Despite being one of the world’s most populated countries, the USA can feel quite empty - often pretty quickly - outside of its cities. Hit the road in the USA and you’ll find some of the world’s most remote roads. So if you fancy taking off into the sunset like a movie star in a muscle car, here are some of America’s best road trips, on the USA's most memorable and beautiful roads.
Highway 50, Nevada
Arguably America’s most famous cross-country drive, Highway 50 – nicknamed the ‘Backbone of America’ – is more than 3,200 miles from the East to West Coast. The route follows the legendary Pony Express - travellers collecting at least 5 out of 8 stamps from the specified communities in the Pony Express Survival Guide
will receive a certificate to prove they have survived the journey. Rural and sparsely populated, the road takes in 12 states and some of America’s most impressive regions, sights and landscapes, including millennia-old rock art and numerous historic ghost towns. Go with US specialist tour operator AmeriCan
, and you'll cruise through 18 mountain ranges including the Sierra Nevada, Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, plus the Great Plains, Lake Tahoe and the deserts of Utah and Nevada. ‘The Loneliest Road in America’, right, said to be one of the best drives in the USA.
Highway 46, North Dakota
The stretch of North Dakota Highway 46
between Hickson and Streeter is supposedly the longest and straightest road in America as it stretches across 123 miles of North Dakota prairie from Highway 30 westwards. Its longest, straight-as-an-arrow, lock your steering wheel and try not to nod off section - extends nearly 31 miles, from Gackle to Beaver Creek and is particularly impressive, otherwise there’s barely as much as a kink in this far-flung road.
Skyline Drive, Virginia
The Skyline Drive in Virginia
, left, is a 105-mile road that winds through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains along the spine of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. With 75 scenic overlooking viewpoints en route, you don’t even need to leave your car to see some of the most astonishing scenery America has to offer. Our advice is to park up and walk on foot to explore some of the Shenandoah’s 200,000 acres of unspoilt mountain landscape.
Highway 49, Austin, Texas
If you really fancy getting away from it all, Texas 49, near Austin, Texas,
is considered to be the quietest, least travelled and loneliest roads in the USA. The 61-mile route begins in Mount Pleasant and ends near the Louisiana state line.
The Crooked Road, Virginia
The Heritage Music Trail, in Virginia
, isn’t a road as much as a driving tour. But by driving its 300-mile route you can take in America’s most authentic music – bluegrass, gospel and mountain music – across southwestern Virginia. From footstompin’ Floyd to the birthplace of country music at the Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia. Appalachian music is arguably as authentic as American music gets. Head to the home of the iconic Carter Family Fold in the Hiltons to enjoy some geniune Appalachian music.
Northwest Railroad Trail Expedition, Utah
The state of Utah
is filled with spectacular - and spectacularly empty - roads, right. One of the best is the Northwest Railroad Trail Expedition, which takes in the desert and grasslands of Utah’s undiscovered northwest corner. The route includes the old Central Pacific rail line and the Golden Spike National Historic Site and many remote ranching communities. This year is the 150th Anniversary of the First Transcontinental Railroad – which happened in Utah on 10 May 1869 – and anniversary celebrations are being throughout the summer of 2019.
[Photo: Bicentennial Scenic Byway Utah, Factory Butte, Highway 24,Near Hanksville - Credit Matt Morgan]
Tunica Trace Byway, Louisiana
The Tunica Trace Byway
, near the Louisiana and Mississippi border
, was once an important route for Native American Indians, early explorers and settlers. The rugged and winding route runs along the iconic Highway 66 route from Angola to just north of St. Francisville through the hills, forests, winding roads and open green spaces unique to the region. The drive is especially pretty in the spring, when flowers bloom along the way.
Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, Visalia, California
Head towards Road’s End along Kings Canyon Scenic Byway for spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, left. It’s the only road into Kings Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in North America. At 8,200 feet deep, Kings Canyon is 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon. The byway descends 2,700 feet to the wild and scenic Kings River past the massive 2,000-foot marble walls of the famous Portals of the Kings. Grizzly Falls is a great spot for a picnic lunch with a beautiful waterfall close to the road. The road ends at Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Travel time from the gateway city of Visalia
is about 2-3 hours. The road closes for the winter so plan your tour mid-May to mid-October.
The Quiet Corner, Connecticut
The Quiet Corner
in Connecticut is a drive along Route 169 in the north eastern part of the eastern US state. This route, located just off I-395, offers 32 miles of uninterrupted tranquillity through rural and semi-rural towns, farmland, rivers and lakes and state forests and offers a near picture-perfect experience of New England
. The region is particularly well-known for produce including wine, cheese, ice cream, maple syrup, beer and apples.