The Ten Best Paved Motorcycle Roads in America
Part Nine of an Eleven Part Series
By Mark ‘Buck’ King
Over the last fifteen years I have had the privilege and blessing to have ridden almost all of the top motorcycle roads in the country. Practically every bike magazine and web site has at one time or another published their own list of the top roads. All the lists are a little different. Some list many of the same roads, but in a different order. Some add a different road and leave another out. I really don’t think anyone can rank these roads for anyone but themselves. Your opinion might be quite different from mine, but you won’t know that until you ride these roads for yourself. So I encourage you to quit reading articles like this and get out there and ride them for yourself!
So why eleven parts to the series on the top ten roads? That’s because there are many GREAT roads that didn’t make my top ten that just might be on YOUR top ten lists.
Part Nine – Canada 1, 93 and 95 #9
My ninth ranked road is the combination of three roads in Canada so once again we are stretching the definition of America to include all of North America.
This selection may not be on anyone else’s list but after riding it I can vouch for it personally.
We had gone to Banff in Alberta, Canada to ride the Ice Fields Parkway, #5 on my top ten. When it was time to head back to the states we chose this route really not suspecting the grandeur of the scenery. From Banff to the US border in the Idaho panhandle is approximately 224 miles or 360.5 kilometers, eh? We are in Canada you know!
From Banff you head west on Canadian 1 which is like an interstate. You are only on Canada 1 for about 20 miles (I’m going back to miles because most of us just cannot think in kilometers) before turning off onto Canada 93. This is actually the southern end of the Ice Fields Parkway. Once you are back on 93 it is only about 5 miles to the province line where you cross into British Columbia. And you cross into Kootenay National Park from Banff NP. The park area that most Americans refer to as Banff is really made up of several Canadian National Parks: Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay.
You ride 93 south a spectacular 60 or 65 miles in Kootenay National Park to Radium Hot Springs. The road is filled with scenic vistas as well as wildlife sightings including elk, mountain goats, and if you are lucky you may even spot a grizzly bear. There were some especially nice turns and scenery near the exit of the park as you approach Radium Hot Springs. There really are natural mineral hot springs there that draw many tourists. Just passed Radium Hot Springs Canada 93 and 95 run concurrently south for about 85 miles before 93 splits off and you continue south on Canada 95 and 3 to the US border crossing in Eastport, Idaho.
South another 85 or so miles 93 splits off and you stay on 95 headed south running concurrently with 3 all the way to Eastport.
Running 93 in Kootenay reminded me of riding the Cherohala Skyway only through mountains that peak at over 10,000 feet instead of the much lower Appalachians. And closer to Radium Hot Springs there are some tight sections with switchbacks as you descend in altitude.
Just writing these words make me wish I was there now!
Get your passport in order and head to Canada for the Ice Fields Parkway and then head back to the states following this route. We you’ve done it you’ll be saying, “Ole Buck was right about this one, too!”
The next article in the series is coming soon to the BMWMCON web site.
#1 is the best road in my opinion so this is my list to this point:
#1 Beartooth Highway and the Chief Joseph Highway
#2 San Juan Skyway
#3 Pacific Coast Highway
#4 Going to the Sun Road
#5 Icefields Parkway
#6 Utah Highway 12
#7 Overseas Highway
#8 Trail Ridge Road
#9 Canada 1, 93 and 95