Top 5 Motorcycle Routes Near Columbus, Ohio - Riders Share (2024)

Aug 31, 2021

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Top 5 Motorcycle Routes Near Columbus, Ohio - Riders Share (1)

Ohio’s nicknames tell the story. It's named “the Mother of Presidents” because eight U.S. presidents called it home. It’s the “Birthplace of Aviation” because Wilbur and Orville Wright, the inventors of aviation, designed and built their flying prototype here. It’s “The Heart Of It All” because it lies in the heart of the Midwest.

But don’t let Ohio’s presidential pedigrees overshadow its stunning countryside motorcycle routes. This state isn’t known solely for its acres upon acres of flat farmland—it’s also brimming with forests and hidden valleys. Forget boring straightaways and mind-numbing cruises—get ready for blind hillcrests and challenging twisties.

Ohio is ripe for riding, especially if you’re starting your journey in Columbus, the state’s capital. Seize the opportunity to explore the Buckeye State’s best by renting a motorcycle through Riders Share and reading about the five motorcycle routes below.

1. Ohio SR-56

One-day trip — 108 miles

Become a two-wheeled adventurer and discover the Ohio countryside with a little help from Ohio SR-56.

SR-56 plunges into the rural beauty of southern Ohio. Bask in the sun as you ride past golden wheat fields at the start of your journey, and then dive straight into the deep green of the Hocking Hills. This route ends in the Appalachian foothills, a prime spot for gazing into the countryside. The Old Man’s Cave entrance area at the SR-374 intersection is a wonderful spot to hike on sunny days.

The SR-56 isn’t your typical country straightaway—it offers a mix of wide turns and tight twists. As noted above, the beginning of the route runs through soft, swelling farmland, whereas the latter half takes you through the twists and turns of Hocking Hills State Park. The rolling green hills surrounding Athens make for a soothing conclusion to an altogether energizing ride. It is a moderately twisted road.

Even though you’re bound to see plenty of small towns, gas stations will be sparse. Your best bet for food and fuel is Circleville, Bloomingville, Athens, or Laurelville. Gibby’s Eatery and Sports Bar in Circleville is a great spot to eat. Jimbo’s in Bloomingville and Smiling Skull Saloon in Athens are mandatory. The Ridge Inn in Laurelville is loaded with good eating and rural hospitality.

2. The Triple Nickel - Route 555

One-day trip — 34 miles

An exciting and unpredictable ride outside of Columbus is Route 555, also known as “The Triple Nickel.”

Isolated farms, rolling hills, bucolic views—you can’t ask for much more on a country ride through the Buckeye State. The Triple Nickel runs along plenty of hillcrests and through challenging twisties. It’s an amusem*nt park for sport and sport-touring motorcycles, so make sure you’re equipped with the right motorcycle.

Route 555 is in excellent condition. Traffic and gravel are rare, which makes riding this route with concentration and caution easy. Watch out for farm equipment and the occasional horse-and-buggy. You can stretch your legs at some of the stone pull-offs and old-time churches on the side of the road if you need a rest.

Don’t expect many services on this route—it’s only you, your motorcycle rental, and the rolling hills down to Chesterhill. You can get grass-fed bison and Angus burgers at the Triple Nickel Diner in Chesterhill.

3. Mount Vernon to Warsaw Loop

One-day trip — 62 miles

The Mount Vernon To Warsaw Loop has nothing to do with George Washington or Poland and everything to do with the beautiful Ohioan countryside.

The best portion of this route is the 60, which runs seven miles through the Woodbury Wildlife Area. It’s so beautiful, you may turn around and ride through it again. The 541 is the next-best section of this loop as it passes strip mines, hills, and trees.

The 541 is where the road gets more twisty. It’s full of twists and turns and some elevation changes, too. As for road quality, the 60 and the 36 are in excellent condition. Only the 541 shows wear-and-tear.

As far as services go, Mount Vernon is the place to stop. Gas stations are in Warsaw and Martinsburg. The remainder of the route is rural.

4. The Ohio Cousin of the "Tail of the Dragon"

One-day trip — 12 miles

If the Triple Nickel caught your attention above, kill two birds with one stone and ride the nearby “Tail of the Dragon” in Hannibal, Ohio. This daredevil road is the Ohio cousin to the epic “Tail of the Dragon” motorcycle route at the North Carolina-Tennessee border.

Nestled in the southeast corner of the state, this route is a fantastic change of scenery from the wheat fields and rolling hills of the Ohioan countryside. The route takes you deep into forest-choked woods and along steep hills and hidden valleys. The difference between this trip and its cousin on the North Carolina-Tennessee border is that this one features houses, driveways, and barns on either side.

Unlike the country roads to its west, the Tail of the Dragon has practically no rest spots. tight turns, 180-degree switchbacks, and steep terrain—this route isn’t for the faint of heart. Almost all of these hair-raising turns are carefully marked. You won’t find guardrails along this route, so mind your speed and keep your eyes on the road. Expect gravel in the moderate and extra-sharp hairpins and curves.

There are no towns between the beginning and the end of the Dragon. It’s meant for serious riding.

5. Southeast Ohio on Route 32 & Highway 33

One-day trip — 98.8 miles

Our last route is an extended tour through southern Ohio that ends in the heart of the Buckeye State. The Southeast Ohio on Route 32 & Highway 33 gives a taste of Ohio’s varying topography. The scenery gradually shifts from mountainous terrain to rolling hills. Check out the Ohio River, or Strouds Run State Park and Wayne National Forest for some genuinely inspiring natural scenery.

This route switches between one and two lanes with little opportunity for passing. Your best bet when switching from one to two lanes will be at the wide paved shoulders. The road is smooth most of the way through. Food and fuel are sparse, excluding a few small towns like Blennerhasset. If you want to lodge somewhere for the night, the state park is one of the few places along the route that you can.

A visit to Columbus is bound to be an adventurous one. Live up to the city’s namesake and blaze your own trails through the Ohioan countryside, or choose any of the above for guaranteed excitement. Either way, Riders Share remains the best choice for enthusiasts looking to rent a motorcycle and ride to their heart’s content in America’s heartland.

Top 5 Motorcycle Routes Near Columbus, Ohio - Riders Share (2024)
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