Whether it’s amber waves of grain or purple mountain’s majesty, there’s plenty of natural beauty to see in the United States. Although a vast majority of it is separated by industry and highways, opportunities for sightseeing are still prevalent, even from the safety of your semi. If you’re pulling a long haul this summer, or celebrating the completion of your truck driver training, make sure you hit at least one of the locales mentioned below; all of them are surely worth the drive.
1. Florida: the Overseas Highway
Constructed by Henry Flagler in 1938, the Overseas Highway is a marvel of human ingenuity. After the Florida East Coast Railroad was destroyed in a hurricane on Labor Day in 1935, the highway was placed over the original truss bridges and eventually widened to accommodate car travel. Since then, it has become one of Florida’s main attractions, not to mention the home of many historical sites.
- The highway is made up of mostly bridges, one of which is the Seven Mile Bridge, which extends 7 miles into open-ocean.
- In 1954, the toll for automobiles was only a dollar, plus twenty-five cents for every passenger.
- Wacky Races, an animated Hanna-Barbera series from the 1960s, featured the highway in an episode on December 28, 1968.
2. Montana: the Going to the Sun Road
Deep within the rugged terrain of the Treasure State is the Going-to-the-Sun-Mountain. Standing at an impressive 9,642 feet, the mountain overlooks the gorgeous St. Mary Valley and Glacier National Park. Unfortunately, charting this mountainous terrain proved fatal to many early explorers before the Going to the Sun Road was constructed in 1932.
- Going to the Sun Road is the only road that passes through Glacier National Park across the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.
- Since the road is one of the most difficult to snowplow in North America, it closes every year from early fall to June.
- The road was featured in the opening credits of the Shining, as well as the last bit of the original cut of Blade Runner.
3. Alaska: the Seward Highway
The Seward Highway is one of the most prestigious in the country. After being designated a National Forest Scenic Byway in 1989 by the U.S. Forest Service, the highway was then named an Alaskan Scenic Byway in 1993 and then officially crowned an All-American Road in 2000. The highway itself may not look like much, but the frigid, snow-capped imagery is certainly worth seeing.
- Within an hour, the highway ascends 1,000 feet into the mountains and then back down to sea level.
- The drive itself lasts about five hours, although people have been known to spend days exploring the surrounding area.
- Travelers can expect to see mining towns and fishing villages and are encouraged to stop off at Crow Creek Mine for a chance to pan for gold.
4. Utah: Patchwork Parkway
Utah’s Patchwork Parkway is deeply rooted in the old traditions of the Frontier. Once travelled by Native Americans, explorers and countless others throughout history, the parkway, named a Forest Service Byway in 2000, is home to early pioneer communities and terrain that is as dangerous as it is awe-inspiring.
- The road was named after pioneers that laid quilts on the snow to protect their feet while traveling across the area in the winter.
- The aforementioned Quilt Walk took place in 1854 after 54 pioneer families were stranded in the snow on the way to Panguitch from Parawon.
- Aside from the rich culture, the parkway connects visitors to mountain bike trails, ski slopes and countless other recreational areas.
5. Colorado: San Juan Skyway
The San Juan Skyway is one of the most stunning roads in the United States. Unlike other roads that suffer shut downs on account of severe conditions, the skyway stays open year round and boasts some of the country’s most prolific, natural imagery. No matter what the season, there are ample opportunities for recreation and sight-seeing.
- Skiers and snowboarders looking to shred can easily access the world-class resort, Telluride, from the safety of the skyway.
- Along the skyway during the spring, melting snow pours down, creating waterfalls that crash down around the mountain.
- As the snow continues to melt into the fall, wildflowers spring up all around the area, creating a beautiful floral backdrop.
Spending your time behind the wheel of a semi can grow a little dull at times, especially for those new to living life on the road. Fortunately for truckers old and new out there, the United States is a country of immense beauty, a lot of which is unforeseen. So, if you’re up for a little adventure, take to the road this summer and soak up what the U.S. has to offer.