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Ortega Highway

The twisting two-lane Ortega Highway, part of the State Route 74 (SR 74), is one of California’s bloodiest drives. This scenic highway has a killer reputation, especially for motorcyclists and has been rated as one of the deadliest roads in the U.S.

The drive connects Riverside and Orange counties within the Cleveland National Forest. It’s 28.2 miles long winding through mountains, pine forests and pastoral valleys. Parts of the road are so dangerous that at times they will claim several lives per year, usually those of motorcyclists who have the bad luck to be caught on one of these turns by a car, or who skid out of control and are thrown from their bikes. The road links Lake Elsinore (western Riverside County) and San Juan Capistrano (Orange County). It's not bad if you don't speed... but some people are always in a hurry to get to work or home. With hairpin turns, open stretches, beautiful mountain scenery and famous watering holes, the highway is an attraction for motorcyclists with deadly results. Hwy 74 is definitely a spot you can hit up if you want an adrenaline rush.

The surface of the road is asphalted and it’s said to be haunted. The road meanders along an old Indian trail, passing dark green oaks and golden grasslands where mountain lions roam and red-tailed hawks circle. With sections of it carrying nicknames such as Dead Man's Curve, Ricochet Alley and Blood Alley, California 74 is, by some measures, the most dangerous road in the state. If you’re not careful, you could end up losing control of your vehicle, and end up in the hospital — or worse — the morgue. As a matter of fact, this highway has claimed its fair share of lives due to automobile accidents.

 

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