National Geographic presents the great outdoors through the world's best auto trips, for nature lovers, hikers, and adventurers. Pack your suitcase, load up the. Drives of a Lifetime by National Geographic is Essays & Memoirs This applied biking artist provides specific, all-embracing descriptions of the. National Geographic presents the great outdoors through the world's best auto trips, for nature lovers, hikers, and adventurers. Pack your suitcase.
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Read Drives of a Lifetime by National Geographic for free with a 30 day free trial. Read unlimited* books and audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android. Both a practical guide and an inspiring travel gift book, Drives of a Lifetime highlights of the world's best car trips. The eclectic list takes readers across. From the October issue of National Geographic Traveler and the National Geographic book Drives of a Lifetime. With everything from the.
Take a detour if you want to see the red rocks of Sedona. Open roads rarely come finer. The mile road, completed in to give access to Denali National Park, became largely redundant in when a newer road, the George Parks Highway, opened. It runs parallel to the Andes, crossing bridges and countless rivers, lakes, national parks, and mountain passes. Planning: Ruta 40 is largely paved but the southern part crosses mostly barren terrain.
The 60 hairpin turns transport you 9, feet up the mountains in 90 miles. The heady views are mostly yours alone. The road often closes in winter. Midway along, Bormio offers year-round skiing.
Scenic highlights include fjords, forests, fishing villages, glaciers, mountains, and tundra, as well as the northern lights. Expect little traffic, but watch out for the occasional reindeer. Allow 36 hours for the drive.
In summer expect continual daylight. Col de Turini, Alpes-Maritimes, France With as many hairpin bends as a tightly coiled spring and the skimpiest of barriers, this vertiginous mountain pass top elevation: Focus on the road and try not to look down.
A18 Snaefell Mountain Road, Isle of Man The Isle of Man has been a leading motorsport destination since , when racing was legalized on public roads. The road skirts the peak of Snaefell, the tallest mountain on the island at 2, feet. A key attraction for many: The Isle of Man is one of the few British territories with no national speed limit.
Both last 14 days. Best rest stop: Llangorse Lake in Brecon Beacons for bird-watching.
There are no gas stations on the parkway. First stop is Cowpens National Battlefield—9. From here, the road begins to rise and fall as the mountains ahead grow ever closer. About 9 miles 14 km beyond the pretty town of Campobello, the road passes Hogback and Glassy Mountains and enters the beautiful Blue Ridge foothills. You can reach it by taking a 7. Back on S. Table Rock State Park, 2 miles 3 km beyond the village, was revered by the Cherokee Nation as the favored dining spot for the Great Spirit.
Soon the highway soars above Keowee River and continues to the small town of Walhalla. It then veers south, back into a flat, rural landscape. The final stop is at Lake Hartwell State Recreation Area, which has a pretty shoreline, picnic tables, boating, and a nature trail.
The lake is popular for trout fishing and scuba diving, or you can take a boat ride to see the many waterfalls that feed the lake. The park has a campground and holiday cabins. In spring, colorful blooms along the roadside enhance the extensive views from Newfound Gap Road.
Set in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this beautiful road sets off from the Sugarlands Visitor Center through a forest of red maples, white oaks, tulip trees, and magnolias. Massive Mount LeConte comes into view after about 2 miles 3 km as the road begins to ascend, bringing the twin peaks of Chimney Tops into sight. The road curves dramatically here, and northern hardwoods dominate the slopes. To negotiate the complex geography of the mountains, the route goes through a tunnel and then loops up, around, and over itself.
Anakeesta Ridge, about 8 miles 13 km farther on, is characterized by rocky outcrops, Fraser fir, and red spruce. You can take a 7-mile 11 km detour here, along a spur road to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the park this road is closed in winter.
The road then switches back downhill, with breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains. Once past Webb Overlook, you delve into deciduous forest and follow the Oconaluftee River toward Mingus Mill, a working mill built in At the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, you can visit Mountain Farm Museum, which explains the life of a pioneer in the early days of the U.
Only 14 miles 23 km of the parkway lie in Missouri, but during this brief section on U. After crossing the St. Francis River into Arkansas, on Ark.
Continue along the ridge on Ark. The route rejoins Ark. It was through here, in , that the Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee Nations were marched away from their homes in the East to new Indian Territories farther west, along the Arkansas section of what became known as the Trail of Tears now called the Military Road Trail. The parkway continues south on Ark. Excursion History-lovers can take a short detour to the Chalk Bluff Battlefield Park, one of the best-preserved sites in the area, 3 miles 4.
During the Civil War, Confederate and Union armies fought here repeatedly for control of the strategic St. Francis River crossing, which marks the border between Missouri and Arkansas.
The short Chalk Bluff Hiking Trail around the preserved portion of the battlefield has markers and interpretive panels along the way. Ouachita is a Native American word meaning good hunting grounds, and the Ouachita National Forest still holds plentiful deer, squirrel, and a host of other wildlife. The byway starts at the forest visitor center, 7 miles 11 km northeast of Talihina on Okla. Just beyond the visitor center is Choctaw Vista, which overlooks the dark blue hills and valleys through which the Choctaw traveled on their way west from the Mississippi on the Trail of Tears following the Indian Removal Act.
The road cuts through a forest of shortleaf pine and scrub oak, with prairie grasses such as little bluestem covering the ground. Panorama Vista, about 5 miles 8 km into the forest, has sweeping views of mountains and the small farming villages of the Holson Valley.
The soaring updrafts here attract hang-gliding enthusiasts as well as golden eagles, vultures, and hawks. The byway now follows the crest of Rich Mountain for several miles through dwarf oaks stunted by ice storms and wind.
Entering Arkansas, the road becomes Ark. Three miles 5 km east of the park, you reach Rich Mountain Fire Tower see Highlights , which at 2, feet m is the highest point on the route. The drive ends at the visitor information center in Mena, an old timber, railroad, and cattle town. Kerr Arboretum, about midway along the drive, has exhibits on forest environments as well as three interpretive trails through pine and hardwood forests.
The views from the top are among the most spectacular in the park. Spring bloom occurs in April and May; fall foliage peaks from mid-October through early November. The Uncompahgre Valley narrows below mountains that rise at least 6, feet 1, m above the river as U. Look around the historic district of the mountain town of Ouray, which dates from the s gold- and silver-mining boom, before continuing into the mountains. Waterfalls spill from Uncompahgre Gorge to the right of the road as Abrams Mountain looms overhead.
After a series of hairpin bends, you are confronted by a group of vivid peaks, Red Mountain Nos. At the junction with Colo. Back on U.
The road winds for 7 miles 11 km to Coal Bank Pass before leaving the mountains for plateau and canyon country. Hermosa Cliffs soon appear above a lush canyon of grass and hayfields. From the former mining town of Durango, follow U.
Turn right at the T-junction to Telluride, with its magnificent Victorian downtown district and foot m Bridal Veil Falls. You can take a ride on the gondola that links Telluride with the ski area of Mountain Village to enjoy some outstanding mountain views. From Telluride, Colo. Turn right on Colo.
Rangers lead tours of the major buildings. Views from the mesa are extraordinary. Self-guided trails lead to two ruins.
Beneath the summit of Longs Peak in Estes Park, Trail Ridge Road winds west along the Fall River, past wooded ridges and granite domes, toward Sheep Lakes in Horseshoe Park, where bighorn sheep, mule deer, and, especially in fall, elk come to graze. Follow the road through Horseshoe Park, up the slope to Deer Ridge Junction, and turn right, quickly ascending into a forest of Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and limber pine.
Back on the road, continue skyward past trees struggling to survive on the rocky ground. Beyond Rainbow Curve, the road passes a knife-edged ridgeline and enters wide, rolling alpine tundra.
Stop at Forest Canyon Overlook and take the footpath down to the viewing platform, which identifies the peaks that stretch away from you for more than 20 miles 32 km. The road reaches its highest point between Lava Cliffs and Gore Range Overlook, before descending quickly to the hairpin bend at Medicine Bow Curve, which overlooks the rocky Medicine Bow Mountains, 20 miles 32 km in the distance, and the silvery headwaters of the Cache la Poudre River below.
As you twist down through forest, you approach pine-ringed Poudre Lake. Follow the switchbacks to the valley floor, which is carpeted with meadows.
At the mountain-ringed Grand Lake, the largest natural lake in Colorado, you can enjoy a drink or meal at the historic Grand Lake Lodge. Continue south to Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby, which has picnic areas, campgrounds, and boating ramps. The road continues for another 5 miles 8 km to Granby, a former logging community, now popular with outdoor-loving vacationers.
Be prepared for crowds between mid-June and mid-August. The forested hills of ponderosa pine and deciduous trees are home to bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and wild turkeys. Across the ridge, the old fur-trading town of Chadron has a row of handsome, two-story, Western-style buildings along Main Street. A mile 16 km detour to the south of town on U. Crawford see Excursion , 24 miles 39 km farther on, was an important town in the old West and is now known chiefly for Fort Robinson State Park.
Fifteen miles 24 km north of Crawford on Nebr. Excursion Twenty-three miles 37 km southwest of Crawford is Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, where you can follow a 2-mile 3 km walk around the fossilized remains of mammals that lived between 13 and 25 million years ago. The site is best known for the surviving evidence of species such as the Moropus—part horse, part giraffe, and part tapir—and the Menoceras, a pony-sized rhinoceros.
Rise with the cowboys of Dubois see Highlights to catch a glimpse of the morning sun on the Teton Mountains. Climb from the town past the eastern flank of the Wind River Range on U. After around 20 miles 32 km , Breccia Cliffs and Pinnacle Buttes burst into view above the tree line.
Stop at Falls Campground to explore the waterfall before continuing on U. Moose, elk, and bears visit the meadows. At Moran Junction turn south through wetlands inhabited by moose, elk, and bison and across gentle terrain toward Snake River Overlook, which provides a classic view of 13,foot 4, m high Grand Teton and its neighboring peaks. Pass through the valley of Jackson Hole and in another 10 miles 16 km you reach the tourist mecca of Jackson see Highlights , with its galleries, restaurants, bars, and famous ski resorts.
Drive up Hoback Canyon on U. Take a short detour north to watch the sun set at Fremont Lake, stretched out below the Winds. Grand Teton National Park has almost miles km of hiking trails. Back on the road, trees gradually give way to alpine tundra. The route cuts back to the rim of the canyon, and narrow turnouts provide views of glacial lakes, including Twin Lakes 1, feet m below.
In the Beartooth Pass ski area, you can see the jagged peaks of the Absaroka Range breaking the southwest horizon. Continue through wildflower meadows to the 10,foot 3, m high Beartooth Pass, where only marmots, squirrels, and mountain goats survive year-round.
From here, the road descends through scattered islands of pine and spruce, wildflowers, and hundreds of small lakes. Continuing your descent through a forest of lodgepole and whitebark pines toward Beartooth Butte, you pass a great picnic spot at Beartooth Lake, and as the road breaks out of the trees, look across the canyon to your left to see the cascading Beartooth Falls.
The road follows the flank of the plateau to a bridge over silvery Lake Creek. The mile 74 km drive follows Wyo.