Sunset along the road in Joshua Tree National Park

This post describes a major route change to the first section of the Pacific Crest Motorcycle road. When I first came up with the idea of the Pacific Crest Motorcycle Road I decided on the route based on my own experience. I tried to follow the route that I had hiked back in 1974 when I backpacked the Pacific Crest Trail. At that time it was a temporary route, as the final trail had not been built throughout much of California. It went over the San Jacinto Mountains and down into the town of Cabazon at the time. So I found roads that followed that as much as possible.

The Issue was the area around Banning

But, the issue was here in So Cal as far as the PCMCR went was on the first section. The area around Mountain Center, San Jacinto State Park and then down in Banning was not a fun ride, in fact: they could be described as terrible. On most days, the smog was heavy in Banning. You were suddenly thrust into this LA traffic for some time. Not fun.

Take the PCMCR through Joshua Tree

So I began thinking that I should route the road somewhere else. After much through, I decided to route it into the imperial valley to the east of the Salton Sea and then take it into Joshua Tree National Park. It’s not all twisty roads, though there are some nice rides whiten that route. But the traffic is low, and getting to see Joshua Tree makes for a nice ride. It does make the day about an hour longer and 60 miles further than the original route. But, all in all, it would be a day I would look forward to instead of one where I just wanted to get somewhere else. That is the basic premise of the PCMCR.

If you don’t like this route change you can check out that original route map here.