Making Motor Trend Memories
Scenic drives in California
Making up approximately two-thirds of America's west coast, California exhibits some of the most diverse landscapes in North America. From the lush northern forests to the arid deserts of the south, California's natural beauty seems to transform every few hundred miles. Here are some car travel tips to guide you through the most scenic drives California has to offer.
The Mojave Desert
Travel along Twentynine Palms Highway, located just outside Palm Springs, and you'll soon find yourself among the Joshua trees in the middle of the breathtaking Mojave Desert. The extreme heat and lack of rain has made rugged durability a requirement in this region, so only the most adaptable plants and creatures thrive in the Mojave. Expect to encounter oases surrounded by coyotes, lizards, snakes, and vultures looking for a drink of water.
The Big Sur Coast
Widely regarded as one of the most visually stunning coastlines in the world, the Big Sur attracted the attention of great American writers like John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson. Follow the coast on California's famous Highway 1 to explore the rolling hills, cliffs and isolated beaches that comprise the region.
The Redwood National Forests are as iconic to California as Hollywood and surfing. The enormous and ancient trees can be some of the tallest and widest on Earth. Pick up US-101 and wind through the trees (some of which you can drive through) to spot wild elk, moose, eagles, and all manner of forest creatures.