Monday April 20, 2015
`We assembled a list of some of our favorite road trips across the US and Canada. We hope you agree these are great ventures, but if not, we’d love to hear your feedback on what you think should make the list. And naturally we would expect your BigFoot Bag to be a perfect road companion. Who knows, maybe it might help you draw Sasquatch in for some #bigfootsightings.
10.) Shenandoah National Park, VA, USA
The gem of the central east coast. Shenandoah is only an hour drive from Washington DC and offers amazing views and recreation. The drive there boasts rolling hills, stone fences, and large equestrian estates. If you didn’t know better, you would think you were lost somewhere in the English countryside. The park itself hosts a tiny fraction of the world famous Appalachian Trail as well as many other recreation opportunities and views.
9.) Overseas Highway, Florida Keys, USA
This civil engineering feat in the wake of the Great Depression is a causeway that connects south mainland Florida with the southernmost point in the lower 48. It is ideal for a leisurely drive to the Florida Keys. Just be sure to plan your departure and return times well to avoid other travelers and afternoon thunderstorms.
8.) Washington State Highway 14 from Walla Walla to Vancouver, Washington
Hugging the North side of the mighty Colombia River, this road passes through the fertile hills that have become world famous for wine production. The drive is highlighted with spectacular views of Mt Hood. Be sure to spend some time in Walla Walla. It is a great city.
7.) Independence Pass, Lake County, Colorado, USA
In many ways like Going to the Sun Road (#4), this journey offers extreme cliffs, narrow roads and hairpin turns. Fortunately, it is vastly less traveled. Like its counterpart in Montana, this road is only open during the summer, so make sure to keep that in mind when planning your visit.
6.) Interstate 70 from Grand Junction, CO to the Arizona Strip, USA
Southern Utah is like no other place on the planet. Impossible sandstone structures shaped by water and wind will blow your mind. It’s no wonder, this area is home to the highest concentration of National Park land in the US. I strain to think of a recreational activity you couldn’t do in this region if you span all four seasons.
5.) Road to Hana, Maui, HI, USA
Like nearly all our favorites, this is a nerve racking drive with extreme corners and narrow roads. Many rental car companies prohibit traveling this route for just that reason. On the south side of Maui, you will catch a glimpse of unique vegetation in this micro-climate dessert. The highlight of the drive is the seven sacred pools. The trip is definitely worth the effort.
4.) Going to the sun road, Glacier National Park, MT, USA
This drive is not for the faint of heart. Taking a little over two hours to complete the 50 mile drive, try not to form fear induced incontinence as you make your way around hairpin turns and brush rear-view mirrors with oncoming traffic. The road is so narrow with such vertical drop-offs that vehicle lengths are limited to 21 feet. Fortunately the National Park Service has a classic open top carriage to shuttle you across if you prefer not to take your life into your own hands. Expect wildlife too. The park is home to grizzlies, moose and even the illusive Pika. I had a pretty close up and personal view of black bear last time I visited.
3.) Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, AB, Canada
From Jasper to Banff, this section of road is often called out as the most beautiful in the world. The drive passes through sweeping glacial and river valleys making its way up to the Columbia Icefield to the Athabasca Glacier, one of the largest glacial reserves in North America. When visiting the Canadian Rockies, be sure to visit more than Banff; Glacier (Canadian), Yoho, Kootenay, and Jasper are all just as beautiful and slightly less traveled.
2.) Sea to Sky Highway, BC, Canada
This is the south approaching route to Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort. Starting in Vancouver, you make your way up through the inner passage formed by the Canadian San Juan islands. The glacial teal-blue waterways provide protection for freight barges as they make their way to southeast Alaska. Not long after leaving Vancouver, you slowly start to rise into the coastal mountain range, where steep peaks rise directly out of the water and transition from the notorious green for which the rainy Pacific Northwest is known to snow-covered peaks.
1.) US-1 from Humboldt to San Diego, CA, USA
“The one” as Californians call it. Redwood trees, Big Sur, Central Coast, and golden hills—what’s not to love about this drive? Never mind, you can hit some of California’s most iconic cities along the way. Camping is a great option, but beware. California state parks have a pretty hefty overnight camping fee. Keep your eyes open for federal options (BLM and Forest Service).
All Photo Credits: Samantha Miller