Central California Motorcycle Roads
San Benito County,California

Highway 25
Hollister to Hwy 198

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"63 Miles of Bliss"

There's something unique about this road and I think I've finally realized what it is. It's the length really.  That unimpeded length.  It's but another deserted stretch of pavement that's become a playground of sorts for motorcyclists of any persuasion.  You might even say this road has it's own fan base.  A road built with motorcyclists in mind.

Hwy 25 headed south out of Hollister (home to one of California's biggest biker rallies) is probably one of California's poster-child motorcycle roads.  It's one of these forgotten roads surrounded by bigger and better well traveled rides.  I-5 to the east, Hwy 101 to the west.  In between is this little gem and any motorcyclist will love this road!.

 

Highway 25 - Photo by Alan Hart

 

Fresh pavement, road headed off into the distance.  I can go fast.  I can go slow.  See Dick play.  See Dick grin.  No people.  Very few cars.  Flip down the throttle lock, right hand on my hip, nothing but the sound of the motor and wind whipping past.  Tranquil.  Nothing quite like it.  You must ride this road on your motorcycle.  Leave the car at home.

There are some very long straights on the northern portion so if you're expecting an adrenalized canyon ride, this isn't one of them.  Just cruise along and enjoy the long straights that stretch off to the distant ridgeline, the twisties will come soon enough.

 

There aren't any towns out here or coffee shops, just a series of ranches and cow

Next Services 76 Miles- the sign says as you get out of Hollister, although the ride is about a good 100 miles depended on which direction you're headed. 

If you want to get away from all the rush and congestion, this is it.  Keep in mind, it can get rather hot out here in the summers.  Thankfully, in spring it gets very green and many wildflowers!

Photo by Duc750
 
Pic courtesy of the CanyonStrafers.com

Paved across the dry savannah with relatively low elevation changes, this means you get a thrill ride that's up down back forth left right whoopin' and a hollerin' super freak ride right out of my dreams.  This can be a very fast ride.  

Much of Highway 25 is cut into the base of low coastal mountains, more like big hills though.  Quite swoopy.  I love riding this kind of road.  Reminds me of Cherokee Rd, only 5 times longer.

Five miles south of Tres Pinos is the west end of Highway J1 - Panoche Road which heads eastward over to I-5.

Photo by Andy Bajka of SouthBayRiders.com

After riding 23 miles south out of Tres Pinos, you'll see a side road for Highway 146.  This is a great little 5 mile rush into Pinnacles National Monument.  Zoom in, zoom out.

If you want to camp, there is a campground at Pinnacles National. Monument a couple miles south of Hollister.

A great place for hiking, there are 26 miles of trails in the park to check out the pretty cool rock formations.  Minimal traffic, easy to pass and several straights.

Entrance to Pinnacles National Monument - 5 Miles in, 5 Miles out
Pinnacles National Monument

Photo by Duc750

After Pinnacles National Monument,  new super-smooth pavement starts up.  Further south though, several potholes may appear on Hwy 25 including one that was about 3 feet in diameter.  Most of the repaving in 2000 has taken care of this but the road is still crumbled in some parts.  Not very good traction for a motorcycle. Stay alert.

You'll ride past Highway G13, aka King City Road (called Bitterwater Road in Monterey County), which heads into King City (14 miles) if you're headed over that way.

Nearby is Highway G14 & Lockwood-Jolon Rd.

Highway 25 - Photo by Alan Hart

Near the south end of Highway 25 is Coalinga - Los Gatos Road headed off east towards Coalinga.  This is a forgotten 50-mile long backroad you might want to try.  Oh, and by the way, the length of Hwy 25 is paved right over the top of the San Andreas Fault.

Another by the way - Gloria Road is merely a dirt up and over.

South of Hwy 25, (at the junction with Highway 198) if you go straight- you will now be on Peach Tree Rd, a narrow bumpy one-lane road, heading to Indian Valley Rd.  Not a single car for some 25 miles.  San Louis Obispo ahead.  This entire county has some great rides.  If you have some time, poke around a bit.

Pic courtesy of the CanyonStrafers.com
While this is the middle of nowhere - Beware of this scene being you!
Pic courtesy of the CanyonStrafers.com
Read the full Ride Report here.

Thanks to Ian for this shot taken from Highway 25
Thanks to Ian for this shot taken from Highway 25

Head back north on Hwy 1 through Big Sur or continue to head south to Hwy 58 and then Hwy 33 to Ventura.

Santa Rosa Creek Rd. is also close by off Hwy 46.


Another Point of View

From Hollister, take 25 south. Go fast and scare yourself. Go slow and enjoy the forgotten land between I-5 and 101. 

It has everything from loooong straights (I have pictures of my speedo showing, errr, well, slightly more than 55) to blind decreasing radius corners covered with dust. 25 ends at Hwy 198, but if you jog left 20ish meters and then right on Peach Tree Road you can continue down to 101 at San Miguel. 

Peach Tree is more of a ranch road, not much traffic and not as well maintained. Because of that I figured it would not be patrolled. I spent a very enjoyable hour sliding from verge to verge in a hot turbo hatchback, then stopped to take some photos. As I was getting back in the car, a smiling CHP pulled up to make sure everything was ok.

Lucy heartily recommends hiking in Pinnacles National Monument for amazing views and weirdy scenery

-text origin unknown

Photo by Steve Burns

Leaving Hollister headed south - Hills Curves Next 38 Miles

For those coming up from LA on the 101, you might try getting off of at San Miguel (just north of Paso Robles), and go north on Indian Valley/Peach Tree Road to 198, west a few miles, and picking up Highway 25

Another alternative is to take Los Gatos - Coalinga Road out of Coalinga...about 50 miles long, it meets with 25 about 20 miles north of the 198/25 intersection.


I salivate all over myself about roads like this.  

Highway 25 Travelogue
Excerpted from Michael's San Jose to Valencia Road Trip...

The rain picks up as I head down Highway 25, taking it slow. This is a good road for going fast, but the rain has my speed down. I pass a few cars with windshield wipers going and wonder what they think of me. No bikes on the road. One long stretch sees the speedo reach towards 100, but mostly it's third gear work. After taking a run at the century mark, I see a small animal run across the road and head into the bushes... a coyote or bobcat maybe. It reminds me that this is still pretty wild country, despite the occasional house back against the hills. I wonder if motorcycle riders have fewer auto accidents than non-riders.

There was one vista, coming over the crest of a hill, looking down into the valley that was quite beautiful. Dark olive green oak trees on the slopes of the hills fading into short, bright green grass with the road snaking down through the valley floor. And up above, touching the far hilltops, a deck of grey clouds, marbled dark and light.


3-D Topographical Map of San Benito County's Hwy 25


No Shadows. Southern portion of Highway 25 at Dusk.

Other Pages about Highway 25:

Rod's Hwy 25 Ride Pics

More Comments on Highway 25

Highway 25 - c/o Lateral G

Barn near Bitterwater Rd
Barn along Highway 25 near Bitterwater Rd.


63 Miles
Hollister to Highway 198

Pashnit Interactive Map
Click Map to explore more California Motorcycle Roads! - Full Screen

Photo along Highway 25 by Alan Hart

3-D Satellite View of Highway 25

Panoche Rd - Highway J1 at bottom left

Highway 25 & Bitterwater Rd - Highway G13 at middle right

Looking back northward - Panoche Rd is at top middle right

Southern portion of Hwy 25, Los Gatos - Coalinga Rd at middle right