The Ten Best Drives Left in America

If you love taking it out on the open road, with breathtaking vistas unblocked by office buildings and mini-marts, the following list of great unspoiled stretches of American highway can serve as the ultimate to-do list. Better hurry, though: They’re about to put a new strip mall right…there.

1. Natchez Trace Parkway
Stretching south from the bright lights of Nashville, Tennessee, to the banks of the Mississippi River in Natchez, Mississippi, these 444 miles of road will wind you through some of our nation’s most beautiful countryside, with a few manmade marvels to boot, like the futuristic Natchez Trace Parkway bridge.

Natchez Trace Parkway

 2. Klondike Highway
It may be cold outside, but the road linking Skagway in Alaska to Whitehorse in Yukon with its winding roads through dramatic mountainscapes and around azure lakes is one wide-open hot lap. Grab a can of salmon to munch on, kick back and enjoy.

Klondike Highway

3. Beartooth Highway
Got horsepower? Good, because this road, starting low from the old mining town of Red Lodge in southern Montana, only goes in one direction: up. Some, but not all, of the mountain’s precarious cliffside has guardrails, so check your brakes before you take the plunge.

4. Zion National Park Scenic Byway
Driving the remote road from St. George to Zion Canyon is the automotive equivalent of riding horseback alongside

Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. The beautiful Utah rock, uniquely colored by iron and manganese, has been carved into a temple to God’s Country by erosion.







5. Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail (aka The Crooked Road)
Experience authentic mountain music at its best. This trail meanders all over Virginia, with inviting stops every fifty miles or so where a live band is always playing one night of the week at a tavern, diner or hardware store.

6. Highway 61
Turn that Muddy Waters up, son: You’re in the Mississippi Delta. Only part of this highway connecting New Orleans, Louisiana to the city of Wyoming, Minnesota is known as Blues Highway, but all 1,400 miles of it is worth selling your soul to the devil for. Almost.

7. Angeles Crest Highway
This two-lane road that twists through the Angeles National Forest as it climbs the 8000-foot San Gabriel Mountains is justification enough for fighting the L.A. traffic to get here.

8. Palisades Parkway
New York’s speed racers itching for a fight know to zip across the George Washington Bridge to the Palisades Parkway, where some low-profile-tire competition always waits. Don’t let the scenery along this harrowingly narrow four-laner distract you from the hungry cops and their radar guns.





9. US 163
Two words: Monument Valley. The stretch approaching the Arizona-Utah border from the north offers the most famous image of the valley, and possibly of the whole Southwest. This breathtaking drive is one more thing you can check off your “Things to Do Before I Die” list.

10. Cajun Bayou, HWY 1
Has all this driving made you hungry? With spicy Louisiana food shakes always just over the next hill, this route offers the best opportunity to eat your way across this southeastern marshy outback.

Got your own great stretch of highway people should know about? Tell us in the comments section!

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  • Erik White

    Cherohala Skyway from Tellico Plains, TN to Robbinsville, NC. Simply amazing!

  • Eric Munoz

    My favorite highway with beautiful scenery and moderate driving conditions Is the Blue Ridge Parkway. It stretches from Geaorgia to West Virginia where It becomes Skiline Drive. Plan on traveling the speed limit of 30 MPH. At least 100 overlooks and highway has many campgrounds, and roads leading off Into towns. It’s my favorite.
    Eric Munoz