Perhaps nothing can make you feel more unbridled and free than traversing the open road, taking in the scenic view as it appears before your eyes. Not all roads are made equal, however, when it comes to their ability to dazzle your senses. Unfortunately, to keep the crowds away, not many people want to spread word about their favorite scenic routes. You can find word of these roadways within enthusiast chatter and by talking with the right people — or with this guide on the six scenic roadways that will treat you to the view of a lifetime.
Spanning 50 miles through Montana’s Glacier National Park, Going-to-the-Sun Road allows you to experience the gorgeous painted landscapes for yourself. As it was developed with road trips in mind, the route’s design maximizes the visual impact of the surrounding landscape. With a trip down this route, you will be treated to sights of Lake McDonald, Logan Pass, Saint Mary Lake and everything in between.
If you thought the Going-to-the-Sun road was the be all to end all routes, then you are in for quite the treat with this next one. To up the ante even more, the Highway 12 Scenic Byway takes you through two national parks in Utah: Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon. Dozens of incredible sights lie between including the truly delightful Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. With 122 miles to explore from end to end, you can spend hours taking in the gorgeous landscape without ever seeing anything twice.
No other route has the legendary following of Route 66, but that is not the only reason to take this drive. This iconic route also has an incredible number of sights to see along the way – and that should come to no surprise as it stretches more than 2,400 miles. You can hop on this route at any point between California and Chicago to catch the views and experience the strange and interesting landmarks along the way. Notable stops include the Cadillac Ranch, World’s Largest Rocking Chair and Paul Bunyan statue.
Olympic Peninsula Loop
Hidden up in the very northwest corner of the United States lies the Olympic Peninsula Loop. This scenic drive takes you around the Olympic National Park in Washington State. Lush evergreen-dotted landscapes and beautiful waterways will surround you through every leg of this journey. Along the way, you will see many different incredible landscape elements, including mountain peaks, ocean peninsulas and even the Hoh Rain Forest.
Blue Ridge Parkway
From Tennessee to West Virginia, you will find a beautiful stretch of road dubbed the Blue Ride Parkway. This thoroughfare will take you from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park straight to Shenandoah National Park. Mile after mile, you can take in gorgeous views of the vistas and overlooks that cover the local landscape. Throughout your travels, you can stop an any of the hundreds of awesome landmarks along the way, including Mabry Mill, Linville Falls and Craggy Gardens.
Kancamagus National Scenic Byway
The Kancamagus National Scenic Byway allows you to travel 32 awe-inspiring miles through the White Mountains. Although this route is known for its fall leaf foliage, the spring and summer landscape offers delightful views as well. The twists and turns will take you up 3,000 feet where you can see the surrounding region in a brand new light. If you have time to stop along the way, take a moment to check out the Sabbaday Falls, which are about a half-mile hike off the main road.
Bad weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall, can close down many of these roadways during the winter months. So, the spring and summer are the best times to visit these roadways. Start building your road trip itineraries around these routes to experience what are quite possibly the best views the world has to offer.