Top 5 Best Motorcycle Rides in California (2021 Riding Season Year-End Review)

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We looked at a full collection of 2021 motorcycle riding season data when millions of riders visited to find the best motorcycles rides and routes in the USA, Canada, and abroad.  For over 20 years now, has been documenting the best/most-popular motorcycle roads, routes, and rides and for about a decade, we have published annual reports after diving into the website's statistics (which routes are riders researching the most, which routes are getting the most photo/video/comment uploads, etc., etc.) to determine which of the motorcycle routes have risen to the top in motorcycle rider popularity.  We look at a complex set of factors (see Note 2 below) to determine which of the motorcycle rides in each of the states and US regions are the most popular and rated to be the best by motorcycle riders just like you.  Our very popular annual "Top Motorcycle Rides per Region" guides cover the best rides for each of the four official riding regions of the USA: the Northeast, the South, the Midwest, and the West.  This year we took things a step further and decided to gone one level deeper and develop guides outlining the Top 5 Best Motorcycle Rides in for the US states and so you are seeing one of those such guides on this page.   

California, as a vast and scenery blessed state, has endless miles of roads for riders to explore that include a diverse collection of scenery to include coastal, mountain, canyon, lush forests, and baron dessert motorcycle riding.  The options for motorcycle riders in California are near endless.  But, even with all these great options, all these long stretches of road, there are a few of California's motorcycle rides that rise to the top.  And this guide, brings you 5 of the very best motorcycle rides in California that, if you haven't explored this routes yet, are sure to please.  So, starting from #5 and working our way down to the #1 best motorcycle ride in California.



After reviewing an entire year of activity of California motorcycle riders, here are the results:

Top 5 Most Popular Motorcycle Rides in California!


#5 Angeles Crest Highway

The Angeles Crest Highway, which runs between Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties of California, is among the most scenic routes in the country. This route is 66 miles long and is part of California State Route 2.




#4 The Lost Highway 58

The route begins around 12 miles west of Bakersfield. The drive from there to San Luis Obispo is one of the nicest in the state. There are not many lengthy straightaways since the route twists and bends and the height changes dramatically, so you are always going uphill and downhill.

California motorcycle ride #4



#3 The Palomar Mountain Loop

The Palomar Mountain Loop is a stunning route that begins on Route 76, about 21 miles east of Interstate 15. This trail leads through the Cleveland National Forest, over the Palomar Mountain Observatory, and along the shores of Lake Henshaw.

California motorcycle ride #3



#2 Twisty Road - Next 140 miles!!! (California Route 36)

If you love twisty roads, then you will love this route as it has twists and turns for 140 miles. This 3-hour route starts in Red Bluff and heads west on Highway 36 in Northern California towards Fortuna, California and travel through a Redwood Forest and both California mountain/high-country and eventually drops down to the sea – what a thrill ride!!!

California motorcycle ride #2



#1 Pacific Coast Cruise

The Pacific Coast Cruise, which is frequently referred to as Highway 1, runs alongside the thundering waves of the Pacific Ocean from Leggett in Mendocino County to Dana Point in Orange County. It is considered one of the most picturesque drives in the nation.

California motorcycle ride #1


Note 1:  All facts and figures below were gathered in Dec of 2021 and will change over time as new motorcycle roads are added to the collection.  For an update listing, you can go to at any time, search on a state of your choosing, and you'll be presented with a list of the best motorcycle roads in that state.  You can also search on the newest motorcycle routes to be registered in that state as well as sift through the routes based on other filters.  Some examples of filtered searches you can do is to filter results based on - only the routes in your state that have 5-star scenery ratings, or only routes with a 5-star driving excitement rating and at least a 3-star rating for scenery, etc. etc.

Note 2:  How were these popularity ratings calculated? 
A motorcycle road’s popularity can be based on a wide variety of factors.  Our analysis considered some obvious indicators of motorcycle road popularity such each roads’ “Rider Rating” scores (star ratings) and which motorcycle road description pages were visited the most.  But, the analysis dug deeper and looked at some less obvious yet valuable indicators of a motorcycle road’s popularity such as how often a given motorcycle road was added to riders’ “To Ride” lists, how often a given motorcycle road was added to riders’ “Rode it” lists and enthusiasm indicators such how often photos and/or videos were uploaded for a given road and which roads are attracting the most buzz among motorcycle roads indicated by those roads that are receiving the most number of new/recent comments.  For the sake of being consistent and as objective as possible we use a popularity algorithm that “crunches those number” and allows us to develop a ranking of the popularity of each of the motorcycle roads used as a basis for this guide.


As always, I hope to provide you with insightful & valuable motorcycle riding community information to help you get the most out of all of your motorcycling experiences.

I'm always looking for ways to make better and more helpful so if you have any suggestions to improve the website, just contact me through the Feedback button you'll find near the top of every page.  And as always, if you have a favorite motorcycle road of yours that is not yet registered on, please get that favorite of yours "on the map" by registering it at  Registering a motorcycle road (or event, or club, or place) is quick and easy and you'll be helping out our motorcycle riding community!!! 

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McR - Great motorcycle roads lead to great motorcycle rides!