Here’s our comprehensive list of the top motorbike rides in New Mexico! Motorcycles can be used to explore the Land of Enchantment’s rugged mountains, colourful deserts, and centuries of history. New Mexico is one of those areas that beckons and lends itself to road trips. The ever-changing terrain is captivating to ride through, from the desert to the mountains. For a direct Google Maps route, click on the New Mexico motorcycle map links.
HOW CAN I FIND THE BEST MOTORCYCLE ROADS AROUND NEW MEXICO?
What Are The 7 Best Motorcycle Rides In New Mexico?
- Santa Clara to Caballo (66 miles)
- Mexico Route 15 (37 miles)
- Taos to Mora Loop (105 miles)
- Rte 536 to Sandia Crest (14 miles)
- Lincoln National Forest (64 miles)
- Mexico Route 59 (40 miles)
- Luna to Mule Creek (74 miles)
1. SANTA CLARA TO CABALLO
- DISTANCE: 66 miles
- TIME: 1.5 hours
This New Mexico motorbike road is one of those highways where you won’t spend much time looking at the sights since the ride is so enjoyable. As you ride alongside deep canyons just southeast of New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, it’s chock-full of amazing hairpin turns and curves. This path is challenging since it includes not only continual hairpin turns but also elevation changes, as well as beautiful mountain vistas, including those of Emory Pass. Many cyclists consider this section of road to be the best-kept secret in the Southwest. For a longer ride, head to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument via Route 15 (mentioned below) or Route 35 for a spectacular motorcycle tour of New Mexico’s best scenery.
2. ROUTE 15
- DISTANCE: 37 miles
- TIME: 1.5 hours
This motorcycle route is quite similar to the NM-15 route stated above, and it begins in Silver City, New Mexico. Ride through the bends of the southern half of the Gila National Forest and up north to spectacular mountain scenery on one of New Mexico’s top motorcycle roads. The road north of Pinos Altos is very enjoyable, as the majority of the hairpin curves are not too difficult for experienced riders. In this vast national forest, there are thickets of aspens, cactus, junipers, and oak trees. At the conclusion of the drive, visit the spectacular Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument. Make sure to refuel in Silver City, as there aren’t many gas stations along this stretch of road to the Monument.
3. TAOS TO MORA LOOP
- US-64, NM-434, NM-518
- DISTANCE: 105 miles
- TIME: 2.5 hours
From Taos, ride down the calm MN-434 to Mora, then back up north via the Pecos Natural Historic Park, passing over curvy roads, high passes, and beautiful scenery. This New Mexico motorbike journey features sweeping turns, rich green alpine meadows, mountain views, and elevation variations. Many of the riding scenes in the classic Easy Rider were filmed on these motorbike lanes by Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda. The High Road to Taos Scenic Byway runs across the northern section of NM-518. Any overlook on this area is a must-see for pure New Mexico solitude and tranquilly. Overall, this circle offers a variety motorcycle ride, with vast open New Mexico lowlands and hard twisting turns in Taos Canyon. This loop, with NM-518 on the west side and NM-434 on the east, makes for an excellent motorcycle trip in New Mexico.
4. RTE 536 TO SANDIA CREST
- DISTANCE: 14 miles
- TIME: 30 mins
This exciting curvy mountain road located northeast of Albuquerque, NM, offers some spectacular vistas. Sandia Crest Road (Route 536) is a 13.6-mile length of motorcycling road that climbs to the top of Sandia Crest Mountain and is riddled with hairpin curves. The trip is quite spectacular as it winds through the high desert and deep woods of the Sandia Mountains, which is tucked away in the Cibola National Forest. You’ll climb around 4,000 feet of elevation in 14 miles, so it’s a rather high gradient. Once you’ve reached the top, park and take in the breathtaking views of Albuquerque. As you drop back down the 180 degree turns, you’ll be doing a lot of downshifting, but there are some spectacular views along the way, making this one of New Mexico’s best and most enjoyable motorcycle rides. Pack some rain clothes because there may be some passing showers on the way up the mountain.
5. LINCOLN NATIONAL FOREST
- Sacramento Canyon Rd, Sunspot Hwy, NM-244
- DISTANCE: 64 miles
- TIME: 1.5 hours
Through the Lincoln National Forest, you may ride through some spectacular canyons, farmland, and ranches. The roads on this New Mexico motorbike ride are in excellent condition, with plenty of twists and turns. There aren’t many tight hairpin turns, thus it’s suitable for riders of all abilities. However, with height changes of up to 9,000 feet, the weather will drastically shift. Summer storms can quickly soak you up there, so bring some rain gear layers, not only for the rain but also for warmth. Loop around by NM-24 and NM-130 if you have the time for a longer excursion to see everything the National Forest has to offer. However, if you only have time to ride one road, the trip along Sunspot Highway is without a doubt the best motorbike route in the area.
6. ROUTE 59
- DISTANCE: 40 miles
- TIME: 1.5 hours
This New Mexico motorcycle road is located in the Gila National Forest in the state’s southwestern corner. It’s a lonely two-lane road that carves across the New Mexico landscape, providing peaceful riding for motorcyclists. The Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway is a good place to start.
7. LUNA TO MULE CREEK
- US-180, NM-78
- DISTANCE: 74 miles
- TIME: 1.5 hours
Check out US-180 to NM-78 past Mule Creek to the Arizona state boundary for a fantastic New Mexico motorcycle journey. As you ride through the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, the primary route on 180 offers plenty of terrific sweepers. You’ll notice a steady rise in warmth as you descend through the pine trees, and you’ll probably need to start shedding garments. Route 78 descends through the woodland before crossing a valley of gently sloping grassy fields with expansive views of the Alps. Continue on past the Arizona state line, where the nicest stretch of Route 78 twists with hairpin turns and spectacular views. Connect a loop to the Coronado Trail (Arizona Route 191) just west of the state line for a lengthier, two-day journey.
Tips For Motorcycle Rides in New Mexico
In a short period of time, many of these itineraries will take you through multiple different climate zones. Layer your clothing and bring rain gear to be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and weather. Summer riding in New Mexico can be extremely hot, so try to ride early in the morning or late in the evening. Desert regions are usually fine for lengthy, comfortable days in the winter. However, even these areas become cold quickly as the sun sets.
Is There a Helmet Law in New Mexico?
Riders and passengers under the age of 18 are required by law to wear a helmet in New Mexico. Make sure the helmet satisfies US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for the best protection.
Protective equipment is usually an excellent idea. Wear bright colours for maximum visibility, and if riding at night, clothing with retro-reflective materials is recommended.
Is New Mexico a good place to ride a motorcycle?
New Mexico is a huge state with over 120,000 square miles and many wonderful motorbike roads to explore. Rides in northern New Mexico often take place in the southern Rocky Mountains, with alpine mountain views. The west has green mountain ranges, while the south has stony canyons. The Gila National Forest and Lincoln National Forest regions provide some of the best rides in the state.
Can you ride a motorcycle year round in New Mexico?
In Southern New Mexico, motorcycle riding is permitted all year. However, the northern half of the state receives snow in the winter, so check weather forecasts if riding in this area during the cooler months of the year.
When is the best time of year to ride a motorcycle in NM?
The months of May, June, and September are the driest and mildest for riding a motorcycle. The months of July and August will have extremely high daytime temperatures, as well as the potential for severe rains.
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