Three Hill Country Ranch Roads, 335, 336 and 337, are known throughout Texas as the Twisted Sisters, and riders come from near and far to enjoy them. For me it is near, just a short ride from my home to the first Sister. The first stop is usually in Bandera at the Old Spanish Trails Restaurant, better known to everyone as the OST.
Click here to view the Twisted Sisters route on REVER
But we’ll pass on it this morning, opting instead for Keese’s Bar-B-Que in Medina, where pancakes and eggs give us a good start to the day. Keese’s T-shirts have a rough map of the Three Sisters with the slogan, “A serious ride requires a serious breakfast!” So having had the breakfast, we are off on the ride.
The first Sister we encounter is Farm to Market (FM) Road 337, which starts at the north edge of Medina. Following it west, we pass many beautiful ranches, one with its own landing strip and double-size hangar. As we move from the relatively straight stretches through the fields and into the first of many twisty sections, we are reminded by a highway sign that the Sisters are not to be taken lightly: “Caution Next 12 Miles, Since Jan. 2006, 10 Killed in Motorcycle Related Crashes.”
After about 20 miles, we come to a “T” intersection at the community of Vanderpool. Right on Highway 187 for a mile brings us back to 337 again, and we turn left and head for Leakey and the next Sister, Ranch Road 336. Had we gone straight on 187 for another three miles we could have visited the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum, a tiny jewel set in the beauty of the Hill Country. We’ll stop on the way back! Sister 337 twists more on this leg, going up and over a pretty typical Hill Country hill, with lots of quick turns before descending into the Little Dry Frio Creek Valley. Continuing straight through Leakey on 337 for about a half mile, we come to the Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop and the Bent Rim Grill. Everything is good here; for me it’s a diet drink and the bacon cheeseburger with sweet potato fries.
After a leisurely meal in the open-air atrium between the gift shop and the grill, and a quick check of the gift shop’s inventory to see if there is anything new, we fire up and backtrack into Leakey. Then it’s right on U.S. Route 83 for a short distance, and then left on the next Sister, FM 336. This stretch starts off pretty straight, but then bucks and snorts and twists and turns in an effort to throw us like a bull in a Bandera rodeo. But we use good judgment and take her on with a calm head and a steady throttle hand—fast enough to be fun, but in control and ready for the unexpected. This is whitetail deer country, and they will pop up at the most inopportune times, like in the middle of a downhill, off camber, decreasing radius turn! Then there’s the occasional cage…they can be as unpredictable as a deer and seem to show up at inopportune times, as well.
But today it’s cows! A herd of them is leisurely making its way up the highway to where their owner has a feed wagon. We slow down and let them get off the road, but remain aware that there are no fences between us and the rest of their bovine brethren. After about 10 miles, 336 straightens up and, having lost a lot of her spirit, continues on to terminate at Highway 41. Before reaching 41, dual-sport riders might want to take a cutoff on RR 3235 for about 25 miles of dirt and pavement, coming out on FM 335 north of Barksdale. But we continue on to 41, make a left here and wick it up a bit for 14 fairly straight miles before turning south on the third and final Sister, 335. She is a wild one too, but a little less the maverick than 336, tending to act more like a rollercoaster with big dips and ups and downs and not as many curves. We ride her south to her terminus with Highway 55 and then continue on through Barksdale to Camp Wood, where we gas up for the return leg on Sister 337.
From here to Vanderpool is arguably the best section of 337, and one of the best of the three, though everyone has their favorite. We pass through Leakey again and detour slightly at Vanderpool to say “Hi” to Alan Johncock at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum. If it were lunchtime, we might have an Aussie Meat Pie or a burger; Alan’s wife does a great job with either. Alan is an Aussie and he and Debbie know their meat pies! But this time it’s a cold soda and back down to 337. At this point, we could continue straight for a few miles on 187 and pick up FM 470 back into Bandera. But 470 is relatively flat and we need one more go at the twisties on 337 before we quit.
After 150 miles and six hours with several stops for photos, we arrive home with grins. Although there’s the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum and some great pull-outs with beautiful views of the Texas Hill Country, this ride is less about roadside attractions and more about the roads and riding. It has been a great ride, and one that is close by whenever the urge strikes.
Things ain’t bigger in Texas. I can see bigger hills outside my kitchen window. And my panoramic lounge windows show even bigger hills to the west. Here in New Zealand there are few if any straight roads, and all roads are attacked at as severe a lean angle as we can attain. Maybe this explains Harley handling, and the ground clearance issues American cruisers in general have. All our destinations are within a daily ride (400 miles on our roads in ENOUGH), but the fun per mile ratio is unbelievable.
If those slight bumps resemble “hills”, then God I pity you.
To the Cocky Kiwi – come and ride the Twisted Sisters and then speak about severe lean angles. Harley is only one riding option. Hats off to the NZ scenery, but you are too full of it.
Dude! Take a chill pill. We all know NZ is awesome, and so are New Zealanders… I think, not sure abiut you, though. But you will always be welcome in Texas. Just don’t be a prick.
Just remember New Zealanders, if it wasn’t for us” Yanks” you be part of the Japanese Empire show some respect !!
Stop drinking the kool aide.
Stop acting a MAGGOT SNOW BIRD…But we are in TEXAS …So we enjoy what we have access to until we are able to make the big road trips on 2 wheels…
Uh, NZ boy, it’s in the Texas Hill Country (you know what a hill is, right?), not the Davis Mountains which are in West Texas.
Texas should buy New Zealand and put it way down south near the border as a tourist trap
Keep your Ass in New Zeland
How come there are more New Zealanders in Texas than Texans in New Zealand?
I tried to ride my bike to NZ but the water started to get too deep. So I turned back and rode the Twisted sisters…
Things aren’t bigger in Texas? Texas is about 3 times the size of New Zealand…Get over yourself..
Sounds like someone’s just butthurt because every time he opens his mouth and dumps out that half drunk british sounding dribble, people assume he’s from Australia. And then he’s gotta be all like, “Oy Mate! I aint a feckin’ Aussie! Im a newzeelaaanda.” And everyone just rolls their eyes in a big collective whatever.
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Sadly, I don’t own a bike due to health issues & such. I am however the proud new owner of a 2015 mustang gt. This sounds like a good trip & I wanted to ask how the road is for 4 wheels? I just enjoy driving & the sound of the exhaust echoing off the canyon walls & those sexy curves!
I did it in mine didn’t get lower then 130 through almost all of including the switchbacks and had room to bounce it off the speed limiter just watch out on the 3rd sister one hill at the ends you will get some air and at 140 almost nose dive into the next one
Please don’t drive like that on the Real County roads, there is plenty of slow local traffic who if you meet at the wrong time, no amount of braking will forgive your bad decisions.
As a Aussie living in Texas, I have to say to the NZ, man you just so out of it, NZ is a great place but why do you have to say crap like that, No one can choose there landscape, you need to ride what you have and what ever your ride..OWN YOUR RIDE, be proud of what you ride. As long as you have fun and get home safe that is all that matters. If you can do it with mates, even better. If lean angles is all that concerns you, my. Are you not racing motogp?.
Enjoy NZ, and let us enjoy what we have right here.
Thanks Bob the main thing is enjoy and share without putting down you fellow man so he may enjoy both places ..someday traveling to the other to enjoy
Hey Kiwi John. You’re right. They aren’t that big but they’re the closest hills we have to Houston. I’m a proud Texan originally from Tennessee and I grew up riding the Smoky Mountains. I’ve ridden Tail of the Dragon multiple times. Google it. I’ve also ridden the W Road up Signal Mountain. I’ll see your mountains and raise you a Dragon Asana a W. https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f1/9b/3a/f19b3aaf51ac1547c397edefef62c7fe.jpg
I’m just here for the comments.😊😊😊 You guys really had my laughing at “Kiwi John” he was so out of line, and very disrespectful. Texas is big enough for everyone. Even the small package, small minded, big ego NZrs. Russ this was wonderful, and a well written description of the twisted sisters. I enjoyed this area when i first purchased my Lotus Elise in 2012. I really enjoyed each twist and turn, and some very pretty landscape. It was beautiful in May, and more incredible of a ride in the fall when I came back to ride with my GSXR. Thank you for sharing your experience. I would love to share this on Instagram, giving you credit of course.
Hate to say it because it will show my age, lol, but I can remember, as a youngster hanging out at my Uncle’s home place in Medina, that 335 from Medina to Vanderpool use to not go all the way thru. I can remember them dynamiting the rocks to create the cuts for the road. We use to go up and see the progress in the evenings. Who would have known that years later I would be riding my motorcycle thru that same cut and along those roads. Beautiful area and country. Always ready to head back!!!
My wife and I are from Alberta Canada, we rode the the Sisters at the End of March this year ( 2020 ) it was every bit as challenging as any of the roads we have ridden over the mountains of Alberta, British Columbia, Montana and Idaho. We loved the scenery and the all the corners that the Twisted Sisters had to offer. We will be back as many of the sites that we had planned to see and ride to in the Hill country were shut down due to the Covid-19 shut down, but we love the Hill Country and we loved Texas.
How does the sisters compare to tail of the dragon?
Two different animals. Tail of the Dragon is 318 curves in 11 miles with beautiful views you must stop for to enjoy, but the road is mainly surrounded by forest, seems as you come out of one turn you prepare yourself for the next. Very intense, especially when it’s raining. Twisted sisters is Scenic with challenging curves thrown in to keep your attention on your riding while experiencing the view.
It’s always funny to see how so many people feel that their home state or country (Texas has been both) is inferior to Texas. You rarely hear a Texan put down another state or country. We just are happy how great our state is. On the other hand people come from as far away as New Zealand to talk bad about us.
I’ll be on my way to Kerrville around the first of September, and I’m looking forward to riding the Twisted Sisters on my Spyder RT. It will be quite a change from my normal drives around Houston. I can hardly wait.
Is there a place called three sisters of19. My friend dan Affatato has died and we are supposed to sprerhod ashes there
Please let me know
Does anyone know if there has been anyone that completed the ride at night? Lol! A friend and I were curious.
Hill Country is not a good place for night rides! There are lots of deer and other wildlife all over the hill country!
I’m from the hills of WV and I love this ride. Beautiful country and friendly people.
Hi guys, sincere apologies for a twisted Kiwi. Sm country and small minded I’m sure. My wife a Kiwi and me, a Paddy now living in NZ, have frequented the US many times as well as other world locations. We’re privileged. The point, the US, the folk and the scenery is outstanding. Our bikes are temp parked up in SC due to Covid restrictions. We can’t wait to return. To reconnect with friends old and new. Regards negative comments, cut the son of a bitch go. You know who you are and so do we. God Bless America 👍🏍🏍
Find us on Facebook steveandsuzzertw
You guys (and girls) crack me up. Fun reading the comments. I’ve ridden all over this great land and I’ve actually spent a month in NZ many years ago. Great country.
I’d put the Sisters right up there. One of my faves while I was living in CO for many years were the canyons west of Denver near Golden. Coal Creek Canyon, the Peak to Peak ride especially in September when the Aspens are turning. Great rides everywhere…no ownership. Enjoyed by all. Ride on!
I don’t even own a motorcycle. Came here for the article and, as a native Texan, couldn’t “look away from the accident” in the comments.
“You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas!”
I did 50,000 miles over the past 24 months, Southern Africa, Australia, Florida to CA up tp Canada and back via Utah to LV, then this year up to Montana, ND, ended in South Texas through Michigan.
America has by far the best rides on this planet. It depends on the bike, i only ride BMW GS at the moment R1250 GS. I go on dirt, into gravel mountain passes, on the long beaches Texas offer, with no other people. New Zealand too small, you get it done so quickly, it is beautiful, but nothing compared to Glazier, Yosemite, Big SUR, Oregon coast. Then in NZ the damn roads, and traffic. Last thing on New Zealanders, tongue in mouth… they claim to be the number one rugby team in the world, but most of their star players from Fiji and Tonga…. 🙂 They a bit Big Mouthed… so forgive the guy.
I did the Twisted Sisters yesterday, and plan to do again over New Year. It is a fantastic ride.
I haven’t ridden the Twisted Sisters yet – and finally have a new motorcycle to ride them; a 2021 1st Edition BMW R-18. It’s an awesome bike; the the spring loaded foot pegs has replaceable nubs on the bottom of the pegs; my old BMW R1200C had spring loaded pegs and the bottoms were beveled. The first time I dragged a peg I was surprised by it but I was impressed by the bike’s performance for a “Cruiser”!
On the issue of name calling or boasting – sometime between 1994 – 1996 while stationed at the Coast Guard Base in Key West I owned a BMW K75S; aka the Brick. It had a flat in-line 3 cylinder engine and a Cafe sized handle bar. You really had to muscle it on twisty roads. But I digress. I rode up from Key West the to Miami VA Medical Center on my K75S for a doctor’s appointment. I was in uniform; as I was parking the bike in front of the main entrance there was a 1%er, in his colors, also a Vietnam Vet. He said nice bike, how do you like it? As our conversation continued we talked about riding solo or in groups. His very appropriate comments were – It really doesn’t matter what you’re riding as long as your in the wind, as he put it; then he said 99% of the people who ride don’t really care about what you ride (although in that 99% there are a few arrogant, brand specific riders) – then he said with regards to the other 1% – he said I probably wouldn’t want to ride with them anyway!
My wife (who is Colombian) and I, both retired, travel a lot; I learned a long time ago when I was stationed in Japan to not be an Ugly American; that continues still; and I have a whole lot more fun that way! My goal is to one day ride a motorcycle from the main road to our house in the mountains outside of Bogota; but I can’t afford to buy one there – import duties on non-Colombian motor vehicles was 100%. When the Can-Ams first came onto the market I think the MSRP was $16K; on the corner of my mother-in-law’s street there was a Renault Dealer who also sold the Can-Ams. Sticker price was $32K!
Ride safe and have fun – maybe I’ll see you on the Twisted Sisters this year!
The author did a lot of back tracking to ride the three twisted sisters. I would start from Kerrville and go through Ingraham and ride all the way to 335 to Camp Wood then 337 to Leakey stopping at Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop/Bent Rim for a bite to eat. Once in Leakey turn left heading up 336 to the intersection meeting up with 41 turn right then to 1340 To Hunt turn right onto 39 to 187 then into Vanderpool. Turn right staying on 187 towards 337. Currently 337 to Medina is closed for repair. So continue towards Utopia but turn left onto 470 towards Tarpley and eventually Bandera on 16. But this stretch on 470 has a few WARNING signs to slow down for the several curves which are sharp and unforgiving.
A friend, JoJo, lost control of his ride on the sisters last week. Sadly, he passed away this morning from severe brain injuries. The sisters are no joke. Ride with safety in mind friends. The sun will never set on JoJo’s spirit.
Too soon he left to travel
Beyond where we can see
But it’s all about the journey
Forever riding free.
Used to live in Medina TX, and rode those roads in the 1990’s before they had a sexy name. They are nice. But I spend 20 years on the west coast before moving back to Texas. It is a pleasant ride, but no CA HWY 36.
Hi – I’m planning an epic US tour with all the best roads I can find and the Twisted Sisters are on that list..I’m sure all are fabulous but if I had to pick 335 or 336, which would it be? we’ll be on BMW R1250’s if that is a deciding factor.
I have ridden my motorcycles all over the US and throughout Europe. Every place that I have been has it’s own beauty. But I will say this I like TEXAS the best. Maybe because I was Born here and all have to say to everyone is Ya’ll come on down and we will show you some Texas hospitably and if you don’t like it then you can all ways go somewhere else.
Don’t Mess With TEXAS