Best Motorcycle Road in CA - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 3:26 pm Thread Starter
K12R's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: El Dorado Hills, CA, USA
Posts: 242
Best Motorcycle Road in CA

My vote: Ebbett's Pass

Just rode it last Thursday (3 times actually) - this road has it all: tight twisties, long sweepers, "S" series, very light traffic (a complete non-issue), steep drop offs, great road surface, fantastic scenery, OVER 60 MILES LONG! There isn't even a yellow line to worry about, it's plenty wide for two cars to pass but there is no center line.

I haven't ridden every road in CA, but I think anyone would be hard pressed to come up with a better road for motorcycling - any challengers???

From the Ebbett's Pass website:

The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway is a 61-mile stretch of California State Highways 4 and 89 in Calaveras and Alpine counties, between the towns of Arnold and Markleeville, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Situated south of Lake Tahoe and north of Yosemite National Park, the EPNSB is one of the lesser-known and least traveled trans-Sierra routes.

At both ends of the byway (between Arnold and Lake Alpine to the west, and between Markleeville and Silver Creek, to the east), the road is a modern, full width two lane state highway that is maintained for year-round travel, with a double yellow centerline, shoulders and frequent passing lanes. However, once past these points, the road, and the travel experience, changes dramatically, becoming a narrow two-lane road with no centerline and no shoulders as it slowly winds its way up and over the Sierra crest at Ebbetts Pass. This portion of the highway is steep, narrow, and curvy, with precarious drop-offs and frequent blind turns. The nature of the road demands that the traveler slow down and drive with extreme caution, savoring the sites and spectacular vistas along the way. It is not recommended for semi-trucks, buses, and large Recreational Vehicles (RV's).

Compared to the high-speed trans-Sierra routes of Highways 50 and 80, driving the Ebbetts Pass is a special and unique experience. The lack of a center line, along with dramatic elevation changes, steep grades and sharp curves encourage travelers to traverse the route at a leisurely pace, gaining time to experience the scenic vistas in a more intimate fashion than any other route through the Sierra.
(yeah, right)


Last edited by K12R; Jun 30th, 2008 at 3:36 pm.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 4:35 pm
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Yep, like you I haven't riden them all yet, but that has to be in the top 5.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 11:32 pm
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Made me get out my favorite CA tour-guide: "Destination Highways, Northern California - A Motorcycle Enthusiast's Guide to the Best 334 Roads in Northern California."

They assign points in 6 categories: Twistiness, Pavement, Engineering, Remoteness, Scenery, and Character.

Highest is:
87.0 points. Topaz Lake to Markleeville.
85.0 points. Callahan to Cecilville.
83.4 points. Oroville to Greenville/Quincy (Mine too! Love the railroad, tunnels, power stations, canyon, and river.)
83.1 points. Hwy. 88/Hwy. 89 Jct. to Barton
82.5 points. Cleone (Fort Bragg) to Leggett
82.2 points. Carlotta (Fortuna) to Triangle Jct.
81.9 points. Quincy to Oroville (again?)
81.6 points. Sonora Jct. to Twain Harte.
81.0 points. Nevada City to Satley
80.3 points. Dry Creek Road to Skaggs Springs Road.
79.6 points. Triangle Jct. to Red Bluff.
79.3 points. Happy Camp to Willows.

The Arnold to Bear Vally Village (4?) got a 69.8. I like Lassen Park Road too, but it got a 70.7. It got a 12.7 in Scenery (2nd) where the Topaz lake to Markleville got a 13.8 (1st) which appears to be the most scenic in their book. Benton to Lee Vining shows a 12.6 in scenery (3rd).

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2008, 11:12 am Thread Starter
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Location: El Dorado Hills, CA, USA
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Have ridden most of those roads and generally agree with the analysis, but apparantly they don't rate the upper section of 4 from Bear Valley to Markleeville - this is the stretch I like. Just goes to show how much we have here in CA - I love living in the foothills with such close access to all these great motorcycling roads.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 3rd, 2008, 11:49 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA, USA
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I do enjoy 4 over Ebbetts pass a lot. Cutting over Monitor pass down into Topaz is a blast as well; I love the sweepers on that as you climb to the top. Some of my other favorites -
  • 36 from south of Eureka to Red Bluff. 144 miles of pure riding bliss.
  • 1 from Leggett to San Francisco
  • 1 from Carmel to Cambria (when Big Sur isn't on fire)
  • 58 from Santa Margerhita to Buttonwillow
  • 25 from Hollister to the 198 Junction
  • 198 from 101 to Coalinga
  • 9 from Saratoga to Santa Cruz
  • 35 from the 9 Junction to the 92 Junction
  • 84 from San Gregorio to Alice's restaurant. the part from LaHonda to the top is my #1 stretch of road anywhere!
  • 108 from Sonora over the pass to the 395 Junction
  • 395 through the Walker River Canyon, especially when the river is really running
Well, you asked!!

David Taylor
San Jose, CA
2010 BMW R1200RT Polar Metallic
2008 Ducati HyperMotard 1100S Red (of course)

The shortest distance between two points is for people who don't ride!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Jul 4th, 2008, 1:17 am
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Last march I rode HWY33 from ojai to the top of the ridge in califorina , The best part is the new pavement . During the weekday no one was on it all the way to the top. The worst road I was on was hwy 101 through thousand oaks to LA. What a mess
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Last edited by tonysrep; Jul 4th, 2008 at 1:25 am.
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