The Best Road Trips To Take This Winter

Going on a road trip in the winter along picturesque byways is a thrilling experience, both because of the breathtaking scenery and good driving skills. You can prepare for the latter and the former alone is enough of a reason to not barricade yourself at home.

New York to Pennsylvania

Go on a magnificent 7-day 348-mile long drive through nature. You can go skiing on your way, enjoy the view of forests (possibly covered in snow), or ice-skate on a frozen pond. Visit the Norman Rockwell countryside. Get on Route 6 if you want access to 19 state parks, six forests and the Allegheny National Forest, along with the state's own Grand Canyon.

Las Vegas to Zion National Park, Utah

Fly to Las Vegas, have some fun there for a night or two and rent a car going to the park. It's just about 240 miles in one direction. Spend about a week driving through the desert to reach the high cliffs of Zion, Utah's First National Park. While you're there, visit the Bryce Canyon national Park and see how hoodoos and forests are mixed together.

Along South Dakota Highway 240

Just 40 miles of driving on the Badlands Loop Road can energize you for weeks ahead with the dozens of picturesque views. Go to the Badlands National Park, which had slowly formed by deposition and erosion starting 69 million years ago. Cedar Pass Lodge is the only lodging and restaurant in the park. It's going to be cold but you can expect to not cross paths with many (if any) other people on your way, expect the park rangers and maybe lots of sheep.

Stowe to Rochester, Vermont’s Route 100

This is a 50-mile road trip along VT-100. Everything in Vermont is absolutely breathtaking and many say the Byway is the best route, especially if you want to pass by the Green Mountain quaint villages. Make sure you drive to The Mad River's Moss Glen Falls; the frozen figure that changes all the time. The trip amid the most gorgeous places in New England is a good choice for food lovers, too – plenty of breweries, wineries, creameries, and gourmet shops to choose from.

Scenic Drive, Arches National Park, Utah

People usually go there in the summer, so that means more of this beautiful region just for you and your fellow-passengers. Have you seen arches and red rocks sparkle with ice and snow contrasting the clear blue sky? This natural phenomenon doesn't happen in a lot of places. The Scenic Drive passes many outstanding natural features. Don't miss the Windows Section and see some of the park's largest arches. Drive to the Delicate Arch Viewpoint and see the world's most famous arch.

Grand Loop Road, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Start from the Mammoth Hot Springs and drive 52 miles on the Grand Loop Road. Everybody goes there in the summer so you shouldn't expect any traffic. The winter is a great time to take this trip if you want to see wolves who were re-introduced to the park in 1995 after 70 years. Plan to go skiing or just hike along the trails through the Upper Geyser Basin.

Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

You can start from Front Royal and drive all of the 105 miles on the Skyline Drive, north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. This is the only public road through the park. Mornings are going to be frosty but beautiful. Waterfalls crystallize in the winter and the more enthusiastic of you can get to them by snowshoeing or skiing. There are many picnic areas along the route. Many prefer the Elkwallow and South River because of the opportunities to "meet" with raptors and many animals.   

Minnesota to Wisconsin

Want to see some amazing ice caves? Get on Route 13 from Duluth and head to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The trip can take you between three and six days because it's about 250 miles, including coming back. You can go hiking into out-of-this-world icicles. Nordic skiing is another thrilling option if you chose to go on this road trip. It's along the 107-kilometer Birkebeiner trail system.

The High Road to Taos, New Mexico

The 56 miles between Santa Fe and Taos offer a charming view but twisted road through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Take a ride for a couple of hours and drive into the beauty of the high desert in the winter as snowflakes have likely settled on the pine trees. This road is a gorgeous way to experience the state and visit a lot of historical places along the way.

Asheville, North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Great Smoky National Park is one of the most beautiful in the country. Those unforgettable Table Mountain Pines covered in snow are serene in wintertime. Visit the Cades Cove, a large valley surrounded by mountains that happens to be the most popular destination in the Smokies. You can stop at Clingmans Dome which is the highest point in Tennessee.

Seward Highway, Alaska

For some of the most breathtaking scenery in Alaska drive along the Seward Highway. Capture incredible ocean views, waterfalls, and glaciers. Spend some time exploring Chugach State Park for sights of 3,000-foot peaks, take a look down at Bird Creek, and stop in Girdwood to admire the wildflowers. Also, don't forget to pull over for a photo op at the famous Canyon Creek. This road trip is about 130 miles.

Mount Hood Scenic Byway, Oregon

Take the Mount Hood Scenic Byway for an amazing trip that goes around the mountain through valleys and thick fir forests. You'll see the state's highest point at 11,245 feet and the fourth highest peak in the entire Cascade Mountain Range and stop by the Toward Government Camp for a sleigh ride. Drivers can get a sense of the history, splendor, and diverse charms of the Columbia River Gorge region by starting in Portland.

Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway, California

Snow covers the summits along the Sierra Nevada range, making for stunning vistas and photos. The 28-mile stretch along Nevada Highway 28-E and US-50 from Stateline to Crystal Bay also offers drivers strikingly beautiful views of the deep blue alpine lake ringed with tall pines. Stop by the Sand Harbor for a chance to dip your hands in the icy lake. Other attractions along the way include Zephyr Cove, horseback riding and snowmobiling, and a highway tunnel through Cave Rock.

Great River Road, Minnesota to Louisiana

It's called the Great River Road because it's along the 10 states the Mississippi River passes –Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. So if you have a fascination with the Mighty River, look no farther. You'll find lots of farms, upland meadows, swamps, thick forests, cliffs, parks, and wildlife refuges along the way. You'll come across a few malls and casinos, too.  

Route 50 in Nevada: Loneliest Road in America

It's only 350 miles. If you want remote roads, this is the trip for you. Even certificates "I Survived the Loneliest Road in America" are available to make it official. Buy qualifying cards at the Ely or Fernley (north of Silver Springs via U.S. 95) and make sure you "check in" on your way. You'll pass Dayton, which back in the day was a Pony Express station and where Nevada's first gold strike took place. You can stop at Virginia City and where Mark Twain used to work as a journalist.