As an avid motorcyclist it’s easy to appreciate the beauty in each state and for many riders seeking out amazing roads that most would overlook can become second nature, even an art form some may say. Throughout our vast and beautiful country called The United States of America, we are fortunate enough to have a plethora of both paved and dirt roads that are meant to be sought out like the Ark of the covenant. These roads are meant to be experienced intimately, the only way they can be, on 2 wheels.
Experiencing these beautiful thruways on a motorcycle can become a thirst that is never quenched, and although each state has its own unique characteristics ultimately some will stand out more than others. One state that has that effect for motorcyclists is Colorado.
Colorado is one of those states that as soon as you ride past the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign the roads seem to present themselves to you like a feast on a golden platter with an endless amount of wine.
The rides we will be reviewing in this forum can be completed in 1-2 days and are best ridden between late April and early October.
Best Motorcycle Roads In Southern Colorado
Southern Colorado is a rider’s paradise and a region that should not be missed for riders of all experience levels. Other avid motorcyclists have also recommended these roads to me, which reinforces my recommendations for these routes and motivated me to write this comprehensive layout to help others. I hope this breakout has proves to be helpful and serves as a reason to visit Southern Colorado and have the riding experience of a lifetime.
MILLION DOLLAR HIGHWAY RTE. 550
This loop may be one of the greatest roads in all of North America. The road is paved and in immaculate condition. It combines some of the tightest switchbacks one can expect to experience on a motorcycle. The full route per the map is ~235 miles and can be done in 1 day, but highly recommend taking at least 2-4 to fully experience and immerse yourself in this beautiful part of the country.
There are endless forest roads off this to get your fill of dirt riding littered with an infinite amount of beautiful dispersed campsites. Some wonderful old mining towns rich with history, hiking, restaurants, hotels, and hot springs pave the way forward to this adventure.
MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
Be prepared for the sense of overwhelming vertigo as soon as you enter the National Park and the road begins screaming up in elevation with incredible views overlooking the valley below. A wonderful feeling as the path goes on and on as you travel through the park.
Although the distance from the park entrance to the furthest point is only 28 miles, those miles are filled with numerous overlooks and pullouts that can make this seemingly short ride take 2-3 days. This is especially true if you are taking in the hikes along the way.
The only piece of concern for this ride is the numerous road snakes in some areas of this ride. Otherwise its full enjoyment as you have a 360 view of the valleys below that outstretch clear into Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona.
GRAND MESA SCENIC BYWAY- RTE 65
A beautiful Colorado mountain road filled with switchbacks that rise in elevation and bring you up to over 10,000 feet and onto the World’s largest Mesa. There are several pullouts along this route to take in the views, but no gas stations from Cedaredge to Mesa (50 miles, but can be close to 100 miles if you are doing the off-road portion) so plan accordingly.
GRAND JUNCTION TO NATURITA RTE 141
A 105 mile long, low elevation beautifully paved road which will have you leaning your ride until you feel the mist kissing your windshield from Dolores River as you pass amazing rust colored mesas that stretch into the sky and rival that of Monument Valley.
The road has very little traffic which will allow you to enjoy some solitude as you embrace the scenery you ride through. The only minor drawback on this route is the lack of amenities so come more prepared than you usually would.
PAGOSA SPRINGS – LAKE CITY RTE 160, 149
This route consists of 45 miles of 4 lane highway on Rte 160 that summits at over 10,000 Ft which then drops you into South Fork, CO where you will turn left onto Rte 149. Rte 149 will quickly whittle down to a tighter quieter 75 miles of mountain passes. South Fork is the only town between these areas so ensure you gas up, get lunch before heading onto the second part of this amazing road that will have you speeding across lower elevation prairies and then climbing high into the mountain tundra that will resemble something from another planet.
Best Motorcycle Roads In Northern Colorado
Ride In Progress – July 2021