SR 706 draws magazine’s praise as scenic drive

The state highway leading up to Mount Rainier National Park’s main entrance has been named on the top 10 most picturesque drives in America by Country magazine.

The magazine’s November issue includes a special 32-page section highlighting the country’s most magnificent byways.

In creating its list, Country editors asked scenic photographers to pick the most beautiful byways. They came up with a list of roads that editors then narrowed down to include all parts of the country and drives spanning quiet country roads and highways with vast skylines.

Here is what the magazine said about state Route 706: “Also known as the ‘road to paradise,’ Washington Route 706 meanders through ancient forests, winds alongside the rocky Nisqually River and hugs Mount Rainier’s rugged terrain, all while snaking up the volcano’s southern slope. Big leaf maples and alders line the route when it runs alongside a creek or a tumbling river.”

These are the other roads that made the 2013 Best Scenic Roads list:

Oregon Coast Highway: Offers scenic views, forested headlands and sandy beaches. The ocean is often within sight of the road, which offers easy access to more than 80 Oregon state parks and recreation areas.

Door County Coastal Byway (Wisconsin): Wisconsin’s state Route 42 is a blend of vineyards, quaint harbor villages, park retreats and bayside sunsets. Cherry and apple orchards border many of the roadways between villages.

Utah’s Red Rock Country: Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 runs between two of the Southwest’s most spectacular national parks – Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef.

Natchez Trace Parkway (Mississippi): This parkway takes visitors through countryside and cities, past battlefields and barns. There are no commercial vehicles allowed on the route, making it a slow, relaxing journey. This timeworn path runs through three states, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

Mount Desert Island Loop (Maine): Best known as home to Acadia National Park, Maine’s Mount Desert Island is a destination with rocky coasts and magical forests.

Blue Grass Valley Road (Virginia): Tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains of northern Virginia, this area is a little-known haven where the vistas along this scenic road never fail to comfort and charm.

Going-to-the-Sun Road (Montana): This famed 50-mile road takes visitors up and over Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. It offers amazing vistas, wildflower meadows and plenty of wildlife watching opportunities.

Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway (Idaho): Travelers can recharge their body and soul driving up Idaho state Route 21 from outside Boise to Stanley Lake amid the Sawtooth Mountains.

Seward Highway (Alaska): Designated a National Forest Scenic Byway and an All-American Road, the highway travels 127 miles along scenic roads that pass through one of North America’s most scenic wildernesses.