If roads represented a lifetime, the twists and turns of the road would represent all the fun, excitement, and surprises that await us at each turn of the steering wheel. As we hurtle around each bend in the road, we sense the danger but also the thrill.
The 13 roads below will test your driving skills to the max. Put on your seat belt, turn on the ignition, and ease on out.
1. Winding Road of Tibet
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to drive in Tibet, but you can still feel the road under your feet by hiring a driver and a Land Cruiser to take you around. Bounce along in the back seat as you feel every pot hole and gravel road you come across which can be plenty, especially off the main roads, far from the main city of Llhasa.
2. Rowena Plateau, Oregon
Better slow down on those hairpin turns as you climb your way up from Rowena, Oregon to the plateau above, which overlooks the Columbia River. If the back of your car is drifting and you hear a screeching sound as you navigate the turns, then you might be going a tad fast.
3. Pienza, Italy
The town of Pienza is designated as a World Heritage Site so as you tranquilly make your way through the picturesque rural roads leading into town, you may be imagining all the renaissance art and architecture you are about to see. The drive may be great, but make sure you arrive early in the morning or else it will be difficult to find a parking space. Well, it IS a World Heritage Site for starters.
4. Taos Village, New Mexico
Drivers can enjoy the Enchanted Circle, the route that circumnavigates the area in this little corner of New Mexico. The section on Highway 64, between Taos Village and Angel Fire to the east, could be tricky for some newbie drivers with its narrow road and endless turn after turn after turn. Of course, a slow moving semi-truck in front you could also block some of the view of the mesa mountains and valleys.
5. Door County, Wisconsin
Just at the end of Highway 42 at the tip of Door Peninsula, hold on tight to your steering wheel or better yet the handlebars of your motorcycle as you weave back and forth on the section designed by the famed landscape architect Jens Jensen, who, no doubt, must been a motorcyclist at heart!
6. A Countryside Stone Road, Ireland
Ireland, a country of green and pastoral fields, has its own driving hazards. Watch out for farm tractors and other heavy equipment lumbering slowly across the rural roads.
7. General’s Highway, Sequoia National Park
Be careful not to enjoy the scenery too much as you drive through Sequioa National Park on General’s Highway, especially with all the switchbacks along the way. Stick with the 10 mph speed limit and you’ll be fine.
8. Old La Honda Road, California
Time to leave the car in the garage and go out for some bicycling on the Old La Honda
Road, just south-west of Palo Alto. Test your mettle as you make your ascent through redwood forests and greenery that surround you from all sides.
9. Cloudland Road, Pomfret, Vermont
Get your head out of the cloud as you drive down Cloudland Road towards the famed Sleepy Hallow farm scene. The surrounding mountains and forests with old secluded farms put you back in the time of America’s colonial past.
10. Penang Hill, Malaysia
While there is a road leading up to Penang Hill, it is private and meant for the local residents. Most tourists take the funicular train to the top to witness the spectacular view of Georgetown, Malaysia.
11. Valley Fire Road, Nevada
Watch your tires burn rubber with temperatures reaching up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or 49 degrees Celsius). There’s a reason why it was named Valley Fire Road, the main road that leads in Valley of Fire State Park, the oldest state park in Nevada.
12. Haleakala Highway, Hawaii
Also known as Crater Road, Haleakala Highways takes you up the 10,000-feet summit on the island of Maui. Watch your speed as you steer around blind turns, multiple switchbacks, and steep drop-offs that do not have guardrails.
13. Zion National Park, Utah
It doesn’t get any better than this: You, in your car, driving in Zion Canyon and taking in the majestic sandstone rocks jutting out all around you. Watch the road ahead though for tourists who have pulled their cars off the road to take photos and witness the dazzling beauty of Utah’s first national park.