01/12/2011 08:20 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The 6 Most Incredible California Road Trips (PHOTOS)

California is the third-largest state in the USA, and you could easily spend weeks navigating its blue highways and rural byways, safely distant from the nerve-jangling, always-jammed interstate system. These classic road-tripping routes are soaked in enough epic scenery to make each deliciously slow, winding mile of your detour worthwhile.

An essential road-trip companion is the California Road & Recreation Atlas (Benchmark Press), which answers the perennial question, 'What's over there?'. With a 4WD vehicle, it'll take you off-road and help you get unstuck from highway traffic jams courtesy of locals-only back roads.

Text and captions courtesy of Lonely Planet.