Overall Route Rating
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4.78 out of 5 Rider Rating 4.78
55 Reviews

Motorcycle Route Author

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By Guest (0 McR Points) on Jul 31, 2000

Rider Reviews

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March 8, 2009
Did this ride and then some. Started out from…
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January 7, 2013
Wife and I planned a 10 day riding vacation over…

Written Directions

The directions to this route are pretty straight forward since it stays on one road, highway 1, the whole time. My description of the "Roadside Amenities" above, describe the route from north to south. Start the route in Monterrey California and simply follow highway 1 south through Big Sur and down to the route's conclusion in San Simeon California (where you'll find the Hearst Castle).


This world-class scenic route takes you along the famed California Route 1 starting (or ending) in Monterey California and ending (or starting) in Morro Bay. The route is 1 of original 9 routes to be selected by the US Department of Transportation as an "All American Road" which is a designation given to only the cream of the crop roads that are categorized as America's Byways (The list of All American Roads has grown over the years. As of July 2016 there are 31 All American Roads). The route is part of a stretch of Route 1 that has been honored time and time again as a classic American roadtrip road by countless books, magazines, websites, etc. Along this route you will see coastal scenery that will leave you breathless. Opposite the ocean, inland scenery is as inspiring with its display of rolling hills, rock outcroppings, picturesque waterfalls, redwood forests, flowered meadows, lush valleys, and majestic coastal mountains. Along the route you will see a number of lighthouses, 18th century Spanish missions, and a variety of animal life including sea lions, sea otters, sharks, bat rays, gray whales, brown pelicans, and peregrine falcons as well as monarch butterfly winter sanctuaries.

Drive Enjoyment

Overall the road quality is very good and the number of turns, climbs and descents alone should give it a five star rating. However, its overwhelming beauty and popular attractions also lead it to be a sometimes constricted route and at times leading to traffic bottlenecks in some of the towns along the way. However it still is one of the best roads in America and therefore deserves its four star rating.

Watch this video of Pacific Coast Cruise; Hwy 1.

Tourism Opportunities

You can plan a weeks vacation along this route in terms of the number and quality of amenities available. There are seven state parks along the way, a state reserve, a botanical area and many historical areas of interest. At anyone of these state parks you will find many opportunities for hiking and beach exploring. Monterey California offers a walking tour as well the Cannery Row district with its restaurants, museums, and aquarium. Pacific Grove is known as Butterfly USA due to its choice as a winter home to a vast number of monarch butterflies coming in from as far as Canada. Carmel-by-the-Sea offers shops, cottages, galleries, restaurants, and a preserved 18th century Spanish mission. You will also cross the much photographed Bixby Bridge (you've probably seen this bridge in a few movies, postcards or TV commercials). It arches 256 feet above the meeting of the Bixby Creek and Pacific ocean. Tours of the lighthouse in Point Sur State Historic Park are offered on most weekends. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park offers outstanding hiking trails leading to many waterfalls and trout filled streams. Don't miss one of California's most visited tourist site - Hearst's paradise. This mansion/castle was built for publisher William Randolph Hearst at the beginning of the 20th century; taking nearly 30 years to be completed.

Motorcycle Road Additional info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather . - Monterey Bay Area Guide -

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Share Your Comments ( 55 )
  Earn McR Points
April 7, 2017
501 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Touring
A truly magnificent ride. I rode northbound from San Luis Obispo all the way to the highway's end in Leggett over the course of two days. I made the trip in August and the first day, through Big Sur, etc. was pretty good weather......overcast but 65 degrees and clear. The 2nd day was an entirely different story however. I left Bodega Bay in the morning and sat in fog the entire rest of the way up the coast. I could literally see sunshine 1/4 of a mile inland but had none on the highway. As a result, my views of the Pacific were sadly nearly non-existent and I was quite chilly due to the lack of sunshine and damp conditions. I had this happen to me once riding the Oregon coast as well and also in August. Makes me wonder if hot weather inland (it was near 100 when I got on 101 north of Leggett) sucks the cool ocean air in causing the aforementioned fog.

As has been mentioned, the traffic on the entirety of Highway 1 can be tough as well. The road north of San Francisco where I ran into the fog is cut out of the side of cliffs above the ocean and the views without fog are unmatched (I've done it on a clear day in a 4 wheeler). My advice, heated gloves no matter the time of year.
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November 6, 2016
0 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Other
I did this ride along with the 'Highway 1 - San Mateo Coast' ride. We started on Friday after work (from Dubbelju Motorcycle Rental) in downtown SF, rode down to Marina, CA (stopped at Gherkins for dinner) and crashed at the Motel 6. It has been recently renovated, and not a bad place to stop.

Had a beer at English Ales in Marina -- nice little local spot.
Breakfast at Coffee Mia was great!

Then on down to this part of the trip. What an absolutely gorgeous ride!
Big Sur River Inn is a nice spot to eat and stretch your legs.
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June 13, 2020
19 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport
Was a great ride in the late 90's on a lowly GS500 !
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