UFO Trail
California to New Mexico

This 1,773-mile other-worldly adventure starts in San Diego, home of Comic-Con, and then heads out to places like Area 51 and Nevada’s “Extraterrestrial Highway” before ending in Roswell, N.M., site of an alleged UFO crash in 1947. The route’s inspired by the 2011 British comedy Paul, which chronicles the adventures of two comic book fans and an alien visitor (voiced by Seth Rogen), who visit filming sites for Star Trek and Star Wars movies on their journey. “If you are a real sci-fi nerd, it’s the ultimate road trip,” Sleath says. goo.gl/x6oaly

The Beartooth Highway

Sleath and many others call this 68-mile route the “most beautiful drive in America.” With switchbacks and sweeping mountain views, it climbs to nearly 11,000 feet before leading into Yellowstone National Park. “If you want one to blow your mind scenically, that’s the one you want to take,” he says. “I just don’t think it’s as well-known as it should be.” beartoothhighway.com

The Ultimate American Road Trip

Created by a computer programmer in 2016, this epic journey visits all 48 continental states and 50 recognized landmarks, including the White House, the Alamo and Hoover Dam. All told, the route covers 13,699 miles and theoretically could be driven in 10 days. “It’s more than just putting a foot in each state. It’s a hell of a challenge,” Sleath says. rhiever.github.io/optimal-roadtrip-usa/major-landmarks.html

Mississippi Blues Highway
Memphis to Vicksburg, Miss.

U.S. Highway 61 plows through the Mississippi Delta, and the heart of the blues. Along the way, it passes cotton fields, plantation homes, music clubs and the famous crossroads where legend says musician Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil. Sleath suggests loading up an appropriate Spotify playlist before starting out. “It’s the best way to really immerse yourself.” goo.gl/AzQTFj

Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap
Tennessee to North Carolina

A favorite of motorcyclists, this Smoky Mountains route attracts riders from across the country as it dips and snakes through 318 curves in just 11 miles, rising and falling over 1,200 feet of elevation along the way. Sleath calls it a rider’s road because it doesn’t’ have intersections. “It’s tight, twisty and challenging, a rare treat.” goo.gl/k8Xc6V

Shafer Canyon Trail
Canyonlands National Park, Utah

With loose surfaces and long drop-offs, this cliff-hugging trail, left over from the uranium mining days of the 1950s, is not for the faint of heart. “It’s one of the craziest,” Sleath says. “It’s an incredible experience to say you’ve taken on that road and survived.” goo.gl/JiqhZI

Thelma and Louise route
Arkansas to Arizona

Although much of the Oscar-winning movie was shot in California and Utah, this trail follows the film’s story, offering the likely path of the characters’ ill-fated two-day road trip from the Ozarks toward the Mexico border. “A lot of the road trip movies are not actually shot where you think they are,” Sleath says. goo.gl/bN11df

Harriet Tubman Byway
Maryland and Delaware

With a new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park opening just a year ago, this trip couldn’t be more timely. This 125-mile self-guided tour follows the path Tubman used to lead slaves to freedom, linking byways in Maryland and Delaware, and onto Philadelphia. “It’s a journey of discovery,” Sleath says. harriettubmanbyway.org and tubmanbywaydelaware.org

Clinton Road
New Jersey

Wait for a dark, foggy night to drive this trail, which has been called the country’s most haunted highway. “It used to be an area where mobsters would dump their bodies,” Sleath says. Over the years, drivers have reported seeing phantom headlights, ghosts and devil worshipers on the curving, wooded roadway, about 50 miles north of Manhattan. goo.gl/1XcItN

Big Sur’s Old Coast Road

This little-known detour off the famed Pacific Coast Highway follows the path of a stagecoach route, weaving inland and upwards through redwood forests. The unpaved road is mainly single-lane. “You don’t have to have a four-by-four, but it’s a safer choice,” Sleath says. goo.gl/wPYfx0



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