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The Best Motorcycle Rides in Illinois
Posted on 5/6/2021 9:49:35 AM

The Best Motorcycle Rides in Illinois

While we’re fond of the trails and trips the Show-Me State have to offer, we love hearing about the best motorcycle rides in Illinois just as much. We get a lot of visitors from our neighbors just east of the Mississippi and they’ve offered up some A suggestions as far as weekend rides throughout Illinois.

Great Places to Ride Your Motorcycle in Illinois

Illinois weather can be pretty hit or miss throughout the year, so you’ll want to plan ahead and be prepared (especially for some of these longer rides). Make sure you have the right riding gear and stock up on any extra Harley Davidson parts you might need. While we tend to favor the fall seasons for weather and scenery, experienced Midwestern riders know that you can get lucky with the weather any time of year. All that being said, here are a few of the most popular Illinois rides along with a few hidden gems we wanted to throw in as well. If we left out your favorite, it’s probably because we’ve never heard of it! Let us know and we’ll definitely check it out!

Blackjack Road

A short ride (14 miles) but one of the more famous can be found in northern Illinois between Galena and Savanna along Route 84. You’ll find plenty of twists, turns, and hills along Blackjack Road so pay attention and be safe. You’ll get plenty of scenic views of the Mississippi and some amazing views through the forest (autumn is arguably the best here). This one is tricky, so if you’re new to riding, maybe get your feet wet elsewhere.

Great River Road

A popular ride for folks on both sides of the river, this stretch from Alton to Hardin will give you some incredible eye-level views of the Mighty Mississippi. You’ll be close to Pere Marquette State Park if you care to make a little detour for some additional scenery. The roads are a bit windy, so watch your speed throughout the park (speed limits are obviously low). No matter the season, you’ll find plenty of fellow bikers at Fast Eddie’s Bon Air in Alton. And when you need to cross the river, no need for a bridge. Just take advantage of one of many free ferry boats.

Starved Rock Run on Rt 71

There’s really no BAD way to get to Starved Rock State Park, and it’s worth the drive no matter how you get there. Our favorite, however, is the 45-mile stretch of Highway 71. Mostly two-lane road, this route will allow you to avoid some of the cars and campers headed to the same destination. Basically, a straight shot through farmland, this is a perfectly relaxing ride for a summer or fall day.

Shawnee National Forest

Located in southern Illinois, this 100-mile trip runs from Carbondale down through Shawnee National Forest and down toward the Ohio River and Kentucky. Roads are smooth, but there are plenty of twists, turns, and hills to keep you on your toes. You’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the forest, the rivers, limestone bluffs, and (depending on the season) even a waterfall or two. And fans of Superman will want to make a special stop at Metropolis, Illinois for a photo with the famous Superman statue!

Three Corners Scenic Loop

This route touches three different states (Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa) and spans just over 300 miles if you’re up for a longer trip. Starting in Belvidere, you’ll want to take Route 20 west to Stockton and head south toward Savanna before jutting north toward Wisconsin and taking Route 11 east toward Janesville. We recommend stops in Galena and Savanna if time allows. This route is largely free of automobile traffic and a relaxing, scenic route for a perfect weather weekend.

Lake Michigan Circle Tour

If you’re up for a major trip (1,000 miles), you can’t go wrong with a scenic tour of beautiful Lake Michigan. This 360-degree span of Lake Michigan gained popularity in the late 1980s and has since become a Mecca for Midwestern bikers. You’ll ride through Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana and see plenty of lakeside towns and attractions along the way. We recommend reserving a few days in the fall for the best views and most comfortable riding weather.

 

 

Hey, we know we didn’t cover EVERY prime ride in the Land of Lincoln. Chances are we probably left off one or more of your favorites. Maybe it was a glaring omission or maybe we just haven’t heard of it yet. Let us know what we’re missing, and we’ll check it out! And if you’re new to Illinois, or just new to riding altogether, we hope our list here gives you some ideas for your next weekend getaway. In the meantime, we’ll stick to some of our favorite Illinois motorcycle rides and keep an eye open for new ones.

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