Most scenic route from NY to California

The Most scenic route from NY to California is an excellent road trip for anyone looking to experience some of the best US scenery. This route takes you through some of the most iconic landscapes in the country, including the Canyon Sweep, Jemez Mountain Trail, and the Bear Lake Loop.

One of the best road trips in the world is traveling across the USA by car. There are many historical sites, tiny villages, roadside attractions, and burger joints to visit and dine in this country. If you travel non-stop for 42 hours, covering 2,790 miles, you can drive from east to west or west to east. This gorgeous trip offers many possibilities for stopping along the way to explore certain cities or places while passing through a wide array of the country’s breathtaking landscapes. 

Your starting and destination towns, as well as the sights you hope to see along the way, will play a significant role in determining the precise driving route from New York to California that you should follow. The driving course from New York to California provides endless alternatives for making the most of your eight days in the automobile because of the vast distance to cover and the abundance of states and towns along the way. In this article, we’ve listed a few scenic routes from NY to California.

Map of the Most scenic route from NY to California

Highlights

  • Amish Country Scenic Drive
  • Ohio and Lake Erie Canalway3
  • Ohio River Scenic Byway
  • Ohio River Scenic Byway – Indiana Section
  • Wichita Mountains
  • Quartz Mountain State Park
  • Canyon Sweep
  • Jemez Mountain Trail
  • Bear Lake Loop

Day 1

New York, NY to Amish Country Scenic Drive

Start in the finest city on Earth! The city that never sleeps has something for everyone, whether you’re a native or just passing through on your incredible New York to California road trip. There are so many activities and sites that are distinctly New York City. The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Broadway, the Brooklyn Bridge, Soho, Central Park, the Empire State Building, etc., are just a few examples.

Depart from New York City and travel towards the Amish Country Scenic Drive because the journey will be long. Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch Country refers to Lancaster County. You may get a glimpse of a way of life that hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years by driving along its picturesque backcountry roads. Travel through charming towns filled with vintage charm as you learn about Amish history and culture. This excursion is a great day trip or weekend break because it is only a short drive from Baltimore and Philadelphia.

There are museums, theaters, cafes, boutiques, and art galleries in the thriving city of Lancaster. Visit Gallery Row on Prince Street to peruse the creations of regional artisans. Every month’s first Friday evening, over 90 galleries are open, allowing you to interact with artists and attend special parties. Explore the antique stores, glass workshops, and collectible stores on North Queen Street. Take note of the vibrant outdoor murals on many of the city’s structures.

Amish Country Scenic Drive to Ohio and Lake Erie Canalway

The Lake Erie Canalway is a different route worth taking. Drive through Ohio along the Lake Erie Canalway to get to Amish Country. Traveling along the Ohio and Erie Canalway, designated a National Heritage Area, illustrates its history as a pivotal link to the development of both Ohio and the country. The 308-mile waterway, constructed in the 1820s and 1830s, connected Lake Erie to the Ohio River and established a significant national transportation network. 

The route offers plenty of chances to get outside and explore while blending the vibrancy of big cities with the charm of little towns. Along the 100-mile Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath, you can stroll or ride a bike while taking in the natural splendor, numerous state parks, Cuyahoga National Park, wineries, and historic buildings. You can take a day off the main route and stop at Somerset, Pennsylvania.

Day 2

Ohio and Lake Erie Canal way to Ohio River Scenic Byway

On SR 39, travel toward the picturesque byway along the Ohio River from the Ohio and Lake Erie Canal. Discover the lifeline essential to early pioneers, industry, the Underground Railroad, and ancient peoples in Southern Ohio as you travel down the Ohio River. Discover unique historical and cultural places, recreational nature regions, and a variety of bustling and sleepy towns along the road. This route is convenient to many big cities, including Cleveland, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can pause in Sardis, Ohio, and continue traveling on day 3. 

Day 3

Ohio River Scenic Byway to Ohio River Scenic Byway – Indiana Section

Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are all included in the Ohio River Scenic Byway. The area of Indiana from Mount Vernon, close to the Illinois border, to Lawrenceburg, close to the Ohio border, is described in this picturesque drive. In addition to unusual rock formations left unglaciated during the ice age, Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home, Civil War and underground railway sites, well-preserved historic structures, and a plethora of state parks and National Forests brimming with outdoor recreation options are all included in this historic pathway. Visit Illinois’s adjacent Shawnee National Forest. The Garden of the Gods Recreation Area has tucked away within. Admire toadstool-shaped rocks, spires, sandstone stairs, caves, streams, and beautiful waterfalls formed about 320 million years ago. Following a long journey down the Ohio River Scenic Byway, halt in Rising Sun IN.

Day 4

Ohio River Scenic Byway – Indiana Section to Wichita Mountains

Reach the Wichita Mountains by continuing on Oklahoma Highway 49. The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has four main habitat types: rock lands, aquatic, mixed grass plains, and cross timbers. Each of them provides exceptional natural beauty, color, texture, and a wide variety of recreational activities. Just over an hour south of Oklahoma City, at exit 45 off of I-44, the journey on OK-49 begins. Before beginning this drive, consider taking a detour to the neighboring Fort Sill Historic Landmark and Museum, a 19th-century frontier army post with 50 buildings. Perhaps the most famous aspect of Fort Sill is that it served as Geronimo’s last residence and the location of his burial after his death in 1909.

Visit Eureka, Missouri, for a day off the main highway. You will cross ranches and farms as you travel west on OK-49 and approach Medicine Park. You might want to take a detour to Medicine Park by making a right onto Rex Leaf Drive. As you approach the downtown, take a moment to study the slightly amusing town regulations. The hamlet is in an exquisitely picturesque environment thanks to Medicine Creek, which passes through it.

Day 5

Wichita Mountains to Quartz Mountain State Park

Along Oklahoma Highway 44, Quartz Mountain State Park is in plain sight. One of Oklahoma’s largest state parks is Quartz Mountain, which lies at the western extremity of the Wichita Mountains. One of the oldest mountain ranges in the country is the mountain itself. It was once about 20,000 feet high, but ongoing erosion has lowered it to its present height of 2,040 feet. Granite consists of many different minerals, including quartz, which gives the mountain its magical sheen in the sunlight. The scenic trip begins in Blair, a little cotton farming village on US-283 north of US-62 from Altus. The Quartz Mountains welcome you to the area to the north of the town. You cross the North Fork Red River traveling north on OK-44 before arriving at OK-44A, which goes to Quartz Mountain State Park.

Quartz Mountain State Park to Canyon Sweep

Continue to Canyon Sweep after leaving Quartz Mountain State Park. The stretch of land between Caprock Canyons State Park and Palo Duro Canyon State Park offers panoramic vistas of canyons and the distinct geology of the traditional High Plains and Rolling Plains of Texas Panhandle. Quitaque, where this scenic trip departs, is located northwest of Canyon. You can go east on TX-86 from Turkey or Silverton to Quitaque. Even though this drive does not traverse Caprock Canyons State Park, consider taking a detour to discover its delights by traveling north on Farm Road 1065.

The Red River, the longest river in North America not to originate in a mountain range, is below, cutting its way through the Canyon. Take a day off from the main route and stop in Vega, Texas.

Day 6

Canyon Sweep to Jemez Mountain Trail

Continue to Jemez Mountain Trail from Canyon Sweep. In a region rich in Spanish and Native American history, the Jemez Mountain Trail crosses the desert, canyons, lush forest, and more. For a day filled with adventure and memories, explore cliff dwellings, pueblos, mesas, red rock buttes, and waterfalls while making time for hiking, cycling, swimming, and fishing. 

You can see Jemez Falls on the way. The 1-mile round-trip stroll from Jemez Falls Campground allows you to get up close. Proceed to the top of the falls or stop at the viewpoint. To wade in the shallow pool at the top, bring water shoes. Whichever option you choose, the whole area is perfect for a picnic. After a long drive down the trail, you might make a stop in San Ysidro, New Mexico.

Day 7

Jemez Mountain Trail to Bear Lake Loop

You cannot miss the Bear Lake loop from the end of the Rim of the World Scenic Byway and heading west on CA-18 to Victorville and the I-15. Rocky Mountain National Park’s Bear Lake Loop is at the end of Bear Lake Road, 9 miles from the exit at Highway 36. Due to the area’s extreme popularity, you might consider using the free park shuttle to get to the trailhead during the busiest travel season. 

Since this is a natural route, the park advises taking the loop in the opposite way to an interpretive guide produced by the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. You’ll get a spectacular view of Hallett Peak close to the start of the loop, along the lake’s eastern edge. You’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of Half Mountain, just in front of Longs Peak, as you continue to the lake’s northern shore.

Day 8

Bear Lake loop to California

You can reach California a few miles from Bear Lake Loop. Visit Yosemite Falls and Yosemite National Park if you want to spend some time in California. Visitors from all around the world enjoy Yosemite Falls. Snowmelt accounts for a large portion of the water that cascades down the falls and into the lake below. Yosemite Falls is the fifth-highest waterfall in the world and measures 2,425 feet from top to bottom. The falls are most impressive in May and June; after the snow melts, they become a trickle, and you must wait for cooler weather to enjoy them once again. Enjoy your brief visit to California, where there is much to see and do.

FAQs

Best driving route from new york to California

The best driving route from New York to California would be to take the I-80 W. This route will take you through some of the most scenic areas in the country, including the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Great Basin. You can also take a detour to visit Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, both located in California.

How many days to drive from Los Angeles to new york

The drive from Los Angeles to New York will take approximately five days if you take the I-80 W route. This route will take you through some of the most scenic areas in the country.

Driving from new york to Los Angeles via route 66

Taking route 66 from New York to Los Angeles will add a few days to your trip, but it is worth it to experience this iconic road. This route will take you through some of the most historic towns in America, including Chicago, Illinois, and Amarillo, Texas. You can also take a detour to visit the Grand Canyon, which is located in Arizona.

The southern route from new york to California

The southern route from New York to California is the I-40 E. This route will take you through some of the most scenic areas in the country, including the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. You can also take a detour to visit Nashville , Tennessee, and Memphis, Tennessee.

What is the best time to drive from New York to California?

Spring or fall is the best time to drive from New York to California. The weather is generally milder during these times, making for a more enjoyable drive. You should avoid driving during the summer, as the temperatures can be quite hot, especially in the southwest desert regions.

New York to California road trip time

If you drive the I-80 W route, your New York to California trip will take about five days. The Sierra Nevada mountains and the Great Basin will be among the most beautiful regions in the country when you travel this path. On a side trip, you may also choose to explore Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park.

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