Photos: 5 Classic American Drives

DenaliWonder LakeMount McKinleyStampede Trail, Bus 142FlagstaffTaos PuebloSt. Louis CemeteryArizonaSanta Ynez ValleyThe Hitching PostFoxen WineryLos Padres National ForestWillis TowerGrand Canyon South RimGateway ArchDisneylandBryce CanyonDead Horse State ParkBryce CanyonBryce Canyon
Photos
In Into the Wild, Christopher McCandless's last great adventure took shape near Denali National Park & Preserve, in Alaska.
To explore the Alaskan wilderness yourself, make the scenic drive from Fairbanks to Denali, then hop a bus to Wonder Lake.
Denali's 6-million-plus acres are home to grizzlies, caribou, Dall sheep, and Mt. McKinley.
McCandless's adventure has sparked interest in the Stampede Trail, where visitors seek out Bus 142, the abandoned bus where he took refuge and later died.
The South and Southwest come alive as Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) discover themselves and America in the 1960s counterculture classic Easy Rider.
Taos, N.M., is the site of several Easy Rider scenes. As you pass through, carve out an afternoon to tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Taos Pueblo.
— Courtesy s_mestdagh/Flickr
End your Easy Rider tour in New Orleans and visit St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, where the guys' infamous bad trip went down.
— Courtesy doctorow/Flickr
Much of Easy Rider takes place along Route 66, which is overlapped today by parts of I-40. If you begin where the twosome hit the open road, in Death Valley, Calif., then, like the boys, you'll be ready to refuel by Flagstaff, Ariz.
— Courtesy jm3/Flickr
Sideways is a tour through one of the less-trafficked areas of California wine country, the Santa Ynez Valley.
In Buellton, you can dig into Miles's (Paul Giamatti's) favorite smoked-then-grilled duck breast with apricot-ginger sauce, at the Hitching Post II restaurant.
— Kirk Irwin Photography
One stop on the duo's ramble through the region is Foxen Winery & Vineyard in Santa Maria, where Miles and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) refill their glasses to the brim when the pourer's not looking.
— Courtesy Foxen Winery
Wrap up your Sideways trip in Santa Ynez, a gateway village for Los Padres National Forest, where you can preempt a Giamatti-style wine belly by hiking the famous trails.
— Courtesy __piq/Flickr
National Lampoon's Vacation traces the classic cross-country route of the Griswold family, from their home in Chicago to St. Louis, Kans., the Grand Canyon, and Los Angeles.
Take in the view from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, where the Griswold fam paused for a millisecond before skipping town.
From your starting point in Chicago, drive down to St. Louis for a look at the Gateway Arch and its Museum of Westward Expansion.
End in Anaheim, so that the kids can experience that real-life inspiration for Walley World that's never "closed for repairs"—Disneyland.
Thelma & Louise director Ridley Scott actually shot all of the desert scenes in Utah. Plan your trip from Bryce Canyon (shown here) to Dead Horse Point.
Dead Horse Point is where Thelma and Louise's final flight into movie history was filmed. Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point offer opposing views of one gorgeous chasm.
In southwest Utah, Bryce Canyon is home to otherworldly orange rock formations that seem to morph in color and shape throughout the day.
Take a ranger-guided hike into Bryce Canyon to channel Thelma and Louise's spirit of adventure.

The open road is as much a part of American heritage as the silver screen, which is why we let the cinema—from <i>Thelma & Louise</i> to <i>Sideways</i>—guide us to our country's most inspiring drives.

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