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10 US Scenic Byways You Can Drive Along While Social Distancing

10 US Scenic Byways You Can Drive Along While Social Distancing

We all love a good adventure, which is one of the many reasons why social distancing is so tough. As warm air finds its way for the season, summer solstices and road trips seem like a distant memory.

The US has 150 nationally recognized scenic byways spanning most continental states and Alaska. Some of these are within national forests, but that’s far from the only place you’ll find them. Since driving locally in your own car is perfectly acceptable social distancing, this is one clever solution. Here are 10 routes to get you moving.

Alpine Loop Scenic Byway – Utah

Alpine Loop Scenic Byway - Utah

If you live near Utah’s Wasatch Range, go ahead and explore 20 of the most beautiful miles you’ll ever drive. The road opens up for the season in May once the snow melts, and it takes you through alpine canyons and switchback roads. Peek the glacier-topped peak of Mount Timpanogos on your drive.

Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway – Oregon

 

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A great view driving along the beautiful cascade lakes highway. Shot by @michaelkerkering

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At 66 miles long, the Cascade Lakes byway will sure fill your morning or afternoon up with adventure. Located in Central Oregon, the drive takes you through a land that houses 150 lakes. Partially nestled within Deschutes National Forest, this drive sure has a way about it.

Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway – Delaware

Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway - Delaware

I have to admit. These are the backroads I grew up around. Located in my home state of Delaware, the Brandywine Valley byway expands just 13 miles, but trust me when I say there are plenty of offshoots to explore. Perfect for a weekend social distancing activity, this drive will take you past amazing estates, gardens and rolling hills.

Connecticut River Byway – Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Vermont

Connecticut River Byway - Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Vermont

Flowing through New England, the Connecticut River (and its scenic byway of the same name) extends nearly 500 miles. But you don’t have to drive through the whole thing in one shoot. Stay local and bear witness to Abenaki tribe lands, covered bridges and mountains in the distance.

Red River Gorge Scenic Byway – Kentucky

 

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Nada. 📸 @cobragrafx

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Tunnels, caves and cliffs are just some of the sights that make up the Red River Gorge region in Kentucky. Most known for its vast recreation, you can still feel the beauty of the area from your cockpit. This National Natural Landscape is 46 miles in length and extends through the Daniel Boone National Forest and other wilderness districts.

Haines Highway (Valley of the Eagles) – Alaska

Haines Highway (Valley of the Eagles) - Alaska

Give yourself an hour to drive the 44-mile Haines Highway in Alaska. Home to a large population of bald eagles, the region is perfect for a scenic drive. In fact, the American Bald Eagle Foundation calls Haines, Alaska home base.

Amish Country Byway – Ohio

Amish Country Byway - Ohio

As someone whose home is not far from Lancaster, PA, I can attest to the perks of living in Amish Country — but Ohio’s Amish Country Byway is just as endearing. About 77 miles of peaceful terrain will provide you with a nice respite even when social distancing.

Billy the Kid Trail – New Mexico

 

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Black cows along the road, New Mexico #love #roadtrip #billythekid #newmexico

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The Lincoln National Forest is a pretty impressive place, what with a million acres to its name. Within the region lies the Billy the Kid Trail, an 84-mile outing where you can drive through pine groves and prairies alike. Once home to the infamous outlaw, you’ll get a taste of all-American history while you’re at it.

Trail of the Ancients – Colorado & Utah

At 480 miles, this drive is a long one, but you can always hop in and out as you see fit. Native American history lingers amidst the Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley Tribal Park, Four Corners Monument and more.

Talladega Scenic Drive – Alabama

Twenty-seven miles of road through Alabama’s Talladega region sure has a lot to give. View the Cheaha Mountains, the southernmost portion of the Appalachians and the states highest peak at 2,407 feet.

Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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    10 Comments

    1. I’d also recommend the Blue Ridge Mountains Parkway, a loop through the Appalachian mountains. It’s a beautiful drive, especially in the fall, when one can see the changing leaves.

    2. cool article ! A1A is great too !

    3. The Trail of the Ancient, Haines Highway in Alaska, and the Connecticut River Byway caught my eye the most. Consider those added to the road trip list. I love a good road trip. Driving through a dark path or tunnel is not the time to find out you need new headlights or bulbs though. Before a road trip is a god time to take a closer look at your headlights to make sure the road will be well lit in a more country setting.

    4. Check out the Kancamagus Scenic Byway
      It goes through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire

      1. I love the white mountains! Great rec.

    5. These are all great suggestions. I would defiantly add the seven mile bridge in the Florida Keys for anyone looking to take a scenic road trip.

    6. This is awesome, I will make one of these happen this summer!

    7. Nothing like pushing the limit of your vehicle around a windy mountain road! I wish these scenic byways were closer to south Florida.

    8. Amish Country Byway – Ohio is an impressive scenic route. Keep in mind going to these places during different times of the year can be a great experience as well.

    9. The trail of the ancients- Colorado & Utah as well as Cascade Lakes National Scenic byway- Oregon is absolutely beautiful. Those locations caught my attention. I definitely have to plan a trip to one of these beautiful locations.

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