What's the longest possible drive?

Taking off from a thread on the longest distance between two cities altogether, I was wondering, what’s the longest direct city-to-city route (obviously, any drive can be made long if you go up and down every side street) that can be driven on established roadways?

I know that the theoretical Pan-American highway has a road stoppage in Panama…but I suppose a drive from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to that stoppage point would be pretty long.

But what about on the Europe-Africa-Asia landmass? Is it possible to drive a motor vehicle on established roadways straight from Cape Town to Vladivostok? Or Seoul? Or Saigon? Perhaps from Saigon to Oslo?

I have no scientific basis of fact on this. In fact, I’ll just throw it out as a question, or an addendum onto the OP:

Could you drive from, say, Anchorage to Buenos Aires?

You can’t drive through parts of Panama. The Pan American Highway stops there and you have to get your car on a boat.

There also is no bridge that goes over the Panama Canal I believe.

I believe that you could start from the southern end of the Pan American Highway in Central America and make it to Prudhoe Bay if you get permission from the oil companies to drive up there.

I think you could probably drive from far eastern Russia to Gibraltar and that would be a pretty damn long drive. Just a WAG, but perhaps someone knows more about it…

Longest possible drive: until you run out of gas.

There is a bridge over the Panama Canal, the Bridge of the Americas, which opened in 1962, replacing the Thatcher Ferry. A second one is currently in construction.

East of Panama City, the paved road extends as far as Chepo, about 30 miles. Beyond that, there’s a bad gravel road, sometimes impassable in the rainy season, as far as Yaviza on the Chucunaque River in Darien. I’ve driven the road a couple of times.

The “Darien Gap” has been crossed by car at least three times that I know of, the first in 1960. However, this involved chopping a path through the jungle for the Jeeps or Land Rovers, winching them over rough spots, and ferrying them across the Atrato Swamp in Colombia.

The route from Prudhoe Bay to Panama has often been driven, but continuing on to South America requires shipping your vehicle by sea unless you are prepared to mount a similar expedition. (And a well-armed one at that, since Colombian guerillas infest the border area.)

World maps show a continuous system of roads between Cape Town and eastern Siberia (map of Russian road system). This would surely be the longest potential road trip in the world. The question would be whether parts of the route might be impassable either because of maintenence or political problems.

I asked a similar question a while ago. It got some good responses so here you go:


You do not need permission to drive up to Prudhoe Bay anymore. I know a few people who have done it via motorcycle over the last couple of years. I wouldn’t mind trying it.

Cool, time to gas up the car and spend Christmas in Prudhoe Bay!

I’ve driven to Prudhoe, from Texas, about 20 years ago.

The trans-Siberia road is not completed, but they are working on it. There’s an interesting first-person perspective on the russian road-building process and completing that final, several hundred mile gap in last month’s (or possibly month before) Harper’s Magazine. Once completed, it will certainly be the longest continuous road within any one country.

Panama to Purhoe bay? Bah pikers. That is just a short drive if your name is Gary Sowerby. How about this

His co-driver Tim Cahill wrote a book called Road Fever, about this trip. A fun read.

And for this guy 14,642 miles was just a quick jaunt. How about this for a long drive

Damn, Rick you got it before me.

The OP doesn’t mention anything about roads. Just a road trip.

gimme an H2 Hummer and set me off from Tierra de Fuego to Point Barrow, Alaska and I’ll show you a road trip.

On a regulation course, apparently 515 yards. By comparison, Alan Shepard only hit the thing 400 yards, and he had less gravity and no air resistance. :wink:


Yes, but the guy in Las Vegas wasn’t wearing a space suit either. And Shepard’s “club” was a rickety 2-piece mess of a sand wedge, not a regulation driver.


I used to live in Panama and drove that bridge most days. Where is the new one being built and are there online photos?

Also as a point of completeness for the others, there are (or were) two other bridges/crossings over the canal, one at the Atlantic end at the Gatun locks, and one at the Miraflores locks near, but not at, the Pacific end. Neither of those connect readily to the Pan American highway, so they aren’t relevant to the OP, but they do (or did) exist.

In the movie Tin Cup, Kevin Costner challenges Don Johnson (both professional golfers) to a driving-distance contest. Costner whacks his ball an impressive distance down the fairway, but Johnson simply turns ninety degress and drives his ball along a paved road running beside the course. Johnson’s shot bounces until it’s well out of sight.

Established roadways is a little vague. Do you mean metalled roads?


Not specifically. I wouldn’t necessarily even require paved. I merely mean roads that it would not require a specifically-designed-for-off-road-travel vehicle to traverse. Something that could be driven on in, say, a Ford Taurus or a Honda Civic.

Chaim Mattis Keller