Top Vacation Destinations for Motorcycle Riders in California

California's stunning scenery and winding roads make it a motorcyclist's paradise. Whether you're looking for rugged mountain passes, scenic coastal routes, or desert landscapes, the Golden State has an abundance of exceptional destinations for motorcycle vacations. Here are some of the top spots to check out:

Northern California

The northern part of the state offers rugged wilderness, giant redwood forests, and twisting mountain roads perfect for motorcycle touring.

Trinity Alps

The towering granite peaks and pristine lakes of the Trinity Alps provide jaw-dropping vistas along Highway 299. Ride through dense forests and along cliff-hugging roads for an unforgettable alpine adventure. Don't miss the stunning Emerald and Sapphire Lakes. Stop to take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding snow-capped granite peaks reflecting in the crystal clear waters. For a longer riding experience, continue past the lakes on Salmon River Road through the Marble Mountain and Russian Wilderness areas. This winding dirt road tests your riding skills with tight switchbacks but rewards you with remote forests and riverside camps.

Redwood National Park

Cruise along the quiet highways under a towering redwood canopy in this spectacular national park. The park's scenic drives meander past ancient groves and along the rugged Pacific coastline. The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is a highlight. Be sure to stop at the Big Tree wayside to see the massive old growth redwoods along the Avenue of the Giants. Continue north to the Enderts Beach Road, a paved 9 mile ride along the coast that passes secluded coves with opportunities to spot seals and whales offshore. The primeval redwood forests muffle the road noise and transport you to another world.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen's gorgeous volcanic landscape provides the backdrop for great motorcycle rides around Lassen Peak, Bumpass Hell, and the lava beds. Encounter bizarre volcanic formations and steaming hot springs on rides through the park. The 30 mile Lassen Scenic Byway Loop provides a tour of the best sights. Highlights include the boiling mud pots at Bumpass Hell, views of the cinder cone around Lassen Peak, and the surreal lava rock formations of the Chaos Crags. Hike Lassen's trails and enjoy scenic overlooks before relaxing in the naturally heated waters of Drakesbad Guest Ranch hot springs. If you need to make repairs on your motorcycle, Redding has some great salvage motorcycles for sale where you may find used parts.

Central Coast

The central section of the California coast has excellent riding opportunities along coastal highways, through wine regions, and over mountain ranges.

Pacific Coast Highway

This legendary road-tripping route showcases dramatic ocean vistas, quaint coastal towns, and excellent driving. Sections like the Big Sur coast and ride over the Bixby Creek Bridge are especially memorable on two wheels. Stop to take photos at scenic overlooks like Bixby Bridge and McWay Falls. Extend your coastal ride by continuing south on Highway 1 to Ragged Point. Here you'll get panoramic cliffside views over hundreds of feet of ocean below. Reward your riding with a relaxing overnight stay at Ragged Point Inn's clifftop cottages.

Paso Robles wine region

Meandering rides through Paso Robles' vine-covered hills and past its many wineries make for an indulgent wine country adventure. Stop for tours and tastings at wineries along charming country roads framed by olive orchards. Some of the best boutique wineries to visit include Tablas Creek, where you can taste Rhône style blends, and Saxum Vineyards, known for their intense Syrahs. Make sure to also check out smaller vineyards like Thacher and Linne Calodo for an intimate wine tasting experience. Spend the night in Paso Robles unique underground wine cellar rooms at The Carlton Hotel.

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles' craggy peaks, mountain reservoirs, and boulder-strewn landscapes are best explored on motorcycle via the park's narrow roads and switchbacks. Keep an eye out for resident condors and hot springs. The 14 mile High Peaks Loop drive ascends over 1000 feet into the core of the park, showcasing the eroded spires and lush canyon below. Stop for scenic hikes like the grueling trek up to High Peaks. After a strenuous day riding and hiking, unwind by soaking in the park's campground hot springs under starry skies.

Southern California

Iconic riding destinations abound in Southern California, from sunny beachside cruises to journeys through the unique desert landscapes.

Pacific Coast Highway

Sections like the ride through Big Sur down to Morro Bay showcase the best of the Central California coast. Continuing south, enjoy seaside towns, surfing beaches, and sunny coastal rides. Cruise along beaches and marinas from Santa Barbara down through Malibu and Santa Monica. Extend your ride down to artsy beach communities like Venice and funky Long Beach. Watch surfers catching waves and stop for fish tacos along the way.

Anza-Borrego Desert

This remote desert landscape entices with otherworldly scenery, winding canyon roads, palms oases, and starry night skies perfect for camping. Ride through Borrego Palm Canyon for stunning views. Beyond the palm oasis, continue on the sandy 4WD roads deep into the desert. Follow Split Mountain Road past the eroded hills and cacti until you reach remote and rugged Fish Creek Wash. Set up camp here to experience the Anza-Borrego's beautiful desolation.

Palomar Mountain

A ride up to the peaks of Palomar Mountain is rewarded with superb vistas across San Diego's inland valleys and mountains. Stop at the top for epic views from the historic Palomar Observatory. Arrive before dusk to catch sunset views across the valley below. Continue riding through Palomar Mountain State Park to see the forested ridges and Doane Valley. Stay at the modern Palomar Mountain Lodge where your deck overlooks the forested hills. Use the lodge as a basecamp for hikes in the park before tearing up twisty mountain roads the next day.

With its diverse and captivating landscapes, California delivers exceptional riding opportunities for motorcyclists. Plan your perfect biker vacation route through the state's iconic sights and hidden gems. Just be sure to pack your motorcycle jackets - the California coast can get quite chilly! Whether you're looking for coastal cruising, wine tasting tours, desert riding or alpine adventures, the Golden State has amazing destinations for your next motorcycle getaway.


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