Travel is the name of the game when you have an RV. But certain roads simply aren’t safe for RVers. Narrow lanes, hairpin turns, and small tunnels are just a few of the things that can make a road difficult to navigate in an RV. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most dangerous roads for RV travel that you should probably avoid on your next trip.
1. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the nation’s best scenic drives—but it’s also one of the nation’s most dangerous roads for RV travel.
Be prepared for hairpin turns, steep grades, and narrow tunnels along the way. Numerous overhanging rocks and limited space also make travel difficult.
Vehicles driving the road can be no more than 21 feet long, 10 feet tall, and 8 feet wide. Even if your RV meets these requirements, you should be sure you’re up to the challenge of this dangerous road.
2. Million Dollar Highway, Colorado
The Million Dollar Highway, aka US Route 550, is a scenic drive through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. While it’s a beautiful drive, it can also be a harrowing experience in an RV.
Numerous steep grades, narrow roads (sometimes with no guardrails), switchbacks, and hairpin turns await you on this road. It’s extremely difficult to navigate in an RV, and little to no shoulder gives you little room for error.
3. 89A, Arizona
Easily one of the nation’s most dangerous roads for RV travel is Arizona’s 89A. In fact, 89A has something of a reputation as an extremely treacherous road.
Extremely steep, winding roads with numerous switchbacks present a challenging drive. The roads are also extremely narrow, and there’s a risk of falling rocks along the way. Even worse, the drive is extremely remote; if something goes wrong, it could be hard to get help.
4. Moki Dugway, Utah
Just northwest of the Valley of the Gods in Utah, you’ll find a truly intimidating road: the Moki Dugway. Carved out of a cliff face, this road features 3 miles of extremely steep, unpaved switchback roads. This makes it among the absolute most dangerous roads for RV travel.
The state of Utah recommends that only vehicles under 28 feet long and 10,000 pounds even attempt the drive. Even if you meet those specifications, be prepared for an extremely challenging journey.
5. James W. Dalton Highway, Alaska
James W. Dalton Highway in Alaska is an extraordinarily remote road with plenty of challenges. The road runs 414 miles through the Alaskan wilderness, with only three small towns along the route. This and other factors help make this an extremely dangerous road for RV travel.
The road is largely unpaved, alternating between gravel and dirt along the way. If you decide to take on this road, ensure you have all the food, supplies, and warm clothes you could possibly need.
6. Teton Pass Highway, Wyoming
Teton Pass Highway, also known as Highway 22, runs through the Teton mountain range. This narrow two-lane road features steep grades, hairpin turns, and often treacherous weather conditions. Plus, local moose frequently cross the road, which means a risk of collisions that can seriously damage an RV.
Due to these factors, the Teton Pass Highway is a dangerous road for RV travel. If you decide to take it on, be sure your RV is in tip-top condition.
7. Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California
Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway is among the Sierra Nevada’s least traveled passes, and for good reason. Despite gorgeous views, this road has a number of features that help make crossing it a dangerous road for RV travel.
The road features steep grades and hairpin turns, many of them completely blind. Many sections of the road steepen suddenly, requiring you to shift into low gear. Even worse, a 23-mile stretch is less than two lanes and has no dividing lines.
8. Steese Highway, Alaska
The Steese Highway, also known as Alaska Route 6, is a mix of paved and gravel roads that winds through some of Alaska’s most beautiful wilderness. It starts from Fairbanks and extends to Circle, a small town on the Yukon River.
Despite its beauty, the Steese Highway presents several challenges for RV travel. Road conditions can vary greatly, with certain stretches being quite rough and pockmarked. Unpredictable weather can turn the drive into a dangerous affair, with potential for icy roads, heavy snow, and reduced visibility.
Services and amenities are sparse along this route, with long stretches devoid of gas stations or grocery stores. RVers must also be prepared for encounters with wildlife, which often wander onto the highway. For these reasons, those considering the Steese Highway in an RV should plan thoroughly, ensure their vehicle is in excellent condition, and keep emergency supplies on hand.
9. Tail of the Dragon, Tennessee
With a name like Tail of the Dragon, you know this Tennessee road means business. The road features an astonishing 300 curves packed into 11 short miles. These constant turns on narrow roads make Tail of the Dragon an extremely dangerous road for RV travel.
Steep drop-offs and cliffs, sections without guardrails, fallen rocks and other debris, and wild animals on the road are all a threat to RVers. Unless you have a smaller RV, avoiding this stretch of road is recommended.
10. Needles Highway, South Dakota
South Dakota’s Needles Highway takes its name from the narrow tunnels, or “needles,” found along the route. This, plus the narrow, windy nature of the road, makes it a very dangerous road for RV travel.
Only the smallest RVs even have a chance of navigating this road, and large RVs should avoid it entirely. If you have a smaller RV and want to give it a go, stick to the posted 25-mile speed limit and be sure you can clear any tunnels before entering.
If you decide to take on a dangerous road, there are several things you can do to make things safer:
- Research the route in advance, using tools like government travel sites and the online RV routing tool RV LIFE TripWizard.
- Avoid peak travel times and heavy traffic.
- Check weather reports and adjust your plans accordingly. (RV LIFE Trip Wizard can email you a weather report, so you’re always prepared!)
- Use a GPS app that accounts for your RV’s size and weight. (Once again, RV LIFE Trip Wizard has you covered here.)
- Take regular breaks to avoid fatigue and stay alert.
- Be sure to check for any road closures, construction, and anything else that can affect your travel plans.
- Invest in safety equipment like tire pressure monitors and backup cameras to make you safer on the road.
Avoid These 10 Dangerous Roads for RV Travel on Your Next Trip
Narrow lanes, unpaved roads, hairpin turns, and more all indicate that you’re on a dangerous road for RV travel. In these cases, your best bet is usually to find a different route. But if you do take on the challenge, be sure you and your rig are up to the challenge.
What is the most dangerous road you’ve traveled in your RV?