Best Motorcycle Rides in Southern California for 2024

Best Motorcycle Rides in Southern California for 2024

Written by Pierce Bryant
December 6, 2023

Southern California offers a diverse landscape ripe for exploration, especially on a motorcycle. From the sun-kissed coastal highways to the stark beauty of desert roads, motorcyclists can enjoy rides that showcase the best of what the region has to offer. 2024 brings with it updated routes and events that make the riding season something to look forward to, catering to riders of all preferences.

Each ride in Southern California promises its own unique flavor and challenges. The SoCal Cycle Swap Meet continues to be a hub for bikers to gather, trade stories, and gear up for the journey ahead. Some routes take riders along the Pacific Ocean with the breeze guiding them, while others wind through canyons and mountains like Highway 96 - Klamath River, offering breathtaking views and thrilling turns.

Whether one seeks the camaraderie of fellow riders at events or the solitude of a desert expanse, the motorcycle rides in Southern California in 2024 are geared to provide memorable experiences. These rides embody the spirit of adventure that motorcycling enthusiasts seek, ensuring every journey is as rewarding as the destination.

1. San Gabriel Canyon Road Hwy 39

For motorcycle enthusiasts seeking a tranquil ride with splendid views, San Gabriel Canyon Road, also known as Hwy 39, is a treasure. This route offers a unique blend of easy riding and scenic landscapes.

  • Distance: The road spans a stretch that allows riders to savor a good balance of winding paths and straightaways.
  • Scenery: It features panoramic views of the San Gabriel Mountains, with the lush greenery of the Angeles National Forest as a backdrop.
  • Accessibility: Known locally as Azusa Canyon, the route is a go-to destination for riders due to its accessibility from nearby cities.

Riders will find that San Gabriel Canyon Road is particularly inviting for its:

  • Road Quality: The pavement is well-maintained, providing a smooth ride.
  • Traffic: Traffic levels are generally moderate, though weekends may see an increase in visitors.
  • Attractions: Along the route, there are spots to rest and appreciate the nature surrounding Azusa Canyon.

Whether a rider is looking to escape the city for a few hours or embark on a full day's journey, San Gabriel Canyon Road should not be missed. For those seeking more in-depth details, the motorcycle ride's nuances are outlined comprehensively.

Safety is paramount; hence, riders are reminded to wear proper gear and be mindful of changing weather conditions in the mountains. This ride is an opportunity to experience Southern California's beauty in its purest form, on two wheels.

2. Angeles Crest Highway

Many consider the Angeles Crest Highway to be a premier motorcycle ride in Southern California. This route offers riders an escape into the alpine scenery that contrasts with the urban landscape of nearby Los Angeles. It starts in La Cañada Flintridge, extends approximately 66 miles, and reaches elevations of about 7,000 feet.

  • Scenery: The route features breathtaking vistas of mountains and forests, with blue skies above.
  • Road Quality: The highway is well-maintained with a series of twists, turns, and the occasional straightaway, providing an engaging ride for motorcyclists.
  • Amenities: Strategically located pit stops like Newcomb's Ranch offer refreshments and a chance to meet fellow riders.

Motorcyclists can enjoy the clear air and a variety of turns, from sweeping curves to challenging switchbacks. Riding conditions are generally excellent, with much of the road recently resurfaced, allowing for a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Points of interest along the way include the Griffith Observatory and Mt. Wilson Observatory, where riders can stop to appreciate the views and learn more about astronomy. For those planning a day trip, various landmarks and natural attractions provide opportunities to explore and rest.

Safety is of utmost importance on this mountainous route. Riders are encouraged to stay aware of weather conditions and be prepared for changes at higher elevations. Given the route's popularity, especially on weekends, one should anticipate other motorcyclists and vehicles.

Note: Access to the Angeles Crest Highway can be seasonal. It is best to check for road closures or maintenance before planning a trip.

3. Glendora Mountain Road to Mt. Baldy

Glendora Mountain Road to Mt. Baldy is known for its engaging twists and expansive scenery. This route is a favorite among motorcyclists seeking both adventure and natural beauty.

Route Details:

  • Length: Approximately 33 miles
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours, depending on stops and pace
  • Terrain: Twisty mountain roads with some tight turns

The journey begins in the city of Glendora and takes riders up into the Angeles National Forest. The road meanders through thick forests, presenting riders with a variety of sweeping canyon vistas and the opportunity to see snow-capped mountains, especially in the winter months.

  • Scenery Highlights:
    • Forested areas
    • Canyon views
    • Potential sightings of snow-capped peaks in winter

Road Quality:

  • The pavement is generally well-maintained, but caution is advised on blind curves and during seasonal weather changes.
  • Traffic is usually light, with the occasional presence of other motorcyclists, particularly on sport bikes.

For information about stops along the way and road conditions, one may refer to descriptions of the Glendora Mountain Road to Mt. Baldy ride.

Whether seeking a challenging ride or serene escape from city life, this route offers a blend of both. Riders can enjoy the clean air of the mountains and the camaraderie of the motorcycling community, all while taking in some of Southern California's most memorable landscapes.

4. Hemet to Borrego Springs

Hemet to Borrego Springs is a ride that showcases the diverse landscapes of Southern California. This route offers riders the opportunity to experience changing scenery from chaparral-covered slopes to mixed oaks and pines as the elevation climbs. The journey begins in Hemet, taking riders south through the picturesque terrain.

Riders will ascend Montezuma Grade to Ranchita, a stretch known for its engaging twists and turns. Motorcyclists frequently commend the spectacular views as the road snakes through the elevated terrain, presenting a rewarding challenge for those who enjoy a dynamic ride.

Upon reaching Warner Springs, travelers can appreciate a more relaxed segment of the journey, characterized by rolling hills and a pastoral setting. The route continues through Aguanga, where riders return to Hemet via Route R3, completing the circuit.

Key Highlights:

  • Scenic Diversity: The ride transitions from high-elevation forests to desert vistas.
  • Challenging Curves: The Montezuma Grade offers numerous curves to navigate.
  • Rural Serenity: Warner Springs provides a tranquil contrast to the twisting mountain roads.

Tips for Riders:

  • Check Weather: Mountain passes can experience variable conditions.
  • Road Conditions: Stay informed of road closures or maintenance.
  • Hydration: Desert sections can be arid, so carry water.

For a detailed description of what to expect along this route, explore Hemet to Borrego Springs on Motorcycle Roads. This trip demands attention and skill, making it a must-ride for those seeking a Southern California motorcycle adventure.

5. Murrieta to Carlsbad

Those eager to experience the diverse landscapes of Southern California from the saddle of a motorcycle will find the route from Murrieta to Carlsbad to be a thrilling ride. Murrieta, a city admired for its solid community and business infrastructure, serves as an excellent starting point for this picturesque journey.

Route Highlights:

  • Start: Murrieta
  • End: Carlsbad
  • Distance: Approximately 45 miles


Riders will embark from the inland valleys of Murrieta, immersing themselves in the vibrant local atmosphere with a sturdy, confident stance on the throttle. As they head westward, the route offers a transition from the charming hillsides to the refreshing views of the Pacific Ocean as they approach Carlsbad.

Road Conditions:

The journey is characterized by well-maintained roads, making for a smooth and enjoyable ride. Riders will navigate through gentle curves and scenic straights, ensuring a comfortable yet engaging experience.


The route promises an exceptional visual feast, from the majestic mountain vistas initially encountered to the breathtaking oceanic horizon that greets riders as they near the coastal city of Carlsbad, epitomizing the beauty of Southern California's terrain.


The ride from Murrieta to Carlsbad captures the heart of Southern California's riding culture, providing motorcyclists with an opportunity to revel in the natural beauty and spirit of the region. This route is not just a ride; it is a journey through the quintessence of Californian scenery.

6. Death Valley National Park

One truly unforgettable motorcycle journey in Southern California is through the vast landscapes of Death Valley National Park. It presents riders with a mix of challenging curves and long stretches of open road.

Motorcyclists can access the park from multiple directions:

  • East: Off Hwy 395
  • South: Out of Baker on I-15
  • East: From Pahrump
  • North: At Scotty’s Junction or Beatty off NV 95

The park’s infamous Death Valley Scenic Byway, which includes Route 190, offers spectacular scenery that is both raw and spell-binding. Riders should be prepared for the elements, as Death Valley is known for extreme temperatures, especially in summer months.

Here are some key points for motorcyclists planning to ride in Death Valley National Park:

  • Best Time to Visit: Avoid the peak summer heat; spring and fall are ideal.
  • Must-See Spots: Zabriskie Point, Dante’s View, and Badwater Basin.
  • Services: Sparse; fuel up and bring water.
  • Permits: Required for entrance; check for the latest fees.
  • Precautions: Carry extra water, wear sunscreen, and have a plan for emergencies.

Embracing the solitude of the desert, riders find Death Valley to be a place where one can experience the thrill of riding amid some of the most otherworldly scenery on Earth, as reviewed in an Easy Rider article. Riding here is not just about the destination, but the remarkable journey it offers across a truly unique landscape.

7. Sunset To Pacific Coast Highway

Riders seeking a quintessential Southern California experience often gravitate towards the route from Sunset Boulevard to the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). This journey not only encapsulates the vibrant urban landscape but also transitions into the breath-taking coastal scenery that defines the region.

Starting Point: The ride begins on the iconic Sunset Boulevard, amid the energy of Los Angeles' bustling streets. As motorcyclists navigate this storied route, they'll encounter a blend of city vibes and celebrity history.

Transition Point: Advancing towards the west, the route leaves the cityscape for more open views. Riders should be prepared for the transition as they approach the PCH, where the highway meanders along the coastline.

  • Highlights of PCH:
    • Coastal vistas
    • Fresh ocean air
    • Opportunities for whale watching during certain seasons

Motorcyclists are treated to a sensory feast on the PCH, with the Pacific Ocean to one side and the Santa Monica Mountains on the other. The route promises thrilling turns and expansive views that are consistently rewarding.

Safety Tips:

  • Remain alert for changing traffic conditions
  • Respect speed limits and road signs
  • Adequate gear for potentially cooler coastal weather

Riders are advised to consider the time of day for their journey as sunset hours may enhance the riding experience with spectacular oceanic backdrops. This stretch offers a harmonious blend of urban energy and natural splendor, making it a top choice for those exploring Southern California by motorcycle.

8. Ortega Highway

Ortega Highway, known officially as State Route 74, is a memorable stretch tailored for motorcyclists who crave scenic views and a spirited ride. It connects the city of San Juan Capistrano in Orange County to Lake Elsinore in Riverside County, offering a diverse landscape that shifts breathtakingly.

Route Overview:

  • Starting Point: San Juan Capistrano
  • Ending Point: Lake Elsinore
  • Distance: Approximately 33 miles
  • Highlights: Sweeping turns, vista points, and elevation changes

Riders can expect a road that winds through the Cleveland National Forest, presenting a collection of sweeping turns and tight twisties that are both challenging and exhilarating. Elevation changes give way to astonishing views of the mountains and valleys, including glimpses of Mt. Elsinore, particularly impressive from the higher altitudes of the highway.

Best Times to Ride:

  • Weekdays: Less traffic, more leisurely ride
  • Weekends: More riders, social atmosphere

The Ortega Highway is advised to be traversed during off-peak hours to reduce encounters with commuter traffic and to fully enjoy the road's offerings. It's also popular among riding enthusiasts on weekends, where the vibrant riding community can be seen taking full advantage of this Southern California gem. Moreover, it is wise for riders to check the road conditions and be aware of any seasonal closures or maintenance that could impact their trip.

Amenities Along the Route:

  • Fuel stations
  • Restaurants
  • Vista points for breaks

Safety remains paramount, as certain stretches can be technically demanding. Riders are encouraged to ride responsibly, adhering to the speed limits and road rules, ensuring an enjoyable and secure journey on the Ortega Highway.


Southern California offers an array of unparalleled motorcycle routes that cater to every rider’s thirst for adventure. The region boasts roads that wind through majestic landscapes, where each turn reveals breathtaking views and new horizons.

Top Picks:

  • Coastal Routes: For those who love the sea breeze, routes along the Pacific Coast provide a refreshing experience with the ocean in constant view.
  • Mountain Paths: Higher elevations offer cooler rides and striking mountain vistas. Routes like Glendora Mountain Road to Mt. Baldy are noted for their unique challenges and beauty.

Riders should note the following:

  • Ensure your motorcycle is in good condition before embarking on these rides.
  • Always wear appropriate gear for safety and comfort.
  • Check local traffic laws and adhere to riding regulations.

2024 stands as a year where the freedom and pleasure of motorcycling blend seamlessly with Southern California’s stunning geography. Whether one prefers long, lazy beachfront rides or the thrill of serpentine mountain roads, the choices are plentiful and rewarding.

For enthusiasts seeking the quintessential SoCal riding experience, these paths not only promise exhilaration but also a deep connection with the spirit of the open road.