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Great Rides In Six Western States
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Great Rides In Six Western States

1. Idaho - River of No Return

Start in Stanley on 75 east to Challis, Idaho which is about 50 miles away. Then take 93 north about 60 miles to Salmon.

Enjoy the twisting turns of the Salmon River of central Idaho with endless drop offs and continuous curves for a very enjoyable ride. You will be on well surfaced highway for the ride through beautiful scenery and see the most treacherous white water splendor of The River of No Return. You will also see some of the deepest canyons in the United States. You can stop off anywhere you like to take a dip in the river. There are white water rafters all along the way with a copious selection of campgrounds at the top.

2. Washington - Mount Rainier Sunrise

Starting in Elbe, Washington you will want to take Route 706 east until you reach Route 123. Then, going north until you reach Route 410 toward Sunrise Park Road which will be on your left. You will be going west to the Sunrise Point at the Sunrise Visitor Center. This is approximately a 70 mile ride.

Here you will see the 14,411 foot Mount Rainier, the highest peak of the entire Cascade Mountains. In addition to the dormant volcano with its distinctive domed peak, you will see canyons, lakes, rivers and waterfalls with volcanic rock. You will have long climbs as well as some zigging and zagging with excellent highway surfacing.

You can take the train in Elbe for the scenic tour on an authentic steam powered locomotive. There are open passenger cars and also coach cars that have been beautifully restored. At the Jackson Visitor Center, you can learn about the surrounding geology as well as the fauna. You can visit the largest glacier in the United States. You'll also have lovely views of Mount Rainier and other Cascade peaks on this tour.

3. Oregon - The Blue Mountain Byway

183 miles from Baker City, Oregon to Condon, Oregon.

Starting in Baker City, Oregon you will proceed south on Route 7 until you hit Route 220 on Granite Hill Road which is just a few miles before Sumpter. It turns into Highway 24 taking you into Granite. From there, Highway 24 will become Route 73 until you take a left at Forest Road 052 and head west which will take you through to Ukiah. Crossing US 395, you will get on Forest Road 053 for about 20 miles going north which will turn into Willow Creek Road and take you to Hepner. Going southwest from there, 40 miles of twisting road will take you to your destination in Condon, Oregon.

Be sure to get gas when you see a filling station and plan on staying at the Condon Hotel which has a five star restaurant. The exterior may not look as good as it actually is.

4. Utah - Mexican Hat to Bryce Canyon

Head north from Medicine Hat, Utah for about 3 miles. Turn left and get on SR-261 for 10 miles passing the road to the Valley of the Gods. You will go up 3 miles and 1200 feet on hard packed gravel. After a number of switchbacks and at the top of the hill, the road is asphalt again. Take a left off SR-261 onto Route 95 and take a left west all the way to Handsville, Utah. Then you will want to go west on Route 24 to Torrey, Utah. If you want to stop and make a two-day trip out of it, the accommodations here are great. Then go south on Route 12 which is a US Scenic Byway which is well worth the trip. Then onto Boulder with your final stop in Bryce Canyon.

With three miles of switch backs in 1,100 vertical feet the ride up, the Moki Dugway is a wonderful ride. Be sure to stop off at the Muley Point lookout. Considered one of the most majestic drives in the world, although a hard one for a motorcycle in spots, Highway 95 through Glen Canyon is something not to be missed. Huge canyons, wide open ranges with wonder red rock views, a truly beautiful desert canopy and breath-taking colors are simply lovely to behold.

A great time to go is in late April or early May. Fall is a great time as well. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time for Torrey, Bryce Canyon or Medicine Hat as these areas get busy and available accommodations are limited.

5. California - Redwood Forest Loop

Take Highway 101 to Leggett, California where you will go west on Highway 1 and continue on to Hardy.

From Leggett to Hardy is roughly 22 miles of some of the best twists and turns around. This drive is full of beautiful forests of huge redwood trees. The highway is in very good condition and has well banked corners. This is 22 miles of twists in mountains, creeks and ferns but there are no areas to camp or set up an RV.

6.  Nevada - The Sierra Nevadas

Starting just south of Tonopah, Nevada head west on Route 266 until you hit the intersection of CA Route 168 in about 39 miles. Then go west on Route 168 for another 38 miles to Big Pine, California to see the White Mountains and vistas of The Sierra Nevadas. Passing though Westgard Pass which is the only pass connecting Deep Springs and Owens Valleys, the road is twisty and narrow but is well paved with hair pin curves and drop offs that are very steep.

Be sure to gas up because from the Nevada junction of 266 and 95 there are no gas stations or stores.


Image: Wikipedia.org

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  1. tzigane
    Would love to make that drive! Sounds beautiful! #1
  2. nascarangel
  3. mirmir
    #6 love you
  4. Ann Johnston
    Sounds fun - 9
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      Yes, indeed.
  5. Sarah Johnston
    Sarah Johnston
    Voted great article
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      Thank you very much.
  6. Julie Sinclair
    Sounds like a lot of fun. Voted
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      Thank you, Julie.
    Vote 14
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      Thank you, Carol.


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