Best Scenic Highways and Byways in the USA

Route 1--Pacific Coast Highway - California
U.S. Route 101 may be called the "Oregon Coast Highway" in Oregon, and the "Pacific Highway" in parts of California. It is also called "The 101" by residents of Southern California or simply "101" by residents of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. From north of San Francisco and continuing to Oregon it is also referred to as the "Redwood Highway". Urban portions of the route in Southern California are named the Santa Ana Freeway, Hollywood Freeway, and Ventura Freeway at various points between East Los Angeles and Carpinteria, California[3]. Urban portions of the route in the Bay Area are called the James Lick Freeway, Bayshore Freeway, and Central Freeway. A portion of the route north of Salinas, California is named Sig Sanchez Highway. Street routings in San Francisco are more commonly referred to by their street names rather than the route number. Portions of the route between Southern California and the Bay Area are named El Camino Real or El Camino Real Freeway, but such names are rarely used colloquially in lieu of the route number.

Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina   

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. It runs for 469 miles, mostly through the famous Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. Land on either side of the road is maintained by the National Park Service. It is the longest, narrowest National Park in the world and is the most visited unit in the United States National Park System.


Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon
The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon, 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep, cutting the only sea level route through the Cascade Mountain Range. It is more than a natural wonder; the Gorge is a critical transportation corridor and is home to 75,000 people, resource dependent communities, farms and schools. A visit to the area is not complete without a visit to its breathtaking waterfalls. Multnomah Falls is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States. Though Multnomah Falls is grand and popular, all of the falls in the Gorge are special and breathtaking.

Natchez Trace Parkway-Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444 mile long parkway, in the form of a limited-access two-lane road, in the southeastern United States. The southern end of the route is in Natchez, Mississippi, at an intersection with Liberty Road; the northern end is northeast of Fairview, Tennessee, in the suburban community of Pasquo, Tennessee, at an intersection with Tennessee 100. The road links the cities of Natchez, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee, via Jackson and Tupelo, Mississippi, and Florence in northwestern Alabama.

SR 410: Stephen Mather Memorial Parkway-Washington
It was Stephen T. Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, who first suggested the creation of "A Cascade Parkway" to preserve the natural beauty along the approach highway leading to the northeast corner of Mt. Rainier National Park. Now, years later, the Stephen T. Mather Memorial Parkway, named in his honor, is designed to enhance and compliment the existing natural landscape for the use and enjoyment of the general public.

San Juan Skyway - Colorado
The San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado cover an area of over 12,000 square miles. Described by many as a mountain “paradise,” the region is made accessible to residents and visitors by the San Juan Skyway, a 236-mile stretch of highway that has been called the most scenic drive in America.

Trail RidgeRoad/Beaver Meadow Road - Colorado
Trail Ridge Road is the most popular road in the Rocky Mountain National Park region. It is also the highest continually paved highway in the United States, peaking at just over 12,100 feet above sea level. The road travels through several climactic zones, and gives travelers the unique opportunity to experience alpine tundra first-hand. Be careful, however, as the tundra is a fragile place.

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway - Oregon    
The southern end of the byway begins at California's Lake Almanor, just miles from the active geothermal features at Lassen Volcanic National Park. The northern end of the byway is capped by Crater Lake National Park in Oregon where mysteries of the earth's interior are studied. Along the Byway you will see fantastic sites - the slopes of Mount Shasta jutting above the valley floor to the summit at 14,162 feet, curtains of water showering over basalt cliffs at McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, and lands riddled with remains of underground magma conduits at Lava Beds National Monument.
Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
Located on the northern edge of Arizona, as the eagle flies, the South and North Rims are only 12 miles apart. By car, it's a drive of 210 miles -- leaving the park by driving beside the south rim to Desert View and taking Arizona Route 64, then turning onto U.S. Highway 89 at Cameron. You drive north for 59 miles and turn west onto Alternate Route 89 at Bitter Springs.

White Mountains Trail - New Hampshire
The White Mountain Trail offers New England's most rugged mountain scenery as it travels easily through three historic "notches" or mountain passes. Views abound of villages and unspoiled National Forest. Stops include views of Mount Washington and the grand Mount Washington Hotel, mountain cascades, wildlife, and the Appalachian Trail.