The Five Best (& Five Worst) Stretches of Texas Highway
Truth be told -- if you take out the urban panoramas of strip malls and national franchises -- there's probably more of the former than the latter.
Let's look at the five best first. Obviously, we could load up the list with Hill Country roads -- 71, 281, even the loop around Austin are all lovely. But for the sake of variety, we are leaving them out, with the stern warning that if you must, if at all possible, drive on 281 between Canyon Lake and Marble Falls at least once.
So, with that disclaimer...
5. State Highway 118 near Big Bend
Wide open spaces -- you can get them in lots of places in Texas, but having some mountains relieves the monotony. State Highway 118, the gateway to Big Bend National Park, offers great vistas and some of that offbeat funkiness only isolated West Texas can provide.
4. U.S. Highway 59 in East Texas
We tend to give East Texas and its Piney Woods ways a bit of grief, but that's only because the area seems to have more than its share of dumb criminals. Must be the meth. But driving on 59 can be terrific -- rolling blacktop, little to no traffic, and every so often some time-capsule town pops up. We wouldn't recommend driving it at night if you weren't very, very sure of your engine, though.
3. Highways 180/62 east of El Paso
Guadalupe Peak is the tallest point in Texas (and really, it's not all that tall, at about 8,700 feet). When you're driving back to El Paso from your Carlsbad Caverns trip, you wind around it and El Capitan, getting great angles. You will also probably get a ticket when you fail to realize you have got up to 90 mph on the endless downhill slope, and a hidden radar gun has nailed you.