It’s said there are only three kinds of motorcyclists: those who’ve been
down... those who are going down... and those who are going down again. Here
in Washington, there are actually three more: those who haven’t been down DH1,
those who plan on going down DH1, and those for whom the top ranking of this
spectacular ride comes as no surprise. A cornucopia of Twistiness lies between
the straighter bookends of the green Skagit Valley’s dense rainforest and the
golden-hued Methow Valley’s fields and pine woods. Tight, intense coils round
the brilliant green-blue gems of Gorge, Diablo and Ross Lakes before essing up
into the mountains of the high, vast Pasayten Wilderness. Huge, fast sweepers
scale stunning alpine environs then rappel rapidly down the east side of the
Cascades. Wide-shouldered Engineering and tip top, open-in-summer-only
Pavement enhance the up-high Remoteness that is the soul of this road. Whether
you take this DH as a challenge to you and your machine or simply cruise and
enjoy the amazing Scenery, you’ll witness this road’s impeccable Character.
You may also witness speed tax collectors at either end, though they seem to
leave the pristine, central section unfouled. Who knows, you might become that
third kind of Washington motorcyclist. Those who’ve been down DH1 again... and
again... and again...
"Ride it early, ride it midweek and ride it hard.
Watch for deer and crows slamming into your helmet (what a mess)." --Dave
"Yes, this is #1 by most counts. Earlier this spring a group of us did this starting from Winthrop early in the morning ... fabulous ! into Marblemount just in time to see four CBR riders being pulled over ... ha! oh well, it's worth
"I first hit this baby back in 1978 with my Kawi 650. Ran out of gas by Newhalem, but luckily my
buddy's 900F had a few drops left. Scrubbed my Metzlers in real good that day. Back
to ride it again in ' 79, ' 80, ' 81, ' 82, ' 83, ' 84, & ' 85. On a 900F and then my 84 Ninja 900.
The Ninja REALLY made an improvement in my scrub time!!! FANTASTIC
ROAD!!!" --Robert Dier
spoiled, living in the northwest (both north and south of the US-Canada
border) with some of the best motorcycle roads in the world, and I'm lucky
that this one is in my riding territory because some of the lustre's taken off
in high summer with all the 4-wheel tourist traffic. In May and September, the
looky-loos all go home and one can really feel like this road and these lakes
and mountains were created just for you to blast through. Incredible!"--Sara Urdahl
of deer on this great road at night. If no motels in Winthrop, try Twisp. Good
bars in Winthrop, also great blues festival there in mid-July"
"This is the road of roads --as close to
perfect as it gets. Early/late season riding is rewarded by a huge reduction
in pylons. The high volume of summer traffic makes swift riding challenging if
not downright foolhardy, but it's still an amazing ride. Watch for deer
especially during dawn/dusk hours when deer (and bugs) are the most active and
when most deer-slapping occurs."--Craig
"I have property in Winthrop and thus
ride/drive this DH quite often. The road itself is nearly perfect. The problem
is traffic, both of the four wheel type and the two wheel type. I don't know
which is worse: the motorhomes, the squidly punks, or the drunk Harley riders.
To avoid all this, ride this sucker at 6 am on a Tuesday morning."--Matt
"With this road practically in my back yard and with relatives on the other side, I've been over it many, many times on two wheels. Right after it opened in the spring (very wet and cold) and all throughout the summer months too!
As others have pointed out, riding it at a low RV traffic time is ideal. If you can't ride on a weekday, go out on a Sunday
morning!"--B "Grinch" Francis
"I found this road to be disappointing compared to DH2, 3 and 4. DH1 is simply a highway over the pass with pretty scenery, and none of the curves are that challenging for a biker not travelling at 90
mph. (Hey, I think we just discovered his problem...) At regular highway speeds, the road is just long sweepers and very few challenges. A nice safe road. Stunning views and the length is nice, to be sure. But this road does not draw me back to it as strongly as do DH2, 3 and 4. I ride a sport-tourer and prefer curves when the road feels plenty fast enough at maybe 60 - 70