Most scenic route from LA to Detroit?
May 6, 2008 12:53 PM   Subscribe

This weekend I will be driving a roadster from Las Angeles to Detroit with a buddy. Help me find winding, hilly or mountainy roads with great views of nature to see on my way. Twisty mountain roads are always preferred over long straightaways. (Bonus if they aren't too much out of my way, thought I don't mind changing my route somewhat.) So far I am thinking of passing through Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Park. (Google map)
posted by parma to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
You might want to make sure the Rocky Mountain National Park road is completely open. They do still get late snows...
posted by konolia at 12:56 PM on May 6, 2008

Since you're starting from Los Angeles, you may already be familiar with Angeles Crest Highway. But just thinking about starting a drive to Detroit with that route even makes me tired. (My wife and I have taken a Miata on a 1 month round trip from Los Angeles to Fairbanks, Alaska)
posted by jaimev at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2008

I-70 near Utah-Colorado border is awesome.
posted by WizKid at 1:27 PM on May 6, 2008

Zion National Park
Zion National Park
Zion National Park
Zion National Park

Especially this part.

Fucking mind-blowing in a fun sporty car.
posted by autojack at 1:59 PM on May 6, 2008

Ohhh... the route you have selected is fantastic, especially the stretch from the Grand Canyon to Grand Junction. I did that drive a few years ago, though going in the other direction. You'll pass through Monument Valley and the Painted Desert and some stunning desert expanses straight out of the old roadrunner and coyote cartoons. Don't look at any pictures of it though if you haven't seen it, you don't want to spoil the surprise!

One of the most memorable parts was following the Colorado River gorge way up in Utah. I had to look at terrain view to figure out where this was and it seems it's not on your route yet. You want the road that cuts between the I-70 and the US 191 just past Moab through Cisco, UT. Take it, trust me on this. (though double-check with locals first to make sure it's passable. I remember it being fine but who knows.)
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:18 PM on May 6, 2008

The summit of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park won't be open yet, so unfortunately you can't drive straight through the park.
posted by lukemeister at 7:41 PM on May 6, 2008

If time allows, take AZ-66 instead of I-40 between Kingman and Seligman -- it's the original alignment of Route 66. There's not a lot of twists and turns but the stretch through the mountains east of Kingman is more interesting than the interstate version.
posted by Lazlo at 10:41 PM on May 6, 2008

Look up "long straightaway" in the dictionary and you will find a picture of I-80 from western Nebraska to Indiana. Your route from Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park east is depressingly, boringly, mind-numbingly flat. Nebraska and Iowa are flatter than flat. Northern Illinois can charitably be called "bumpy", but nothing Rocky-Mountain-like. You will not have to adjust your steering wheel at all during that part of your trip.

The last time I was in a vehicle driving that route, our driving buddy fell asleep (in the middle of the day) and we landed in a Nebraska ditch.

I would suggest making your way a bit north. Wisconsin is really pretty. Try a route to Detroit via Michigan's UP.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:31 AM on May 7, 2008

Response by poster: These are all great suggestions. (Zion National Park might be tough to squeeze in - but definitely going to take AZ-66 instead of I-40, and will generally try to go more northward. )
Thank you all!
posted by parma at 6:35 AM on May 8, 2008

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