Watch the kidneys through parts of this run because it gets pretty rough at times.
Leaving Paicines from Highway 25 south of Hollister and hitting this one will require time, a B+ or better riding day and plenty of gas.
Not a real long distance, but very desolate.
It will take you through tight twistys, canyon cliffs, BLM areas, cattle ranches and wide open desert scapes that change over every rise!
And don't forget the junction of Panoche and Little Panoche Roads that is a left-hander that becomes a 2 mile straight away into a tight pass that dumps out onto the east side of the mountains and the view is a 100% change.
You will see other bikes occassionally, very few cars, and a lot of quiet isolation.
I take this ride from San Jose, back up I-5 and west on 152 back to Gilroy and it is definitely a day-trip.
Watch for ground squirrels, rattlers, and a few stray cattle.
I've taken this road on my Victory Cross Country a few times and having the touring suspension!
It is far from a bad thing. Enjoy!
- Heath Rickhoff (8/12/12)
Stop by Paiciens and get a bite to eat.
Some unpaved road, drive calm first time around to get a feel for the road (as you should do with any unknown rode), then backtrack and enjoy.
Keep the rubber side down.
- Rider from Mendota, CA (5/14/10)
Top your tank in Hollister, or, as a last resort, in Tres Pinos - next services 76 miles.
A little farther south at Paicines, turn left off of Highway 25 onto Panoche Road and head east/south.
I put this down as "scenic", but it has great sweepers and a few twisties, as well.
Unfortunately, the twisties come where the rocks fall on the road, so be careful.
Also, although I've never seen livestock actually on the road, this is cattle and horse country - it just takes one to ruin your day.
You can (probably) grab a bite to eat at the Panoche Inn (hours are, shall we say, variable).
Just past the restaurant, take Little Panoche Road East over to I-5 for a quicker return.
Or if you're the adventurous type, stay on Panoche Road all the way to the end - the New Idria Mines area - better for dirt and sport bikes, not so good for cruisers.
- Hy Libby (11/28/09)