State Route 375, NV
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The Extraterrestrial Highway is 98 miles of black ribbon unrolling across burning desert. From Crystal Springs, head west until you top out at 5,604-foot Coyote Summit. Descend into the tiny town of Rachel, and detour 27 miles south to Area 51; wave politely at the guards as you wonder if they’re hiding inter-dimensional beings in there. In Rachel, stop at the Little A’Le’Inn for a burger and alien souvenirs. Continue past old mines and ghost towns, ending up at Warm Springs. If you ever wanted to know what the bottom of the ocean looks like, you just drove through it.
Natchez Trace Parkway, TN/MS
This 444-mile national scenic byway stretches from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi, free of commercial transport, billboards, and traffic. The two-lane road, flanked by oak trees and grassy knolls, follows segments of the original Natchez Trace, a Native American trail that later served as a major trade route. Take side trips into towns like Tupelo, and tour Indian mounds, Civil War battlefields, a cypress swamp, meanderingstreams, and waterfalls.
Route 66, AZ
There’s no road like the Mother Road. The 75-mile stretch from Seligman, Arizona, west to Kingman looks much like it did half a century ago. It’s a vast expanse of high desert with few services, so fuel up in Seligman and tour the museum in the Route 66 Gift Shop. Twenty-five miles west, check out the Grand Canyon Caverns, the country’s largest dry caverns, then continue to Kingman and I-40, or drive 60 miles north for the ten-mile trail to the turquoise waterfalls of Havasu Canyon.
Route 112, NH
A sweet ride for bicyclists, the Kancamagus scenic byway cuts through the heart of the White Mountains, from Lincoln east to Conway. Following the path of the Swift River, crossing old Indian hunting paths, logging roads, and dense birch forests, the curvy 34-mile route is especially scenic in the fall. In Lincoln, don’t miss the trained black bears at Clark’s Trading Post, then pedal on under the shadow of Mount Kancamagus. The North Conway Grand Hotel serves up New England refinement near the end of the road.