Once in a Lifetime Mountain Drives

Once in a Lifetime Mountain Drives

Three routes that promise truly spectacular scenery

In Part 1 of our Road Trip series we took you all the way from Miami to Maui via the lavender fields of Provence. And if you haven’t got the driving bug out of your system, here’s another dose of open-road inspiration, taking in three mountain drives, from Switzerland to Colorado. So load up your favorite playlist, and start that engine…

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Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

This here is gold rush country. Named for the precious metals mixed in with the gravel of the roadway, the magnificent drive south to Durango brings you up close and personal with the Rocky Mountains in all their towering beauty. From Telluride your first stop is Ouray, a Wild West mining town and gateway to the Red Mountain Pass. If the scenery looks familiar to you, it might well be – some of the great Westerns were filmed here, including the John Wayne classic True Grit. On your way stop and explore one of the abandoned ghost towns that dot the route, testament to the former prosperity of the area in its Victorian heyday.

Pro Tip: On your way through Ouray, stop in at Mouse’s and grab a batch of their famous scrap cookies for the road.
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Chapman’s Peak Drive, South Africa

Winding along the coast from Cape Town’s Hout Bay to Noordhoek, Chapman’s Peak Drive, or Chappies to locals, offers expansive views along the southern coastline of the African Continent, with nothing but ocean between you and Antarctica. The drive along the toll road is only 9 kilometres but is packed with incredible vistas at every turn. When you reach Noordhoek, head to the Cape Point winery for a gourmet picnic lunch (order 24 hours in advance), accompanied by a glass of their award-winning Sauvignon Blanc.

Pro Tip: If you’re visiting in early Spring you might be lucky enough to spot southern right whales on their annual migration along the way.
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Simplon Pass, Switzerland

Driving the Simplon pass is both a test for your nerves and the chance to experience Swiss engineering at its finest. Linking Switzerland and Italy, this former smuggler’s route was widened on the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte, who wanted a way to transport his cannons into Italy. The many hairpin turns along the way bring you around impossibly steep corners and through narrow tunnels to reveal breathtaking views of the majestic Alps.
Starting early from Saas Fee, stop for coffee in the chic city of Brig before beginning your ascent. Specially designed snow chutes mean the road is passable all-year round, but attempting the pass in the middle of winter is not for the faint of heart.

Pro Tip: When you reach the Bernardine Hospice at the top of the pass make time to stop and take the in the spectacular scenery.
See all our chalets in the Swiss Alps

Jenny Cahill-Jones