California Highway 25, also referred to as “Airline Highway”, cuts its way along the Diablo Mountain Range of Central California, offering motorcyclists a way to travel north-south through the state while avoiding the heavily trafficked US-101.
Airline Highway was originally named because before the advent of radio communications, airplane pilots had used the highway as a visual aid.
The most enjoyable portion of Highway 25 starts at the south where it intersects with Highway 198. From there, it’s a 51 mile stretch north to the town of Tres Pinos. Along the way, there are no services, no rest stops, only farms and cows.
Otherwise, Highway 25 actually goes further north, only about an additional 19 miles, where it intersects with US-101. Towards the south, it officially ends at CA-198, but continues another 40 miles to San Miguel, as Peach Tree Road and Indian Valley Road.
Three of the most enjoyable reasons to ride Highway 25 are the gorgeous views of hillsides and mountains along the Diablo Range, the golden grasses and oaks, and the near absence of traffic. We saw only a handful of cars coming the opposite direction the entire time, along with a few motorcycles.
Highway 25 offers some curves and twisties as you get closer to Tres Pinos in the north, but for the most part, it’s the southern section of grasses and hillsides, where the road runs more straight, that took our breath away.
Try to ride this highway in the Spring months, when the flowers are in bloom and the hillsides are green.
If you’re already planning to ride north or south along US-101, it’s really not much of an effort to take Highway 25 as a side route if you have the time. If you want to take the southern extension of Peach Tree Rd and Indian Valley Rd, keep in mind it’s a single lane only, though paved, with no service.
incredible, where exactly do people get the idea about pilots following 25 from town to town when there are no towns except hollister/tres pinos(the old store at bitterwater was dozed years ago.
The myth that pilots used this for navigation has been debunked in Wikipedia:
The Airline Highway Association was organized in 1933-4 and was composed of representatives of Alameda, Santa Clara, San Benito, Kern and Kings Counties. Its purpose was to establish this “Airline Highway”. In the Oakland Tribune article, (Tues. June 19, 1934 page 5. “NEW AIRLINE, HIGHWAY TO L.A. PLANNED”) it states “the highway would follow the air line between the northern and southern part of the state as closely as possible”. The use of the word Airline is confusing as we associate it with modern-day transportation. In this sense it is defined as an Americanism dating back to 1805 meaning “traveling a direct route”
Airline is confused with Air Line, an term from 1805 and exactly what was intended by the politicians that came up with the idea to drive directly to LA. In 1805 there were no airlines, or planes for that matter. “Air Line” meant a direct surveyor route. Quickest way from point A to B by land. That is what this road is named after. Nothing to do with pilots, planes or navigation. Even if true, an airline pilot in 1934 would have been using VORs and NDBs to navigate, not roads.