Scenic road trips deliver some of America’s best sites. Follow these seven iconic drives to waterfalls, canyons, and mountain peaks. Several cut through national parks, some follow winding rivers and others lead through flat bayous and ascend mountains, offering panoramic views.
RELATED: More Travel Coverage
AMERICA’S MOST ICONIC DRIVES BY TRAVEL & LEISURE
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina
The 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway offers scenic mountain and valley views as it winds through Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Where to Stop: Grandfather Mountain, a 5,837-foot-peak offers panoramic views.
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
A top choice for touring in Montana’s Glacier National Park, Going-to-the-Sun Road’s 50-miles span the park’s width, delivering you to overlooks, waterfalls, and a glacier.
Where to Stop: At Logan Pass, the road reaches its highest elevation, 6,646-feet.
Columbia River Highway, Oregon
The first scenic highway in the U.S. to become a National Historic Landmark, the Columbia River Highway follows the river gorge for 70 miles, affording views of waterfalls and the river from cliffs.
Where to Stop: Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural site in Oregon.
Mount Washington Auto Road, New Hampshire
The drive leads you to the 6,288-foot peak of Mount Washington, the highest in the northeastern U.S. The road, short and steep, climbs some 5,000 feet in 8 miles.
Where to Stop: Reward yourself for handling the difficult route by staying at the nearby, upmarket Omni Mount Washington Resort.
Highway 31, Louisiana
Bayous, marshy outlets of a river, define Louisiana’s topography. Highway 31 takes you along Bayou Teche from New Iberia to Breaux Bridge, past thickets of oak and cypress trees and swampy lagoons where alligators reside.
Where to Stop: Dine at Breaux Bridge’s Café des Amis for a Cajun meal accompanied by zydeco music.
Highway 12, Utah
Connecting Bryce Canyon with Capitol Reef National Park, Highway 12 delivers sandstone cliffs and hillsides dotted with junipers.
Where to Stop: Chow down at Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Boulder, Utah. Located on a farm, the restaurant offers sustainably grown produce and grass-fed lamb and beef.
Black River Scenic Byway, Michigan
Highway 513, the Black River Scenic Byway, cuts through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, ending at a harbor and marina. The 11-mile road follows the river, passing waterfalls and dense forests.
Where to Stop: Stretch your legs by hiking at Gorge Falls.
Follow Candyce H. Stapen on Twitter: @ FamilyiTrips