Motorcycling Idaho’s Highway 12

As we were planning for our move from Washington to Wyoming, we spent some time talking about how we wanted to transport our motorcycles. We really wanted to ride them and make a road trip out of the move, but there were some logistical considerations as well as Brian’s lack of PTO to take into account.

Eventually we worked it out and he created a great itinerary that took us across Washington and through Idaho and Montana to Wyoming. We took a week to make the trip, and I was grateful for the reasonable pace. It was unseasonably hot so we would get up early and try to get to our destination by early afternoon to beat the heat. This ended up being even more important as we entered Idaho and Montana, which were each experiencing wildfires along our route.

After making our way across southern Washington with a stop to see Palouse Falls, we entered Idaho via route 12. Brian had read that Idaho’s highway 12, which winds along the Lochsa River just north of the Nez Perce Reservation, was a great stretch for motorcycling.

This turned out to be true, and we weren’t the only ones who thought so – we passed many other bikes going both directions along our route!

Riding west to east took us along the more scenic stretch of our day first. We rode from Lewiston to Lolo, and instead of jogging up to Missoula, we headed south on route 93 to Hamilton where we had booked a motel for the night.

There was another couple on a bike that we met at a gas station just before we set out – they assured us this would be the prettiest road we had ever traversed. We ended up trading riding order back and forth with them as we traveled along, each of us stopping at different spots to take photos.

The wildfire smoke was hanging in the air, and it gave everything a mystical appearance in the morning. We stopped several times along the river to walk around and just take it in.

In addition to the incredible scenery, what I liked most about this route was that the speed limit was low. We traveled at a perfect speed to really look around and enjoy much of the ride.

The road was very curvy – a feature that appeals to most motorcyclists – as it followed the river. I really like to concentrate around curves, especially when there’s traffic sometimes weaving left of center, so navigating the curves was not the most relaxing aspect of the ride for me. If you’re into both sweeping and tighter turns, this road is definitely for you!

A very nice gentleman offered to take our picture near the summit right before we got to Lolo. This was also where we crossed into Montana – my first time riding my bike in the state!

Aside from the smoke and the late afternoon heat, this was one of the more scenic and enjoyable days of our trip.

One thought on “Motorcycling Idaho’s Highway 12

  1. Pingback: Wildfires, Heat Waves and Idaho Falls – Heather's Compass

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