It is finally spring, which means that it is time to start mapping out summer road trips. But which roads should you choose this year? For the experienced adventurer who has seen all the major national parks, monuments, and coastlines, there is a new game in town: America’s quietest highways.
With help of the Highway Performance Monitoring System, a new study by the GPS company Geotab gathered the “average annual daily traffic” data from every highway, interstate, and route more than 10 miles long in the country.
Those with the lowest average daily traffic in each state were given the title of “quietest,” although “least traveled” or “most remote” would also fit the bill.
If you’ve already cruised the rocky Pacific coastline on Highway 101, check out U.S. Route 395, which meanders through the “Oregon Outback”, a high-desert plain that covers two-thirds of the state. Or on the other side of the country, drive the 157-mile Route 201, which starts just north of Portland, Maine, and crosses the state in a near-beeline for the Quebec border.
If isolation is what you are looking for, Utah has a 355-mile portion of U.S. Route 50, also known as “America’s Loneliest Road.” While the road sees very few people, Route 50 passes by an abundance of nationally renowned attractions, including the Great Basin, Arches, and Canyonlands national parks.
Unsurprisingly, the quietest road in all 50 states can be found in Alaska. The James W. Dalton Highway, or State Route 11, is a 414-mile stretch of road, gravel, and ice that begins 80 miles north of Fairbanks. From there, it heads north across the Yukon River, through the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, over the invisible line of the Arctic Circle, and into the farthest reaches of the sparsely populated state.
In 2015, fewer than 200 vehicles trekked along the Dalton Highway, which ends in Deadhorse, Alaska.
America is famous for its massive highway system and epic road trips, which means adventurers have to work a little bit harder these days to avoid the throngs of tour buses. Maybe the answer can be found by piecing together the nation’s loneliest roadways.