Scenic Byways

About Scenic Byways

National Scenic Byways Program

The Federal Highway Administration's National Scenic Byways Program promotes the recognition and enjoyment of America's memorable roads.

The National Scenic Byways (NSB) Program was established under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, and reauthorized in 1998 under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Reauthorization is currently pending in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Under the program, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. There are 96 such designated Byways in 48 states. The Federal Highway Administration promotes the collection as the America's Byways™.

This program is founded upon the strength of the leaders for individual Byways. It is a voluntary, grassroots program. It recognizes and supports outstanding roads. It provides resources to help manage the intrinsic qualities within the broader Byway corridor to be treasured and shared. Perhaps one of the underlying principles for the program has been articulated best by the Byway leader who said, "the program is about recognition, not regulation."

Funding for Byways

The National Scenic Byways Discretionary Grants program provides funding for byway-related projects each year, as part of the Federal Highway Administrations Discretionary Grants Program. Projects to support and enhance National Scenic Byways, All-American Roads and State-designated byways are eligible. Applications are prepared online but submitted through the State's byway program agency.

Becoming an America's Byway

America's Byways™ are a distinctive collection of American roads, their stories and treasured places. They are roads to the heart and soul of America.

Joining this unique collection is a non-trivial task which involves much more than simply taking a few photos and filling out the online application. It can take months to prepare a byway and its organization for this process. Travelers can know that Byways that have successfully negotiated the program requirements will offer a truly exceptional experience.

Citizens and byway supporters considering submitting their byway for national recognition should explore the documents available on the online nomination system. Questions such as "What is designation all about?", "Why become an America's Byway?" and "How do I nominate my byway?" are answered there.

For more information, go to

Scenic Byways Program Backed by Strong National, Local Coalition

May 20, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) - More than thirty key and diverse national organizations and more than fifty local byways program advocates wrote Congressional leaders to describe the successes of the National Scenic Byways Program and to call for continuation of the program under any new federal surface transportation program. The writers ranged from AAA to the National Association of Counties.

Surface Transportation Legislation Moving: High Stakes for Trails, Scenic Byways, Boating and Fishing

February 28, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) - The nation’s recreational trails community is vitally interested in the efforts of the U.S. Congress to craft a new major surface transportation law. Nearly 500 national and regional organizations signed a letter coordinated by the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) to the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leadership on February 11th asking for continuation of the Recreational Trails Program. A similar letter will be sent to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

To read the RTP letter, click here.

For the last two decades, the nation’s surface transportation program has returned trail enthusiast-generated federal fuel taxes to fund construction and maintenance of trails serving all types of trail activities, motorized and non-motorized, urban and rural, warm weather and cold weather. The assistance is provided under the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), administered by the Federal Highway Administration and state trail programs. While small compared to most other surface transportation programs, RTP has a huge impact across the nation and in most states.

Many of the projects are under $50,000, but are vital to provide access to public lands through a bridge, a parking area or a connecting segment. As the letter to the committee’s leadership indicates, RTP projects provide immediate employment and long-term and sustainable economic benefits.

Since 1993, 50 states and the District of Columbia have received almost $700 million in RTP funds and more than 13,000 projects have been documented nationwide.

To view the CRT's searchable database on projects, click here.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces $22 Million in Grants for 207 Scenic Byways Projects

(Washington, DC) – Local communities in 42 states will receive more than $22 million in federal grants for 207 projects that improve and promote highways designated as scenic byways, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced on Monday, March 6.

The grants are part of the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program, which recognizes and enhances selected roads based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational or scenic qualities. The grants will be used for projects such as scenic overlooks, visitor information centers, pedestrian trails, bike paths, safety upgrades, and educational and promotional materials.

Scenic Byways Coalition Launches "Byways 2021"

The American Recreation Coalition’s Derrick Crandall, and Kevin Fry, President of Scenic America, were guest speakers at the bi-monthly Byway Leader Tele-Workshop sponsored by America’s Byways Resource Center on February 1. Speaking to byway leaders from around the nation, Mr. Crandall recalled the beginnings of the Scenic Byways Program, which was established by Congress in 1991. A new effort to insure an exciting future for America’s byways is now underway, he said, led by the same coalition of organizations whose work was key to the creation of the National Scenic Byways Program.

Building A Scenic Byways Program For The Future: A New and Exciting Role for the Byways Coalition

Washington, D.C. (November 17, 2005) Derrick Crandall, president of ARC, has announced that leaders in the transportation, recreation, conservation, tourism, heritage and economic development communities have agreed to revitalize the national coalition that led to the creation of the National Scenic Byways Program in 1991.

Order America's Byways Video

Click [here] to order a copy of the America's Byways video.