In the US state of Colorado, there’s a special highway built in the late 1880s: the Million Dollar Highway. It's one of the nation’s most spectacular drives. You'll be on the "outside" for a while with a hell of a view to your right (let the passenger enjoy the view. You'll want to watch the road). Forget standard driving safety measures like guardrails and shoulders.
From the rugged peaks of Colorado to the lush heights of the Appalachians, America is a land of vast and varied elevations. Yet, not all adventures require hiking boots or mountain climbing gear. Some of the nation's most breathtaking vistas are accessible through the winding stretches of tarmac that ascend its mountain ranges. Buckle up as we take you on a coast-to-coast journey, state by state, unveiling the USA's highest paved roads. Whether you're a motor enthusiast, a road trip lover, or someone in search of unparalleled scenic drives, this guide promises to elevate your travel experiences—literally.
Kahekili Highway is a strip of one-lane paved road framed by rock on one side and sheer cliff drops on the other, with a length of 21 miles, running from Kapalua to Wailuku. It’s a legendary road known for its snaking turns, narrow passages, and dangerous road conditions, though nowadays that last factor is gone, since the road was completely repaved not too long ago.
Deadman Pass is a mountain pass standing at an elevation of 1,104m (3,622ft) above sea level, situated in Umatilla County, in the U.S. state of Oregon. Drivers attempting to navigate the pass face a formidable challenge: heading northwest, you're compelled to ascend over 2,000 feet in elevation with double-hairpin turns and 6 percent grades. Heading southeast, the scenario reverses, and your brakes must be operating at their maximum capacity.
Iron Mountain Road is a demanding 17-mile scenic drive located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, featuring 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 tunnels, and 3 pigtails (turns that loop over their own road, allowing the road to climb rapidly).
Located in San Miguel County in the U.S. state of Colorado, Black Bear Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,915m (12,844ft) above sea level. It's one of the highest roads in Colorado.
Engineer Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,901m (12,800ft) above sea level, located in Ouray County, in the U.S. state of Colorado. It’s mostly a first-gear ride because the road is rough and rocky. It's one of the highest roads in Colorado.
More than 230,000 membership of the American Motorcyclist Association voted for more than 100 roads, to choose the best motorcycling roads in the United States. The roads were voted on the entries via the AMA’s website.
Shafer Trail Road, also known as Potash Road, is an iconic drive located on the east-central edge of Utah in the western United States. Extreme caution is required, especially in inclement weather and at night, for both vehicles and mountain bikes. At times, the road is so narrow that only one car can pass.
Located on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina in the USA, Deals Gap, also known as Tail of the Dragon, is one of the most scenic drives in the USA. Featuring 318 curves, this winding mountain road is unlike anywhere else in the world.
Driving the Beartooth Highway is a thrilling adventure, boasting a 67-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 212 with breathtaking views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains. This spectacular road spans Wyoming and Montana, climbing to an astounding 10,964 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest roads in Wyoming and Montana.
Located in the City of Wildwood, in St. Louis County, in the US state of Missouri, Zombie Road is considered one of Missouri's most haunted places and ranks among the top haunted roads in the world.
Part of Utah Route 261, Moki (or Mokee) Dugway is a stunning, graded dirt switchback road carved into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa. It consists of 3 miles of steep, unpaved but well-graded switchbacks (11% grade), winding 1,200 feet from Cedar Mesa to the valley floor near Valley of the Gods.
Oh-My-God Road is a very exciting drive located on the boundary of Clear Creek and Gilpin counties, in the U.S. state of Colorado. With room enough for barely two cars to pass slowly, this road will surely feel a little dangerous to you.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the most amazing highlights of Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana. This engineering marvel is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world and is among the most difficult roads in North America to snowplow in the spring.
Loveland Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,660m (12,007ft) above sea level, situated on the boundary between Summit and Clear Creek counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is said to be the highest road in the nation that is kept open year-round.
Alaska has some of the coldest roads on the planet, but there’s one more extreme than the rest: the Dalton Highway is one of the most isolated roads in the world. If you can drive this road, you can pretty much drive anything; it's a trip to America’s last remaining wilderness. It’s said to be the loneliest road on the planet.
Pikes Peak, often cheesily referred to as “America's Mountain," is a high mountain peak with an elevation of 4,302m (14,115ft) above sea level, located in El Paso County, in the U.S. state of Colorado. Along the road to the summit, you’ll encounter some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world as you wind your way through an alpine wonderland of scenic beauty, mountain reservoirs, beyond timberline, overtaking the clouds… It's one of the highest roads in the USA.
Siskiyou Summit is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1,314m (4,310ft) above sea level, located in Jackson County, in the U.S. state of Oregon.
Overseas Highway is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in America. This highway - the southernmost leg of U.S. 1 - is where visitors from Florida's mainland can cross countless coral and limestone islets through that special world of the Florida Keys. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world, mostly over water, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the ocean and, of course, the incredible sunrises and sunsets depending on when you’re driving.
The most dangerous city for driving in the U.S. is Orlando, Fla., according to a new government report. Although rates have declined in recent years, car crashes still are a leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2009, 34,485 people died in car crashes in the U.S., and 22% of them were aged 15 to 24. The new findings appear in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report(MMWR).
Needles Eye is a tunnel blasted through sheer granite walls located in Custer County, in the U.S. state of South Dakota. You can get information about the tunnel sizes at the visitor center. Owing to the narrow roadway, sharp turns, and low tunnels, the road has very little traffic.
Imogene Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4,012m (13,162ft) above sea level located on the boundary of San Miguel and Ouray counties, in the U.S. state of Colorado. The road is accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles and is not for novice drivers. It's one of the highest roads in Colorado.
There are many ways one could gauge the danger of driving in a particular city, but this list uses the cities with the greatest number of vehicular deaths as a barometer of the danger level.
Waipio Valley Road is a short, steep road located in the Hamakua District of the Big Island of Hawaii, in the USA, restricted to 4x4s. It is said to be the steepest road of its length in the United States. The road is steep enough to destroy brakes on the way down, with some 45% grade sections.
Mount Evans is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 4,310m (14,130ft) above sea level, located in Clear Creek County, in the U.S. state of Colorado. The road to the summit, the iconic Mount Evans Scenic Byway, is said to be the highest paved road in North America.
California's Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is a portion of State Route 1 (SR 1) running along the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It’s heralded as one of the most scenic drives in the USA.
Hart’s Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1,891m (6,204ft) above sea level, located on the boundary between Okanogan and Whatcom counties in the US state of Washington. It’s accessible by car and is said to be the highest point in the State of Washington that one can drive a 2wd car. The end of the road "after" Hart's pass, at the gate to Slate Peak Lookout, is at 7,488 feet of elevation.
Spanning Riverside and Orange counties in the US state of California, the twisting two-lane Ortega Highway is said to be one of California’s deadliest drives.
Located in the western United States, Colorado is notable for its diverse geography, from vast prairie grasslands to the majestic mountains, rushing rivers to desert landscapes. It’s classified as one of the mountain states, located in the Rocky upland part of the USA. Colorado is unlike anywhere else, ranging from alpine mountains, arid plains and deserts with huge sand dunes, deep canyons, sandstone and granite rock formations, rivers, lakes and lush forests.
Opened in 1861, Mount Washington Auto Road is an unmatched driving experience you will always remember. It is a toll road that extends from New Hampshire Route 16 in Pinkham Notch to the summit of Mount Washington, in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. It’s one of the hardest and most epic climbs you can ride on two wheels.
Red Mountain Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,358m (11,018ft) above sea level, located on the boundary of Ouray and San Juan counties, in the US state of Colorado. At this elevation, it is one of the highest paved passes in Colorado.
Mosquito Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4,026m (13,208ft) above sea level, located on the boundary between Lake and Park counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. Drive at your own risk. It's one of the highest roads in Colorado.
Gold Camp Road is a highly scenic 32-mile trail winding from Colorado Springs to Victor. This captivating road, once a railroad, offers scenic beauty by day and tales of haunting by night, drawing adventure seekers and those curious about its intriguing past.
Alpine Loop is a spectacular drive situated in the San Juan Mountains of the US state of Colorado. The road ascends two 12,000-foot passes (Engineer Pass and Cinnamon Pass) and is recommended for high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles with a short wheelbase.
An important part of defensive driving is to make good choices about when and where you drive. To help you minimize your risk, we've compiled some useful facts. Putting them all together suggests that you run the least risk of a fatal crash by driving on Christmas Day between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. The risk is even lower if Christmas falls on a Monday.
The challenging Pan-American Highway is one of the biggest adventures in the world. It’s a network of roads covering almost 30,000 kilometres (19,000 mi) from North America to South America, making it the longest road on Earth.
Apache Trail is a scenic desert drive located in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona, often considered one of the most picturesque routes near the Phoenix area.
Route 666, also known as "The Devil's Highway," the "Highway to Hell," or "Satan's Highway," is a lonely, deserted stretch of road meandering through almost 200 miles of rugged, sweeping desert wilderness. Because of the highway's number, accidents, and other phenomena, this became repeated as a legend. These legends convinced some people that the highway was cursed.
Sensabaugh Tunnel is a tunnel surrounded by rumors of murder, death, and satanic rituals located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It should be avoided at all costs. It is a place where demonic apparitions appear, car engines die, and the shrieks of eternally trapped women and babies echo. It’s one of the most haunted tunnels on Earth.
Schofield Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,272m (10,734ft) above sea level, located in Gunnison County, in the U.S. state of Colorado. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, do not be tempted to follow; turn around and go back.
Nacimiento-Fergusson Road is a stunning drive located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California, regarded as one of the best motorcycling roads in central California.
Rampart Range Road is the name of a highly scenic unpaved drive located in the U.S. state of Colorado. Join us as we explore the story of this remarkable road, uncovering its history, challenges, and the natural wonders it reveals.
Straddling between Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties in the U.S. state of California, Angeles Crest Highway is one of the most scenic drives in the USA.
Whitney Portal Road is a short but spectacular drive that takes you about halfway up Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States, in Inyo County, in the US state of California.
Located in Passaic County, in the US state of New Jersey, Clinton Road is said to be the scariest road in America. This place has become infamous due to the strange activity which occurs at night. This includes satanic cults, KKK gatherings, ghost sightings, and some kind of hell hound. It's one of the Top Haunted Roads in the world.
Pacheco Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 417m (1,368ft) above sea level, located in Santa Clara County, in the U.S. state of California. The road has developed a reputation for being the source of strange experiences and hauntings.
Phantom Canyon Road is one of the most scenic and historic drives in the US state of Colorado. This unpaved scenic road connects Cañon City and Victor, running through Phantom Canyon and increasing in elevation from 5,500 to 9,500 feet.