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The Best Roads

A list of what I consider to be some of the "best" roads of the trip. They are ranked and ordered from highest (best overall score) to lowest. For a guide to rankings and criteria, please click here. Click on any of the routes to warp to a page describing that route. To use an interactive clickable map of these same best roads, click here.
California Route 36 A lightly-traveled super-twisty. One the best twisty roads I've ever had the pleasure of driving on.
Overall Score: 9
Fun-to-drive: 9.6
Loop Drive
Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South)
Beautiful badlands along a very twisty, well-paved scenic loop road.
Overall Score: 8.8
Fun-to-drive: 8.3
Utah 9
& Zion National Park
Otherwordly and spectacular color-canyon-country scenery and a dash of good twisties to boot.
Overall Score: 8.3
Fun-to-drive: 7.1

Utah 12
Utah 24

Panguitch to Hanksville, UT
Bryce Canyon NP
Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
Capitol Reef NP
A scenic drive across a remote and beautiful swath of Colorado Plateau scenery in southern Utah.
Overall Score: 8.25
Fun-to-drive: 7.3
Forest Roads 25&99
Gifford-Pinchot NF / Mount Saint Helens NVM, Washington
Lengthy, extremely high quality tight twisties along with interesting views of volcanic devastation.
Overall Score: 8
Fun-to-drive: 7.8

US 89
Choteau to St. Mary, MT

Going-to-the-Sun highway
Glacier National Park, MT
An open prairie drive with twisties, and an awesome mountain drive with some more twisties!
Overall Score: 7.5
Fun-to-drive: 6.3
California Route 120
& Yosemite National Park
A "mainstream" super-twisty. Lots of traffic, lots of diverse scenery, and lots of twisties.
Overall Score: 7.5
Fun-to-drive: 6.7
Rim Drive
Crater Lake NP
A fantastic high-altitude scenic drive around vast, blue Crater Lake.
Overall Score: 7.3
Fun-to-drive: 5.9
Forest Road 92
Kootenai NF, Montana
A tricky-to-follow, very twisty remote backway just miles from the Canadian border in northern Montana.
Overall Score: 7
Fun-to-drive: 8.5
Forest Roads 23&33
Siskiyou NF, Oregon
A quiet and unused backway between busy Interstate 5 and the beautiful Oregon Coast. Extremely twisty, but not for the claustrophobic!
Overall Score: 6.8
Fun-to-drive: 8.6
BC 3
Osoyoos to Hope, British Columbia
Twisties, Canadian-style, through a remote and scenic corner of southwestern BC.
Overall Score: 6.5
Fun-to-drive: 6.3
Michigan 28
Munising to Marquette
Excellent views from a stretch of road that runs right along the shore of the largest lake in the world.
Overall Score: 6
Fun-to-drive: 5
Minnesota 108
west of Dent, MN
A pleasant back-way that winds through hummocky glacial terrain dotted with lakes.
Overall Score: 5.8
Fun-to-drive: 5.5

Guide to Road Rankings and Criteria

I've ranked roads based on four criteria that I have defined. They are:

Twistiness: The amount and "tightness" of the curves on the road. a "1" is completely straight; a "10" is an abundance of super-tight 15 mph essess, hairpins, switchbacks, etc. A "6" is what most normal people would consider a curvy road.

Road Quality: The condition of the road surface. A "10" is a nice, wide, completely smooth road surface, with perfect signage and paint. A "1" is barely above gravel, full of potholes and patches, etc. A "5" is reasonably acceptable pavement.

Traffic: A busy road usually means no fun on the twisties. The more [slow] traffic there is on a road, the worse the score. A "1" means endless hordes of slow moving cars, SUVs, and motorhomes. A "10" means you might be lucky to see four cars in an hour.

Scenic Impact: Although not really a factor for twisty road driving, this is still an attribute of a road's niceness. Completely jaw-dropping scenery gets you a "10" on this scale.

I generate two score values from the above criteria:

Fun-to-drive is a measure of how enjoyable a road is to drive from a purely motorsports perspective. This measure ignores scenery and places a heavier weight on twistiness and traffic. (The specific formula I use is: (twistiness * 1.7 + surface quality * 0.5 + traffic * 0.8) / 3)

Overall Score is a measure of the road taking into account scenery, and more heavily weighting the smoothness of the road. (The specific formula I use is: (twistiness * 0.95 + surface quality * 1.15 + traffic * 0.95 + scenic * 0.95) / 4)

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