Best Motorcycle Rides in San Diego, California

Apr 19, 2024


best motorcycle rides in san diego, ca with a motorcycle rental from Riders Share, a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental company

San Diego has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions. The palm trees, sapphire-blue ocean, and, exotic-looking beaches make it an attractive tropical destination. With its mild, sunny climate, it’s no wonder why San Diego is commonly known as America’s Finest City.  

While there are plenty of places to visit in the city—historic Balboa Park, family-friendly Sea World, and ever-popular San Diego Zoo—there is so much more to explore outside of the city in SoCal on the back of a motorcycle. Let’s take a look at some of the best motorcycle rides in San Diego.

1. Sunrise Highway 

map of best motorcycle rides in san diego - sunrise highway route

Starting Point: Pine Valley, CA

End Point: Laguna Mountain Recreation Area

Approximate Miles: 10 miles

The Sunrise Highway stretches for 10 miles from Pine Valley to the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, winding through the Cleveland National Forest. This route features a mix of sharp turns and gentle sweeps, making it a dynamic ride for any motorcyclist. Along the way, the highway offers stunning views of the Anza-Borrego Desert and surrounding mountains. Pull-outs along the road provide perfect spots for taking in the scenery or taking photos. The ride nears an end in the cooler, refreshing air of the Laguna Mountains, where additional outdoor activities like hiking and camping await.

2. California State Route 78

map of best motorcycle rides in san diego - california state route 78

Starting Point: Escondido, CA

End Point: Julian, CA

Approximate Miles: Close to 52 miles

California State Route 78 runs from Escondido up to Julian, covering about 52 miles. Starting in the urban areas of Escondido, the route heads into the mountains, with straightforward roads that become curvier and steeper as you approach Julian. The ride features basic mountain and valley scenery that provides a good backdrop for a day ride. Julian, known for its apple pies, offers a peaceful spot to relax and refuel before heading back. This route is popular for its clear roads and elevation changes, making it suitable for most riders seeking a mix of city and mountain riding.

3. Highway 94

map of best motorcycle rides in san diego - highway 94 route

Starting Point: San Diego, CA

End Point: Campo, CA

Approximate Miles: About 50 miles

Highway 94 extends from San Diego to Campo, spanning approximately 50 miles. This route starts in the urban setting of San Diego and stretches eastward into more rural areas, providing a smooth transition from city landscapes to the open countryside. The road features several elevation changes and mild curves that are enjoyable for riders of all skill levels. It's a straightforward path that shows off a variety of Southern California's environments, from suburban outskirts to more secluded areas. Campo offers a quiet endpoint for the ride, where you can take a short break before returning. This route is well-liked for its easy navigation and the scenic diversity it offers.

4. Old Highway 80

map of best motorcycle rides in san diego - old highway 80 route

Starting Point: El Cajon, CA

End Point: Jacumba, CA

Approximate Miles: 56 miles

Old Highway 80 stretches 56 miles from El Cajon to Jacumba along the southern edge of San Diego County. The route offers a relatively straight path with gentle curves suitable for any skill level. Riders will experience a gradual transition from suburban El Cajon through smaller communities and into more open, less populated areas. The surroundings feature classic Southern California landscapes and distant mountain views. This highway is less traveled compared to newer routes, providing a quieter ride ideal for those looking to escape busier roads. Jacumba at the end serves as a good turnaround point, with options for a quick rest or to explore local attractions.

5. Montezuma Grade

map of best motorcycle rides in san diego - montezuma grade route

Starting Point: Borrego Springs, CA

End Point: Ranchita, CA

Approximate Miles: 14 miles

Montezuma Grade is a short, 14-mile stretch that connects Borrego Springs to Ranchita. This route is known for its steep ride-up and sharp curves, making it an exciting challenge for experienced riders. The road climbs through the Peninsular Ranges, offering great views of the desert below. The higher elevations near Ranchita provide a cooler climate and a picture-worthy overlook of the Borrego Valley. Montezuma Grade is perfect for motorcyclists looking for a quick ride that tests their handling skills while providing noteworthy desert scenery. This route is relatively straightforward, focusing more on the ride experience than on roadside attractions.

Choose a Motorcycle Rental in San Diego with Riders Share

Looking for a motorcycle rental in San Diego? Choose Riders Share, a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental platform, offering a wide selection of motorcycles to suit any rider's needs. Whether you're aiming to navigate the tight turns of Montezuma Grade or cruise the scenic paths of Old Highway 80, we provide quality bikes made for it all!


We hope this guide inspires you to explore the diverse and scenic motorcycle routes around San Diego. Whether you're a seasoned rider or just starting out, these routes promise to make your journey unforgettable.