Where can you find some of the most fun and challenging motorcycling roads, along with uniquely breathtaking views, including a volcano, beaches, and mountain passes? The Pacific Northwest has all of this and more. Spanning western Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, the Pacific Northwest is home to bucket list-level motorcycle riding that begs to be explored. We’ve put together a list of the Top-10 motorcycle rides in the Pacific Northwest, so you have some good starting points for the motorcycling road trip of your life. Start your engines!
Top Motorcycle Rides In Washington State
Ride #1 - Spirit Lake Highway
Have you ever ridden your motorcycle with views of a white-capped volcano as a backdrop? In Washington State, you can. Winding up the western side of Mount Saint Helens, 50 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon, the Spirit Lake Highway leads you past fields of debris caused by the volcano explosion. On a clear day, you’ll experience views for miles despite the sometimes barren landscape.
Ride #2 - The Klickitat Loop
One of the best rides in the entire Pacific Northwest for those who love more spirited riding is the Klickitat Loop. While there are other rides in the area with more corners per mile, they often have more tourist traffic and law enforcement, making Klickitat the better option for those seeking more thrills than sightseeing.
Switchbacks are mixed in with fast sweepers, along with a few long straights, and the pavement surface is mostly good. Beware, there are open-range animal pastures along the route, so keep those eyes up and focused on the road ahead.
Top Motorcycle Rides In Oregon
Ride #3 - Highway 101
Love ocean view motorcycle riding? Oregon offers up endless ocean vistas along the 363-miles of Highway 101, stretching down the state’s entire Pacific coastline. The highway is located about an hour and a half outside of Portland, Oregon, and amenities are plentiful, making it an excellent choice for an overnight getaway ride.
Restaurants, breweries, and Airbnb’s provide ample places to stop, stretch, and rest before continuing on your motorcycle journey. There’s also a multitude of picturesque landmarks, such as Thor’s Well.
Thor’s Well – Photo Credit: Google Maps
Ride #4 - The Estacada to Detroit Lake highway
Mt. Hood National Forest serves up rushing rivers, beautifully-constructed bridges, and tree-lined landscapes. The Estacada to Detroit Lake Highway meaders through the mountains of Oregon and over a high pass that may be snow-covered in the winter and sometimes early spring. In the fall, foliage is captivatingly vibrant, and summers are simply idyllic. Turn-offs are plentiful for riders wanting a more relaxed pace (or for those wanting past slow cars).
Side Trip: Oregon’s Covered Bridges
Oregon offers up ample day-trip rides to covered bridges across the state for those who can’t get enough of covered bridge touring on their motorcycle. You can find a complete list of Oregon-covered bridges HERE.
Top Motorcycle Rides In Idaho
Ride #5 - Rolling Valleys And Mountains On HWY 55
Highway 55 in Idaho traverses a wide variety of landscapes, from sandy deserts to alpine meadows and over majestic mountains. If you love off-the-bike excursions while motorcycle touring, you’ll find ample opportunities for hiking along the way and even river rafting.
Ride #6 - I-84 To Three Island Crossing
One of the most dangerous sections along the Oregon Trail is known as Three Island Crossing. About 30 minutes east of the Bruneau Sand Dunes, this historic location is where many early pioneers made the harrowing crossing of the mighty Snake River. You can still see the wagon-wheel ruts that over 100 years ago passed over what’s now a park. There’s also a rustic cabin you can book a night in for an overnight motorcycle road trip.
Top Motorcycle Rides In Western Montana
Ride #7 - Rattlesnake Pass to Wallowa Lake
Tracing the Snake River all the way to Asotin, where you begin a climb to the top of the butte, you’ll encounter some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest views. Looking southeast offers vistas of Hells Canyon cliffs, and the route gives you glimpses of Eagles Cap peak and the Wallowa mountain range.
You’ll carve down to the Grande Ronde River and Gorgan’s Oasis for a food and beverage break. Eventually, you’ll cross into Oregon, where the road becomes Highway 3, with a noticeable upgrade in pavement quality and gentler curves.
Ride #8 - The Yaak & Lake Koocanusa
If scenic routes are your thing, Yaak River Road leads you through dense forests and past Yaak Falls, eventually passing meadows full of large wildlife such as elk and bear. Climbing up through the pass on FS Rd 92 provides scenes of British Columbia to the north and Montana and Northern Idaho to the east. Next, you’re given vistas of Lake Koocanusa and Libby Dam, rounding out this ride as one of the most picture-perfect in the country.
Top Motorcycle Rides In Northern California
Ride #9 - California Route 36
How do 140 miles of twists and turns sound? A love for corners is required and handily rewarded along Northern California’s Route 36. This ride takes you through redwood forests and some quality views at the higher points of the ride, but you’ll probably be mostly focused on positioning yourself in the lane for the next turn. There are significant elevation changes on the eastern portion of the route, making this one of the wildest rides in the Pacific Northwest.
Ride #10 - Route 96, A Northern California Gem
A true rider’s road, Route 96 in Northern California delivers mountain ridge riding sans touristy crowds. You can see conifer forests, numerous rivers, and there’s a multitude of activities for getting off the bike for a break. Take a romp in the Klamath river for some of the best swimming, rafting, kayaking, and fishing in the state. The vast majority of the road surface is smooth and clean, lending plenty of traction for hard cornering if swift riding is what you’re after.
Whether you live in the area already or are only visiting temporarily, the Pacific Northwest has more world-class riding than you can imagine. Keep on top of that next turn approaching using your phone’s GPS in one of Rokform’s Motorcycle Mounts. With options for 1” RAM® Mount and direct handlebar placements, you’ll be able to keep your phone in the perfect viewing area so you can focus where it matters most––on the road ahead. Be sure to tag us on your Pacific Northwest motorcycle road trip on our Instagram!