4 Amazing Motorcycle Road Trips to Add to Your Bucket List - Safeco News

4 Amazing Motorcycle Road Trips to Add to Your Bucket List

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Motorcycles and road trips go hand-in-hand. Not only do bikes offer an exhilarating sense of freedom and adventure, they also allow you to experience nature in a way that can’t be matched by car. Here are four roads in America that beg to be explored from the seat of a motorcycle.

1. Florida: Naples to Key West–200 miles

The journey begins on Highway 41, sometimes known as Tamiami Trail, where you’ll pass through the Everglades. From there, consider cutting off Highway 41 to 997 South to avoid heavy traffic in Miami. Once you’ve rerouted away from the city, keep your eyes open for signs that lead to Key Largo and route 1, which will take you on a straight shot all the way to Key West.

This road trip begins and ends in gorgeous waterfront cities — and while the trip isn’t technically demanding, it offers plenty of scenery and wildlife to keep you occupied. Along the way you’ll be treated to well-maintained highways, a wealth of roadside amenities and quaint towns with unique flair. Set aside time to stop at Everglades National Park and be sure to grab a bite to eat at Alabama Jack’s, Key Largo’s legendary biker hangout. Once you’re refreshed and refueled, get on the Overseas Highway and enjoy the stunning water views on the way to Key West.

Insider Tips: Watch the road for obstacles like alligators, snakes and turtles and be alert for stop-and-go traffic.

2. Colorado: Peak to Peak Scenic Byway–55 miles

Beginning on Highway 7 in Estes Park, you’ll travel through the Lily Mountain and Twin Sisters pass before turning south onto Highway 72 – located just past Allenspark. From Highway 72, you’ll continue south to Highway 119 where you’ll wind your way through Blackhawk and Clear Creek Canyon. This final stretch of road is the tail end of an 80-minute ride ending on I-70.

Established in 1918, Peak to Peak is Colorado’s oldest scenic byway and less than an hour away from Denver. Thanks to twisties, switchbacks and turnouts, it is also one of the state’s most popular roads for motorcyclists. The north-south route runs through Rocky Mountain National Park and provides a close-up look at the Continental Divide. What’s more, it offers unique roadside diversions like casinos, ghost towns and opportunities to pan for gold. Turn this enjoyable day-ride into a weekend adventure by packing your tent and sleeping under the stars at the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.

Insider Tips: Moose and elk are known to roam the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, so use extra care around turns and expect the unexpected. Due to high elevation, this ride remains relatively cool in summer, but roads may be difficult or impossible to pass during winter months.

3. Montana and Wyoming: Beartooth Highway–68 miles

Starting from the north, the road begins in Red Lodge, Montana, just south of Billings and I-90. From there, you’ll embark onto US Highway 212, known as the Beartooth Highway. Sixty-eight miles later, you can head west to Yellowstone Park on 212 through Cooke City, or east to Cody on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.

Beartooth Highway is a National Scenic Byways All-American Road. It meanders through southwest Montana and northwest Wyoming, cutting through one of the most rugged regions in the U.S. with 20 peaks that reach over 12,000 feet in elevation. Beartooth’s switchbacks and hairpins lead you through diverse ecosystems and dynamic terrain, ranging from colorful high-alpine meadows to stunning snow-capped summits.

Beartooth Highway stretches from Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana, which is a gateway community to Yellowstone National Park. Go ahead and plan a side trip to Yellowstone National Park and factor in time to enjoy a ride on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.

Insider Tips: Due to snow, Beartooth Highway is typically closed October through May. Weather conditions can change quickly in this region, so always check the forecast before you ride.

4. North Carolina and Tennessee: Tail of the Dragon–11 miles

Take Tabcat Bridge to Deals Gap on the Tennessee and North Carolina border to start the Tail of the Dragon. This stretch of US Highway 129 only lasts 11 miles, but is an exhilarating experience for motorcyclists and sports car owners.

The Tail of the Dragon is bordered by the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains and Cherokee National Forest. But don’t take your eyes off the road to enjoy the scenery — this short stretch of road boasts a whopping 318 curves with intimidating names like Copperhead Corner, Break or Bust Bend and Gravity Cavity.

Once you check Tail of the Dragon off your bucket list, consider exploring some of the region’s other remarkable drives, including Cherohala Skyway. Named by the Discovery Channel as one of the “Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in North America,” this biker-friendly road is famous for its sweeping curves and unobstructed scenic overlooks.

Insider Tips: Tail of the Dragon has no intersecting roads or driveways, but it is a highly technical stretch of highway that requires substantial skill and concentration. Use extreme caution.

Remember, before you head out on a road trip it’s always a good idea to review your motorcycle insurance coverage and make sure your bike is in top running condition. Which one of these rides inspires you the most? Share it with your friends on social media.