Home » Where Is The Best Driving Road? Autopian Asks

Where Is The Best Driving Road? Autopian Asks

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One of the greatest thrills in driving a car or riding a bike is finding that perfect road. You know the one; you and your vehicle are perfectly in sync and everything feels magical. You could swear that you and your vehicle are one. Or, perhaps the best driving road isn’t one full of thrill, but one with views so breathtaking that you have to stop just to believe what your eyes are seeing. No matter what your favorite driving road is, I want to know where it is.

Illinois and Wisconsin aren’t known for their roads. There are a couple of scenic routes here and there, but that’s it. If you come to these states, you’ll find endless rows of farms and roads that are afraid to curve. Should you come out here, you’ll find some great fun in and nearby Galena Territory in Illinois and Wisconsin as well as the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, which is nearer to Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Road America.

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Things are different in the rare chances I get to go to California. The state’s geography is so varied that there aren’t just a couple of great routes out there. California’s road network is so awesome that there are people who drive and ride down great driving roads for work every single day.

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Many people who don’t live in California know about the Pacific Coast Highway. That’s a good one. In my experience, the PCH is even cooler in real life than what you’ve likely seen on the web. The sights from the highway are almost impossible to describe once you see them in person. The highway’s curves are great, too! If you ever come to California long enough, I highly recommend running the length of the PCH.

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The highway I want to highlight today is Ortega Highway, which runs along State Route 74.

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The highway is named after Spanish explorer Sgt. José Francisco Ortega, who was among some of the first non-Native Americans to see the area in 1769. It’s said that Ortega Highway follows the path of an old Native American trail through what is known as the Cleveland National Forest today. It’s full of sharp twists, corners, and hairpins as you climb into the mountains from San Juan Capistrano and meander your way down to Lake Elsinore. It’s a short route that can be completed between breakfast and lunch, but it’s totally worth it.

If you’re not from California, you’ve probably heard so much talk about all of the corner-carving action Californians get to experience. The Ortega Highway is one of those roads that live up to that promise.

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If you’re on a cruiser motorcycle, you will drag your floorboards if you’re moving with any alacrity. If you’re in a car, prepare to feel like you’re on a thrill ride. The Ortega Highway delivers fun and breathtaking views no matter your preferred mode of travel. I got to experience it from the seat of an Indian Super Chief and I felt like I was on a time machine that had transported me back to the 1950s.

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Now, please do be careful because the Ortega Highway has a reputation for death. Car drivers wipe out on the highway, as do bikers, and they don’t always come out of the other end unscathed. A Toyota nearly took me out by driving in the oncoming lane through a blind curve. Yikes!

Now I’m turning this to you. Where is the best driving road? Why is it so great?

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Michael Hess
Michael Hess
16 days ago

Chief Joseph highway by Cody Wyoming, turning north to Montana on the Beartooth highway.

It’s unreal fun!

BRZ = EPIC
Fiesta ST = A HOOT
Mustang GT = Enjoyable Fear
Anything else = OMG I’m about to die!

Sgtyukon
Sgtyukon
18 days ago

If spectacular view qualifies a road for this contest, here’s my nomination. Enter Yosemite National Park from the south and drive through the park to the tunnel into the valley. I am surprised that every car that’s never seen the view coming out of that tunnel doesn’t get rear ended because the diver stomps on the brakes to take in that beautiful sight. Even the second time I took that drive, I still found the view coming out of the tunnel absolutely stunning!

SkierX
SkierX
19 days ago

My 2 favorite roads that I have ever driven, Bear Tooth Pass HWY 212 from Tower Junction Wyoming to Red Lodge Montana and hwy 61 from Duluth MN to Thunder Bay Ontario. Thunder Bay to Winnipeg on 17 and driving from Banff to Jasper as a Canadian drive that is unforgettable as well.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
17 days ago
Reply to  SkierX

I did a 3000+ mile road trip from San Francisco to Bellingham to Chicago via Glacier last year in an old BMW, and that piece of 212 was one of the roads recommended to me by an acquaintance who gave me a lot of great beta. It’s the one route we just didn’t have time to detour to and I hope to make it the next time I’m out in that part of the US.

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
19 days ago

The best road is the one that leads to a track!

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
19 days ago

The best driving overall in the US may be in Tennessee – someone who gets to make decisions there decided to bank all the curves correctly (and there are a lot of curves) so anywhere off the highways was a joy.

Outside of the US is almost always better, though – better maintained roads (in developed countries) and turns everywhere.

Silent But Deadly
Silent But Deadly
19 days ago

I don’t have the Gaelic name but The Pass of the Cattle in Scotland is genuinely amazing…

Otherwise, Nyngan to Bourke in Western NSW. At night. 300 km. Two bends. Thousands of kangaroos. Pure 90s video game experience. Especially in a Nissan Patrol cab chassis fully loaded with hay…

Last edited 19 days ago by Silent But Deadly
Tinibone
Tinibone
19 days ago

For me in Sydney for a quick short blast it’s gotta be Galston Gorge, but if I’m taking a longer drive the Pacific Highway up to about Brooklyn and then onto pears ridge Rd to Wollombi is a good hour of beautiful twisty mountain roads with little to no traffic or cops and high speed limits

Endless Summer Az
Endless Summer Az
19 days ago

There are some amazing driving roads Down Under.

The Mount Glorious / Mount Nebo / Wivenhoe loop, behind Brisbane, was my favourite road for many years. Mix of tight, technical twisties through the rainforest and big sweeping high speed corners. Unfortunately these days it’s infested by cyclists and speed cameras, but still a great piece of road.

Tasmania is pretty much one big rally stage. I’ve been lucky enough to do a few trips with a small Ford club, and it’s my favourite place in the world. Quiet, twisty roads, incredible scenery, great food and drink. Can highly recommend the A10 and C249 up the west coast. I cannot recommend Tasmania enough as a holiday destination, it’s THAT good.

New Zealand is my other favourite place. Again, the scenery, food and roads were out of this world. FSDKS has listed some epic drives, but second the run down the west coast through Punakaiki. It’s like the PCH, but with less traffic…

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
19 days ago

One of my favorite driving roads is the one along the Dessoubre valley, in the French Jura mountains.

It’s a 30-40 minute drive and I prefer driving it uphill. It’s always empty and follows a twisty river, so I can get my freak on. There are great bends, and a few lovely spots to stop and take a picture.

I haven’t driven it in a while because I moved, but now I’m just at the foot of the French Alps so I don’t complain. I have to keep on exploring before giving you THE best road around here but I’ll keep you posted!

Mitch Williams
Mitch Williams
19 days ago

US Hwy 12 is a great road, especially the west end. And by “west end” I mean the bits between, say, South Dakota and the Pacific Ocean. The bit between Missoula, MT and Lewiston, ID is 200 miles of twisty, beautiful joy, on two or four wheels. As you go further west, it gets a bit more sedate as you flow past amber waves of grain in Eastern Washington, but things get fun again as you cross the Cascades and head for the coast. Once you hit Aberdeen (birthplace of Kurt Cobain, and little else interesting), turn right on 101. You’ll be able to tell your friends you drove through Humptulips. Yes, that’s a real place. Then head up to the Olympic Peninsula for some of the most gorgeous scenery you’ve ever seen.

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
19 days ago

picking the best road is like telling a parent to pick their favorite child

R53 Lifer
R53 Lifer
19 days ago

The best driving roads are in the Southern Appalachians. You’ve probably never heard of them…

Notta Bawt
Notta Bawt
19 days ago
Reply to  R53 Lifer

I once drove from Los Angeles to New York through Tennessee / North Carolina -ish to see what all the Tail of the Dragon fuss was about. No regrets.

Ray Manta
Ray Manta
19 days ago

CA-89 on a motorcycle will make your arms sore. Highly recommend.

Is Travis
Is Travis
20 days ago

I live on the Western edge of Denver, 5-15 minutes from the bottom of 5 great canyon drives. I love it here.

Kevin Hughes
Kevin Hughes
20 days ago

Arkansas highway 7 is a good one, especially in the fall. Just make sure you divert to the west and head for Eureka Springs before you get close to Harrison. You really don’t want to go anywhere near Harrison.

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