TEN GREAT DRIVING ROADS YOU MAY NOT KNOW

Written by Hagerty

Summer is just around the corner. It’s time to plan your next Dream Drive. To gain insight from personal experiences, Hagerty’s Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) asked their eNews readers to name some favorite driving roads. Check out this “must drive” list of HVA member picks from across the country, including roads with historic or pop-cultural significance.

Tail of the Dragon – Photo: Matthew Knot

The Road: U.S. Route 129, “The Dragon” 
The Place: Tennessee, North Carolina 
Why This Road Rules: Crossing Deals Gap at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line, this 11-mile stretch of U.S. 129 is said to have 318 curves. Some of The Dragon’s sharpest curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Beginner’s End, and Brake or Bust Bend. The Dragon is considered by many as one of the world’s foremost motorcycling and sports car roads. The road is wooded, curvy, and definitely not for sightseers, according to Illinois reader John Oaks.  

The Road: Highway 29, Yellowstone Trail 
The Place: Wisconsin   
Why This Road Rules: Running 3,719 miles from Massachusetts to Seattle, the Yellowstone Trail was the first transcontinental automobile highway through the northern tier states. Breathtaking woodland scenery is the reason Wisconsin reader Mark Mowbray gives props to the portion of Highway 29 (which roughly follows the old Yellowstone Trail route) between Chippewa Falls and Abbotsford.

The Road: SR 74, Ortega Highway 
The Place: Southern California 
Why This Road Rules: Connecting Riverside and Orange counties via the Cleveland National Forest, this twisting, two-lane highway winds through the mountains from beautiful San Juan Capistrano to the Lake Elsinore Valley. “Never a dull moment,” says San Clemente’s Jeff Roessler. “I have driven this road and seen everything from bright warm sunshine in San Juan, snow in the San Jacinto Mountains, to high winds out in the desert.” 

Blewett Pass – Photo: Gavin Klein

The Road: U.S. Route 97 via Blewett Pass 
The Place: Washington 
Why This Road Rules: A sleepy, green mountain route passing through the evergreen, alpine forests of the northern Cascades. According to reader David Robert, the segment of US-97 from Ellensburg to Wenatchee is twisting and very scenic, especially where the road crosses Blewett Pass at an elevation of 4,102 feet. 

The Road: Going-to-the-Sun Road 
The Place: Montana 
Why This Road Rules: Completed in 1932, the only road through the heart of Glacier National Park goes over the Continental Divide at over 6,500 feet and offers drivers arguably the best mountain scenery in America, according to reader Ken Beiser. Open after the snows melt (typically around late June), the Going-to-the-Sun road is a “don’t-look-down” kind of drive with wildflower meadows, frequent wildlife crossings and the sort of alpine scenery that offers plenty of reasons to stop the car.

The Road: U.S. Route 212, Beartooth Highway 
The Place: Montana 
Why This Road Rules: A breathtaking, high-mountain drive of zigzags and switchbacks that’s not for the faint of heart, the section of Highway 212 between Cooke City and Red Lodge, Montana, rises to an elevation of 10,974 feet above sea level at Beartooth Pass. The highway traces the historical route of Civil War General Philip Sheridan over the Beartooth Mountains. A number of readers, including Gary Smith of Lewiston, N.J., agreed with the late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt, who referred to the highway as “the most beautiful drive in America.”

Photo: Andy Wakeman

The Road: M-119 
The Place: Michigan 
Why This Road Rules: “It’s the prettiest road in the Midwest,” says reader Jim VanDerZee, of Charlevoix, Mich., who especially loves the stretch of M-119 between Petoskey and Cross Village in the northwest, Lower Peninsula. “On a clear afternoon in summer, you’ll enjoy a heart-stopping blue sky, breathtaking bluffs and beaches along beautiful Lake Michigan, magnificent trees and some impressive homes.”

The Road: Route 100 
The Place: Vermont 
Why This Road Rules: Mountain curves and stunning country road scenery. Massachusetts reader Larry Nirenberg says, “When I first met my wife I had a ’65 Corvette roadster and my favorite road was Route 100. It wove through the mountains and many of its curves were banked as if calling to me to put a little more foot into the gas pedal. A new love, a Corvette, and a winding country road through the beauty of Vermont — it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Road: Mount Washington Auto Road 
The Place: New Hampshire 
Why This Road Rules: Opened to the public in 1861, this super-steep, 7.6-mile toll road climbs from 1,547 feet at the bottom all the way up to the 6,145-foot summit of Mount Washington. The oldest auto race in the United States, the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race, was hosted here in 1904. C.J., a reader from Traverse City, Mich., gives the road high marks because of the amazing views.

The Road: U.S. Route 7 
The Place: Connecticut 
Why This Road Rules: Running from Danbury to the Canadian border, Route 7 was first commissioned in 1927 and, according to reader Larry Fisher, is a road with classic New England charm. “It passes through quintessential New England towns and landscapes,” Fisher says, “while offering drivers lots of great detours, beautiful fly-fishing spots, covered bridges and views of the Berkshires.”

Need a ride to take on your next Dream Drive? See what DriveShare has in store for you.

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