Driving through powdery white landscapes, can be incredibly magical for those of us who live in tropical countries and don’t see that much snow. These scenic roads in America stay open during the winter and all but guarantee great winter views.
In fact, America’s snowy drives have routes that combine picturesque landscapes and ample amounts of snow over courses that can be managed in just one day. From Alaska’s Seward Highway to the Lake George Loop in New York, there are several great places to take a drive through. There’s even a road that runs through high desert – Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 in Bryce Canyon–that probably doesn’t immediately come to mind when considering snow.
Here are a few places to cover and drive by as the soft but cold white blankets fall upon parts of America.
Lake George Loop, Lakes to Locks Passage, N.Y.
Distance: 50 miles from the town of Glens Falls around the lake.
Nearby City: Glens Falls, N.Y.
Climate: Mountains in the region average around 150 inches of snow each year.
Must visit:The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, with permanent works by Cézanne, Degas, El Greco, Picasso, Rafael, Rembrandt, Rubens and Renoir. And the Glens Falls Winter Market offers handmade and locally grown products on Saturday mornings.
General’s Highway, Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Park, Calif.
Distance: More than 80 miles between Sequoia National Park and King’s Canyon National Park.
Nearby City: Fresno, Calif.
Climate: The highest points in the area get more than 260 inches of snow each year, which falls from December to May. Sub-zero temperatures are rare.
Must visit:The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is the largest tree in the world by volume. It’s 275 feet tall and more than 36 feet wide, with a trunk circumference of 102 feet
Route 100, Vermont
Distance: 48 miles from Stowe, Vt., to Rochester, Vt.
Nearby City: Waterbury, Vt.
Climate: Nearby Stowe Mountain gets an average accumulation of 327 inches of snow each year.
Must visit:Any number of boutique cider, chocolate, coffee or maple shops along the way; many use former dairy farms or old mills to create their wares. There’s also the Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream Factory just north of the village of Waterbury.
Mohawk Trail Loop, Savoy State Forest, Mass.
Distance: 55 miles from Williamstown past Whitcomb Summit and Western Heritage State Park.
Nearby City: Williamstown, Mass.
Climate: The region usually gets up to 80 inches of snow year, depending on elevation.
Must visit: Adams, a small village along the loop that was settled by the Quakers in the 18th century. It’s known for its Victorian architecture and tributes to local hero Susan B. Anthony.
SR 106 to Mount Rainer National Park, Wash.
Distance: 42 miles from the town of Elbe through the Nisqually entrance to Longmire Visitor’s Center and back.
Nearby City: Tacoma, Wash.
Climate: The mountain creates its own weather systems, with major snowfall beginning in October and snowpack lasting until June.
Must visit:Mount Rainier, the most heavily glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S. The site erupted 150 years ago and is still considered an active volcano; roughly 4,500 people ascend to its 14,411-foot summit each year.
Payette River Scenic Byway, Idaho
Distance: 112 miles of road from Boise to McCall, Idaho.
Nearby City: McCall, Idaho.
Climate: Brundage Mountain, eight miles from McCall, gets an accumulated 320 inches of snow each year.
Must visit:The Cascade Mountains area boasts 800 miles of snowmobile trails and 44 miles of groomed cross-country skiing trails. Consider renting sleds or skis during a driving break and find your own path in the woods.
San Juan Skyway, Colorado
Distance: 236 miles of road.
Nearby City: Durango, Colo.
Climate: Sitting 6,512 feet above sea level, Durango gets plenty of powder-fresh snow each year. Temperatures typically hover between 10 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit during winter months.
Must visit:Durango for any number of winter activities, including dog sledding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides and an annual winter festival in late January.
Seward Highway, Alaska
Distance: 120 miles from Anchorage to Seward, Alaska.
Nearby City: Seward, Alaska.
Climate: Average snowfall in Anchorage is 90 inches each winter, with much more snow in the higher elevations.
Must visit:The Seward Polar Bear Jumpoff Festival on the third weekend of January. In 1986, a large group of swimmers wearing costumes jumped into Resurrection Bay, and since then increasingly large crowds have flocked to Seward to participate. The festival now includes craft bazaars, turkey bowling, oyster-slurping contests and local musicians.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Distance: 13 miles of park road from the city of Medora to Wind Canyon Overlook.
Nearby City: Medora, N.D.
Climate: Winters are mostly cold and windy, with occasional heavy snows.
Must visit:The 126-year-old Maltese Cross Cabin was Theodore Roosevelt’s first home in the Dakota Territory. It is open for self-guided viewing during the winter months.
Utah 12 Scenic Byway, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Distance: 122 miles of road.
Nearby City: Bryce Canyon, Utah.
Climate: At 8,000 feet, and 1,000 feet higher than Zion National Park, the area will get significant snow October through March, with annual averages of around 100 inches.
Must visit:Drive to Rainbow Point–18 miles from the park entrance–and hit 13 viewpoints on the way back. Snowshoes and cross-country skis are allowed on the plateau top of the point.