Cars

The 9 Best Roads for Your Driving Bucket List

There are some roads, like Route 66, that are flush with history and can be simply fantastic at times. But let's be realistic: as great as those abandoned, 1950s-era gas stations are, there's an awful lot of boring downtime in between. What follows are the nine best roads in the world, and they absolutely need to be on your bucket list. Drive them all—and don't die while driving them—and the inner car guy in you can die happy.

9. Tail of the Dragon, Tennessee

The 11-mile stretch through dense Tennessee forest is as popular among motorcyclists as it is sports car enthusiasts...and cops. Keep everything in one piece, and you've got a very rewarding drive.

8. The Guoliang Tunnel, China

This has pretty much everything your nightmares are made of: very narrow road on a side of a cliff? Check. Seemingly endless tunnels where the only way out is to keep going, or jump hundreds of feet to a certain death? Yep. Stunning scenery via a bunch of holes in the side of the mountain that you're not going to replicate anywhere else on earth? Uh huh.

7. Hana Highway, Hawaii

World class Hawaiian scenery. Fantastic twisty bits. Tons of elevation change. Oh, and your route almost definitely ends with roasted ham, tropical cocktails, and hula dancers. Any questions?

6. Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, United Arab Emirates

Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road is seven miles of winding pavement that goes up 4,000 feet of mountainous terrain. It's basically an extra long hillclimb course. At the top, there's nothing but a hotel, a palace, and a really nice parking lot...and the knowledge you get to tackle the road again on the way down.

5. Transfagarasan, Romania

Originally built so the Romainian military could quickly mobilize against a Soviet invasion, Transfagarasan's a brilliant combination of just about every kind of turn you could possibly want, and it's relatively devoid of traffic. In short, it's pretty ideal for anyone that likes taking turns.

4. Yungas Road, Bolivia

You've heard of this one before. The section of road you're looking at right now—with the loose dirt and gravel right at a hairpin next to a very lethal cliff—is just about the safest, widest area of the entire mountainous pass. Along the way you'll find random landslides, waterfalls that fall onto the road, and oncoming traffic. Yes, you may have to put a tire half over the side of the cliff to clear some of that. Better make sure you've done the other roads on this list first.

3. The Pacific Coast Highway

With hundreds of miles of gorgeous coastal scenery and plenty of places to stop along the way, the PCH is the epitome of gentle highway cruising. It's so legendary that cars like the Ferrari 250 California were built specifically for well-heeled customers to drive it in style.

2. Susten Pass, Switzerland

A lot of people will wonder why you drove the Susten Pass instead of the legendary Stelvio Pass. That's a good thing—let the tourists drive the congested, narrow path. Susten has two lanes, meaning you won't get caught behind another car...if you even see one.

1. Pike's Peak, Colorado

Pike's Peak is extremely fast, extremely twisty, and extremely unforgiving. Only recently has the majority of the 14,000-foot climb been paved, and large boulders wait to punish you for going off even slightly...and that's the safe bit. Go off a little higher up, and you'll be taking the very fast way down. Don't kill yourself in the process, and it's rewarding. Drive slow like a sane person, and you'll have a chance to take in one of the best views of the Rockies you'll ever see.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He's very proud of himself for not making a "get high in Colorado" pun for Pike's Peak.