11 Gorgeous Scenic Drives You Have to See to Believe (with Video)

small tunnel on road in red rock of Bryce Canyon

I’m always looking for a great scenic drive. Like in the movie Cars, I’ll take the byway over the highway any day.

Here are some of my favorites!

Zion-Mt Carmel Scenic Drive (Highway 9), Zion National Park, Utah

Utah State Highway 9 begins in LaVerkin, Utah, and ends in Mt Carmel, Utah. In the middle, it runs through gorgeous Zion National Park.

It took 4 years to survey the road, and another 3 to build it. It was completed with the financial support of the State of Utah and the National Park Service.

Its primary purpose? To connect Zion and Bryce National Parks, thereby facilitating more tourism. In fact, Bryce wasn’t set aside as a national park until the road was authorized.

If you visit ZION, do this drive

Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive, Bryce National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon is one of the coolest places on Earth! It’s famous for its hoodoo formations: rock pillars jutting out of the ground. It has the highest concentration of hoodoos on earth.

The scenic drive goes along the upper edge of the canyon and offers 7 scenic overlooks on the way.

Bryce Canyon's Scenic Drive

Jenny Lake Scenic Drive, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Jenny Lake Scenic Drive is named after the most iconic lake in Grand Teton National Park.

The drive is mostly a one-way drive that offers views of the mighty Tetons, as well as lakeside views of Jenny Lake.

Jenny Lake Scenic Drive in Grand Teton National Park

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Custer State Park, South Dakota

The Black Hills of South Dakota are famous for Mount Rushmore, but it’s Custer State Park that steals the show!

Three of my all-time favorite drives are located here:

  • The Needles
  • Iron Mountain Highway
  • Wildlife Loop

Watch this video to see all three in action!

Custer, South Dakota: The Heart of the Black Hills

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Unit, North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a lesser-visited national park, mainly because it’s just so far OUT THERE!

But just because it’s 4-5 hours north of the Black Hills, don’t let that keep you from visiting this gem of solitude, where Theodore Roosevelt found rejuvenation as a young man.

There are two main sections to the park: the South Unit and the North Unit. Each offers it’s own specialty.

Here’s the North Unit, with its Longhorn Cattle, Cannonballs, and Badlands:

The Best of Theodore Roosevelt National Park: 17 things to do + Wild Horses & Medora, North Dakota

Beartooth Highway, Just Outside of Yellowstone

Charles Kuralt said it was the best drive in America. This famous drive goes from Red Lodge, MT to the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone.


The Beartooth Highway: Driving to the Sky on the Orphaned Road

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park

While not often thought of as a drive, the famous Lamar Valley has one road that goes through it. The most scenic thing about it? Wildlife such as bison, wolves, bears, and elk.

Check it out!

Yellowstone's Lamar Valley: The American Serengeti

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef actually has 4 incredibly scenic drives! Watch this video to see all of them.

Let’s go for a ride! 4 breathtaking drives in remote Capitol Reef National Park

What Else Should I Know?

Planning a vacation shouldn’t be stressful. We created a step-by-step itinerary for many of these national parks so you can visit the best places at the right times.

Not only that, but with many of them we’ll tell you about the park while you drive with our audio guide!  Stop planning and start having the vacation of your dreams now!


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