Winter Wonders: Discover the Best Scenic Winter Drives Across America
December 21, 2023
Photo by Virgil Warner

As winter paints the landscape in hues of white and blue, it’s time to hit the open road and embark on a journey through some of the most captivating winter scenery in the United States. From snow-covered mountains to frosty valleys, these scenic drives promise not only breathtaking views but an immersive experience into the serene beauty of winter. Join us as we unveil the best winter scenic drives that showcase the diverse wonders of the season.

1. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

A winter scene along Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana | Photo by Parth Upadhyay, Unsplash

Our winter adventure begins in Glacier National Park, where the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road transforms into a winter wonderland. Closed to regular traffic, the road is open for guided tours, offering a unique opportunity to witness the park’s pristine beauty under a blanket of snow. Towering peaks, frozen waterfalls, and crystalline lakes create a picturesque landscape that will leave you in awe.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia

Into the snowy trees of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina | Photo by Wade Austin, Unsplash

The Blue Ridge Parkway, known for its stunning views in every season, takes on a special charm in winter. The barren branches of trees create a lace-like pattern against the snow-covered landscape, and the scenic overlooks provide breathtaking vistas of snow-dusted mountains. Drive along this winding road to experience the serene beauty of the Appalachian Highlands in winter.

3. The Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

A snowy sunset from the Million Dollar Highway in Durango, Colorado | Photo by Virrage Images, Shutterstock

Aptly named for the million-dollar views it offers, this stretch of U.S. Route 550 in Colorado becomes even more enchanting in winter. Surrounded by towering mountains and evergreen forests blanketed in snow, the highway winds through historic mining towns like Ouray and Silverton, providing a glimpse into Colorado’s rich history against a backdrop of winter splendor.

4. Acadia National Park Loop Road, Maine

Snowy cliffs along the Acadia Loop Road, Acadia National Park, Maine | Photo by Scott Canning, Shutterstock

Head to the northeastern corner of the country for a winter drive along the Acadia National Park Loop Road. The rugged coastline, frozen in time, contrasts with the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Snow-covered forests and the iconic Cadillac Mountain create a postcard-perfect setting that captures the essence of a New England winter.

5. Kancamagus Scenic Byway, New Hampshire

Winter landscape along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, New Hampshire | Photo by John A. Anderson, Shutterstock

Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains, the Kancamagus Scenic Byway in New Hampshire transforms into a winter wonderland. Drive through snow-laden forests, alongside icy rivers, and past picturesque covered bridges. The snow-covered peaks provide a serene backdrop, offering a peaceful escape into the heart of New England’s winter charm.

6. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon and Washington

The majestic Multnomah Falls from the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway, Oregon | Photo by Susan Yin, Unsplash

The Columbia River Gorge, known for its stunning waterfalls and lush landscapes, takes on a different charm in winter. The waterfalls may freeze into delicate ice sculptures, and the evergreen trees become adorned with a dusting of snow. This drive offers a unique blend of winter elements against the backdrop of the majestic Columbia River.

7. Great River Road, Minnesota to Illinois

A train snakes along the Great River Road in snowy Illinois | Photo by Wildnerdpix, Shutterstock

Follow the course of the Mississippi River along the Great River Road for a winter journey through the heartland of America. Snow-covered bluffs, quaint river towns, and historic landmarks create a nostalgic atmosphere. The frozen banks of the Mississippi River add an extra layer of enchantment to this scenic drive.

8. White Mountain Trail, New Hampshire

The aptly named White Mountains along the White Mountain Trail, New Hampshire | Photo by Nick Yegorov, Shutterstock

Explore the winter wonder of the White Mountains in New Hampshire by following the White Mountain Trail. Surrounded by snow-draped peaks and dense forests, this drive offers a glimpse into a pristine wilderness. Stop at the scenic overlooks for panoramic views of snow-covered valleys and towering mountain ranges.

Winter is a magical time to hit the road and discover the hidden gems that await along the country’s scenic byways. From the snow-covered peaks of Montana to the frozen wonders of Acadia, each winter drive offers a unique and unforgettable experience. So, bundle up, pack a thermos of hot cocoa, and embark on a winter road trip to witness the beauty that unfolds when nature takes a quiet and serene pause. The best winter drives are not just about the destination but the journey itself, where every twist and turn reveals a new chapter in the story of winter’s captivating allure.