As car enthusiasts, we all fantasize about either flogging our favorite sports cars and taking long-distance, continent-crossing road trips. While the recipes may differ slightly, for our ideal automotive experiences, there’s usually one constant — a great road. Us car journalists wax poetic about carving up stellar driving roads in sports cars that we usually don’t own, it’s sort of the job description. However, the truth is that most people — us included — don’t see great driving roads as much as we’d like to.
There aren’t as many truly special driving roads as enthusiasts would like, especially here in America, where are roads are mostly flat, straight, and boring. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of incredibly special driving arounds around the world, though. Since our reader-base is worldwide, let’s all discuss our favorite driving roads, as a sort of service to anyone who wants to seek them out.
For me, the best driving road I’ve ever experienced was also my first in this job — the massive stretch of serpentine road that connects Creel to Batopilas, in Chihuahua, Mexico, and runs through Copper Canyon. A Google Maps search simply calls the road “Manuel Gómez Morín”, named after a political activist born in Batopilas. Honestly, though, I don’t care what it’s called, it’s sensational.
When you think of great driving roads, you typically don’t think of Mexico. It’s usually Italy or Romania, right? Well, this road in Copper Canyon is one of the finest in the world and I’ll fight any man who says otherwise. It has everything a great driving road needs: regular elevation changes, countless twists and turns of varying difficulty, gorgeous scenery, and a surprising amount of danger. There weren’t many guardrails to speak of when I last drove it back in 2015, so maybe it’s changed since then, but back then it was downright terrifying in spots. Thousand foot drop-offs with no guardrails, falling boulders, and constant blind corners make the Mexican canyon road both frightening and exhilarating.
To be perfectly honest, I still don’t know how I survived, being the idiot punk kid I was (and still am). One mistake and my passenger and I were toast and yet I still tried keeping up with more talented drivers in front of me, while behind the wheel of a manual BMW 340i. Still, despite my foolishness, I can still remember the thrill of that road; the combination of fear and joy and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment after knowing I’d made it to the other side unscathed.
If you’re in Mexico, California, or Texas, seek the road out one of these days and make the trip to Batopilas. The road is incredible, the scenery is gorgeous, and the town of Batopilas is wonderful; it’s a historic old silver mining town, filled with beautiful buildings, delicious food, and charming culture. If you’ve driven a road that took your breath away the way this Copper Caynon road did, please share it in the comments.