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  • Writer's pictureBryan Donoghue

10 Thunderous Tracks for Road Tripping Through Red Rocks

a road winds through the red and brown sandstone rock formations of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah

Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, UT - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue


Nothing completes a road trip like the proper soundtrack. Ascending into the mountains, descending through the valleys. Winding through forests, ripping around hairpin turns, cruising under arches (in tree or rock form), traversing the most perilous of precipices and hugging those turns to avoid plummeting to certain doom.

But the music has to match the terrain. And when carving my way through the brilliant russet cliffs of the American Southwest, give me the instrumental onslaught of post-rock - waves and quells of mighty riffs building to the most epic of crashing crescendos, the fuzzy reverb of the guitar’s distortion laying a texture that vocals couldn’t hope to match.

In my 2+ years of living out on the West Coast I have developed a deep appreciation for the jagged, cragged red rocks of the American Southwest. They are entirely alien to anything in my past experience growing up in the Northeast, and have quickly become one of my favorite landscapes to drive through.

Grey stormclouds loom over brilliant red rocks in the Valley of Fire in Eastern Nevada. A somewhat crowded road winds throughout

Valley of Fire, NV - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue

And while this genre of music has always been one of my favorites for carving through the majestic snow-encrusted mountains of northern New England; the stark, ethereal color contrasts of the Southwest makes it all the more fitting.

With that, here are 10 great post-rock songs best listened to while tearing through a backdrop of blazing crimson sandstone. Since songs in this genre tend to be about 327 minutes long each, we’ve limited this list to just 10 songs this time around.

As with last week's camping playlist - for those of you with Spotify, there’s a link here and a player at the bottom to add these as a playlist to your own library. For our readers who prefer YouTube, we've put together a playlist over on the Pathloom YouTube channel of all the linked videos below.

Also as with last week's list - play it on shuffle, there’s still no method to this madness.

A brilliant striated red rock formation juts out of otherwise lush green scrubland in Kanab, Utah

Red mountains loom majestically in the Superstition Mountains outside Phoenix, Arizona, as an extremely confused deer attempts to cross the street, instead striking a pose for the camera



The sky is on fire with an incredible orange sunset over red mountains that jut out of the Superstition Mountain Range just Northeast of Phoenix, Arizona

Superstition Mountains: Phoenix, AZ - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue


Got a song that would fit well on this playlist? Share it! Have a playlist of your own you like for road tripping? Let's hear it! Send in your playlists to and your musical taste could be put on display in an upcoming blog post!


Check out these other articles by Pathloom which you may enjoy:

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Pathloom is a Bay Area-based technology startup on a mission to get more people outdoors, more often by reimagining the way people discover the outdoors.



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