City Escape: Riverside, California

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

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)

Meet-up Spot

Starbucks, 1201 University Ave #101, Riverside, CA

Lunch Stop

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.