Millions of miles of asphalt weave throughout this country's beautiful tapestry. Drivers are faced with a dilemma where to go to astound the eyes and stir the soul? The following four routes are for the motorists who drive for the journey, not the destination.
The 24-mile blacktop expanse of U.S. 550 is known as the Million Dollar Highway, a historical nexus linking a pair of gold and silver mining towns. The highway cuts across the rigorous San Juan Mountains, the craggiest peaks of the Colorado Rockies. To traverse Uncompahgre Gorge, Red Mountain Pass and its summit's acute-angled turns, equipping Terra Grappler Nitto tires will ensure your vehicle attains the necessary traction. Did we mention there are no guardrails? Bookending the mountainous journey are Ouray and Silverton, two mining communities where late 19th-century homesteads hark back to the days of the Old West frontier. Take this trip at the height of spring where fields of wildflowers are in full bloom.
The Sunshine State's prestigious All-American Road spans 127 miles across the Florida Keys. Aside from traveling by boat, this is the closest you'll come to driving on water. From Key Largo to Key West, U.S. 1's series of 42 bridges hover over the shimmering waters of the Atlantic. Motorists will travel across numerous limestone and coral archipelagos, past rustling palms and the twisting roots of mangrove trees. Avian enthusiasts will spot great white herons and pelicans swoop down into the turquoise sea to feed on fish. Hit the highway shortly before the sun sinks below the horizon to experience Florida's sublime tropical sunset.
A few hours south of the Grand Canyon lies Sedona, Arizona's Red Rock Scenic Byway, a small slice of Southwestern beauty. Designated Arizona's First All-American Road, this grandiose desert byway winds through picturesque mesas and the sprawling pinyon pines of Coconino National Forest. Although the Byway measures only 7.5 miles, it's every inch is condensed with geological splendor.
Built into the apex of the red rock mesas, the Chapel of the Holy Cross welcomes all faithsand an awe-inspiring view. Hikers will want to traverse the prehistoric red rock formations of Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock. These are two of Sedona's famed vortexesplaces where mystical energy is said to emanate from the earth. The scenic byway urges you to escape the confines of your car and explore its every desert secret. There are a multitude of trailheads and off-road paths to continue your journey on foot.
Here's another All-American Road, set in the majestic last frontier of Alaska. Beginning in Anchorage, drivers will cover 127 breathtaking miles to the seaside port of Seward on Resurrection Bay. Adjacent to the Chugach Mountains, the Seward Highway starts south along Kenai Peninsula. Slow your car down to a crawl rushing waterfalls, sheep and even beluga whales can be spotted below. Seward Highway acts as a tour guide, highlighting the best that Alaska has to offer. From the verdant boreal forests to reaching the frigid auras of colossal glaciers, Seward Highway is the motorist's way to tour Alaska.