Few things compare to revving up your bike and hitting the open road. If that road is scenic and challenging, even better. But some of the most thrilling road trips are also among the most treacherous. Here are four of the most surprisingly dangerous motorcycle rides in America.
Beartooth Highway is a roller coaster of a motorcycle ride
Winding along nearly 70 miles of switchbacks and hairpin turns, Montana’s Beartooth Highway zigzags through some of the most beautiful scenery in America. This thrilling stretch of U.S. Highway 212 that extends from Red Lodge, Montana, to the northern gateway to Yellowstone in Wyoming perfectly defines what a motorcycle ride is about, National Geographic reports.
As you travel this roller coaster of a road, keep an eye open for stark tundra, glacial lakes, spectacular waterfalls, and wildlife. Among the many birds and animals that you might glimpse are elk, bison, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and grizzly bears, Yellowstone Touring Company explains.
During the winter months, this National Scenic Byway might be closed due to excessive snow, and unpredictable weather conditions can make the road treacherous any time of year, so be sure to scout the Montana Department of Transportation road report before you roll out.
Try Twisted Sisters for a white-knuckle motorcycle ride
If you think of Texas as a flat state with few curves, do think again. Comprising a trio of connected Ranch Roads, Twisted Sisters offers motorcyclists an exhilarating ride replete with narrow passes between rock formations, whipping winds, and plenty of harrowing drop-offs, Only in Your State reports.
Rev your engine and head out on Ranch Road 335 south along the Nueces River through Barksdale and continue until you reach RR 337 around Camp Wood. If bats are your thing, take a side trip to Devil’s Sinkhole, where millions of the nocturnal flying mammals reside. At Camp Wood, veer onto RR 337 and head northeast.
The first half of RR 337 provides 65 loops to lean into, along with more than 130 white-knuckle direction changes before you roar into Vanderpool. If time allows, take another side trip into Lost Maples State Natural Area before returning to RR 337 and making your way to Leakey to merge onto RR 336. Watch out for wandering livestock, and carefully heed the road sign that reminds riders of the 10 motorcyclists who lost their lives traversing Twisted Sisters since 2006, Texas Heritage for Living reports.
Pacific Coast Highway grows more treacherous as the views get better
Stretching for more than 1,650 miles, Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most iconic roads in America. PCH, as it is commonly called, extends from the southernmost tip of Baja California all the way to the northern reaches of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. For the purposes of this post, we’ll start at the top and ride down the coast into California.
Rev your engine in Olympia, and loop around the peninsula on Highway 101 until you reach the small Washington town of Long Beach. Take a side trip to the cranberry bog or enjoy a campfire on the sand, Roving Motion recommends. Then get back on your motorcycle and roll down the stunning coast to Cannon Beach, Oregon, where you can view sea stack rocks that are nothing short of stunning. Spend the night because daytime views along the Oregon-to-California stretch of PCH are the best. You also stand a better chance of navigating the narrow road as you hug coastal curves that are fully illuminated by sunlight.
Gas up early the next day, and prepare to encounter the largest trees you’ve ever seen as you roll into redwood country. Once you’ve had an eyeful, head south on 101 until it connects with Highway 1. As you travel south, the views get better and better, but the road also becomes more hazardous, Dangerous Roads warns.
Perils to watch out for include landslides, hairpin turns, and cliff-high roads without guardrails. Of course, you don’t have to travel the entire highway to see what it’s all about. Even a short motorcycle ride on this stretch is enough to make you fall in love.
Tail of the Dragon lives up to its name
Nearly 40 miles long, Tail of the Dragon offers a white-knuckle motorcycle ride you won’t easily forget. Once known only to locals, who refer to it as “that damned road to Tennessee,” this dragon tail–shaped highway appeared in the biker cult classic Two-Lane Blacktop.
Begin or end your road trip at the intersection of NC 28 and US 129, where you can grab a bite to eat and gas up or spend the night at Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort, Roadtrippers reports. Ride in the fall, and this thrillingly dangerous road offers winding turns and autumnal foliage — along with the ghost of at least one Civil War soldier purported to haunt Tail of the Dragon.