Five of the US’s most unforgettable must-see roads to travel
If you’ve read a Subaru BRZ review recently, you might know that it’s the Japanese automaker’s only two-door sports coupe – and that a mere 2,267 found owners in the US in 2020. Like other automakers, Subaru’s top-selling new vehicles in the USA are crossovers, not cars. The only two Subarus featuring 2020’s top-20 best-selling models in the US were the Outback crossover station wagon (153,294 units sold) and the Forester compact crossover SUV (176,996).
The amazing versatility of these Subaru vehicles demonstrates why US buyers have preferred SUVs over sedans for several years now. This is a road-faring nation with millions of miles of roads through some of the most scenic places in the world. And while it’s fun carving up a mountain road in a sports car when you’re alone, a crossover with its increased height, space, and seating configurations is what you want for that scenic US road trip.
The USA’s Most Scenic Routes
Here are just five of America’s most beautiful driving roads:
- Going-to-the-Sun road: This mountain road is carved out of the Rocky Mountains in Glacier, Montana, and continues for nearly 50 miles. It is open only from May to October and best visited during the last part of summer or the beginning of fall because it experiences heavy snowfall in winter. It crosses through the Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide via Logan Pass. It is a treasure trove of glaciers, waterfalls, and valleys.
- The Overseas Highway: One of the most spectacular drives in the country, the Overseas Highway is 110 miles long, starting in Miami and connecting all the Florida Keys – home of the largest expanse of coral reefs in the US. Along the way, there are many beaches, gardens, and other attractions to visit via a network of bridges, of which the longest is Old Seven Mile Bridge, built in 1912.
- Beartooth Highway: This winding mountain pass is nearly 70 miles long and leads from Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park’s northern entrance. Along the way, you’re treated to ecologically diverse Beartooth Mountains with views for days. It’s a high-altitude pass that is closed during snowfalls.
- Monument Valley: US Route 163 leads from Kayenta in Arizona to Bluff in Utah and gives you amazing views of the huge red cliffs and rock formation of Monument Valley along the way. Plan several hours for this trip to allow plenty of time for photographs. The best photos are taken at sunset.
- North Cascades Scenic Byway: This mountainous, high-altitude pass traverses northern Washington with some of the most beautiful scenes of turquoise glacier lakes and tall mountain peaks. Stay over in some of the early-20th-century towns along the way, as it’s quite far from cities, the nearest being Seattle. Take photos on top of the Washington Pass Overlook.
Choosing The Best Car For The Trip
Don’t get hamstrung by your choice of transport, especially with the family in tow. A higher car will give the kids on the back seat a better view and the varying surfaces, unpaved local roads, and likelihood of snow in high-lying areas call for something with AWD ability and decent ground clearance.
Steep, high-altitude passes require a powerful engine to negotiate with ease. A normal sedan might find itself out of its depth and leaves you with few options if you want to go off the beaten path for a photo opportunity.
Make sure your vehicle has:
- Enough power and performance for driving on mountain passes with a full load
- AWD or 4WD for unpaved roads and to reach lookout points and campsites
- Enough space for all passengers and their cargo
- An automatic transmission to take the pain out of long trips
- Updated navigation maps, so you don’t get lost along the way
The US has some of the most amazing natural features in the world and these are best experienced by road. America is a big country and for experiencing some of the remote natural treasures, you want to be prepared with a vehicle that can do the job. For this reason, an SUV is recommended.
It gives you options and won’t leave you stranded when the roads deteriorate or bad weather sets in. Whatever you do, plan your breakaway well and leave enough time for photographs and to find all the hidden gems in the area.