Follow die-hard riders on the trail of the best motorcycle roads and trips around the world. Here are our picks for the top 10 stretches of twists and curves that are best experienced on a bike.
Tail of the Dragon at Deals Cap
At the state line for North Carolina and Tennessee, the Tail of the Dragon, a winding stretch of US 129, may be the most popular road for motorcyclists in the US. With 318 curves looping and twisting through a mere 11 miles, you don’t want to mess with this dragon unless you’re a skilled and ready rider.
You’ll need to fly to southeast Asia to experience some of the world’s wildest twists and turns best experienced on 2 wheels. Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Loop has more than 1,000 hairpin turns and mind-blowing bends as it snakes through the country’s mountainous countryside passing waterfalls, temples, caves and villages along the way.
Every year on the third Saturday in September, motorcyclists join together for the Trail of Tears Motorcycle Remembrance Ride to honor the Native Americans who were forced from their land after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Riders follow a historic trail along Highway 72 from Chattanooga, TN, to Waterloo, AL.
Alaska is notoriously rugged with extreme weather and landscape that make for jaw-dropping scenery. For these reasons, only pros should attempt the bumpy gravel roads, looping twists and frequent rain and snow on an excursion to Prudhoe Bay past national parks including Denali and Gates of the Arctic. Even better, go with a tour group like Ayres Adventures to get additional safety tips on this intense ride.
Christchurch to the Coast
Take a ride Down Under and enjoy the relative solitude of New Zealand’s open road and diverse landscapes over mountains and past deep fjords. Set off from Christchurch and stop in Queenstown before heading to the West Coast for a scenic beach ride along coastal highways.
Road-trippers aspire to experience one of America’s original highways, Route 66. To capture some of the flavor of the “Mother Road,” set off on your bike from Santa Fe, revisit the Old West and see the south rim of the Grand Canyon and continue through California’s Mojave Desert before reaching the end of Route 66 in sunny Santa Monica.
Let someone else do the hard work of planning the itinerary for a trip through northwest Vietnam on a private, customized tour with Offroad Vietnam. Most trips set off from Hanoi and journey through farmlands, fields of rice paddies and foothills, and stop to spend the night in the small villages where you can soak up local culture as a guest at a private home.
Follow the path that Che Guevara took on his great motorcycle tour through South America that will be worth recounting in your own diary. Start in Osorno, Chile, and follow the Andes as you crisscross the borders of Argentina and Chile passing Patagonia’s snow-covered volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls.
Between San Diego and Los Angeles lies one of America’s favorite roads to explore on a motorcycle—California Highway 76—which carries you away from the coast toward Cleveland National Forest. As the lanes narrow and traffic thins out, continue on Highway S6 to Palomar Mountain’s Peak at 6,126 feet for a striking view of the stars.
Don’t let the picturesque scenery fool you—Norway may provide a perfect fairy-tale setting, but the curvy mountainside roads create Europe’s greatest motorcycling experiences. In southern Norway, Lyseboth Road in Lysefjord has more twists than the wildest roller coaster with more than thrilling 30 hairpin bends, switchbacks galore and a cool tunnel that will surely get your adrenaline pumping.