motorcycle destinations

Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in Ohio, United States

Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in Ohio, United States

1. Introduction

If you have never visited Ohio or “the Buckeye State” before, then you have been missing out on all-natural scenery, quaint communities, and miles of paved routes. This Midwestern region has an interesting topography as the landscape is dotted with rolling plains, great lakes, sandy and clay beaches, tall clay bluffs, and sand dunes. Not to mention, the roadside attractions and small towns along the way help make Ohio a perfect spot for riders to explore on their motorcycles.

If you believe Ohio is the ideal region in the United States to experience a motorcycle trip, this article will point you towards this state’s best motorcycle roads and destinations.

2. Best Roads and Destinations in Ohio

2.1 The Triple Nickel

Distance: 23 miles
Time: 36 minutes
Start: Chesterhill
End: Little Hocking

As you prepare to leave Chesterhill, you should be able to make out Fairview Park just behind the village. If you wish to have a small meal before riding your motorcycle, you can check out the menu at the Triple Nickel Diner.

As you pass between Bartlett and Cutler, you should pass by Wayne National Forest which should be on your right-hand side. Most of your surroundings will include rolling hills and dense forests. The road should be relatively smooth with a few bumps along the way just to keep your blood pumping.

When you arrive at Little Hoking, you should be right up next to the Ohio River and the border between Ohio and West Virginia.

2.2 Ohio Route 26

Distance: 68 miles
Time: 1 hour 48 minutes
Start: Marietta
End: Wayne Township

As you start in Marietta, you can head towards the Marietta River Trail if you wish to take a hike near the Muskingum River. If you wish to explore the interior of an old riverboat, you can check out the Ohio River Museum.

You will eventually enter the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest. For this leg of the journey, you will travel along some cliff sides and through the densely forested hills. You will have to navigate elevated S-curves so you will have to watch your speed as you continue upward.

2.3 Ohio’s Dragon’s Tail

Distance: 21 miles
Time: 32 minutes
Start: Gloucester
End: McConnelsville

Upon departing from Gloucester, you will be able to spot Burr Oak State Park on your left-hand side. You can get a close look of the lake if you head to the Burr Oak Marina Dock. You can just make out the Burr Oak State Park Campground on the other side if you wish to relax in the wilderness for a short while.

As you continue to wind around the wilderness areas, you can stop by Bigfoot Hollow if you are traveling with a group and would like to play some paintball. You can also practice at the Wolf Creek Wildlife Area and Rifle/Pistol Range.

The road has many twists and turns with sudden changes in elevation that will make your stomach drop. As you approach the final stretch, the road will open up with long wide sweeps. Getting closer to McConnelsville, you should be able to visit the Miners’ Memorial Park. You get the opportunity to stand within Big Muskie’s Bucket which was part of a construction vehicle.

2.4 Northeastern Ohio’s Curve Heaven

Distance: 45 miles
Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
Start: Leesville Lake Park, Orange Township
End: Lisbon

You start in close proximity to Leesville Lake and the Leesville Wildlife Area before you embark on this route. You will head eastward for some time before you turn northeast after you reach the town of Amsterdam.

You will cruise through Jefferson County which has plenty of twisty roads that travel over the sandstone hills. This area is adjacent to the Appalachian Highlands. Much of your surroundings will be dense forests of oak, hickory, beech, maple, walnut, elm, and ash trees.

As you continue heading towards Lisbon, you will pass by the Brush Creek Wilderness Area and the Highlandtown Wilderness Area. Look out for any local wildlife such as wild turkeys and grouse sticking to the thickets.

2.5 Little Switzerland

Distance: 54 miles
Time: 1 hour 26 minutes
Start: Bellaire
End: Sarahsville

If you believe in superstitions, then you should stop by the Bellaire House which has a reputation for being haunted. You can also admire the Lego sculptures and exhibits shown at the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum.

As you leave behind the Ohio River, you will head westward until you eventually pass by Barkcamp State Park before you arrive at Bethesda. As you continue onto Barnesville, you will get to see inside the Belmont County Victorian Mansion Museum.

Most of your route will take you through Little Switzerland coal country so you should keep an eye out for any coal littered on the surface of the asphalt. You will then coast around the edge of Senecaville Lake.

2.6 SR-374 Hocking Hills

Distance: 25 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Start: Benton Township
End: Rockbridge

You start out in Hocking Hills State Park which has no shortage of interesting natural sites hidden amongst the wilderness. You can explore the cool tunnels of Ash Cave, travel to the collection of rock formations at the Top O’ the Caves, and explore the dense forests of Cedar Falls.

The road on the first leg of the journey will be very curvy while navigating the hilly region. Make sure to avoid any stones or branches lying on the pavement. Keep an eye out for warnings of tight corners as you will have to dramatically slow down to clear them.

As you curve around northward towards U.S. Route 33, you will be able to make out Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve and Rockbridge State Nature Preserve in the distance.

2.7 Little Muskingum River Covered Bridge Tour

Distance: 47 miles
Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
Start: Marietta
End: Woodsfield

Considered one of the official National Forest Scenic Byways in Ohio, this route starts out in Marietta which is renowned for its museums. If you are a history enthusiast, you can see the exhibits at the Campus Martius Museum, the Castle, and Children’s Toy and Doll Museum.

You will venture into the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest and continue until you ride alongside the Muskingum River. Much of your surroundings will include farm countryside, dense forests, and tall river bluffs.

As Utah is known for having over 2,000 covered bridges, this route takes you beside and through a few of them including Hills Covered Bridge and Rinard Covered Bridge.

2.8 Tappan the Crooked “S”

Distance: 15 miles
Time: 26 minutes
Start: Stock Township
End: Dennison

This route is a small portion of the longer Ohio Scenic Byway referred to as the Tappan-Moravian Trail. For the first leg of the trip, you stay within close vicinity of Tappan Lake and Tappan Lake Park. If you head further past the park, you can take a hike up the Tappan Dam Trailhead.

If you stop in Deersville, you should take the opportunity to visit the Deersville General Store which sells famous homemade ice cream along with other meals. When you get to Dennison, you can check out the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum where servicemen during World War II.

2.9 Thompson Ridge Road or “The Little Blue Ridge”

Distance: 29 miles
Time: 43 minutes
Start: Laurelville
End: Logan

Within close proximity to Laurelville, you can take time off of your motorcycle to ride a horse instead by visiting the Blue Moon Acres and the Spotted Horse Ranch. If you travel during the summer and are interested in sampling local produce, you can try the various berries grown at Laurel Springs Farm.

As you head westward, you will pass by several natural sites including Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve, Chapel Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, Lake Logan, and Lake Logan State Park. If you have a love for animals, you will have the opportunity to pet friendly farm critters at Fox’s High Rock Farm.

2.10 Double Barrel Bridge Run

Distance: 20 miles
Time: 31 minutes
Start: Eaton
End: Hueston Woods State Park

Within close proximity to Eaton, you can check out Fort St. Clair State Memorial which was utilized during the Northwest Indian War. You can also visit the interesting animals that are being cared for at the Safari Junction, Home of Valley Exotics.

As you begin your journey southward, you will pass by the Lakengren Marina and the Woodland Trails Wildlife Area. When you stop in Camden, you can get yourself a drink and meet other motorcyclists at the Camden Whiskey Bar & Grill.

You will have reached your final destination upon arriving at the Hueston Woods State Park. You can walk around the trail that loops around Action Lake.

2.11 Senecaville Lake Loop

Distance: 22 miles
Time: 32 minutes
Start: Lashley Road, Senecaville
End: Lashley Road, Senecaville

As you are coasting around one of Ohio’s most well-known lakes, the highlight of this loop would be the views you would get of Senecaville Lake from different angles. Often referred to as Seneca Lake locally, do not confuse it for one of the Finger Lakes in New York.

As this route tends to be a nonstop ride, it is recommended that you fill up on gas while in Senecaville. You can take a short rest break and enjoy the view at Seneca Lake Park if you would prefer.

Most of your surroundings will include dense forests and sprawling farmlands. Aside from the curving road carved into the wilderness, the route stays close to or travels over the crystal-clear surface of the lake.

3. Motorcycle Laws in Ohio

3.1 Ohio Motorcycle Helmet Laws

In Ohio, motorcyclists under the age of 18, holding a temporary motorcycle instruction permit, or with less than a year of riding experience are required to wear a motorcycle helmet. Only motorcyclists that are 18 years old or above are permitted to ride without having a motorcycle helmet on. However, it is recommended that all motorcyclists have protective headgear since they provide integral protection for your head and neck.

Your motorcycle helmet must have been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, has been manufactured by the Snell Memorial Foundation, and is built with visibility and protection in mind. The two types of models that fit these criteria would be three-quarter and full-face helmets.

As you select your motorcycle helmet, check that they meet the following requirements and are designed with the proper features:

  • Has a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker
  • Can be fitted around your head snugly
  • No visible signs of damage
  • Has a face shield with no scratches (Full-face helmet only)
  • Requires separate eye protection with no scratches (Three-quarter helmet only)
  • Has a hard and durable outer shell that is shatter-resistant
  • Gives you a clear, peripheral view
  • Can be fastened with a neck- or chin-strap
  • Allows airflow without fogging up
  • Can allow you to wear sunglasses or goggles underneath

3.2 Ohio Motorcycle Passenger Laws

Ohio does not have a minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers. However, any passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear an approved motorcycle helmet.

To be legally allowed to transport another person, your motorcycle must be outfitted with a designated passenger seat, footrests, and handholds. These are necessary to provide both secure and safe seating for your passenger. The number of passengers you can carry depends on how many your motorcycle is designed to handle without compromising your vehicle’s balance.

The passenger seat can either be fixed to the side as a sidecar, at the rear as a separate saddle, or at the back of a large driver’s seat.

Individuals that can be seated with you must be able to listen to your directions, follow your movements, cannot be carrying packages in their arms, are wearing protective attire, and can reach the footrests.

3.3 Ohio Motorcycle Safety Features

Whether you rely on your motorcycle as a primary mode of transportation or only take out your vehicle during extended motorcycle tours, it is a good habit to conduct periodic inspections. Checking the condition of your motorcycle will help you spot any early signs of or existing damage done to the machinery. You can then apply maintenance yourself using your repair tools or take it into a repair shop to be seen by a mechanic.

Your motorcycle must be outfitted with the minimum safety features to be considered street legal in Ohio. Without redundant systems, they all must be in working order to help you quickly avoid obstacles, improve your visibility to other drivers, and help you be aware of your surroundings:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Front and Rear Brakes
  • Controls
  • Headlight(s)
  • Taillight
  • Brake Light
  • Exhaust system
  • Muffler
  • Rearview mirrors

3.4 Ohio Lane Splitting Laws

It is illegal for motorcyclists to practice any form of lane splitting in Ohio.

You cannot ride on top of the dividing lines between traffic lanes, ride between adjacent rows of stopped vehicles, or attempt to overtake a larger vehicle in front of you,

You are entitled to make full use of the space within your current lane. You can only lane share with another motorcycle if you keep apart at least two abreast and both riders consent beforehand.

4. Motorcycle Luggage for Ohio Motorcycle Tour

As with any other kind of excursion, you need to make sure to pack the necessities so you are prepared for almost every situation that can happen during your Ohio motorcycle trip. Aside from general items such as your wallet, electronics, and extra clothes, you should make sure to have your repair tools, water container, provisions, etc. in case you run into trouble on the road. But to carry all of your belongings, you need a reliable means of storage that can stay attached to your motorcycle.

Listed below are the Motorcycle luggage options you can choose from. All of them have zippered and/or mesh pockets, are made of durable and weather-resistant materials, and come with an installation guide for easy mounting. They differ in terms of design, color, size, and placement position to offer you diversity:

6. Parting Words

After reading this article, hopefully this has given you inspiration for how to approach your Ohio motorcycle trip or helped you get an idea of how to prepare the things you need for your exploration of Ohio’s routes.

Whether you are an Ohio resident or an out-of-state tourist, it would benefit you to become familiar with Ohio’s motorcycle laws. Not just to avoid getting pulled over by the local police, but also to preserve the safety of the other drivers you may encounter.

As you pick out your motorcycle luggage, make sure that it fits the motorcycle model you own and that it is large enough to carry all your belongings. Bring what you are absolutely sure you will make use of during your trip. If you feel the contents of your luggage exceed the storage or weight capacities, try to be discerning when taking out what you consider to be dead weight.

The motorcycle roads and destinations that were mentioned are the more well-known ones that have been frequented by plenty of motorcyclists. If you feel these roads do not satisfy your criteria or that they are beyond your current skill level, try to conduct some research of your own. You may find other routes that are not as well traveled, but still offer chances to create memories with your motorcycle.

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