Published on 17/02/2022 – Updated on: 15/08/2022
If you want to find a new great restaurant or buy a new electronic gadget or explore the best motorcycle routes and itineraries anywhere in the world, you want to hear about real experiences.
When I decided to write this article, I wanted to do the same so I went on a few Facebook groups where motorcyclists from all over the globe hang around and asked:
“What are the routes that any motorcyclist should ride at least once in life? Anywhere in the world”
The response was awesome! I didn’t expect so many replies.
Here is the list of Facebook groups that allowed me to collect the main information to write this article (If you haven’t done it yet, join them… there’s a lot of great content published every day!)
- Motorcycle Roads & Trips
- Motorcycle Touring
- Support Bikers
- ADV-Riders on Facebook
- Bikers United (UK)
- Motorcycle Camping and Touring
- Riders of the World
Here’s the thing though. When I started to take down notes and assign research tasks to our team, I realized that it would be simply impossible to offer enough information about all the suggested routes and itineraries within one single article.
I have gathered a list of over 60 routes within the first day and there is really a lot to say about each of them.
So in this article, you will find the list of the “must ride” routes around the world, based on riders’ online community suggestions and some basic information about each.
Just enough to generate a spark of inspiration and start researching for your bucket list.
One last thing before we jump to the list…
Among all the suggestions there was a comment that I thought to be a real inspiration and I truly believe that it doesn’t apply only to motorcycle touring but to life in general, so I asked for the commentator’s permission to screenshot it and include it in this article:
Alright… let’s get started with the list of motorcycle touring “must ride” routes.
Ps. they are not in any particular order.
60+ Routes around the world for motorcycle touring
Click on the route names to jump straight to them if you don’t want to scroll
- Gillies Highway (Australia)
- Utah Highway 12 (USA)
- Stelvio Pass (Italy)
- Tail of the Dragon (USA)
- Coronado Trail (USA)
- Haines Highway (USA)
- Icefields Parkway (Canada)
- The Road to Pai (Thailand)
- Blue Ridge Parkway (USA)
- D400 (Turkey)
- Routes des Grand Alpes (France)
- Route 4036 (Thailand)
- Mae Hong Son Loop (Thailand)
- Route 1 (Israel)
- Pacific Coast Highway (USA)
- Moki Dugway (USA)
- Idaho Discovery Route (USA)
- Lolo Pass (USA)
- California SR 299 (USA)
- California SR 36 (USA)
- Cabot Trail (Canada)
- Scenic Route 6 (USA)
- North Cascade Highway (USA)
- Route 66 (USA)
- Lewis & Clark Scenic Byway (USA)
- The Cat & The Fiddle Road (UK)
- Snake Pass (UK)
- Coromandel Loop (New Zealand)
- Beartooth Pass (USA)
- North Coast 500 (Scotland)
- Hardknott Pass (UK)
- Transalpina (Romania)
- Transfagarasan (Romania)
- Shipka Pass (Bulgaria)
- Baros Pass (Greece)
- Pacific Highway 101 (USA)
- Beklemeto Pass (Bulgaria)
- Route 198 (Bulgaria)
- N621 Picos de Europa (Spain)
- SP50 Nivolet Pass (Italy)
- Cañón del Pato (Peru)
- Orange River Canyon (Namibia)
- Swartberg Pass (South Africa)
- Sani Pass (South Africa)
- Estrada Nacional 2 (Portugal)
- Naude’s Neck Pass (South Africa)
- R711 (South Africa)
- Chapman’s Peak (South Africa)
- Dalton Highway (USA)
- Carretera Austral (Chile)
- E69 to North Cape (Norway)
- Trollstigen (Norway)
- Shkoder to Theth (Albania)
- Karakoram Highway (Pakistan)
- Eastern Sierra Mountains (USA)
- Smoky Mountains (USA)
- Columbia River Gorge (USA)
- Great Ocean Road (Australia)
- Espinazo del Diablo (Mexico)
- Highway 16, British Columbia (Canada)
- Cortez to Mesa Verde National Park (USA)
- “The Pig Trail” Highway 23, Arizona (USA)
Gillies Highway, Australia
Photo courtesy of Dan & Annie
The highway makes its way in the Gillies Range (800mt.). Famous for its 263 corners in just 19km and connects Goldsborough Valley to the Atherton Tableland. Top things to see around? The Volcanic Crater Lake Barrine, Gadgarra forest reserve, Lake Eacham.
Utah Highway 12 aka Scenic Byway 12, USA
Officially one of the All American Roads for “intrinsic qualities” (archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic), the Scenic Byway 12 runs mostly through the Dixie National Forest.
Expect deep canyons, forests, lakes. Definitely, a must if you like camping too.
Stelvio pass, Italy
The highest mountain pass in Italy, loved by both motorcyclists and cyclists. At 2.758 m, Stelvio Pass offers a breathtaking landscape. Just don’t get too much distracted and keep your eyes on the road: there are 48 hairpin turns in 49 Km.
There are several national parks in the surrounding areas and the small town of Bormio, famous for its ski slopes and 9 natural thermal springs.
Tail of the Dragon, USA
The Tail of the Dragon – or Deals Gap – on US 129 is considered America’s number one road for motorcycles and sports cars.
The scenic route winds through 318 curves in just 11 minutes – including hairpins and switchbacks – twisting and turning through the mountains on the Tennessee and North Carolina border.
The route is open all year round but best enjoyed between April and October and is especially scenic during the fall months – note, snow is likely in the winter months.
Coronado Trail – Highway 191, USA
Nicknamed The Devil’s Highway, The Coronado Trail Scenic Byway on Route 191 is the 6th spur off of Route 66 – or Route 666. The road rivals The Tail of The Dragon as one of the most scenic routes in the country.
Boasting 1200 hairpins, 600 curves and switchbacks, and climbing over 6000 feet in elevation throughout the ride, the route offers a diverse and ever-changing landscape. Fall is often the best time to visit, with fewer tourists than the summer months but without the cold of winter.
Haines Highway, USA
Haines Highway is a 244 km route connecting Haines, Alaska with Yukon, Canada. The route passes through the coastal rain forests, the St Elias Mountain range and is a great place to spot grizzlies, glacier bears and bald eagles.
The National Scenic Byway (since 2009) is one of the most remote roads in the USA, and there are very few amenities and gas stations – so planning is key! The route is usually “snow free” between May and October.
Icefields Parkway, Canada
Considered one of the most spectacular rides in the world, the 232km Icefields Parkway route connects Lake Louise in Banff National Park, with Jasper in Jasper National Park through the Canadian Rockies.
The route takes around three hours – but there are plenty of unmissable stops on the way, including the icefields, waterfalls, and ancient glaciers. The ride is best enjoyed in the warmer weather – preferably between June and September.
Icefields Parkway is open year-round, but the winter weather conditions are far from ideal for bikers!
The Road to Pai, Thailand
The infamous 762-turn Chiang Mai to Pai ride, with switchbacks, hairpins, and a steep ascent, is not for the faint-hearted. Route 1095 cuts through the Mae Hong Son Mountain region.
As the road climbs, riders are treated to unbeatable views over the rolling hills, deep valleys, and dense forest canopies. For an unforgettable experience, the Mork Fa Waterfall is a great place to cool off during your ride!
Blue Ridge Parkway, USA
The Blue Ridge Parkway attracts thousands of motorcyclists every year to its 400+ miles of stop-free roadway with a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The 469-mile route links the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina with the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and is considered one of “America’s Favourite Drives”. Take the route in fall to see the famous fall colours, when the road is most scenic.
D400 – Datça to Esendere, Turkey
The D400 stretches 2032 kilometres between Datça and Esendere in Turkey, hugging the Mediterranean coastline on the hillsides between the sea and the forests. The curvy route has very few straights and remains at 20m above sea level for almost the entire stretch.
Turkey can reach temperatures of 40C+ (105F+) in the summer months, so it’s best to avoid July and August – unless you do mind stopping every hour or so for a dip in the med!
Route des Grandes Alpes, France
Traveling 710 kilometres through the Alps, the Route des Grandes Alpes is one of the world’s most legendary roads for motorcycle touring.
Beginning in Thonon-Les-Bains the route takes you through the mountains, past Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, through the mountains and forests, alpine meadows and a handful of ski-resorts from Menton to Cote d’Azur.
The road takes you from the mountains to the Mediterranean through 18 Alpine Mountain passes with plenty of hairpins and switchbacks to keep you on your toes.
Route 4036 – Chanthaburi Coast, Thailand
Stretching from Chak Makrut Junction to Chaloem Burapha Chonlathit Junction in Eastern Thailand and covering 100km, the famous coastal road has appeared in a handful of films and advertisements.
The scenic route hugs the Thai coast, offering spectacular views of local beaches, numerous temples, and lush, tropical jungle.
Temperatures can reach over 30c in the summer months and the rainy season takes place between May and October so it’s best to visit in the dry season – when it’s also much cooler – from December to February.
Mae Hong Son Loop, Thailand
Deep in the lush valleys of northern Thailand is the Mae Hong Son Loop: a winding adventure best traveled by motorbike. This mist-covered jungle route is famous for its 1860 curves and 373-mile-long road.
While it’s possible to complete the loop in just 4 days, the more time you spend here, the better. A treasure of sites – dubbed the Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Mae Hong Son Loop attractions – are waiting to be explored.
Masada to Jerusalem – Route 1, Israel
A historical path along the beautiful blue Dead Sea coast, Route 1 from Masada to Jerusalem is an easy drive. It’s one of Israel’s most scenic locations, and the open highway stretches out to about 64 miles.
There are stunning mountain views along the well-traveled route. You can reach the Holy City in about 2 hours but leave early enough to enjoy the landscape and gentle descent. There are a few places to stop along the way.
Pacific Coast Highway, USA
Movies, TV shows, songs – and video games – celebrate the famous Pacific Coast Highway. About an 8 hour drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Highway 1 is an exhilarating road trip through the stunning California coast.
The route is approximately 450 miles long, with breathtaking ocean views. You’ll also pass through lush forests and rugged cliffsides. Visit San Jose, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, and Big Sur along the way. Motorcyclists will enjoy this ultimate US West Coast experience.
Moki Dugway / Utah Highway 261, USA
Literally carved through a cliffside, this rugged route is one for the adventurers. Utah Highway 261 switches dramatically between paved and dirt road – with over 3 miles of steeply graded paths at a whopping 11%.
Brave bikers can expect a descent of about 1100 feet during the 32-mile route. More than just a thrill ride, the dugway offers the most stunning views in Utah – including the sprawling Valley of the Gods and San Juan River Canyon.
Idaho Discovery Route, USA
The Idaho Discovery Route is a motorcycle experience with a difference – and it’s not for the fainthearted. Covering 1250 miles of back-to-back winding roads, throw corners and switch backs – miles from civilisation and cell phone reception, the route is one of a kind.
It’s the fifth route developed by the Backcountry Discovery Routes organization and is mostly non-paved, allowing for maximum adventure! The route will take 5 to 8 days, with between 100 and 150 miles per day and is best left for the experienced riders.
Lolo pass (US 12), USA
Starting at Lewiston, Idaho and finishing at Missoula, Montana through the Rocky Mountains, the Lola Pass, or US12, covers 175 and the entire width of Idaho. Enjoy 67 miles of constant sweeping and tight curves – perfect for thrill-seekers.
The road has very little traffic, even in the summer months, and the road surfaces are well maintained. In the Lolo Forest don’t miss the white-water rapids, hot springs and – of course – the beautiful forest itself.
California State Route 299, USA
Also known as the Trinity Scenic Byway, this 142-mile route is a California favourite. Starting at Highway 101 in Arcata, the route takes you to Redding – from the coast, through the out-of-this-world Redwood Groves and along the Trinity River.
The Redwoods are some of the world’s tallest and oldest trees – and something everyone should see in person at least once in their lives, and there’s no better way to experience the giants than two wheels!
California State Route 36, USA
If you’re looking for a twisty road, Route 36 boasts 140 miles of them, through some of the state’s most beautiful natural scenery.
Starting in Redbluff and finishing in Fortuna, the road starts with a warning for curves – and despite passing through the world’s tallest trees (the Redwoods) and great views from the higher elevations, the twisty corners will have your attention fixed 100% on the road.
The road surface is well-maintained – however the rapid and extreme range in elevation and added difficulty of the “roller-coaster” curves, this road is for the experienced rider.
Roswell to Carrizozo – US380, USA
A leisurely and scenic drive through the Roswell desert, the US 380 route has tons of small attractions along the way. It will take you about 1 hour and 46 minutes to Carrizozo, but it would be best to stop to see the sights.
The areas around the 90-mile highway have a few unusual charms. Visit the small communities of Capitan, Tinnie, Hondo, Picacho, and Lincoln. Be sure to check out these quaint towns and significant historical markers.
Cabot Trail – Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
The Cabot Trail offers riders spectacular views, weaving along the gorgeous coast of the Cape Breton Highland National Park.
A trip will take about 5 hours, but with so much natural beauty on this 186-mile highway, you may want to spend more time exploring the area. Hiking, camping – and even a round of golf – are just some of the adventures you can find here. Kayaking & whale watching are popular, with skiing and snowmobiling in the winter months.
Scenic Route 6 – Pennsylvania, USA
National Geographic calls Route 6 one of America’s “most scenic drives.” This peaceful highway stretch lives up to its title. Deep in the heart of nature, the route winds over 400 miles through sprawling forests and mountains.
From the Pacific to the Atlantic, it’s an ideal cross-country road trip for riders. Plan several days of travel to soak in the breathtaking natural attractions: the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, the Tioga-Hammond Lakes, and the Kinzua Sky Walk, to name a few.
North Cascade Highway – SR 20 WA, USA
A winding stretch in the Pacific Northwest, the North Cascades Highway takes you on a journey into the outdoors. With an elevation of 5477 feet, the drive is about 3 hours – but majestic, rugged mountains and dense green forests will keep you in awe on the 120-mile route.
Rest and recharge by making stops at Diablo Dam, Methow Valley & the North Cascades National Park – where you will find gorgeous views of riverbanks and valleys.
Route 66, USA
Affectionately called “The Mother Road”, Route 66 is more than just a historic highway. Many travelers have this on their bucket lists because the 2400 mile road crosses over 8 states and 3 time zones.
It takes approximately 3 weeks to get through. It’s an adventure into the length and breadth of America, and it spans east to west from Chicago to Los Angeles. It’s the ultimate road trip with a map of small-town and big-city attractions to explore.
Highway 75 along the Missouri River, USA
Also known as the Lewis & Clark Scenic Byway, this pass offers the most stunning views of Nebraska. The route runs parallel to the beautiful Missouri River and is over 1700 miles long.
Expect some curves along the winding road. It’s an otherwise easy drive surrounded by heavy woods. This area has a long history of Native American culture, with a few attractions and peaceful natural landscapes. It’s a popular route for motorcyclists.
The Cat and Fiddle road, UK
From Macclesfield, Cheshire to Buxton, Derbyshire this road of 520m altitude rises sharply through frequent and severe bends to a straight run across moorland to the summit to descend with more hairpins, some blind corners, to 7.5 mile completion.
The famous Cat and Fiddle Inn is a great place to peace out along this infamously dangerous stretch of road; the weather can get wild up here, and pictures taken of the snowy moorland in winter often grace the news outlets. The road closes in any event of snow and ice.
Snake Pass – A57, UK
Snake Pass does indeed snake its way across the Pennines starting at Glossop and finishing with 42km on the clock, at the Ladybower Reservoir at Ashopton. However, it was named, from its opening in 1821, after a serpent emblem on a William Cavendish coat of arms that embellished the inn at the 510m summit.
The paved road replete with cambers and dangerous bends yields magnificent views of Manchester and is part of the shortest route between Sheffield and Manchester despite being less frequented than its cousin the Woodhead Pass.
Coromandel Loop, New Zealand
The Coromandel Loop has rolling green countryside, bush-clad hillsides, sandy white beaches and is in good proximity to Hamilton, Auckland and Tauranga.
It is divided into North(187.8km) and South(229.7km) Loops and in recent times the road has been made safer for riders with barriers, signage and rescue helicopter pads. Coromandel town is an exciting creative place to check out or rest at.
Beartooth Pass, USA
Beartooth Pass is where the scenic Beartooth Highway tops out at an elevation of almost 11000 feet above sea level and combined the length is 67 miles of twists, drops hairpins and ecstatically beautiful scenery. It climbs forgivingly with stunning views down into the valley as you ascend multiple switchbacks.
Snowstorms can occur even in the middle of the summer at this altitude and the pass is no stranger to strong winds and severe thunderstorms. A minor well-maintained road at the summit leads to a rest stop at Beartooth Pass Vista Point. The pass is generally open from mid-May through mid-October.
North Coast 500, Scotland
North Coast 500 starts and ends in Inverness, following the main roads of the coastal Northern Highlands through Applecross, Ullapool, Dornoch and John O’Groats to name a handful of the places of interest, for 516 miles.
The highest elevation is at 2000 feet, Bealach na Bà: an historic pass through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula, in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands. It is dubbed Scotland’s answer to Route 66.
Hardknott Pass, UK
A 13 mile stretch of road between the towns of Boot and Ambleside: wild, challenging, narrow and full of switchbacks and hairpins, set beguilingly in a region of tourist tearooms. At the top of the pass (400m above sea level) is the ruins of a fortress built by the Romans.
Many of the gradients exceed what you might find on an Alpine route and the highest is an eye-watering 33%. In the winter months the single-track road can be treacherous and in the summer full of tourists, so its important to get your planning right for a clean run.
Transalpina runs through the Southern Carpathian Mountains and is the highest road in Romania. It follows a path built by the Roman legions during the wars with the Dacians and was built in 1938 only to be stalled by more war: the Germans rebuilt it for military purposes in World War Two.
Finally it was revamped and ready to go in 2012, totally paved, made of asphalt and 92 miles long. It runs from Novaci in the south, a town in Gorj County, to northern Sebes in Alba County and the summit is 7037 feet at the Urdele Pass. There are hundreds of turns, and breathtaking views.
The Transfagarasan is 94 miles of winding road with hairpin bends aplenty and serpentine curves. It crosses the Fagaras mountains, hence the name, and the highest point is at the meeting of two of Romania’s very highest peaks, so sometimes clouds may roll into immediate vision, or snow fall in June when you least expect it.
At Balea Lake the road passes through Balea Tunnel the longest road tunnel in Romania at 884m. It is the second highest mountain pass after Transalpina in the country and riding at night between 9pm and 7am is prohibited.
Shipka pass, Bulgaria
Twisting and winding over the Balkan Mountains through forests to an altitude of 1190, emerging from the tree line on this central Bulgarian road is like having a curtain dramatically swept before your eyes to reveal magnificent views.
The pass marks the border between Stara Zagora province and Gabrovo province and it’s part of the Bulgarka Nature Park. The Monument of Freedom is a slight but worthwhile detour before the descent with its amazing corners and new asphalt.
Baros pass, Greece
The highest paved road in Greece, 45km long and reaching heights of 200m above sea level, this beauty swerves and curves in the southern Pindus Mountain range, flanked by rivers, canyons and deep forest.
The steep ascent has twists and hairpin bends, challenging narrow parts and turns. During the coldest winter months it is closed and snow can fall even in late spring. Until 1912 and the Wars for Independence, it marked the border between Greece and Turkey.
McKinleyville to Coos Bay – Pacific Highway 101, USA
A breezy trip along the blue Oregon coast in the US, Highway 101 is as scenic as a postcard. An easygoing drive, the route is about 327 miles and 4 hours long. You do not even have to leave your vehicle to enjoy the spectacular sea views.
The Pacific Ocean hugs the highway, with plenty of beautiful stops on the way. Head out to Bandon’s Beach, Cape Blanco Lighthouse, and the Cape Arago Highway for even more breathtaking sights.
Beklemeto pass, Bulgaria
The Beklemeto Pass in Bulgaria is a connecting route – and a thrilling drive into the Balkan Mountains. Also called the Troyan Pass, you can expect more than a few winding curves here.
At an elevation of just under 5000 feet, this steep road has a spectacular view from the top. Lush green forests and open mountain air surrounds this pass. You can find a ski resort on the summit and visit an astonishing monument on the main ridge.
Route 198 – Gotse Delchev to Chuchuligovo, Bulgaria
A ride through the Bulgarian countryside, Route 198 is a pleasant trip with a few hilly surprises. The pass goes straight through open plains and rugged mountains to the village of Chuchuligovo, about an hour and a half away from Gotse Delchev.
Ride over 330 miles and look out for steep curves and winding roads along the way. There are numerous small towns and monuments to see, with scenic natural landscapes to keep the drive attractive.
Picos de Europa N-621, Spain
Adventurers who make it to the top of the Picos de Europa in Spain are in for a beautiful sight: gorgeous mountain valley views. At an elevation of 5278 feet, prepare for a steep drive up to the summit.
There are 2 routes to get to the top, with an average grade of 4.3% The mountainous pass zigzags up to a breathtaking Spanish landscape. Visit Picos de Europa National Park to discover more of the area’s natural beauty and wildlife.
SP50 Nivolet Pass, Italy
Featured in the 1969 movie The Italian Job, the Nivolet Pass in Italy is one of the most thrilling drives in Europe. Steep valleys and mountains surround this route at an elevation of 8665 feet.
The 19km paved road gets narrower the higher you go. There are no safety barriers, so beware of the many blind corners on this road. There are 2 beautiful lakes just below the pass, making this drive daring, exciting – and totally worth it.
Cañón del Pato, Peru
The Cañón del Pato (translation: Duck Canyon) in Peru is infamous and anything but cute.
One of the most dangerous driving roads, the route cuts right through the mountainside with countless twists and turns. There are approximately 50 tunnels along the very narrow 45km pass. An adventure for the brave, motorcyclists may enjoy this tricky drive.
At an elevation of over 5900 feet, the views are stunning, with dramatic canyon formations the higher you go.
Cañón del Colca, Peru
Vast green valleys stretch into the horizon: this is the highlight of the Cañón del Colca in Peru. A drive from Arequipa is about 96-miles with a sharp elevation and descent. Drivers will climb up to about 16000 feet and dip down to about 12000 feet. Winding through the mountains, expect remarkable views of the landscape.
The Colca is one of the world’s deepest canyons. There is plenty of wildlife around and ancient sites to explore.
Orange river canyon, Namibia
One of Southern Africa’s spectacular sights, the Orange River Canyon, is a welcome mirage in the hot desert. The well-known Fish River Canyon is nearby, and many travelers trek over to the historic site from there.
You will need a few days to enjoy this golden desert landscape. The views of the surrounding mountains are stunning, stretching out for miles. Enjoy plenty of water sports and camping activities at the River site.
Swartberg Pass, South Africa
A route that leads to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Swartberg pass in South Africa has some of the country’s most scenic views. A completely unpaved road, this pass is about 16 miles long. The summit has an elevation of over 5000 feet. The route zigzags up the mountain with steep hairpin bends along the way.
The trip will take about 2 hours, with 4 picnic sites in the area. The higher you go, the more breathtaking the views get.
Sani Pass, South Africa
The Sani Pass in South Africa is a snake-like path up the mountains. The graveled road was mostly tarred in recent years and reaches an altitude of about 9000 feet. This 5-mile route is steep with rough terrain – a nice challenge for bold drivers. South African law currently only permits 4×4 vehicles on the road.
Surrounded by gorgeous mountains and valleys, Sani Pass has many campsites, lodges, and outdoor activities. A span of natural scenery will captivate your senses.
N2 “The Portuguese Route 66”, Portugal
Often referred to as the Portuguese Route 66, the N2 is an ultimate road trip across gorgeous, open countryside. The winding road is notorious for its curves and is about 458-miles long.
Dedicate 10-15 days of travel to this journey since there’s so much to see and experience. Start at either end: Chaves in the north or Faro in the south and prep for an unforgettable adventure. Explore quaint villages and beaches, open river valleys, and local vineyards.
Naude’s Neck pass to Rhodes, South Africa
Take a high-altitude trip into the South African highlands through the Naude’s Neck Pass. As thrilling as it sounds, this is a challenging route for drivers. At an elevation of about 8500ft (2,587 m), the mountain pass is tricky – even for 4×4 vehicles.
Tripping to the town of Rhodes will take about 7 hours of skillful driving. Long and slow, this route zig-zags through the mountains, giving you spectacular views of the breathtaking scenery.
Clarens to Fourieburg – R711, South Africa
A perfect early morning road trip, travel through the R711 pass from Clarens to Fouriesburg in South Africa for a short & scenic adventure. About 22 miles long, this route passes through sweeping green plains via an open road.
Overlooking the Lesotho mountains, it’s a relaxing drive with lots to see. The route has a host of natural and rural sites scattered around. Explore the areas of St Fort, the Caledon River, Arpa Dam, and the Maluti Mountains.
Chapman’s Peak – Camps Bay to Hout Bay, South Africa
Affectionately called “Chappies”, Chapman’s Peak Drive in South Africa offers gorgeous views of the Atlantic Coast. The road is notorious for its curves – there are 114 along 5.5 miles of paved road.
The trip from Camps Bay to Hout Bay is about 12 miles long. Expect panoramic views of the beautiful Cape Peninsula as you drive next to rocky cliffs. Stop at picnic spots and viewpoints along this route – where you can even do some whale watching.
Route 11 – Dalton Highway, USA
An infamous road, the Dalton Highway in Alaska, featured on the BBC show World’s Most Dangerous Roads. If you’re brave enough, the 414-mile pass could be an adventure you’ll never forget.
There are steep gradients and shoulders to navigate on this trucker’s route. Take as much time as you need to travel and be wary of other drivers on the isolated pass. The landscape is home to wild animals and stunning views of the frozen Alaskan wilderness.
Carretera Austral – Route 7, Chile
The Carretera Austral Highway in Chile feels like a passage into paradise. It’s a well-known route from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins, and you can cross the border into Argentina. Give this trip 2 or more weeks, as you need time for the 770-mile route.
Stop at small towns or camping sites and visit the national parks surrounded by forests and mountains. Try water sports in the crystal clear lakes and rivers while soaking in the untouched natural beauty.
E69 to North Cape, Norway
To get to the awe-inspiring North Cape in Norway, you would have to take the E69 from Olderfjord – said to be the world’s northernmost highway. About 80 miles long, the route has 5 tunnels – with one of them running 696 feet below sea level.
It’s a thrill ride for drivers with plenty of twists and turns. The sea views are simply stunning on this road trip, and the 1000-foot high North Cape cliff makes this a rewarding drive.
Translated to “The Troll Path”, this mountain pass in Norway is a popular tourist attraction. With 11 sharp hairpin bends, the route has a steep incline of 10% and an elevation of about 2700 feet.
Up at the top, you will find a 2300 feet plateau, a viewpoint to stop and enjoy the tranquil scenery. The Stigfossen waterfall is the area’s highlight, and hiking is open in summer and spring. Expect some postcard-perfect views of the Nordic mountains.
Shkoder to Theth, Albania
In the remote mountains, a road trip from Shkodër to Theth makes for a beautiful Albanian adventure. The 47-mile drive is just about 2 hours long, and the roads switch from paved to gravel.
The views of the valleys are gorgeous – lush green forests surrounded by snow-capped mountains. There’s plenty of unspoiled nature to enjoy with gushing waterfalls and clear blue rivers.
Karakoram Highway, Pakistan
From Pakistan to China, the Karakoram Highway is for the brave. It is considered one of the most dangerous driving roads in the world. Travelers drive through the Khunjerab Pass, climbing over 15,000 feet high.
You can also expect plenty of hairpin curves and deadly drop-offs along this route. The highway is a tourist attraction despite the danger. Visitors are awe-struck by stunning views of the Himalayas and the Karakoram mountain range.
Eastern Sierra Mountains – Highway 395, USA
The Sierra Mountain range – or America’s backbone – is taller than the Rockies and the huge cluster of peaks is an impressive 400 miles long! The route winds through pine forests, desert landscapes, numerous lakes, and is a rare chance to experience fall colors in California.
There is no specific route through the Eastern Sierras, but take the famous highway 395, and don’t be afraid to turn off the main road to experience some of California’s best-hidden gems and get to know the mountains better.
US 441 – Smoky Mountains, USA
There is only one major road through the Smoky Mountains – US441. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the world, and the US441 gives you great views of all of it – without having to turn off.
The road was recently resurfaced, offering switchbacks and a full corkscrew – but traffic can get heavy in the summer months when tourists visit from all over. Visit in fall to avoid the summer crowds and the winter bad weather and make the most of your ride through the Smoky Mountains.
SR 14 – Columbia River Gorge, USA
This Oregon ride is world-class, riding through some of the USA’s – if not the world’s – best scenery. Beginning just outside of Portland, riders enjoy views of Mount Hood, the Columbia River, and the Mount Hood National Forest. The road has been listed as one of the 25 “all-American” roads – the perfect place for a ride you won’t forget.
Look out for bears, mountain lions, and salmon, in the right season, swimming back upstream. The route is a nature-lovers paradise offering a range of accents, descents, and twists and turns – a great all-rounder with easier and more challenging options along the route.
The Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Enjoy the rugged beauty of Australia’s southern coast with a smooth drive along the Great Ocean Road. Striking vistas and mountains make this scenic coastal road trip fun for the whole family.
From Melbourne, travel along this route for three days and visit the many stops and lookouts along the way. Wildlife, hiking, and surfing are the highlights of this region. Be sure to check out the famous 12 Apostles – a natural wonder standing in the middle of the sea.
Espinazo del Diablo, Mexico
Espinazo del Diablo, or “The Devil’s Backbone” is an infamous mountain road in Mexico. Sitting at over 2000 meters (approx. 6500 feet) above sea level, this dangerous road is surprisingly well-maintained, likely due to all the tourist interest.
Expect hairpins and zigzags along the 140-mile highway. The entire route is about 200 miles long, with tight corners and sharp bends. Despite the danger, the views from this route are stunning, with beautiful glimpses of the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain range.
Highway 16, British Columbia, Canada
Highway 16 is a 450-mile road between Prince George and Prince Rupert in British Columbia, Canada. A literal drive through the wilderness, this route is a true outdoor adventure.
Driving is fairly smooth, with plenty of trucks to keep you company. Spend a couple of days exploring the nearby Lakes District, where you can hike into the pristine wilderness or fish on the peaceful water. Enjoy views of unspoiled nature, while learning about the area’s pioneer
Cortez to Mesa Verde National Park, USA
Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, USA, is a World Heritage Site with a rich sacred history. This stunning area is easily accessible from the town of Cortez, which is just a 10-mile drive away. Many visitors stay here because of the numerous accommodation options.
The drive to the park is a mesmerizing lead-up to beautiful landscapes, where hiking is a must. Camping in the canyon and stargazing are also top highlights of this breathtaking area.
“The Pig Trail” AR23, USA
“The Pig Trail” is a popular motorcycle route that stretches along Highway 23 in Arkansas, USA. Bold riders will enjoy the many hairpin curves and switchbacks on this 24-mile road.
There are plenty of thrills along this twisty paved road, and riders should expect some changes in elevation while driving. The view of the Ozarks is unmatched on this byway, which takes you through breezy foliage tunnels and snaking roads.
Lanark Highlands Loop, Canada
In Ontario, Canada, Lanark Highlands Loop is about 66.3 miles long. It’s a popular cycling route, even though 60% of the trail is gravel.
Parts of the loop are unmaintained, so expect a mix of paved and dirt roads. The drive takes you through beautiful woods and gorgeous foliage so take your time along this path. Motorcyclists will find this twisty route challenging to manage, but the scenic natural views are well worth the trip.
More routes to be added:
- Highway 36 – Red Bluff to Fortuna, USA
- 31 A – Kaslo to New Denver, Canada
- Khardung La, India
- Passo della Futa, Italy
- Baralacha pass, India
- Mustang Valley, Nepal
Do you have any suggestions? Leave a comment below!