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Best Road Trip in the Middle of Nowhere: Marathon to Presidio, TX
Route: U.S. Highway 385, FM-170 (160 miles)
The only companions you'll have during long stretches of this paved, two-lane road through Big Bend National Park are cacti and migratory birds. This is perhaps the most isolated of all U.S. national parks, but it's also one of the most dramatic, with desert, canyon and mountain landscapes. Santa Elena Canyon is worth the detour from the main park road to see its 1,500-foot drop-offs. Stop for lunch at the 1930's-era Starlight Theatre in the historic Terlingua Ghost Town. Movie buffs will marvel at the abandoned Western film sets at Contrabando.
Runner-Up: Great Basin Scenic Highway, Nevada