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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Brown

Exploring 10 Legendary Motorcycle Rides in the Pacific Northwest

#1 Cruise the Lolo Pass: A Scenic Idaho Adventure


Location: Idaho


Distance: 175 miles


Time to Ride: Full Day


Calling all motorcycle enthusiasts! Idaho's Lolo Pass, a 175-mile odyssey along the historic Lewis & Clark Trail, awaits. Prepare to be dazzled by breathtaking landscapes and majestic mountain vistas as you wind through the rugged Rocky Mountains.

This scenic route traverses not just one, but three stunning National Forests: Lolo, Nez Perce, and Nez Perce-Clearwater. Take your time and soak in the natural beauty - from the calming presence of natural hot springs to the exhilarating whitewater rapids of the Selway and Lochsa Rivers, popular destinations for rafting adventures.


Need a break after a day of conquering curves? The Lochsa Lodge, nestled beside the Lochsa River, offers cozy cabins, a welcoming restaurant, and a lively tavern - the perfect pitstop to unwind and refuel before continuing your journey.







#2. ST. JOE RIVER SCENIC BYWAY


Location: Idaho


Distance: 100 miles


Time to Ride: Full Day


Traverse a Tranquil Paradise: St. Joe River Scenic Byway (Idaho)


Calling all riders seeking a scenic escape! The St. Joe River Scenic Byway, a 100-mile ribbon of serenity in Idaho, awaits. Immerse yourself in breathtaking vistas of forests and mountains as you carve your way along the byway. The rushing St.Joe River will be your constant companion, while the road itself offers a thrilling challenge with its twists, curves, and elevation changes.


Unlike bustling highways, this byway is a haven for tranquility. Don't be surprised if you find yourself sharing the road with more scenery than traffic! Keep in mind that the Montana section transitions to a hardpack gravel surface, so be prepared for a slightly different riding experience.







#3 THE IDAHO/MONTANA SCENIC TRIANGLE LOOP


Location: Idaho & Montana


Distance: 314 miles


Time to Ride: Full Day or Mulit Day



Conquer a Bi-State Bonanza: The Idaho/Montana Scenic Triangle Loop


Gear up for an epic 314-mile adventure that bridges the best of Idaho and Montana!


This scenic triangle loop winds through the majestic Flathead and Kootenai National Forests, treating you to a dazzling display of diverse ecosystems. Prepare to be wowed by everything from serene wetlands and towering mountains to dramatic canyons and rushing rivers.


The entire route is a visual feast for motorcycle enthusiasts. Twisting roads weave past breathtaking vistas of the Panhandle National Forest, offering jaw-dropping views from Thompsons Pass. Take in the grandeur of mountain valleys and peaks, alongside the sparkling waters of the Clark Fork and Kootenai Rivers, and the vast expanse of Lake Pend Oreille.


Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife encounters, as deer, moose, and elk are known to frequent the area. The loop also offers plenty of opportunities to refuel and rest. Stop for delicious food and drinks at local gems like the Sprag Pole in Murray, making this journey a true exploration for the senses.





#4. THE DEVIL’S TAIL


Location: Oregon


Distance: 22 miles


Time to Ride: One Hour



Tame the Devil's Tail: A Thrilling Oregon Adventure


Calling all adrenaline-seeking riders! Brace yourselves for the Devil's Tail, a legendary 22-mile stretch carved into the heart of Oregon's Hells Canyon. This behemoth holds the title of North America's deepest canyon,even surpassing the Grand Canyon!


The Devil's Tail isn't just a scenic wonder - it's a challenge. Forming one wall of the canyon and serving as the foundation for the imposing Seven Devils Mountains, the road throws hundreds of curves and elevation changes your way. Be prepared for a thrilling test of your riding skills!


After conquering the Devil's Tail and soaking in the breathtaking views, head to the Hells Canyon Visitor Center, located just beyond the Hells Canyon Dam. Here, you can take a well-deserved break, grab a refreshing drink, and refuel your body (and maybe brag a little about your ride!). But remember, gas stations are scarce along the way, so fill up your tank before you embark on this devilish adventure.






#5. PORTLAND TO SUMPTER


Location: Oregon


Distance: 350 miles


Time to Ride: Full Day


Unveiling Oregon's Majesty: The Portland to Sumpter Scenic Escape


Prepare for a 350-mile postcard come to life! The Portland to Sumpter ride whisks you through a breathtaking panorama of Oregon's diverse landscapes. With majestic Mount Hood as your constant companion, you'll meander along winding roads, past idyllic farmlands, and through dramatic canyons. Gurgling rivers will soundtrack your journey as you explore remnants of the Gold Rush era in charming mining towns before reaching the quaint town of Sumpter.


This route is more than just a ride - it's an immersive experience that captures the very essence of Oregon's beauty. So, buckle up, breathe in the fresh air, and get ready to be captivated by the magic of the Pacific Northwest.





#6. COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY SCENIC ROUTE


Location: Oregon


Distance: 95 miles


Time to Ride: Half Day


Cruise the Columbia River Scenic Highway: Oregon's Crown Jewel


Unwind on a 95-mile journey of pure Pacific Northwest bliss! The Columbia River Scenic Highway laces its way around the majestic Mount Hood, following the mighty Columbia River and dipping through the verdant embrace of Mount Hood National Forest. Steeped in history, this route echoes the footsteps of Lewis and Clark's expedition and the Oregon Trail pioneers.


Keep your eyes peeled for resident wildlife as you navigate the scenic curves. Breathe in the fresh air and be captivated by the crystal-clear waterfalls and vibrant spring wildflowers that paint the landscape.


Must-Sees Along the Way:

  • Mount Hood Information Center: Get the lay of the land and plan your adventures.

  • Wildwood Recreation Site: Take a refreshing break and dip your toes in the cool waters.

  • Rhododendron Gardens: Immerse yourself in a riot of colorful blooms (especially in spring).

  • Timberline Lodge: This historic lodge, built during the Great Depression, offers stunning views. Park your bike and take the chairlift for a breathtaking panorama from the peak.

  • Columbia River, Hood River, and Salmon River: Marvel at the majesty of these powerful waterways.

  • The Dalles: Explore this historic town and soak up its rich past.

  • Panorama Point: Capture unforgettable views from this scenic vantage point.

  • Mount Hood Railroad (Hood River): Embark on a 44-mile train journey through the heart of the valley.

  • Maltnomah Falls: Don't miss this iconic waterfall - a true photographic gem.

  • Crown Point State Park: Take in breathtaking vistas from atop a 700-foot volcanic rock formation.


#7. MCKENZIE HIGHWAY


Location: Oregon


Distance: 37 miles


Time to Ride: One Hour



Embrace Nature's Majesty: The McKenzie Highway Adventure


This scenic route offers endless opportunities to explore, relax, and create lasting memories. So, hit the road and discover the magic of the Columbia River Scenic Highway!


Embrace Nature's Majesty: The McKenzie Highway Adventure (Oregon)

Calling all nature lovers! Buckle up for a 37-mile sensory feast on the McKenzie Highway. This scenic route is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts, immersing you in the verdant embrace of evergreen forests teeming with towering trees.


As you climb towards the mountain pass, the horizon explodes with the majestic presence of volcanoes. The road itself takes an unexpected turn, leading you through a fascinating lava flow field - a unique geological wonder that adds another layer of intrigue to your ride.


While the scenery is undeniably captivating (be prepared to pull over for those epic photos!), keep in mind the posted speed limits of 35-45 mph. Watch out for loose gravel that might stray from the hillsides onto the road surface.

Reaching the summit is a reward in itself. Take in the breathtaking panorama of multiple mountain peaks stretching out before you from the observation wall. Feeling adventurous? Lace up your boots and embark on a short hike through the otherworldly lava field.


Remember, this route is light on services. Fill up your gas tank and grab some snacks before setting off, as there are no gas stations or restaurants along the way.





#8. THE KLICKITAT LOOP


Location: Washington


Distance: 80 miles


Time to Ride: Few Hours 


Unleash Your Inner Rider: The Klickitat Loop (Washington)


Calling all motorcycle purists! Craving a ride that lets you unwind and truly connect with the open road? Look no further than the Klickitat Loop, an 80-mile haven for riders who just want to ride.


This scenic loop offers a perfect blend of riding experiences. Cruise comfortably along straightaways, feeling the wind in your hair. Test your skills on the plentiful switchbacks and navigate sections with tighter twists that demand focus and precision.


Unlike bustling highways, the Klickitat Loop boasts minimal traffic, allowing you to immerse yourself in the rhythm of the ride. Keep your eyes peeled, though, as this open-range loop is shared with wildlife, adding another layer of adventure to your journey.


So, if you're looking to escape the crowds and reconnect with the pure joy of motorcycling, the Klickitat Loop awaits. Gear up, hit the road, and experience the freedom of the open Washington wilderness.





#9. WHIDBEY ISLAND WONDER


Location: Washington


Distance: 122 miles


Time to Ride: Two Day


Island Hopping Adventure: Whidbey Island Wonder (Washington)


Calling all motorcycle explorers! Embark on a unique 54-mile adventure that combines the thrill of the open road with a scenic ferry ride across the majestic Possession Sound.

Your journey begins by loading your motorcycle onto the ferry for a relaxing 20-minute cruise, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and coastline. Once you arrive on Whidbey Island, prepare to be captivated by its winding roads filled with exciting twists and curves.


As you navigate north towards Anacortes, charming towns dot the landscape, inviting you to explore their unique character. Take a break and soak in the island vibes at South Whidbey Island State Park or Deception Pass State Park. Craving a taste of the local scene? Stop by Whidbey Island Vineyards and Winery for a refreshing break and a chance to sample some delicious island wines.


This Whidbey Island Wonder offers the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, making it an unforgettable experience for any motorcyclist. So, gear up and get ready to discover the hidden gems of Washington's captivating Whidbey Island!







#10. SPIRIT LAKE HIGHWAY


Location: Washington


Distance: 51 miles


Time to Ride: One Hour


Cruise by Crystal Waters: The Spirit Lake Highway (Washington)



Calling all water enthusiasts! The Spirit Lake Highway, a scenic 51-mile route, promises a refreshing journey lined with stunning lakes and rivers. Get ready to be mesmerized by the glistening waters of Spirit Lake,Coldwater Lake, and Silver Lake, sparkling gems nestled amidst the lush Pacific Northwest landscape.


Your adventure begins in Castle Rock, a town offering a variety of dining options and gas stations to fuel up before you hit the open road. The highway itself is a motorcyclist's dream - clear views and an open road stretching out before you, perfect for a relaxing yet scenic ride.


As you reach the end of the highway, don't miss the Johnston Ridge Observatory (open mid-May to October).This vantage point offers breathtaking views of the iconic Mount St. Helens. Take a break, soak in the scenery, and learn more about the volcano through interpretive talks and programs. Feeling energetic? Lace up your hiking boots and explore the surrounding trails, adding another dimension to your adventure.


The Pacific Northwest boasts a wealth of incredible motorcycle routes catering to all skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a newbie embarking on your first long ride, remember to be prepared for the unexpected. Sharp curves, steep drop-offs, changing road surfaces, and wildlife encounters are all part of the adventure. So, pack accordingly, stay alert, and embrace the challenge - the Pacific Northwest awaits you with open roads and unforgettable experiences!




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