On The Road – Top Scenic North American Highways
It seems like a long time coming, but spring is finally here. Now that the snow is melting and the sun is making its way out, we took a look at some of the most scenic highways in North America.
By no means is our list in any particular order, and of course, there are plenty of other highway’s out there we could have mentioned. But for the sake of space, we’ve narrowed our list down to eight beautiful highways worth checking out. Some of these routes are travelled frequently, some are off the beaten path. Where there are towns, trucks must venture to deliver goods. So maybe, just maybe, a route will take you along a section of one of these highways.
It’s well-known around the world for good reason. The highway spans the entire state of scenic California, following the Pacific coast. The highway begins in the Redwood country of Northern California, where massive Sequoia trees, that can grow to be 250 ft tall with a 30 ft diameter are found. The highway continues down to the beautiful sun-bleached beaches of Southern California. The highway passes through major cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Scenic small towns and lookouts of the Pacific Ocean are found along the entire route, and they are worth pulling over to check out and take in the California’s beautiful coastline.
As the world’s longest national road, the Trans-Canada Highway passes through some of the most beautiful terrain North America has to offer. The section between Revelstoke, British Columbia and Lake Louise in Alberta is especially spectacular. The highway takes you right through the heart of Banff National Park, weaving its way past alpine lakes, glaciers and lush prairies. It’s really quite something.
Those finding themselves in the Southeast region of the U.S in the fall are in for a treat. The 500-mile road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park is famous for its views of the Appalachian mountain range while weaving through forests that are well-known for its foliage in the fall. People travel from all over to see this stretch of road during the fall to get their glimpse of the changing of the seasons and the vast array of colors. On a side note, comedian Jim Gaffigan has a funny bit on foliage, you should check it out.
Everything about this highway is stunning. The infrastructure in place to connect the Florida Keys to continental Florida is impressive. The seven-mile bridge that connects Knight’s Key to Little Duck Key is something that non-engineers can even marvel over. The 113-mile highway passes through warm turquoise water, and passes by hundreds of mini islands along the way. You’ll feel like you’re on vacation if you find yourself traveling on this highway.
While it’s unlikely a route will take you on Highway 12 in Southern Utah, it’s still a bucket list worthy drive. When you think of the Wild West, red rock formations, open plains and high desert all come to mind. Highway 12 takes you past a couple of national parks, including Bryce Canyon National Park. Check it out, it’s truly amazing. The vast open highway makes you feel like you’re truly away from it all.
The Mississippi river. The most iconic river in all of the U.S., and a major shipping route. The Great River Road follows the entire Mississippi river from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The road passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns. Not only is the road a scenic one, but the historical importance of the Mississippi brings out a whole other meaning to the journey. It’s not a major commercial highway by any means, but who knows, maybe a route will take you within range for a quick day trip to one of the river towns.
Starting close to sea-level, this highway has made a name for itself in the Pacific Northwest. Starting in Vancouver, British Columbia, the highway weaves alongside the Strait of Georgia — which is connected to the Pacific Ocean — and steadily increases in elevation until you reach the snowcapped mountains of BC. Amazing views of the saltwater and mountains are found throughout the highway. Plus, the route takes you to the world-renowned ski area called Whistler.
You really can’t go wrong with picking any of the many scenic highways in Colorado. Colorado’s rugged mountain ranges, high plains, meadows, rivers, alpine lakes, and high deserts make the state easily one of the most beautiful regions in all of North America. The Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway connects Breckenridge and Aspen, some of the most iconic ski resort towns in Colorado. The highway takes you through the heart of the Rocky Mountains and portrays the image of what people think about when they see pictures of Colorado.