In all of my travels, I continue to be astounded by the roads. The way they disappear into the horizon, or around a mountain bend, and always beyond the line of sight is something unique and incredible. Some new place I need to go.
There are countless roads around the world that are both stunning and sometimes mind-blowingly dangerous to travel. The following are just a few places I’ve been and wanted to share, hoping that you too may be inspired to seek the adventures that lay beyond the bends.
1. ROUTE 1/PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA
A United States classic. The whole stretch from San Francisco to LA is worth driving, but if you find your time limited going one direction or the other, at least make it to Big Sur.
2. HIGHWAY 82/INDEPENDENCE PASS, ASPEN, COLORADO
Up to over 12,000 ft, you’ll cross the Continental Divide on this journey. Then find yourself zig zagging around the giant cliffs and exposed corners of the stunning Roaring Fork Valley.
3. RUTA 5/PAN-AMERICAN HIGHWAY, CHILE
A 2,000 mile stretch of the Pan-American Highway in the heart of the long Chilean desert. There are actually long stretches of this highway that are still completely dirt. This drive can wear you out, but to experience the raw empty beauty of this unforgiving road is definitely worth it for any road hardened traveler!
4. PASO INTERNACIONAL LOS LIBERTADORES, LOS ANDES, CHILE
A mountain pass in the Andes between Chile and Argentina at 10,500 ft. Try not to get too distracted looking up at the jagged Andean monsters above you because there are 29 steep and exposed switchbacks on the Chilean side!
5. HIRAM BINGHAM ROAD, MACHU PICCHU, PERU
This is a road better hiked in my opinion. Or better yet take the trail that goes straight up the center of this mountain side and cuts right through each switchback. That is, if you didn’t have the time to hike the whole Inca Trail. But this a breathtakingly beautiful place however you get to it.
Now for New Zealand – Also known as Aotearoa, or “Land of the Long White Cloud” in Maori. This place is home to too many beautiful landscapes to begin to count, but for the sake of brevity I’ve chosen just 3 standout roads. And worth noting is that these 3 roads are within about 3 hours of each other.
6. MAKARORA – LAKE HAWEA ROAD, WANAKA, NEW ZEALAND
This gem will take you from the majestic little lakeside town of Wanaka straight out to the rugged west coast of the South Island and up to the world famous glaciers of the Southern Alps.
7. CROWN RANGE ROAD, QUEENSTOWN TO WANAKA CONNECTOR, NEW ZEALAND
The highest main road in New Zealand and the quickest way from Queenstown to Wanaka. If you’re a snow hound, this will take you past both Cardrona and Treble Cone resorts, which are worth checking out!
8. MILFORD ROAD, TE ANAU, NEW ZEALAND
Probably one of the most incredible places on the planet. The Milford Road is the only way to drive to the Milford Sound, and this mountain road weaves around waterfalls and rivers, snowfields and rainforests, photo op after photo op, the whole way. Then you can end your drive with some casual sea kayaking alongside seals and dolphins in one of the world’s most beautiful Fjords.
So what do you think? Have any of these places just made it onto your bucket list? I’d love to know where you’re planning to go next and also see some pics of the roads you’ve traveled and think we should too!
Moral of the story is just go! Get out there in the world and travel the curiously adventurous roads that lead us to wonderment and new experiences. Here’s to the open roads that inspire endless possibilities.