Over the last few years, I’ve driven thousands of miles over highways all across the US. I have only scratched the surface of scenic drives, so below you will find my favorite 12 scenic drives. There are plenty other beautiful roads, but these were the ones that are recent and include photos to give you a sense of what you will see along the way.
1. Blue Ridge Parkway in, Virginia
At 469 miles long, this road goes between Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. This parkway is where I saw my first bear when I was younger and also the road I took when moving from PA to FL about two years ago.
2. Route 7, Montana
When my Dad and I took our road trip and wound from Wisconsin down to Florida, we got to travel many scenic roads. This one in western Montana was how we traveled from North Dakota to South Dakota with blue skies and hay bales.
3. Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana
When my friend Jen and I ran our half marathon in 2019, we got to explore Glacier National Park on our road trip. We really wanted to travel the entire length of the going to the sun road but it didn’t open until the day after we left.
4. Badlands Loop Scenic Highway, South Dakota
This one was on the road trip I took with my Dad again. We got donuts in the town of Wall prior to exploring the park, and picniced with them overlooking the Badlands.
5. Route 12, Utah
I took a solo trip over New Year of 2019 to Utah. I did all 5 National Parks in 4 days. It was a lot of driving, but the views were beautiful like this one where you can see route 12 winding it’s way through the landscape.
6. Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
I took another solo trip in April of 2019 to Colorado and Arizona and ventured as far as the road was open in the Rocky Mountains. I could get to Rainbow Point before the snow was too high to go further.
7. Pikes Peak Highway – Colorado
This was also on the same trip mentioned above. I stayed two night in Colorado Springs which is next to Pikes Peak. This was one of the most terrifying drives I’ve done in my entire life but I’m glad I did it so I never have to do it again. Steep ledges thousands of feet in the air with minimal guardrails is not my idea of a good time.
8. Willamette Highway, Oregon
I drove through Oregon on Day 2 of a 3 day road trip from Seattle to Reno. I was headed to Crater Lake National Park took this road along the way. Driving between the pines was magical.
9. Route 20 in North Cascades National Park, Washington
This route was on the same trip as Glacier National Park. Jen and I visited this park on the second leg of our 10 day trip. The water was beautiful and the loop went through the park down toward Winthrop, Washington which is an adorable old small town.
10. Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in Big Bend National Park, Texas
I drove this road in December of 2019 when I went to Big Bend National Park on a solo trip. There’s a few roads to explore the park but this was was seemed like the longest. If you look VERY closely at the picture below, you can see a gap in the mountains on the ridgeline. The road goes the whole way down to that spot called Santa Elena Canyon which the Rio Grande Runs through.
11. Million Dollar Highway (US 550), Colorado
This road was one I took during that Colorado and Arizona road trip. It wound along the edge of mountains and weaved its way through towns. A beautiful scenic road, but not one you should take in the winter unless you have chains (they’re required).
12. Route 2, Maine
The last official route on my list is Route 2 through Maine and the White Mountains. I drove it on a road trip with my friend Ashlee over the summer so everything was green but I’m sure it would be just as beautiful during the winter months.
I’m sure I’ll continue to find more scenic routes as I travel but for now, these are my top picks. There are a few others I considered adding to the list we’ll save those for another blog post. I hope this inspires you to find a scenic road to travel on your next adventure!