Sunday, April 26, 2015 | 2 a.m.
With hundreds of miles of uninterrupted, unfolding road through deserts, mountains and valleys, Southern Nevada is full of great routes for motorcyclists. While riding can be exhilarating — cathartic even — a great motorcycle trip is all about balance and the assurance that riders aren’t sacrificing their safety, or the safety of others, for the thrill of the ride.
These routes are some of the best that Southern Nevada has to offer motorcyclists, and safe riding practices can ensure they can be enjoyed again and again.
Pahrump & Amargosa Valley Loop
This 200-mile ride will take you through the Las Vegas Paiute Indian Reservation and Indian Springs. On the way back to Las Vegas, you can schedule a pit stop in Pahrump before driving through the beautiful desert around Mountain Springs.
For a great mountain ride, it doesn’t get better than Mount Charleston. At 11,915 feet, Mount Charleston’s peak is the highest point in Southern Nevada. This route is especially great during summer, when the elevation provides cooler temperatures and refreshing mountain air.
Red Rock Scenic Loop is a 13-mile, one-way drive that’s a favorite for many motorcyclists. While the loop itself is short, it offers riders views of some of the most beautiful desert landscapes in the country. The ride to and from the canyon isn’t too shabby, either.
Goodsprings is home to the historic Pioneer Saloon. Built in 1913, it was the site of real Wild West gunfights and now is rumored to be haunted. It also was where Clark Gable famously spent three days waiting for news about a plane crash that killed his wife, Carole Lombard. There are few destinations better suited for a desert motorcycle ride than a 100-year-old haunted saloon.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire is the oldest state park in Nevada. Throughout, you’ll find areas of petrified wood and 3,000-year-old Native American petroglyphs.
Nearly 1 million people visit the Hoover Dam every year to pay homage to one of the greatest engineering feats in history, completed almost 80 years ago. Regardless of whether you’ve seen the dam before, it’s a great ride — and a chance to appreciate the wonders of hydroelectric power.
• While traveling through scenic areas, it’s important to keep your attention and your eyes on the road.
• Many scenic drives have viewpoints and places to pull over. Be sure to use them, so you aren’t distracted by scenery while riding. In addition to attracting fellow riders, some routes also draw heavier traffic.
• Winding mountain roads can be fun to drive but should be handled only by experienced riders. Blind or unexpectedly sharp turns can be difficult to maneuver, and downhill curves can be especially dangerous.
• Always wear protective gear, bring a fully-charged cellphone, make sure your motorcycle is in good mechanical condition, pack water and never ride if you’ve been drinking or are under the influence of drugs.