The American West is known for vast wide open spaces that are perfect for road trips. There is much more to see in the western United States aside from the Pacific Ocean and tall mountains. If you fancy a journey into the Wild West this summer here are some of the best drives you can find on the other side of the Great Plains.
The Pacific Coast Highway is technically called U.S. Highway 101 and stretches from Los Angeles to Olympia, Washington. Although the highway only through three states the total length of the road is more than 1,500 miles. The scenic beauty of this highway becomes clear when you consider what you can see from this famous road in just the state of California.
Along the road trip you will drive over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, view the huge redwood trees that are the largest living objects on planet Earth, and you can stop off in wine country for some of the best American wines and scenery on the edge of the Napa Valley. In short, you can see everything from Hollywood to some of the most picturesque farmland in the world. Your drive will also take you into the mountains and along beaches. If you like varying landforms then this is one of the best road trips you can find anywhere for the 800 mile portion of U.S. 101 that is in California.
New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains are located on the southern edge of the American Rockies in north central New Mexico. If you get on New Mexico Highway 518 between Las Vegas, New Mexico, along Interstate 25 and then head north until the road ends in Taos you have a gorgeous drive through the Santa Fe National Forest.
For an hour and half drive you only go 70 miles along some ridge crests of the Pecos Wilderness. According to the Forest Service website you will see elevations from 5,500 feet up to 13,000 feet in the National Forest. If you have time to stop in one of the nearby towns you can take a hike in some of the most beautiful desert scenery in America.
Oregon gets so much rain it is listed as a temperate rain forest that is full of greenery for much of the year. With so much history riding on the Columbia River as the terminus of the Lewis and Clark Expedition you should partake of one of the most historic scenic byways in the United States.
For seventy miles you will drive past tall waterfalls, Mount Hood, and see pine trees everywhere. Time stops for any traveler who makes the drive along the same route that Lewis and Clark saw over two hundred years ago as they explored this region for President Thomas Jefferson completing their epic journey.