Some of the most amazing motorcycle riding in the United States lies in California, along the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Numerous state highways cross over the nearly 400 mile long range starting from SR-178 in the south to SR-36 in the north. In between there a number of highways that take you up over 9,000 feet elevation, including the very technical, single laned, Ebbetts Pass.
For the most part, you’ll find smooth pavement along a number of highways, with sweeping curves, tight twisties, and gorgeous vistas that beckon you for panoramic shots.
My friend Larry and I took a 3-day weekend in June 2011 to ride several of these passes on our sport touring bikes. We started from the south in Temecula, CA and went as far north as Topaz Lake by the California/Nevada stateline.
Tent camping was the planned accommodations, with the first night in Mammoth Lakes off of US-395, and the second night at Dos Pedros Reservoir off of SR-49.
The route also included a tour along the Gold Country Highway (SR-49), into gold mining towns of Coulterville and Mariposa. It takes a scenic bypass through the western foothills of the Sierra Nevadas past tiny towns of Bass Lake, North Fork, and Auberry, before dropping us into the San Joaquin Valley.
Then we made our way back up into the Sierra Nevadas, into Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park, before we finally finished the tour with a long trek back to home via freeways.
- Day 1, Temecula to Mammoth Lakes
- Temecula to Hesperia, I-15
- Hesperia to Mojave, SR-138, SR-14
- Mojave to Caliente, SR-58
- Caliente to Kernville, Caliente Bodfish Rd
- Kernville to Mammoth Lakes, SR-178, US-395, SR-203
- Mammoth Lakes to Topaz, SR-203, US-395
- Topaz to Woodfords, SR-89
- Woodfords to Jackson, SR-88
- Jackson to Angels Camp, SR-49
- Angels Camp to Topaz, SR-4, SR-89
- Topaz to Jamestown, US-395, SR-108
- Jamestown to Oakhurst, SR-49
- Oakhurst to Bass Lake, SR-41, Bass Lake Rd
- Bass Lake to North Fork, Bass Lake Rd, Malum Ridge Rd
- North Fork to Kerkhoff Lake, Rd 222
- Kerkhoff Lake to Auberry, Powerhouse Rd
- Auberry to Sanger, Auberry Rd, SR-168, Academy Rd
- Sanger to Kings Canyon National Park, SR-180
- Kings Canyon National Park to Sequoia National Park, SR-180, SR-198
- Sequoia National Park to Exeter, SR-198, SR-65
- Exeter to Bakersfield, SR-65
- Bakersfield to Santa Clarita, SR-99, I-5
- Santa Clarita to Temecula, I-210, SR-57, SR-73, SR-60, I-215
Passes we crossed over:
- Day 1, Walker Pass, SR-178, elevation 5,250 feet
- Day 2, Monitor Pass, SR-89, elevation 8,314 feet
- Day 2, Luther Pass, SR-89, elevation 7,740 feet
- Day 2, Carson Pass, SR-88, elevation 8,574 feet
- Day 2, Ebbetts Pass, SR-4, elevation 8,736 feet
- Day 2, Sonora Pass, SR-108, elevation 9,624 feet
|Day 1, Caliente Bodfish Road in Kern County is laden with oaks and gets very twisty.|
|Day 1, Me and Larry at Kern River Brewing Company, Kernville, CA|
|Day 1, Lake Isabella along Sierra Way|
|Day 1, Camping at Shady Rest, Mammoth Lakes, CA|
|Day 1, Relaxing with a beer at Slocum’s Grill & Bar, Mammoth Lakes|
|Day 2, Larry following behind along US-395 north of Mammoth Lakes|
|Day 2, Monitor Pass, SR-89, east of Topaz Lake|
|Day 2, heading up Carson Pass, SR-89|
|Day 2, Larry leading the way up SR-4 towards Ebbetts Pass|
|Day 2, Ebbetts Pass, SR-4, a single lane serves both directions of traffic, and gets very twisty.|
|Day 2, SR-108, Sonora Pass, one of the most beautiful vistas along the Sierra Nevada highways.|
|Day 2, along SR-108 west of Sonora Pass|
|Day 2, Larry and I putting up our tents at Don Pedro Reservoir, just south of Jamestown, CA|
|Day 2, relaxing with a beer at Willow Steakhouse Saloon, Jamestown, CA|
|Day 3, SR-180 through Kings Canyon National Park.|
|Day 3, Larry sucking down a beer along Kings River in Kings Canyon National Park|
|Day 3, SR-198 through Sequoia National Park|
- Word of the Day
Definition: Mark with spots or blotches of different color or shades of color as if stained. Synonyms: blotch, streak