If you limit yourself to the freeways in Southern California, you’ll never know what treasures hide on the byways. This loop southeast of Riverside is a climb into the mountains on thrillingly windy roads. This is a three-season ride with only winter months to be avoided on two wheels.
Approximately 105 miles (180 with the Palm Desert option)
Starbucks, 1201 University Ave #101, Riverside, CA
Café Aroma, 54750 North Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA
Scenery (5 out of 5)
The loop winds through a picturesque mountain region. Thick forests, great little towns, and panoramic views are the hallmarks of the ride.
Traffic (4 out of 5)
The heavy traffic typical of SoCal besets Riverside, too, although the traffic load on most of this route usually runs light to moderate.
Difficulty (4 out of 5) •
A winding, mountainous ride. Watch for wildlife and be aware that there are a number of off-camber and decreasing-radius curves along the route.
Road Conditions (4 out of 5)
The pavement on this loop is remarkably well maintained and most hillside curves are guard-railed. Watch for patches of dirt and sand, especially after rains.
Points of Interest
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park
Sycamore Canyon, a large nature park bordered by the city, shelters a surprising array of wildlife. It also affords great views of the Riverside metro area.
Western Science Center
Affiliated with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, this small but intriguing museum in Hemet houses a variety of Native American artifacts and Ice Age fossils unearthed at Diamond Valley Lake. The centerpiece is “Max,” the largest mastodon found in the Western United States. This point of interest is several miles off the route, but worth the trip.
Idyllwild Nature Center
This educational stop features information and displays on mountain ecology, habitats, flora and fauna, Cahuilla Native culture, and the history of the San Jacinto Mountains. The center, run by Riverside County Parks and located in a great natural setting, is well worth a stop.