8 of North America's Loneliest Roads

Interstate 70 running through canyons in Utah

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You may think you like spending time alone now, but when you embark on a journey down one of North America's loneliest roads, you could find yourself desperate for the sight of another soul. These remote routes stretch for hundreds of miles through barren territory, sometimes not offering as much as a gas station for hours. They challenge drivers to maintain focus and navigate inherently harsh terrain, be it Arctic ice, steep mountains, or scorching deserts. Some are even off limits to all vehicles that don't have four-wheel drive.

If you're up for the challenge, then fill up the tank and head out on one of these eight lonely roads. (And don't expect to have cell service.)

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U.S. Route 50, Nevada

Nevada Highway 50 running through open fields

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U.S. Route 50 runs about 400 miles from Ocean City, Maryland, to Sacramento, California, but a certain 287-mile stretch was dubbed the "loneliest road in America" by LIFE in 1986. The transcontinental highway's most desolate section traverses the vast desert valleys and basins of central Nevada, crossing 17 mountain passes along the way. Parched land is about all for sightseeing besides a handful of gas stations and small stores sporting kitschy “I survived Route 50” signs.

Carson City — the western entrance to this barren stretch — sells Highway 50 Survival Guides that include tourist attractions and historically significant stops along this iconic route, formerly used for the 19th-century Pony Express. According to Travel Nevada, national parks, ghost towns, old mining communities, and a handful of saloons are included.

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Dalton Highway, Alaska

Aerial view of Alaska Dalton Highway in autumn

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Alaska's 414-mile Dalton Highway runs through some of the state's most remote wilderness from Livengood to Prudhoe Bay. It passes by only three small towns (Coldfoot, Wiseman, and Deadhorse), and for the last 240 miles of the drive, there are no gas stations, restaurants, or any kind of services.

As was shown on the History Channel series "Ice Road Truckers," this lonely haul route is also treacherous — not least for a semi-trailer. Part gravel, part dirt, Dalton Highway is tremendously steep (10% to 12% grades), sometimes muddy or icy, and prone to tire-flatting potholes and washboard. In the winter, temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit have been recorded. Rental cars are not allowed on this stretch of road, which was originally an access road for construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that now lines the Dalton Highway.

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South Point Road, Hawaii

South Point Road going through open fields in Hawaii

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As its name suggests, Hawaii's South Point Road will actually take you to the southernmost point not only of the Hawaiian Islands, but of the entire U.S. Located on the Big Island, the route starts off as a two-lane, paved road before narrowing to one lane and becoming more rugged. Though lonely, the scenery is gorgeous, featuring macadamia nut groves, pasture land with grazing cows, a Mauna Loa lava flow, and the Kamoa Wind Farm.

The Hawaiian name for South Point is Ka Lae. At the end of the road, people can park and walk to the edge of the cliff to the true Ka Lae.

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Trans-Taiga Road, Quebec

Trans-Taiga Road in northern Quebec

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The Trans-Taiga Road in Quebec is an extremely remote gravel road that travels about 460 miles between Brisay and Caniapiscau with no towns or settlements, though there are a few spots that offer food, fuel, and places to sleep. This road has at least two superlatives to its name: One end of it is reportedly the farthest you can get from a town on any road in North America, and another point is the farthest north you can travel on a road in Eastern Canada.

The scenery, however, is rewarding. Travelers cruise by spruce and jack pine forests, bogs, rocks (watch out for big ones in the road), and low-lying hills.

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Interstate 70, Utah

Canyons in the distance on I-70 at sunset

Utah-based Photographer Ryan Houston / Getty Images

The 110-mile portion of Interstate 70 that winds through Utah is the longest stretch of road in the U.S. interstate highway system without motorist services. There are no gas stations, no bathrooms, and no exits. Between the towns of Salina and Green River, there isn't even as much as a legal way to turn around.

Ample billboards warn motorists coming from the west of the long, barren stretch ahead, but the signage in Green River, on the eastern side, isn't as prominent. The service stations on either side sell dozens of gas containers per week to folks who have depleted their tanks on I-70.

The highway's one redeeming quality is its views. Surrounded by otherworldly landscapes of fiery sandstone, this portion of the road doubles as the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, one of the few U.S. interstate highways to be listed as a National Scenic Byway.

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Highway 104, New Mexico

Highway 104 disappearing into the horizon at sunset

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New Mexico's Highway 104 runs 110 miles west from Tucumcari to the town of Las Vegas (not Nevada), traversing red rock mesas and vast sagebrush-covered plains along the way. It's been called "the loneliest road in New Mexico" due to its lack of traffic and minimal services. There are a few small towns along the route, including Trementina, Trujillo, and Alta Vista.

Despite its remoteness, some travel this road specifically for the scenery. Highway 104 offers spectacular views as it climbs Corazon Hill, crosses rolling llanos, and runs alongside steep plateaus.

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Highway 160, Arizona

Highway 160 curving along red rock mountains

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Though it's quiet, offering little in the way of populated stops, the Arizona section of Highway 160 — stretching about 160 miles between U.S. 89 in Cameron and the Four Corners — is packed with cultural and historical relevance. The route travels through Navajo Nation, the largest land area retained by an indigenous tribe in the U.S., and alongside supposed dinosaur tracks before leading travelers into Utah's Monument Valley. Two small towns, Tuba City and Kayenta, provide food and fuel.

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Trans-Labrador Highway, Newfoundland and Labrador

Trans-Labrador Highway, a dirt road, ascending into the clouds

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Though it's the primary public road in Labrador, this region of Canada is extremely isolated, located just a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle. Along its some 700 miles long — stretching from Newfoundland and Labrador's border with Quebec, following the curve of the East Coast, and ending at Blanc-Sablon in Quebec — drivers will encounter long patches of gravel, steep grades, narrow bridges, and not many other people. It does pass through a few towns, such as Labrador City and Goose Bay, but the region is overall quite undeveloped. Drivers must prepare for freak storms and no cell service.