The desire to venture out and explore the open road is strong amongst motorcyclists. Exploration equals freedom, and freedom is synonymous with motorcycles. But where to go? Anywhere you want, really. But if you’d like just a little more direction, here we’ve gathered 10 great riding roads in North America you’ve got to try sometime. Be it alone or with some of your riding buddies, these roads are sure to leave lasting memories you (and your friends) will look back on years later and enjoy. Some of these roads you’ve probably heard about before, while others will hopefully be new ones. Others still are out there, waiting to be discovered. Here now, in no particular order, are 10 great roads in North America you’ve gotta ride.

10. Blue Ridge Parkway (USA)

Blue Ridge Parkway

No list about great motorcycle roads in North America would be complete without mentioning the Blue Ridge Parkway, so let’s go ahead and lead off with it. Wikipedia tells us the BRP is the largest linear park in the United States, spanning 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties. Needless to say, the roads are curvy and the scenery is gorgeous. But watch out for the local constabulary – the speed limit is an artificially low 45 mph and the fines for exceeding it are artificially high. Fall is usually the best time to go. Check out the Blue Ridge Parkway website for more details.

9. Temiskaming Loop

Temiskaming Loop

This list could easily be filled with roads just in Canada, but alas, that list will have to wait for another time. However, one road up north that you should plan some time for is the Temiskaming Loop. Start in Lake Temiskaming then find your way through Ontario and Quebec. Along the way you’ll encounter a wide and varying swath of mother nature that will surely delight the senses. Spanning about 250 miles, the route could be done in a day, but then you’ll be missing out on plenty of attractions along the way like the stunning Devil’s Rock. Take a few days to soak everything in and you’ll enjoy the experience much more. This Google map of the route should help you plan, along with this write-up from Mike Jacobs we posted back in 2013.

8. Mexico Federal Highway 1

Mexico Federal Highway 1

From the Temiskaming Loop in Canada we head south to the Mexico Federal Highway 1. This road spans the entire length of Mexico, from Tijuana in the north to Cabo San Lucas at the southern end – 1,063 miles in all. In fact, the road continues north past the U.S. border, where it’s then called Interstate 5, or as the locals would say, “The 5.” While not a particularly curvy road (though there are a couple sections with a nice twist or two), the Transpeninsular Highway, as it’s more commonly known, is special for its vast array of scenery. Ocean views, vast desert, high mountains – all are available on this ride. Mix in the friendly locals, delicious food, and of course, Cabo San Lucas, and Mexico’s Highway 1 has a lot to offer.

7. Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway

We can’t talk about Mexico’s Highway 1 without mentioning California’s Highway 1. The Pacific Coast Highway is a favorite amongst the MO staff, and many others, for its sheer beauty. Well, especially the bit between Monterey and Cambria. There, you’ll find some tremendous riding roads. Slow the pace down and you can have an equally nice time simply enjoying the views of the Pacific Ocean to the west. If you want the best experience, avoid coming during the summer, as vacationers tend to clog the road. PCH stretches far further in both directions, but there’s a reason why you don’t see postcards from those areas. Bixby Bridge, seen above, falls within that stretch from Monterey to San Luis Obispo, and is just one of several scenic stops along the way.

6. Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway

When you look at the picture above, do you really need more reason to visit the Icefields Parkway? Technically known as Alberta Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway stretches 144 miles through the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Not many other destinations will give you such a stunning view of gorgeous mountain lakes, glaciers, and valleys. Nor will many other routes take you through not one, but two, national parks (Banff and Jasper). It’s not a particularly long ride, but the scenery is too nice not to stop several times.

5. Lake Superior

Lake Superior Motorcycling

Motorcycle.com contributor Dustin A. Woods loves riding the roads surrounding Lake Superior so much he wrote about it not once, but twice(!) for us. With such strong affection for the area, we had to include it in this list. But what makes the Lake Superior Circle Tour so endearing? Simply the variety of things to see and do along each leg of the trip. Whether you’re on the U.S. side or dip into Canadian territory in Ontario, riding around Lake Superior offers breathtaking views along with wonderful roads suitable for a sport-tourer or a full dresser. There’s not much more we can say about the route(s) that hasn’t already been covered by Dustin, so check out both his stories for itinerary ideas. Better yet, take a look at this interactive tour guide to help plan your Lake Superior adventure.

4. Copper Canyon

050917-great-motorcycle-rides-north-america-04-copper-canyon

We’re back in Mexico for the number four spot, a ride through Copper Canyon. Said to be deeper than the Grand Canyon and filled with terrain perfect for an adventure or dual-sport bike, this is one road you definitely don’t want to take your full dresser or sport-tourer. If you want the full Copper Canyon experience, MotoDiscovery, is a tour company that’ll guide you on a nine-day, 1,450-mile round trip from El Paso, Texas to Batopilas, Chihuahua.

3. Colorado State Highway 149

Colorado State Highway 149

Colorado State Highway 149 is only 117.5 miles long, which is rather short for the roads on this list, stretching from South Fork on the southern end, to Gunnison on the northern end. In between you’ll find tons of twists and turns. Of course, building a road into a mountain means you’ll also get elevation changes as well. Beyond the twists and turns, Colorado roads are also known for their scenery, and Highway 149 is no different. Mountain views are met with stunning images of rock walls and river banks. Unlike some of the others on this list, there’s not much to do along the route. So unless you feel like stopping for a selfie or a pee break, this is one road you and your friends will enjoy simply by riding on it.

2. La Ruta

050917-great-motorcycle-rides-north-america-02-la-ruta

If Copper Canyon is a primer for adventure riding in Mexico, then La Ruta (The Route) is the main event. MotoDiscovery, the same folks who tour through Copper Canyon, also have an organized ride through La Ruta that encompasses 11 days and 1,550 miles, starting in Douglas, Arizona and ending in Tecate, California. Throughout the journey you’ll delve deep into the Mexican Sierra Madres, climbing in elevation 7,000 feet. Other highlights include water crossings through the Sea of Cortez and a romp through the Baja Peninsula. Not to mention you’re likely to encounter local indian tribes whose lineage dates back centuries. An adventure and cultural experience all in one? Get your buddies and give it a go.

1. Cherohala Skyway

Cherohala Skyway

There’s much ballyhoo surrounding the infamous Tail of the Dragon that flip-flops between North Carolina and Tennessee, and while the 11-mile stretch of road is well known for its 300-odd turns, the locals will tell you there are much better, less-trafficked roads nearby. The Cherohala Skyway is one of them. Cherohala itself is 43 miles long with several corners to satisfy the knee draggers, but the beauty here is the ability to connect to the Tail of the Dragon to create an even longer loop, as you can see in the map above. Be mindful of the local constabulary and ambitious squids riding over their heads, and you’ll have a great time.

  • ADB

    Pine Bluff to Leland. First Sunday in May, first Sunday in October.

    • Starmag

      We haven’t heard from Egan lately, was he there this year? If so, riding what?

  • allworld

    I do need to get out more, that said I have ridden 3 of the 10 rides mentioned, and plan to check another one off this summer.

  • Vrooom

    Have ridden 8 of these 10. The Beartooth always deserves a mention too, though shorter than all of these I think. I probably prefer the Northern section of California 1 between 101 and Mendocino in US personally, but Mexico 1 is spectacular.

    • Gabriel Owens

      Scared to do Mexico. I mostly ride alone.

      • Bruce Wilson

        Scarier to ride the southern U.S. in my opinion.

        • Gabriel Owens

          I’m from Texas.

        • Paul Hester

          Disagree completely. I designed and built a three-wheeled recumbent bicycle and trailer to ride 2200 miles from PA to NM, riding the length of the Appalachian Mountains to their end in Huntsville, AL then West through the mid-South in mid-summer avoiding cities in favor of small towns. I am here to tell you that I had numerous, simply amazing acts of kindness visited upon me by complete strangers throughout the entire South. Hell, even Police were great (o.k. except for Selmer, TN).

      • I agree with you. And I HAVE done Mexico. I’ve made 5 different trips. The last one on my bike I was alone most of the time, except for other bikers I met on the road. And I would NOT do it today. PS I’m in Odessa, TX.

        • Gabriel Owens

          Yeah drive down to terlingua and ride 170. It’s insane.

  • Gabriel Owens

    Raise your hand if you’ve done all the ones in the US? I did the pch all the way to Olympia Washington from San Diego California on a klr650.

    • Grneyedqban

      I did pch to Olympia Washington from Valencia Ca. In a R1…

      • Grneyedqban

        Mexico 1 is great too but yes… bring a friend or two! Hell… bring a crew!

      • Gabriel Owens

        I’m 6’1″ around 220 lbs. R1 ergonomic would kill me on that long ride. How long did it take?

        • Grneyedqban

          About a day and a half! I only stopped twice… to sleep! It wasn’t that bad, really! I’m 5’11” 250lbs and the ergos aren’t that bad!

  • Mark Thompson

    California 36 from Susanville to the US101 junction is a very good one that doesn’t get enough pub. Maybe that’s a good thing actually.
    Others: Washington 20 (pretty much the whole thing), US12 (Lolo Pass) from Missoula to Lewiston, Utah 12, Washington 129/Oregon 3 from Clarkston to Enterprise, US16A in the Black Hills, ND 16, ND 1804, the Cassiar Highway in BC, too many to name in southeast Missouri…

  • pch1013

    Unfortunately, Highway 1 through Big Sur is closed for the foreseeable future.

  • Daisycutter

    US Highway 12 out of Missoula Montana through Lolo Pass should be (See Mark Thompson below) on the list. 75 miles uphill, a squiggly road sign at the crest saying “Next 122 miles”, and 125 miles downhill after that with no straight longer than 1/4 mile the whole way. I started at 6:30 am, did the whole route between 60 and 130 mph, and didn’t see more than a dozen other vehicles. It was the most memorable ride of my life. (95 Trophy 1200)

    • Al Banta

      This is our backyard as we live in Lewiston. There are plenty of State troopers out there looking for us though. Both Idaho and Montana.

  • Bruce Wilson

    Got 9/10. Will have to check out La Ruta! Been to Douglas to start la Barranca del Cobre…just went the wrong direction, I guess. Can I nominate Hwy 37 and 37A in British Columbia, from the Yukon south to Stewart, B.C./Hyder, AK? It’s quite doable in a couple of days from Vancouver.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/764d82e9e01b1bd56f234f7155bae496a45cd403d8ce14220386b49c2e7b50a0.jpg

  • Dan McMartin

    I live british Columbia and just id the cherohala sky / tail of the dragon a week ogo was awesome !!!!

  • Dugwayboy

    The Cabot Trail is a visually fantastic ride.

  • Bruce

    Sea to Sky Highway in BC Canada

  • Donny Harden

    I dare say this is as good if not better than the dragon loop… not near the bikes and crazy’s on this loop http://gauntletga.com/images/GauntletMap2012.jpg

  • disqus_SWe1pH5gM2

    You left out Skyline to Alices. http://www.alicesrestaurant.com/

  • fidobite

    I’ve been riding for 49 yrs, 32 of those in CA and I will 2nd Mark Thompson’s appreciation of CA36 but I prefer the stretch west from Red Bluff (US101) to the coast. My-o-my…ZX10 heaven for me. Many other great rides in NorCal – Hwy103 from CA36 north thru Hayfork and all the way north past Trinity Lake till it curves back east to 101…marvelous! There are dozens of other more obscure rides I could mention but my riding mates would be pissed if I revealed them! There all on the map though…just look for the squiggles 😉

  • Tim Sawatzky

    These lists are always interesting. There are so many great roads and beautiful country. The Icefields Hwy truly is spectacular. As is Going-to-the-sun road in Montana. Another great riding road in Canada is Hwy 31A from New Denver to Kaslo, BC. That was the most fun I’ve ever had on a motorcycle. Can you make a Canada list for us Canucks?

  • Jonathan Hatfield

    Those that know Southern and South Eastern Ohio know what I’m talking about. Everyone else stay away 🙂