20 Places to Ride in the Pacific NorthwestJade Jesser | December 23, 2019 | 0 | History , Lists , Locations , Riding
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost
There is a calling inside of every motorcycle rider that is nearly impossible to describe in just one word, but we think that Mr. Frost pretty much nails it with that famous quote.
Taking the road less travelled is what we do as riders, albeit for many different reasons. Maybe it’s the wind in your hair that gives you a sense of forgotten freedom lost behind the wheel of a car. Or maybe it’s the smell of a countryside that brings back childhood memories that would be drowned out by some scented cardboard tree dangling off the a/c knob. Still, it could be the thrill of twists and turns that cause your heart to pound as you feel the machine work the road beneath you. Whatever the reason, there’s a need to get away; a need to feel the open road in a way that borderlines on a spiritual experience that only a rider can relate to.
For some of us, this is our way to reconnect with the beauty of the world we live in, and there is arguably no better place in the world to experience this than our very own Pacific Northwest. Here are 20 locations that have brought riders joy from all over the world, in no particular order:
1. Highway 20 in Washington
Climbing up nearly 8000 feet in elevation, you can take Highway 20 from Marblemount to Winthrop. The 70 mile run will take you through the North Cascade National Park, and allow you to see some of the reasons why Washington is known from its amazing landscapes.
2. The Devil’s Tail in Oregon
This ride is twisty, and turny, which is probably the way it got its name. Starting from Oxbow, Oregon. you’ll take the National Forest Service Rd #454 all the way across the Snake River on into Idaho. You’ll traverse Hell’s Canyon and get a view of the Seven Devils, turning around at the Hell’s Canyon dam. This is a great ride, and the landscape is beautifully sinful (hehe,) but be careful! They don’t call it the Devil’s Tail for nothing!
3. The Klickitat Loop, Washington
Have you ever wanted to see Stonehenge, but don’t think you’ll be riding in the U.K anytime soon? Well there’s a replica of this world famous wonder located between Bingen Washington, and Klickitat. This ride is a lot of fun with lots of small lakes to look at and some great curves. The entire loop is about 80 miles.
4. Mount Rainier, Washington
Remember “Sunset Park Road.” It’s just east of Elbe, and by far the best road in the park as far as scenery. Get ready for a huge climb up to over 14,000 feet above sea level, and then some amazing waterfalls and drop offs. The nicely up-kept roads zig and zag, and are sure to offer you sights you’ll never forget.
5. The Puget Sound Loop in Washington
Don’t forget your rain gear for this ride! There’s quite a few ways to experience the Sound in all of its glory, unfortunately, it’ll probably be raining too…
You can take a couple of different routes, by either Highway 101, or the 113 through Joyce. Whichever you choose, you will surely be amazed by all this run has to offer.
6. Aufderheide Memorial Drive near Rainbow, Oregon
This ride is about two hours long and takes you through 60 miles of beautiful rivers and forests full of Douglas Fir Trees. Rivers that belong on a Bob Ross canvas lead you to an overlook on the Willamette that will give you happy little memories for the rest of your years.
7. Route 58 in California
If rolling hills are your thing, this ride has just over 70 miles of them. Start in McKittrick and head through the golden wheat-fields to Santa Margarita. This is a ride that will never lose its luster.
8. Spirit Lake Highway in Washington
Mount St Helens is one of the most well known places to visit in the Pacific Northwest. This run has over 50 miles of the open road to enjoy, including the mountains and lakes that make for breathtakingly beautiful landscapes.
This is one of the more leisurely rides on the list, and riders can feel comfortable making this a family event if so desired.
9. Williams Lake in British Columbia
Ever wanted a chance to see the real Smokey the Bear, or maybe Bambi? Well this area of the region might just be your best chance to do so.
This is a great ride for seeing wildlife, but as with all celebrities, seeing one of these two doesn’t mean that they’ll let you form a line for autographs. In fact, they are the primary reason why you should remain vigilant when riding!
10. Kootenay Bay – Columbia Loop in British Columbia
From Kootenay Bay, take Highway 3A to Nelson. You can then ride the eastern shore of Kootenay Lake to enjoy this nice little run. Like the other rides in this area, you have to beware of deer and wildlife, while you follow the Columbia up through Castlegar to Trail. Turn around here, and head down through Montrose and back into Nelson.
11. Clarkston, Washington to Enterprise, Oregon
Simple enough, just start out in one of those two towns, and ride to the other one! If you are looking for a HUGE diversity in landscapes, this run does not disappoint, showing off a little bit of everything both states have to offer.
12. Windy Creek Run in Washington
The Washington Forest Service Road 25 is a challenging route that is enjoyable for motorcycle-enthusiasts. This is a challenging run that is pretty well known and great for a day-long getaway. It will take you through Windy Creek and Mt. St. Helens.
13. Rattlesnake Pass, Highway 129 from Lewiston to Walla, Walla
This is a remote located run on Washington Highway 129 that has a ton of corners, and very little traffic. You can thank us later!
14. The Pacific Coast Highway
What can we say here? Where do you want to start? Where do you want to go?
The simplest way to put this is that this is simply the most magical routes we have ever been on in North America. There is a reason that the PCH is one of the most famous coastal routes on the continent.
When I rode it, I started out in Pacific City, and rode all the way to Mexico. It was life-changing. For the purpose of the article however, we recommend heading along the Oregon Coast, where you can hit up tons of cool attractions, like the beard-worthy Thor’s Well.
(And since there’s a bit of cheese to this article, you might as well stop by the Tillamook factory while you’re at it.)
15. Vale to John Day in Oregon
John Day is actually part of a leg of a pretty famous ride honoring Chief Joseph, that starts clear over in Great Falls, Mt. Yet you don’t have to start all the way in Montana if you don’t wanna, Vale Oregon will do just fine. This wild west run will take you through some beautiful country, with some beautiful little towns to stop at along the way.
16. Idaho Falls to Mountain Home in Idaho
Highway 20 is well known to me. Taking this back route to Idaho Falls from Boise is one of my favorite things to do. This is the ride if you want to see the vast countryside that is Idaho. Plus, it takes you through the Craters of the Moon, an ancient reminder of where the Old Faithful used to be hundreds of thousands of years ago.
There’s only a couple of places to fuel up on this route that includes a lot of long straightaways, but it’s definitely a ride worth taking.
17. Challis to Twin Falls, Idaho
This is a Highway 93 run, that is very well kept, and doesn’t have a lot of traffic. Some of the corners can sneak up on you, but it’s a very nice ride.
18. The McCall Loop in Idaho
Near Boise, Idaho, there is a small town called Eagle. Eagle is the starting point of this run, and it will take you on a day-long ride you won’t soon forget. You’ll leave Eagle and head up Highway 55 to McCall, on a road full of challenging zig zags. Once you get to McCall, you can take Highway 95 back down to Eagle, or, go through Emmit to enjoy more of Idaho’s amazing scenery.
19. Lowman Loop starting in Boise, Idaho
If you live in Boise, and you’re a rider, and you haven’t ever done the Lowman Loop, you should ask yourself: “Am I even trying?” This is a great ride that goes through Idaho City, up to Lowman, and then back through Horseshoe Bend and into Boise. It’s a day-long ride, and if you do it on a Sunday, be prepared to share the road with hundreds of local motorcycle enthusiasts. It’s a great taste of Idaho, and a great way to meet the friendly people Boise is known for.
20. Huckleberry Pie Run – Trudy’s Kitchen (Idaho City)
Val Kilmer’s interpretation of Doc Holiday has spread into Idaho with the phrase “Well, I’m your Huckleberry” leading the way. Huckleberries grow wild here, and Idahoans turn them into two of the best products known to man: pie and booze.
Since we are talking about riding responsibly here, we won’t go into the latter of the two, but there’s a place on the Lowman loop that makes the best Huckleberry Pie in the Pacific Northwest.
It’s so good that it got its own place in our list of places to go…Start out in Boise, and head to Idaho City, which is about an hour away. The ride will take you past Lucky Peak and through some great turns and breathtaking Idaho beauty. When you get to Idaho City, stop by Trudy’s and order the Huckleberry pie, then go soak at the nearby hot springs. You’ll not regret it.
Well… that’s that! Twenty amazing rides in the Pacific Northwest!
We hope you enjoy the suggestions we’ve shown you in this article. Remember, always ride safe, and make sure you plan out refueling stations. Get your bike serviced before a ride, and always get plenty of sleep the night before.
We’ll leave you the same way we greeted you with a quote from Robert Frost: “The only certain freedom is in departure.”
Travel safe, friends.