riding in tandem, or a full fledged 1%’er, there is no shortage of stunningly beautiful routes to travel in the vastness of the U.S. countryside. Don’t get stuck in a gridlocked downtown somewhere; explore the great open expanses of America. Not only will the travel broaden you, the best routes in the country will also offer you some of the most breathtaking views anywhere and will fill you full of the adrenaline a good ride provides. DNN has compiled a list of some of the most well-known biker routes in the country, all of which are recommended to weekend biker warriors as well as those who live for the open road.
San Juan Mountain Skyway, Colorado: Why not start with one of the most breathtaking rides of all? The Skyway is a loop through the Rocky Mountains that will take you through mining towns (abandoned and still in use), a couple of National forests, numerous red rock canyons, and a smattering of ski resorts and hot springs. You’ll get breathtaking views of the multiple 14,000-foot peaks in the area as well.
Tunnel of Trees Road, Michigan: The densely forested northern coast of Michigan offers tremendous views of Lake Superior and the cabins lining its shore. Your starting point is next to the harbor at the foot of Mackinac Island, gateway to the Upper Peninsula. The road passes through lush forests that literally seems like a tunnel made of trees. This is a great ride in September, when the leaves are changing.
Beartooth Pass, Wyoming: If you’re looking for an “active” ride, Beartooth Pass requires some care in navigating its turns and twists; however, the real fun is the numerous ups and downs as the route scales and descends mountains. You’ll get a taste of not only the mountains, but also forests, rivers, and tundras. This route is so favored by bikers that motorcycles will often outnumber car traffic any time of the year.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia: If a 45 MPH speed limit won’t ruin your day, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most stunning rides on the East Coast. Trucks are banned from this route, making the roadway open and inviting. The Smokey Mountains are the main attraction here, but you’ll also pass by several historic Civil War battlegrounds. Watch for an old 19th century mill with working wheel that serves as one of the route’s more famous landmarks.
Tail of the Dragon, Deal’s Cup, North Carolina: This route actually has its own website touting it as the “number one” route for motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts. The 11-mile stretch boasts no fewer than 318 curves, which works out to a staggering 29 curves per mile, or one curve every 176 feet or so. Be sure to check out the Tree of Shame, a memorial to the cyclists who failed to navigate all 318 of those curves, in which wrecked cycle parts hang from the branches.
Needles Highway, Black Hills, North Dakota: Watch out for bison and antelope on this route. You’ll past through two tunnels blasted out of sheer granite, and you’ll pass through Indian country, much of it unchanged for centuries. Take your trip in August, and when you emerge at the end of the route, you’ll be in the right place for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Route 50, The George Washington Highway, West Virginia: If you are looking for an epic journey, the George Washington Highway takes you close to two other routes on our list, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. For part of the ride, you’ll have Monongahela National Forest to the south for part of the way, and you’ll pass right through Cathedral State Park. Mountains, rivers, small towns, and gorgeous views are present all the way.
Cherohala Skyway, Tennessee: If you like trout fishing (or kayaking or canoeing), this is the route for you. The Cherohala Skyway hugs the Tellico River for much of the way, providing access to numerous river amusements. Much of this route takes you through wilderness, including a 40-mile stretch without rest stops or services. Pristine and untrammeled scenery is everywhere, but this is also an extremely dangerous run in wwinter months.
Arkansas Pig Trail, Arkansas: Nicknamed the Arkansas Dragon, this trip through the heart of Appalachia is another great way to see changing autumn foliage or spring wildflowers. The route takes you through the Boston Mountains, which is part of the Ozark Mountain chain, and you’ll be hugging sheer cliff sides much of the way. There are also plenty of hairpin turns to keep you awake.
The Three Sisters, Texas: 131 miles of adrenaline, this route will take you through ranch country (these are serious ranches) and mountain hairpins, and past the Nueces River, home to some of the best bass fishing in Texas (as well as home to alligators). This route also provides some of the most varied scenery you’ll find in Texas, which suffers from an inaccurate image as a state lacking in much natural beauty.