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Highway One/Big Sur


Alfred Hitchcock could not have conjured a scarier highway—122 miles of vertigo between Monterey and Morro Bay. Two lanes for nearly its entire length, the road meanders along cliff tops poised high above the Pacific, including 33 bridges and countless drop offs into liquid oblivion. Anyone faintly squeamish should not attempt to drive this route.

The Saddle Road, Big Island


The Big Island's incredible Saddle Road shoots between two hulking volcanoes across a sweltering lava-rock desert. “Famously bad and dangerous” is how one guide describes Hawaii Route 200 between Hilo and Waimea. Although improved in recent years, much of the route is narrow and one-way; intermittent fog makes it even more hazardous. Side roads lead to the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

In Pictures: More of America's Scariest Drives

Aspen to Leadville via Independence Pass


The 187-mile drive from Aspen to Leadville traverses some of the highest, harshest and most desolate geography in North America. The drive kicks off with a summit of 12,095-foot Independence Pass, a stretch of state highway 82 that is narrow, twisting and often without guardrails. The latter portion near Cañon City includes a short detour across Royal Gorge Bridge, which hovers 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River — built 1929 and still the highest suspension bridge in the world.

Dalton Highway


The longest stretch of road in U.S. with no services, the 414-mile Dalton throws down several gauntlets including gravel roadway, steep grades, dangerous animals, and dire weather conditions. It’s an awful long wait for a tow if you break down out here.

U.S. Highway 50


They call it the “loneliest road” in America, the 473 miles of U.S. 50 between Hinckley, Utah and Carson City, Nev. But it’s also one of the creepiest, especially in mid-winter when snow can cover the entire route or the middle of summer when daytime temperatures are almost always in the triple digits. The Nevada Commission on Tourism issues a free “Highway 50 Survival Guide.”

Tail of the Dragon

North Carolina/Tennessee

Tucked just below Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the sinuous “Tail of the Dragon” is an 11-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 129 between Tabcat Bridge, Tenn., and Deals Gap, N.C. Get ready for 318 curves, many of them monster switchbacks and hairpins, as well as a series of steep “S” curves called The Slide.

State Highway 170


This rollercoaster desert road along the Rio Grande is straight out of No Country for Old Men (which was filmed nearby). A dipsy-do roadway, stray animals and floods are just a few of the hazards along the 99 miles of the river road between Lajitas and Candelaria. Much of the highway runs through picturesque Big Bend Ranch State Park
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