We all have our favorite roads: familiar sweepers and on-ramps during commutes, long straightaways for WOT hits, and scenic byways for weekend cruises. But when it comes to truly great roads that challenge us and our fiberglass machines, you can never have enough.
That’s why we’ve created this list of America’s Best Driving Roads. We’ve broken our great land into Midwest, Northeast, South, Southwest, and West regions, then chosen four fantastic roads from each of them. Each one makes for a unique drive, and many have scenic views to match.
As we were considering which roads to include, we naturally thought of Route 66. But there is no need to mention the Mother Road to Corvette enthusiasts, as you guys and girls are familiar with it already.
And in most cases, we’ve avoided roads in heavily populated areas. While there are some great city drives—like NYC’s West Side Highway and LA’s Mulholland Drive—the heavy traffic, road hazards (including pedestrians), and police presence are major drawbacks.
So take a look at our list. If you happen or plan to be near any of these roads, get your Vette in top operating shape; grab your cell, charger, and roadside assistance card; and start driving. You have nothing to lose but your brake pads.
Illinois: Scenic Ridge Road North of Savanna
Northern Illinois is where you’ll find the 18-mile Scenic Ridge Road. This narrow road has a glass-smooth surface, and is surrounded by trees, hills, and the occasional house. Enjoy the curves and elevation changes, watch for gravel at intersections, and be sure to stop at the Mississippi Palisades Park.
Minnesota: Stillwater to Ellsworth, Wisconsin
If you need to keep the significant other entertained while you burn corners, drop ’em off in Stillwater for some antiquing. Then jump on the Chestnut Street bridge to Wisconsin and head down 35, 65, and various back roads named after rivers and fish. You’ll revel in corners and bask in spectacular scenery until Ellsworth appears 40 miles later.
Nebraska: I-80 West of Lincoln
Heading west from Lincoln rewards those with heavy right feet: I-80 is dead straight for a loooonnng time. We’ve done Lincoln to Lake Mac in western Nebraska—around 300 miles—in just over three hours. Fair warning: State Patrol speed teams and their pesky airplanes are a constant threat. So if your insurance bill looks like ours, and you pass through in August, head up to Arnold and run flat-out for 55 miles at the legally sanctioned Sandhills Open Road Challenge.
Wyoming: Route 212 to Lauren, Montana
Whether you consider these states to be Midwest or just West, Wyoming and Montana’s shared Route 212 is a rugged gem of a road. Starting in Tower Junction, Wyoming, and heading north to Lauren, Montana, Route 212 offers 141 miles of forests, mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. The 68-mile, nearly 11,000-foot Beartooth Pass Highway is considered the trip’s high point in more ways than one.
New Hampshire: Mount Washington Auto Road
Mount Washington sits between Route 16 and U.S. 302 in the White Mountain National Forest. To get to the summit, take Route 16 to the Mount Washington Auto Road, which winds 7.6 miles and climbs 4,618 feet. It’s a toll road, but you won’t mind.
New Jersey: Palisades Parkway North of Fort Lee
Barely over the George Washington Bridge into Jersey, you’ll see an exit for the 42-mile Palisades Parkway. Once you’ve wound through Fort Lee, speeds increase and you can either gawk at the Hudson River views or focus on the sweeping turns at 80 mph.
New York: Taconic State Parkway into Dutchess County
Contrary to popular belief, the NYC area has great roads—just not in midtown. An hour north of the city is the 103-mile Taconic State Parkway. The lanes are narrow, the cliffs are granite, and as you dive through the turns, the only thing saving you from serious bodily injury is the Armco. Good times.
Pennsylvania: State Road 44 Between Coudersport and Jersey Shore
Nearly desolate roads do exist in the Northeast: State Road 44 is not only lightly traveled, but it has an exhilarating mix of blind corners, elevation changes, and corkscrews. Driving south from Coudersport is the most rewarding leg.
Florida: U.S. 1 to Key West
If a laid-back, speed-limit cruise is up your alley, this road (or bridge, to be exact) is perfect. Leaving from Key Largo, you’re treated to 100 miles of blue seas, tasty seafood, and kitschy souvenir shops. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Kentucky: Route 22 to Willow
If you’re heading north on I-65 after visiting the Mothership in Bowling Green, turn northeast on 71 at Louisville, then cut east until you hit I-75 and Williamstown. Route 22’s 30-mile Williamstown to Willow leg will remind you why you bought a Corvette in the first place.
North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile trek that starts near Waynesboro, Virginia, and ends up near Cherokee, North Carolina. While the scenery is majestic, be sure to keep your eyes on this heavily traveled road. If you can’t do the whole thing, try the section southwest of I-77, to Asheville.
Tennessee: Tail of the Dragon
Tail of the Dragon is a technical driver’s dream. This legendary stretch of Route 129 passes through Tennessee and North Carolina, and has banked turns galore. Did we mention that it has 318 turns in 11 miles? Build up your arm muscles beforehand, and try to hit it during the week when there’s less traffic.
Arizona: U.S. 191 Between Clifton and Alpine
Known as the Coronado Trail and found on the eastern edge of Arizona, U.S. 191 is nearly 100 miles of cornering nirvana. You’ll have several challenges while driving this road: mastering corners that challenge sport bikes, staying focused as the aforementioned sport bikes blast past, and somehow keeping your eyes off the unbelievably beautiful views of the Apache National Forest. Good luck; we’re all counting on you.
New Mexico: NM-72 Between Des Moines and Raton
The 40 or so miles between Des Moines and Raton, New Mexico, offer a fantastic mix of heart-pounding curves and long straights. Since it can be closed during winter, use the warmer months to take advantage of this challenging road. And don’t forget to take in the views: Sugarite Canyon State Park and the pastoral Johnson Mesa are well worth a pit stop.
Texas (North): 207 Between Claude and Silverton
A rugged Panhandle road to match the rugged landscape: With turns, elevation changes, and some great straightaways, it’s best to watch the pavement, not the craggy canyons around it. And if you’re itching to go flat-out for 118 miles, point your Vette’s nose toward Fort Stockton in April. The Big Bend Open Road Race will take whatever your ride can dish out.
Texas (South): Devil’s Backbone Near Blanco
Hills, valleys, state parks—and lots of curves—greet you on the 51-mile loop known as the Devil’s Backbone. Located in Hill Country near Highway 281 and the town of Blanco, the Backbone consists of Farm Roads 12, 165, 2325, and 32. You’ll no doubt enjoy the drive, but you’re just as likely to take a detour to Canyon Lake State Park, or to visit local towns like historic Wimberley.
California: Pacific Coast Highway
Highway 1 is known as the PCH, and the 1,700 miles between San Juan Capistrano, California, and Astoria, Oregon, offer a perfect mix of winding roads and jaw-dropping scenery. In populated areas like LA, Angelenos clog it up while heading to hotspots like Malibu, Santa Monica, and Manhattan Beach. So we recommend heading north from the City of Angels: While the Malibu section is great, the less-traveled sections between Monterey, San Francisco, and Seattle can be downright transcendent.
Colorado: Million Dollar Highway
If you’re up for a technical, high-altitude driving challenge, U.S. 550—the Million Dollar Highway—is waiting. Part of the 232-mile San Juan Skyway, this section has a couple of good routes: A 50-mile trip from Ouray to Silverton is sweet. Or you can drive an even longer, 81-mile trek from Durango to Ridgeway. Both have a good mix of corners and straightaways as you pull g’s above 10,000 feet. But keep an eye out for hazards—in law-enforcement, boulder, and animal form.
Idaho: Old Spiral Highway Near Clarkston
A treasure of a road sits near the Idaho/Washington border. The Old Spiral Highway, just southeast of Highways 95 and 195, leads down to the town of Clarkston. This corkscrew is a near-perfect combo of smooth pavement, low traffic, and incredible descending turns.
Utah: SR-163 to Mexican Hat In southeast Utah, travel to the spot where SR-163 and SR-261 meet. Continue south on 163 and enjoy an intense, four-mile experience. The near-vertical descent and crazy turns are amazing, but your destination’s name takes the cake: Mexican Hat. It’s a good story to tell…if you survive.