The earthy fragrance of fall permeates the air, the most colourful season of the year is back yet again! With the landscape becoming more vibrant than ever, it is hard not to wistfully imagine enjoying the breeze tousling your buoyant hair, while you do the classic road trips down the country roads.
So, do you fancy riding off into the sunset like in Jim West in the Wild Wild West? It’s time to grab your sweet two-wheel ride and check out this list of amazing country roads to hit up this fall:
1. Beartooth Highway ~ Montana & Wyoming
Coined “the most beautiful drive in America” by journalist Charles Kuralt, Beartooth Highway resides with National Forest and National Wilderness boundaries. It is the highest elevation paved road in the northern Rocky Mountains. The highway is a 68 mile stretch of US Highway 212 and begins and ends in Montana. The road’s “gateway communities” provide access to the highway and visitor services. Hence, these local communities act as a “home base” for travellers, giving them the peace of mind when traversing the highway and the serene Yellowstone countryside. The best time to drive there is mid-October. A last bonus tip, driving from Red Lodge to Cooke City (east to west) in the morning and west to east in the afternoon will reduce glare.
2. Going-To-The-Sun Road ~ Montana
“This is, bar none, one of the most beautiful rides you would ever take”, quoting a rider who had first-hand experience. All hail the only major paved road that cuts through Glacier National Park, one of the most gorgeous National Parks out of the entire United States. The roads itself are smooth asphalt, but the route is mountainous. There are many winding twists and narrow paths, but rest assured everyone knows, so they drive slow and cautious. This route is around 50 miles and can be easily conquered. The mountains and lakes are amazingly beautiful. Give yourself 3 to 5 hours to take it all in. Rest assured there are many little viewpoints to pull over and soak in the views and thriving wildlife. Try to go from the east to west, so you would be on the inside road and the risk of flying off the cliff would be somewhat reduced. But for those thrill-seekers out there, you know what to do!
3. Pacific Coast Highway ~ Carmel to Morro Bay: California
“California Route 1” is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world. This classic Californian road trip runs along the Californian coast from San Diego to San Francisco. It takes about 12 hours, so the suggested itinerary would be to take three days to drive an average of four hours each day. From Cambria, it takes about an hour to the Big Sur section. From luscious redwood forests to beaches brimming with seals, there is truly something for everyone. This scenic route stretches for 120 miles and extends along the entirety of the Californian coast, from Malibu to the Oregon. Remember to book your visit to Hearst Castle early and bring many layers. Especially during the summer, Big Sur is infamous for being foggy. Anticipating the need for some rest stops to complete this beautiful journey? We recommend stopping at Monterey for the first night and then at either Cambria or Pismo Beach for the second night.
4. Peak to Peak Highway: Colorado
The fall colours on this 60-mile-long route is by far the best that Mother Nature can offer. Take it gorgeous views of the canyons and streams are to die for. Barrel through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park and admire the Continental Divide. These glacier-cut valleys and thick forests meet the alpine meadows in a spectacular display of homely colours. Need a quick break? Pop by to the quaint town of Nederman nearby, to relax at the nice restaurants by the visitors center after a long day of biking. From Golden take Highway 6 through Clear Lake Canyon Park to reach Highway 119 (the start of the Peak to Peak) which extends north along Highways 72 and 7 before ending at Estes Park. When getting close to Estes Park, watch out for moose and elk! Go at a cautious, safe speed, as hitting one could be fatal. Don’t forget your hiking boots and camping gear to explore Panorama Point and Brainard Lake!
5. Blue Ridge Parkway ~ North Carolina and Virginia
America’s longest linear park does not disappoint. No wonder it was coined the “Hidden Gem of the Appalachians.” This National Parkway and All-American Road is famous for its scenic beauty. It runs for 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, connecting Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Expect breath-taking views of long-range vistas, rocky mountains framed by the dramatic landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. Be rest assured that the speed limit is 45 and no big trucks are allowed on it. The views of the mountains fields, farms and wildlife (watch out for black bears!) make for a relaxing drive that is sure to put your mind at ease. For the more adventurous ones, there are many swimming holes and guided rafting tours, kayak rentals, tubing and lakeside rentals. To the north, in Virginia, you would pass the Civil War battle sites that slice through the countryside. Towards the south, you can climb into the Great Smoky mountains, where the Blue Ridge Parkway is famous for its splendid curves and wonderful scenery. At the end, you will reach a crescendo south of Asheville, North Carolina. Drop by the folks art centre, the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center or hike the Linville Falls and Mt. Mitchell. Whether you are an art lover or a nature lover, there is truly something for everyone. For those with a little more stamina, take the 105-mile Skyline Drive through Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. Be rest assured that this drive links to the parkway. We suggest setting aside two days for this 469 mile ride of your life.