Top 5 Motorcycle Routes Around Kansas City, Missouri

Sep 28, 2021

Tags:routesrenterkansas city

Yamaha motorcycle ridden near Kansas City.

Kansas City is named after the Kansas territory, but it’s actually the largest city in Missouri, the “Show-Me State.” Since the 1920s, it’s been a hub for jazz music, and has its own unique style of barbecue and craft beers. Kansas City sits on a web of long highways stretching across America’s heartland. It’s an ideal starting point for motorcycle riding enthusiasts.

If you desire straight, smooth roads this is the place. But don’t think the middle of America is home to just rural farm-and-field scenes. You’ll get the chance to visit richly-decorated estates, elaborate gardens, and museums full of Western art and vintage motorcycles.  

This is Middle America. We’ve listed five motorcycle routes near Kansas City so you can explore all it has to offer. Rent a motorcycle with Riders Share, and you’ll be prepared to venture through Missouri and at least three neighboring states—Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. 

1. The Southeast Kansas Corner Loop

Two-day trip — 530 miles

Those with a strong desire to ride through the geographic and symbolic heart of America can do no better than The Southeast Kansas Corner Loop.

Begin this trip in Olathe, Kansas, a 30-minute drive from Kansas City via I-35 S. Think of this loop as an easy-riding “tour” through rural Kansas and Oklahoma. The portion that runs through southeastern Kansas is particularly scenic. Once in Bartlesville, head south on Highway 123. Stop at Oklahoma’s Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve to see wild animals and Western art. With its manicured gardens and curated estate, the Sandstone Gardens west of Joplin on I-44 is a wonderful place to get a feel for “turn-of-the-century” luxury living. 

The road is flat and smooth, perfect for coasting through the countryside and taking in the wide vistas at a leisurely pace. Don’t expect to encounter many turns along this route. Local traffic is light, owing to the many nearby interstate highways.

Stop in Bartlesville for gas at the Phillips 66 station. Bartlesville is also home to the likes of Drink’s BBQ and Murphy’s Steak House. Because this loop is a long one, you’ll want to find lodging to rest at. We recommend looking for a hotel in Bartlesville.

2. The "Big MO" River Ride Loop

One-day trip — 123 miles

Missouri is an integral part of the American legend. Its land has been surveyed by Lewis and Clark and fought over during the Civil War. The "Big MO" River Ride Loop is the perfect way to explore its history.

To begin this route, leave Kansas City via I-70 E and head north on MO-131 to Wellington, Missouri (a 45-mile ride). Expect a smooth ride. This route mostly consists of two-lane straightaways; turns and curves are few and far between. Traffic is minimal. Road quality is excellent—there are hardly any potholes.

You won’t have to look too hard to find services along this route. The smaller cities and towns offer plenty of fuel, food, and shopping. Lexington is an ideal place to stop if you’re interested in learning about the historic 1861 Battle of Lexington.

3. K-7 to Rulo

One-day trip — 84 miles

The K-7 to Rulo motorcycle route is perfect for riders looking for a lazy afternoon ride close to the Missouri River.

The scenery along this route is standard American heartland fare: llots of farms, some woods, and a few hills. All in all, K-7 to Rulo is a great change of pace from the typically-flat Kansan roads. Although it starts off straight, after Leavenworth it gets curvier and curvier as it runs in and out of hills and valleys. Past Atchinson, you’ll start getting away from four-lane roads, traffic, and suburban scenery. Past Troy, Kansas, the route drops into the Missouri River Valley. The stretch of road from here to Rulo is very curvy and lined with trees.

We recommend hopping off your bike in Rulo and trying out Wild Bill’s Bar and Grill for some delicious fried catfish. There’s a rest area right next to the river in White Cloud, Kansas, where you can stop for a pleasant picnic. There’s also a casino west of White Cloud.

4. Perry Lake Loop

One-day trip — 48 miles

The Perry Lake Loop takes you through one of the more scenic areas of Kansas including tree-shaded roads and cobblestone streets.

This trip goes around quaint Lake Perry, situated just north of Lawrence and Topeka, Kansas. In addition to the lovely views of the water, you’ll also be treated to small changes in elevation and plenty of trees. On the west side of the lake, you’ll find yourself riding through beautiful Perry State Park. 

All the roads are paved, but some of the older areas need some up-keep. All in all, the roads are in decent condition. Blind curves and elevation changes should add some variety to this otherwise relaxing ride. Although this loop is popular with motorcyclists, don’t expect a lot of traffic off of the main roads.

As for amenities, you’ll want to keep an eye out for gas stations and marinas; these are your best bet for snacks and fuel. There are a variety of motorcyclist-friendly places to eat, including Hookers N Reelers (Perry), Hog Holler (Ozawkie), and Bobcats (Ozawkie). If you want a real lunch, hop off your motorcycle rental at historic Valley Falls—it has a charming downtown area with cobblestone roads. And if you ever need it, Valley Falls is also home to a family-owned and -operated motorcycle repair shop (located on Broadway, near Sycamore).

5. "Pick Your Kansas" on Highway K4

One-day trip — 100-120 miles

If you’re an indecisive kind of rider, the "Pick Your Kansas" on Highway K4 motorcycle ride makes things easy. Go one way, and you’ll sample Kansas’ famously flat pasturelands; go in another direction, and you’ll get a hillier experience. It’s one of the best rides in Kansas to boot.

Before you pick your Kansas, you’ll have a three-hour ride from Kansas City to Lindsborg, Kansas via I-70 W. Once there, things get easy. Highway K4 offers a taste of the state’s varied topography and the delights of rural Kansas. 

All you have to do is decide, east or west. East of Lindsborg, you’ll encounter hills and mild twists and turns; west of Lindsborg, it’s mostly vast, flat pastureland and farmland, dominated by waving grain fields and the silhouettes of old farm buildings and windmills. If you’re going east towards Topeka, you’ll ride past tree-lined roads. You can also stop at Lake Wabaunsee just west of Eskridge to stay at its shaded campground. 

If traveling west, there are hardly any trees; you’ll be able to see 15 to 20 miles in any direction. Route highlights include the Marquette Motorcycle Museum in Marquette, just west of Lindsborg, and Colorado Heights, just northeast of the same city. The motorcycle museum features vintage motorcycles in pristine condition, while Colorado Heights is known for its beautiful views. For those of you with a curious interest in barbed wire and sandstone fence posts, check out the museum in La Crosse.

This ride is mostly a two-lane paved highway. Head east and the roads are straight and flat. Traffic is a rarity along this route, making it a preferred ride for Kansas’ motorcycle enthusiasts.

There’s not much in the way of services along this route. You’ll want to fill up your tank before you start out. If you need to get some gas or snacks, make sure you begin your ride in the morning—small-town shops and gas stations tend to close earlier in the day. This is especially true if you’re heading east of Lindborg. These towns are sometimes as far as 30 miles apart.

These routes might cover vast distances of the American countryside, but they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the heartland’s many motorcycle roads. This means that once you have the right motorcycle selected, you’ll never run out of relaxing rides.