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The 8 Most Challenging Drivers’ Roads in the US

Published July 11, 2018

Automotive enthusiasts live for twisty roads that challenge driver and car alike. The sensations they deliver are universal: The feeling of g forces as they rise when you begin your braking as you approach the turn, the subtle yet irresistible shift of forces as you draw back on the braking and begin the turn-in, the complete transfer of forces to lateral as the tires search for grip, the reduction in laterals forces as the wheel is unwound and the firm but gentle application of the accelerator pulling the car through the exit of the turn. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Here are eight of our favorites, avoiding those obvious recommendations that appear on so many other lists.

berthold pass

Berthoud Pass

The Berthoud Pass looks more like a four-lane highway over a pass in Switzerland than the typical two-lane roads used in the US. The pass is a portion of US 80, north of its intersection with US 70. The Berthoud Pass is considered one of the most notoriously difficult in Colorado, based on its 11,307 foot altitude as well as the large number of switchbacks on the southern side of the pass. Sounds like fun to me.

Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway

Russell–Brasstown Scenic Byway

The Russell–Brasstown Scenic Byway is a 40.6 mile highway in the State of Georgia, which is also marked as SR 348. The Russell–Brasstown Scenic Highway winds its way through about 40 switchbacks, traversing pristine valleys and the southern Appalachian Mountains, including passing through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

Washington State, North Cascades Scenic Highway Loop.

North Cascades Scenic Loop

Featuring well-maintained smooth roads with plenty of hairpin curves, straights made for passing, two mountain passes and some of the most stunning sights you can see in North America, Highway 20 in Washington state appears as though it was designed for driving enthusiasts.

NY 97

Upper Delaware Scenic Byway

Despite the name, the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway is actually located in New York State (also know as NY Route 97). The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway is a 70.53-mile route in southern New York running parallel to the New York – Pennsylvania border. It was selected by Motorcycle magazine as one of the best roads for riding in the Northeast. ‘nuf said.

U.S-Route-550-“The-Million-Dollar-Highway”

Million Dollar Highway

The Million Dollar Highway is a stretch of two-lane blacktop through the San Juan Mountains, a section of the Colorado Rockies where drivers cross an 11,312 foot pass. Officially listed as US-550, the highway runs south from the Gunnison River near Montrose to the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. While the history of the name “Million Dollar Highway” is shrouded in mystery, the name is most often associated with to 25 miles of steep and twisting roads that link Ouray and Silverton, a pair of remote gold and silver mining communities.

Hwy_7_fall_Arkansas

 Arkansas Scenic Highway

While perhaps not as spectacular as some of the roads crossing the mountain ranges of the west, the 157 mile Arkansas Scenic Highway (also known as Arkansas Highway 7) can be an enjoyable ride, with challenging sections climbing out of and into valleys along the route, with plenty of scenery along the way.

chief_joseph_road_large

Chief Joseph Scenic Highway

The Chief Joseph Scenic Highway is a well-maintained road that runs along the edge of Yellowstone National Park. The road itself features countless switchbacks, one section of switchback run for almost 50 miles.  There’s several vertical assents trough mountains passes of 10,000 feet and higher. Reports have it that the road sees very little traffic.

AZ89A

Arizona State Route 89A

Arizona State Route 89A runs north-south through the middle of the state. As you can see by the photo above, it appears for all the world as an incomplete raceway, that is, one that doesn’t connect back upon itself. The most challenging section starts in Clarksdale, through the old mining town of Jerome and down into Prescott.

 

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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