Dream-filled and nostalgic, the American road trips live on—and they’re stronger than ever. This year, more travelers are getting behind their wheels and rolling for hundreds of miles to explore new places, especially if they only have four days to go, reports The New York Times.
The number of national road trippers represented 22 percent of all vacationers in 2015. In a single year that portion jumped to 39 percent, according to Travel Insights, a travel and hospitality marketing firm. Their central inspiration? Flexibility to make pitstops along the way and packing as much as, and whatever, they please.
Road trips allow their seekers to discover historical gems, local cuisine, museums chockfull of curiosities, communities, festivals and the natural world along the way. For your bucket list, here are top five of the most stunning drives in the U.S.
Independence Pass – Colorado
Don’t hold your breath as you drive up and over one of the highest roads in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Independence Pass, which crests at 12,095 feet as it crosses the Continental Divide. Each year, this two-lane pass on Highway 82 closes for winter and reopens on the Thursday before Memorial Day each May. Connecting Leadeville to Aspen, you can easily add this drive to any Colorado road trip.
Million Dollar Highway – Colorado
The Million Dollar Highway weaves through the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado. The route links Durango, Silverton, Ouray and Ridgeway with eye-popping mountaintops also known as Switzerland of America. A part of the San Juan Skyway, the two-lane road—which can be harrowing in winter—features three mountain passes: Coal Bank, Molas, and Red Mountain, all close to 11,000 feet high.
Galena Pass – Idaho
As you drive Northwest of Ketchum towards Stanley, you venture into the wilderness of Sawtooth National Forest via State Highway 75: Galena Pass with Galena Summit at the top. This two-lane road in Idaho winds its way through the mountain folds with windows of stunning panoramas. For those wanting to sweat, you can also bike this route.
Beartooth Highway – Montana
For 68 miles, the Beartooth Highway curls around southwest Montana and northwest Wyoming before it hugs Yellowstone National Park’s northeast entrance. Beartooth didn’t open its pearl gates to automobiles until 1937. Since then, the National Scenic Byways All-American Road has attracted visitors from around the globe to explore one of the country’s most diverse ecosystems that’s viewable by vehicle.
Glacier National Park – Montana
The only way to drive through Glacier National Park is via Going to the Sun Road. Thankfully, the 50-mile narrow route pigeonholes us into a stunning mountain escape that features Logan Pass as it jumps over the Continental Divide. The route is open from mid-June to mid-October—but it can be closed at any point, due to snow conditions, so be sure to check updates before you go.
These stunning drives in the US represent the landscape that few get to explore. So head out, seatbelt-up, and admire the views.