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About the Scenic Byways Program

Nominating a Route for National Designation

Scenic BywaysUnder the National Scenic Byways 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.

National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads are collectively referred to as "America's Byways."

Touring in Alaska
© Alaska TIA

There are 96 National Scenic Byways and only 21 All-American Roads in the country. The All-American Road designation is the most prestigious of the two national designations.

Who can file a nomination?

Anyone may nominate a road or highway for possible designation by the Secretary, but the nomination must be submitted through a state's official scenic byway agency and include a corridor management plan designed to preserve and enhance the unique qualities of the byway. Applicant's are strongly encouraged to demonstrate widespread support for the nomination by local community and business leaders.

What are the benefits of a national designation?

  • Promotion of the corridor by the FHWA, nationally and internationally, through the America’s Byways map and through other public and private cooperative projects.
  • Improved eligibility for federal grant funds for developing and implementing corridor management, marketing and interpretive plans.
  • Development of new regional partnerships and levels of cooperation by communities and businesses working toward common goals.
What are the requirements for national designation?

To qualify as a National Scenic Byway or an All-American Road, a road or highway must meet several basic requirements:

  • Be designated as a State Scenic Byway
  • Safely and conveniently accommodate two-wheel-drive automobiles with standard clearances.
  • Accommodate bicycle and pedestrian travel, where feasible.
  • Safely accommodate conventional tour buses.
  • Have a completed Corridor Management Plan that meets FHWA requirements.

Additionally, to be designated as a National Scenic Byway, a road must possess at least one of the six intrinsic qualities (archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic). The significance of the features contributing to the distinctive characteristics of the corridor’s intrinsic qualities must be recognized throughout a multi-state region.

Ferry Byway Flag photo
Crew raise the America's Byways flag on the MV Malaspina. September 4, 2002

To receive an All-American Road designation, a road must possess multiple intrinsic qualities that are nationally significant and contain one-of-a-kind features that do not exist elsewhere. The road or highway must also be considered a "destination unto itself." That is, the road must provide an exceptional traveling experience so recognized by travelers that they would make a drive along the highway a primary reason for their trip.

How often are national nominations accepted?

Nominations for National Scenic Byway and All-American Road designations are accepted by the Federal Highway Administration every three to five years. Nominations were accepted in March 2005. The next round of nominations is expected to be solicited between 2008 and 2010.

Additional Resources Available for Download

FHWA has released a Designation Readiness Worksheet and several articles to help you prepare a nomination. Please click on the following links to view these documents:

National Scenic Byways Contact Information

For additional information please contact the National Scenic Byways Resource Center: