The call of a motorcycle road trip is as ageless as wanderlust and as loud as an unmuffled Harley. "On a cycle the frame is gone," Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenancesays in his book. "You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore." We recommend you take Pirsig's word here: pack up, head to one of these 25 all-American destinations, and drop in.
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US Route 550, San Juan Skyway (CO)
The Road: A winding 233-mile sequence of rises, dips, and bends in Colorado's San Juan Mountains that include the famous Million Dollar Highway.
The Ride: Hairy corners, plenty of wildlife, and a disarming lack of guardrails make this exhilarating for thrillseekers but sketchy for squeamish riders.
When To Go: Winter months make this road too icy for motorcycles, and up to 11,000 feet of elevation means you'll need to bundle up for all but the toastiest months.
Credit: Audun Bakke Andersen / Getty Images
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Denali Highway (AK)
The Road: The Denali Highway, also known as Alaska Route 8, is actually east in Denali Park, following the Alaska Range as it runs toward the Yukon. The road comprises two lanes and 135 miles linking the Richardson and Parks Highways.
The Ride: Raw natural beauty that starts with 21 miles of partially paved road, followed by a ribbon of pothole-ridden washboard surfaces, scores of potential roadkill (and, when the season is right, hunters), and awe-inspiring views of glaciers and peaks.
When To Go: Aside from the obvious weather constraints of this stretch, which includes the second highest pass in Alaska (with a 4,086-foot summit), riders should check the web for road closures, which are frequent and unpredictable.
Credit: Sapna Reddy / Getty Images
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Washington Route 129/Oregon route 3 (WA/OR)
The Road: Rattlesnake Grade, which runs across the Washington and Oregon border and links Anatone to Clarkston.
The Ride: 42 miles of switchbacks along the Anatone Grade and stretches that traverse majestic mountain ranges.
When To Go: Aim to ride between June and September to avoid the rainy season.
Credit: Getty Images
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CA Route 58, McKittrick to Santa Margarita (CA)
The Road: McKittrick to Santa Margarita is the best stretch of the 261 miles of two-lane highway that meanders from the Mojave Desert to the California coast.
The Ride: An eclectic mix of desert, mountain, and canyon riding that covers some of California's most diverse landscapes.
When To Go: Summer months can be hot and arid, so bring plenty of water when the weather heats up.
Credit: Getty Images
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US Route 33, Harrisonburg to Seneca Rocks (VA/WV)
The Road: A snaking 65-mile run between Harrisonburg, Virginia, to Seneca Rocks, West Virginia.
The Ride: A series of mountain passes curl through the lush Shenandoah Valley.
When To Go: Fall riding means gorgeous colors, but watch out for wet leaves.
Credit: Morgan Shank / Alamy
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Highway 1, Big Sur (CA)
The Road: Nearly 100 miles of California's Highway 1, running along the Pacific Ocean from Carmel to San Simeon.
The Ride: This ride is full of dramatic cliffs, sprawling vistas, and some of the most heart-melting coastal perspectives this side of Amalfi.
When To Go: Though tempting during summer months, tourists can clog this two-lane highway with slow moving rental cars. Dress warmly year-round, as the marine layer brings cool air.
Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images
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Natchez Trace Parkway (TN)
The Road: 444 miles of National Scenic Byway that run from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.
The Ride: This rambling, rural road ventures through National Park Service land and couples smooth pavement with bucolic surroundings.
Credit: Bill O'Leary / The Washington Post / Getty Images
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Angeles Crest Highway (CA)
The Road: A two-lane highway that connects suburban La Cañada, Flintridge, to the California high desert.
The Ride: A roller-coaster-like ride nestled within the Angeles National Forest, characterized by an undulating sequence of high-speed sweepers and gradual elevation changes.
When To Go: Angeles Crest Highway includes a 7,903-foot summit, which can translate to surprising ice and snow at those higher elevations in winter months.
Credit: David McNew / Getty Images
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US Route 12 (ID, MT)
The Road: Also known as the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway (and previously known as the Lewis and Clark Highway), this federal highway runs from Washington to Montana at the Lolo Pass.
The Ride: Remote and epic, this sprawling route covers some of the most dramatic landscapes in North America.
When To Go: These northern climes can be uncomfortably cold in early spring and late fall; aim for summer for maximum riding enjoyment.
Credit: David R. Frazier / Alamy
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US Route 129, Deal's Gap ("Tail of the Dragon") (TN)
The Road: Route 129, also known as Deals Gap, is an 11-mile mountain pass that skims the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the North Carolina-Tennessee state line.
The Ride: This famous stretch of two-lane blacktop offers 318 tight twists in 11 miles, attracting legions of motorcycle and sports car fanatics from near and far.
When To Go: Come any time but summer, when crowds of enthusiasts swarm the road.
Credit: Getty Images
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Route 36, Red Bluff to Hydesville (CA)
The Road: 140 miles of bends that run east/west through Northern California and connect Route 101 to Interstate 5.
The Ride: A seemingly endless flow of s-curves and elevation changes graze this stretch through the redwood forest.
When To Go: Summer heat and winter rain might discourage some, while others might want to look out for the year-round coastal fog.
Credit: Carol M. Highsmith / Getty Images
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Cherohala Skyway (TN, NC)
The Road: A 43-mile National Scenic Byway in Tennessee and North Carolina whose name is derived from the two national forests it bisects: the Cherokee and the Nantahala.
The Ride: Panoramic views of the Unicoi Mountains, the Citico Creek Wilderness, and the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Bonus: the Skyway links to Tail of the Dragon.
When To Go: Spring to fall is primetime for this ride, though summer's peak tourist traffic can be pesky.
Credit: Getty Images
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Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park (MT)
The Road: 50 miles of paved, high-elevation pavement in Montana, and the first National Park Service road to cross the Continental Divide.
The Ride: From the scenic stretches of Lake McDonald and the steep cliffs of the Logan Pass to the Jackson Glacier Overlook, views from the Going to the Sun Road will tempt you to pull over, take your helmet off, and grab a snapshot.
When To Go: Though the road is typically open by late June or early July, closures due to snowfall are not uncommon during the rest of the year. Check the National Park Service for status on plowing and accessibility.
Credit: Michael Rickard / Getty Images
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Blue Ridge Parkway (VA)
The Road: 469 miles that traverse most of the Blue Ridge mountain range through North Carolina and Virginia, linking the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Ride: Sinuous curves, many of them with tricky decreasing radius arcs, cut through otherwise untouched natural beauty.
The Road: A 47-mile-long pass on Wyoming's U.S. Route 212 that covers the Custer, Shoshone, and Gallatin National Forests.
The Ride: Slicing through expansive mountain ranges, the highest paved road in Wyoming crests at nearly 11,000 feet and offering breathtaking views.
When To Go: High elevation rules out several seasons' worth of riding, so check the forecast before you hit the road, as blizzard conditions can strike even in the spring and fall.
Credit: Gareth Mccormack / Getty Images
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The Three Sisters (AKA, The Twisted Sisters) Roads (TX)
The Road: Also known as "The Hundred Mile Loop," these roads (RR335, RR336, and RR337) interconnect within the heart of Texas Hill Country.
The Ride: Undulating and gently climbing asphalt climaxes with a 15-mile stretch that features 65 turns.
When To Go: Roads can flood almost any time of year and summer can be oppressively hot, so check the forecast before tackling the twisties.
Credit: Josh Noel / Chicago Tribune / Getty Images
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Route 50, George Washington Highway (WV)
The Road: U.S. Route 50 (aka the George Washington Highway), which travels through the Monongahela National Forest and Cathedral State Park.
The Ride: A wildly wandering route glimpses mountains, rivers, and rock formations.
When To Go: When organizing your ride, allow for extra time to visit the neighboring Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Needles Highway, Black Hills (SD)
The Road: South Dakota Highway 87, which runs from U.S. Route 385 at the southern end to Hill City on the north.
The Ride: This spirited ride carves through Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park and links to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial.
When To Go: Early August, when all roads lead to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the biggest bike gatherings on the planet.
Credit: Marek Kasula / Alamy
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Tunnel of Trees Road (MI)
The Road: Michigan M-119, aka the Tunnel of Trees Road, which starts north of Harbor Springs and nearly reaches Mackinac Island.
The Ride: As the name implies, this road veers through a heavily forested canopy along the Lake Michigan shoreline with sharp twists and turns along the way.
When To Go: Springtime is notable for the white trillium blooms along the roadside, while fall is fantastic for the picturesque turning leaves.
Credit: Dennis Cox / Alamy
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Arkansas Pig Trail (AR)
The Road: The Arkansas Pig Trail (aka, the Pig Trail Scenic Byway), is a 19-mile stretch of State Highway 23 from I-40 to AR-16.
The Ride: Drawing a jagged line through the Ozark National Forest, the Pig Trail combines an eclectic selection of scenery, from waterfalls and vista points to rivers.
When To Go: Pack your saddlebags properly, and you can combine your ride with a hike, an ATV ride, or a hunt.
Credit: Wesley Hitt / Alamy
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Palomar Mountain Loop, Route 76 (CA)
The Road: A roughly 35-mile loop that winds up and down Mount Palomar about 10 miles south of Temecula, California, near I-15.
The Ride: An exhilarating ascent and descent through some steep hairpins, keep your eye on the road for seriously tight turns. Reward yourself by pulling over and savoring the stellar views, or by taking a self-guided tour of the famous 200-inch Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory.
When To Go: Temperatures peak in July, but year-round riding is entirely viable considering the region's relatively mild climate.
Credit: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images
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Route 555 ("Triple Nickel") (OH)
The Road: Ohio State route 555 (aka, the "Triple Nickel") is a 62-mile rural ribbon of highway running through four counties.
The Ride: Particularly its southern portion, the Triple Nickel is uncharacteristically entertaining for Ohio's otherwise flat terrain thanks to its rolling, banking contours and rustic feel.
When To Go: Aim for the Saturday before Father's Day, and you can swing by the Triple Nickel Cruise-In, a local hot rod gathering.
Credit: Nyttend / Wikipedia
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Skyline Drive (VA)
The Road: 109 miles of National Scenic Byway that traverses the Shenandoah National Park.
The Ride: A low speed (35 mph) sequence of curves with copious overlooks and visitor activities like biking and horseback riding access. The Appalachian Trail can also be accessed via Skyline Drive, not to mention U.S. Route 50 and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
When To Go: It's hard to beat the fall colors along this scenic stretch of road, but always watch for law enforcement.
Credit: Kareb Bleier / Getty Images
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US 23 ("Country Music Highway") (TN)
The Road: Though U.S. Highway 23 runs from Jacksonville, Florida, to Mackinaw City, Michigan, the stretch between Greenup and Letcher Counties in Tennessee is known as the Country Music Highway.
The Ride: The windy, 144-mile expanse along the eastern side of Tennessee is a National Scenic Byway that darts through the Appalachian hills. Watch the mile markers that indicate the places where stars like Loretta Lynn, The Judds, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Dwight Yoakam were born.
When To Go: Country music fans should allow time for a visit to the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum in Painstville, Tennessee.