6 of North America's Loneliest Roads

A long, deserted road in the forest

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You may think you like spending time alone. Perhaps that's true when it comes to reading a book or catching a movie. But what if you were on a road that stretched for hundreds of miles through some of the most remote areas in North America, with nary another human around? Would you enjoy that kind of extreme solitude?

If your answer is yes, then grab your car keys (preferably to a four-wheel-drive vehicle), fill up the tank and head out on the highway to these incredible deserted roads in North America.

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U.S. Route 50, Nevada

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They don't call it "the loneliest road in America" for nothing. U.S. Route 50 runs coast to coast from Ocean City, Maryland, to Sacramento, California, but a specific 287-mile stretch in Nevada was awarded the honor in 1986 from Life magazine.

The moniker stuck, and if you've ever driven it, you know why: For miles and miles, the scenery looks pretty much the same. There are a few gas stations and a few small stores that sport kitschy “I survived Route 50” signs. But that's about it.

In 2015, a Newsweek writer described what it's like to traverse this deserted section of highway: "You don’t have to be Lawrence of Arabia to cross Nevada in a car, but the journey does require a very specific skill set: sitting for a very long time; knowing where the next gas station is; knowing how to find NPR amid the desert’s FM fuzz; and most important of all, knowing how to be alone."

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Dalton Highway, Alaska

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Have you ever seen the TV show "Ice Road Truckers"? If so, then you've seen Alaska's Dalton Highway — a "414-mile stretch of gravel and dirt that runs from the town of Livengood up to Prudhoe Bay and through some of Alaska’s most remote wilderness," according to this Alaska travel website. You'll pass by only three small towns along the way, and for the last 240 miles of the drive, there are no gas stations, restaurants or any kind of services.

Mostly truckers use the road, which can be steep and, depending on the weather, may be muddy or icy. In the winter, temperatures as low as 82 below 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.

A New York Times writer spent three days traveling the route and described some of the highway’s various perils. "Those, I had found, included fog, fatigue, flat tires, facing traffic, passing traffic, potholes, gravel, grizzly bears, rain, snow, sleep-inducing silence, sudden engine failure, an abruptly shattered windshield and running out of gas."

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South Point Road, Hawaii

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Hawaii's South Point Road has a pretty literal name. It will take you to the southernmost point not only of the Hawaiian islands, but of the entire United States. Located on the big island of Hawaii, it starts off as a two-lane, paved road before narrowing to one lane and becoming more rugged. The scenery is gorgeous: 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, and as this Hawaiian tourism website says, when the road ends you can park and walk the rest of the way to the edge of the cliff to the true Ka Lae.

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Interstate 70, Utah

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For 110 miles on the portion of Interstate 70 that winds through Utah, there are no services. In fact, it's the longest stretch of road in the U.S. interstate highway system without any gas, food, bathrooms — or even exits, for that matter, according to the Deseret News in Utah. Once you start traveling the stretch between the towns of Salina and Green River, there isn't so much as a legal way to turn around.

But don't worry: There are billboards to warn motorists so they can plan accordingly. "Cars approaching the longest-stretch-without-services from the west have ample warning in the form of a huge billboard a couple of miles from the Salina exit paid for by the city that announces “No Bull, No Service for 110 Miles,” the Deseret News reports.

However, the signage in Green River isn't nearly as prominent, and that's what leads to some folks running out of gas quite literally in the middle of nowhere.

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Trans-Taiga Road, Quebec

Photo: peupleloup/Wikimedia Commons

Let's head north to Canada for the next two lonely roads, including the Trans-Taiga Road in Quebec, an extremely remote gravel road that travels, appropriately, 666 kilometers (about 462 miles) between Brisay and Caniapiscau with no towns or settlements, though there are a few spots where you can get food, fuel and a place to sleep.

This road has at least two superlatives to its name: One end of this road is the farthest you can get from a town on any road in North America. And in opposition to Hawaii's South Point, this is the farthest north you can travel on a road in Eastern Canada.

For scenery, you'll cruise by spruce and jack pine forests, bogs, rocks (watch out for big ones in the road) and low hills.

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Tuktoyaktuk Road, Northwest Territories

Photo: Ian Mackenzie/Wikimedia Commons

Yes, that's ice you see in the photo. No, the road isn't really even a road at all. It's the frozen Mackenzie River, which is why Tuktoyaktuk Road is open only in the winter, usually from mid-December until the end of April.

Officials say the route, which is about 116 miles long connecting Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in Canada's Northwest Territories, likely will not open in the winter of 2017-2018. Instead, a new all-season road will open, a project that's been in the works for decades, the Toronto Star reports.

Which is a good thing, since driving on Arctic ice sounds scary. “Speed limits on the ice roads are enforced for your safety,” N.W.T. Tourism tells the Star. “Dangerous holes can open in the road if speeding traffic creates waves under the ice.”