What makes a hazardous road? Often it’s the remoteness, the plunging precipices, a high population of extremely poor drivers or a treacherous combination of each. Perhaps more important, what makes a dangerous road worth driving? Sometimes it’s the destination itself, and sometimes it’s views and thrills that are unparalleled. Here are five that may be worth the trouble.
- “The Snake,” Mulholland Drive from the Rock Store to Kanan Road, Southern California – This crest-hugging road runs from Hollywood to Malibu, but the true starting point is the Rock Store, where every day hot rodders and motorcyclists gather. The Reward: Great views of L.A. and the chance to hang out in the Rock Store parking lot with serious automotive enthusiasts.
- Highway 550, Ouray to Silverton, Colorado – It’s a mere 25 miles, but many of them take you up to an elevation of 11,000 feet and over the Red Mountain Pass. If you don’t pass out from the lack of oxygen, you’ll probably be faint from the lack of guardrails or any other impediment that would keep your car from plunging thousands of feet. The Reward: Views of the San Juan Mountains that quite literally take your breath away.
- The Skalkaho Pass, between Hamilton and Phillipsburg, Montana – Some say this old Indian trail connecting the Bitterroot and Flint Creek Valleys in Montana is only for the brave and foolish, because of gravel and ungraded stretches that will trash the best shocks and brakes. The Reward: Nonpareil visual access to the Sapphire Mountains.
- Highway I-15, from Los Angeles to Nevada – Anyone who says they haven’t broken the speed limit on this accident-prone interstate stretch between LA and Las Vegas is probably lying. It’s hilly, with tons of high and low spots, and California and Nevada State Troopers lie in wait everywhere. The Reward: Vegas baby!
- The Cross Bronx Expressway, New York, N.Y. – Built between 1948 and 1972 across the Bronx in New York, the idea was to move traffic between New Jersey and Long Island. In reality, it’s mostly a bumper-to-bumper parking lot with no service stops and few pullouts for emergencies. The Reward: Access to Long Island and its many attractions.