The temperature shift has started, and we’re sure you’ve already noticed. For a few months, the heat and humidity made the thought of spending hours on your bike lose most of its appeal.
Most people felt themselves dehydrating just standing in the shade. But now we’re at the very beginning of one of the very best riding seasons of the year. It’s time to plan for weekend motorcycle rides near Dallas.
There are a lot of reasons fall motorcycle rides are amazing. School is back in, so there are fewer travelers in state parks and on scenic routes. Even this early in the season mornings and evenings are cooler. Sunrise and sunset are stunning, and the foliage will soon start to change.
There are loads of online guides for longer motorcycle road trips. For this article, we’re focusing on trips you can comfortably complete in a weekend. We’re not going for an iron butt level experience, the point here is more on enjoying the open road with time built in to take in the good things along the way.
*NOTE: While you plan, see also our guide on post-pandemic motorcycle road trip planning.
Tyler State Park
This comfortable fall motorcycle ride near Dallas winds you through the Piney Woods and ends beside a tranquil, 64-acre spring fed lake surrounded by 100-foot-tall trees. Once you arrive at Tyler State Park, stretch your legs on 13 miles of trail, rent a boat or take one of their free weekend classes.
The lake is stocked with crappie, perch, catfish and bass, and the park loans fishing rods and tackle for free. You don’t even need a fishing license to fish from shore in this Texas state park.
To get there, from the center of Dallas, you could take the direct route via 80 and 20, but there’s a more scenic route. Take 175 toward Kemp and cruise by Cedar Creek Reservoir. From there, take 198 to Canton (a great place for shopping and food), then take 20 the rest of the way to Tyler. Follow signs to Tyler State Park.
Turner Falls Oklahoma
When people think of Oklahoma, waterfalls aren’t usually what comes to mind, but the biggest one in the state is just outside Davis, and fall is a great time to visit. The park is just two hours or about 130 miles from Dallas.
It includes a 77 ft waterfall with cold, rushing clear water, a wading area, sandy beaches, hiking trails, caves for exploring and more. Book one of their cabins to turn it into an overnight trip or pack your tent for primitive camping. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. for day use.
It’s a little longer ride, but the scenery is pretty fantastic, especially when the fall foliage starts to turn. Fredericksburg itself is small, but rich in history and culture, and the roads you take to get there are dotted with scenic stops and tasty eats.
Fredericksburg is known for its wineries and its German culture. The town offers pre-built itineraries and guides to live music and nightlife, or you can just cruise through and stop anywhere that looks good.
To get there, head to Fort Worth, then take US 377 to Granbury, then get on Highway 144 South, and from there slow down to take in the countryside. East of Glenrose you’ll intersect US 67. Take that to Highway 220, then head south to Hico.
If you’re ready for a little something, stop in Hico at The Koffee Kup for a bite of lunch and their legendary cream pies. From 220 in Hico, take Highway 6 for a few blocks, then go South on US 281. Soak up the scenery again all the way to Johnson City, where you have another chance for tasty fare at the Silver K Café. Then turn East on 290 and go the rest of the way to Fredericksburg.
Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the nation. From the highway you’d never know its there, because the surrounding landscape looks flat and barren for miles and miles. This state park sits half an hour from Amarillo, and it will take your breath away any time of year, but especially in fall when the temperatures start to drop and the sunsets turn the rock even deeper shades of gold and crimson. If you pack your camping gear, roll out your sleeping bag under an incredible canopy of stars only visible in very dark skies.
Hike the trails, try the zipline or watch for wildlife. Just be sure to take plenty of water, you’ll want it in this arid environment.
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