Temperatures are dropping in the U.S., which means some of the world’s most popular motorcycle destinations are heating up. Winter is a great time to get out and explore on your bike.
The trails and roads tend to be less crowded, and you can get a front-row seat to the changing landscape.
If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure this season, don’t let the weather keep you at home. Add these winter destinations to your bucket list as soon as possible.
Preparing for Your Trip
Heading out on the road on a motorcycle can take some getting used to. You won’t have the warmth and comfort of a four-door passenger vehicle to protect you from the cold, so you’ll need to add plenty of light, moisture-wicking layers to your packing list.
All your riding gear should be completely waterproof to keep your hands and feet warm and dry. Consider adding a wearable heating vest to the mix to keep your body temperature up when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Use a helmet communication device to stay connected to your phone or GPS if you’re riding alone so you can check the map or call for help hands-free in an emergency.
You can also use the device to wirelessly connect to your companions on the road. Use the Cardo Freecom 4x to connect to up to 15 riders at the same time. It will automatically link to anyone in your party when they are in range so you don’t have to keep resetting the connection.
Know When to Ride
Be prepared to stay off the roads when riding conditions become untenable. You can always stay the night in a hotel and give yourself the day off. Experts say it’s best to avoid riding when there is snow on the ground. Give your bike a once-over before departing on your trip. You may need to have your battery or tires replaced to keep riding in cold weather.
Best Places to Ride a Motorcycle in the Winter
1. Highway 1 – The California Coastline
Head west to the state of California to ride up and down the Pacific Ocean. Highway 1 runs just over 650 miles from Capistrano Beach in Orange County to Leggett in northern Mendocino (Dana Point). You will cruise over scenic cliffs and ocean vistas that are sure to take your breath away.
Watch out for steep turns and tight passageways in some areas. The highway has seen more than its fair share of construction over the last few years, so you may need to find an alternate route in some areas.
The climate is fairly moderate year-round, but you’re bound to run into some chilly temperatures further north. Expect to add or subtract layers depending on which direction you’re heading.
2. Zion National Park – Utah
Experience the thrilling mountains and rock formations of the sprawling Utah desert. The twisty roads that wind through various ravines will be a joy for even the most seasoned riders. It’s a quiet place to get away from the traffic and tourists. Watch out for snowfall during your trip.
The backcountry tends to see the brunt of it, but some paths and trails may be blocked. The area gets around 13 feet of snow in any given year, so plan to make a pitstop when necessary. The park is full of stunning hiking trails that will keep you busy until the roads are clear. Temperatures tend to stay between the low 30s and low 50s during the winter.
3. The Hill Country – Texas
The southern region of Texas makes for a welcome escape from the cold during the winter. The Hill Country in particular is known for its rugged hills and scenic terrain. It’s a short drive from San Antonio, home of the famous Alamo.
Hit up Ranch Roads 335, 336, and 337, known as the Twisted Sisters, for a more challenging ride. It’s a 100-mile loop that weaves through various canyons, hills, and steep drop-offs. The entire trek features a whopping 65 curves. The Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop tends to be a favorite. It’s a great place to stock up on essential gear, motorcycle-themed souvenirs, and anything else you might need to enjoy the trip.
The area isn’t exactly a tourist trap. It can get pretty remote in some stretches, so make sure you have a place to stay the night and fill up your tank with gas before getting lost.
’Tis the season to get out on your motorcycle and experience some of the best riding destinations in the country. Make sure you have everything you need to get to and from your destination if you plan on riding all the way there. Prepare your bike for colder weather and use a motorcycle Bluetooth headset to stay safe and connected every step of the way.