Not Route 66

Updated 8.1.2015

With so many Classic car owners hitting the roads, we are bringing this post back to the top. Which of these "trails" have you driven this season? Or possibly more important, now that you know they exist, will you take a trip down memory lane? Don't forget to keep an eye open for roadside "Googies".

As the use of automobiles continued to grow, local, state, national "Trail Associations" were in charge of naming, mapping out, marking and sometimes maintaining the highways and byways of America during the early 20th century. As a whole, they were an informal network of separate organizations and marked routes that existed in the United States and Canada.

Auto trails were usually marked and sometimes maintained by organizations or private individuals. Some, like the Lincoln Highway Association were were large, well-known and adequately funded organizations while others were the work of fly-by-night promoters, to the point that anyone with enough paint and the will to do so could set up a trail. The fact a roadway was an auto trail did not mean it was well maintained or even linked to road improvements, although counties and states often prioritized road improvements because they were on trails.  

In our article about the Amelia Erhart of the Automobile, Alice Huyler Ramsey, these Associations often printed and sold Guide Books containing all of the known trails as a way to fund the Association.

But as these books were often printed by different organizations, they did not always contain a contiguous mapping system. The routes were not always well marked. Drivers often had to follow routes of landmarks (i.e.- turn left at the red barn, approximately 17 miles) or follow telephone poles to find the next town.  

There were also those along these trails who were not at all thrilled about automobiles. At times they repainted their homes and barns to the frustration of drivers looking for a red barn, only to learn miles later the barn was no longer red. At times several different connecting auto trails also became know by another name. All in all, the growing quantity of Auto Trails became an increasingly confusing system.How confusing you ask? Research uncovered the following partial list of over 580 different U.S. auto trails.  

Which of them are familiar to you?

A-B-C Trail King of Trails
Abe Lincoln Trail L. T. K. Trail
Abo Pass Highway Lackawanna Trail
Adeway Lake Harris Route
Agate Highway Lakes & River Drive
Air Line Highway Lakes to Gulf Highway
Albany-Buffalo Highway Lakes to Sea Highway
Albert Pike Highway Lawrence-Salem Way
Alfalfa Trail Leather-Stocking Trail
Alliance, Angora, Bridgeport, Sidney Lee Highway
Alliance, Broadwater, Oshkosh Lee-Jackson Highway
Alliance, Hay Springs Liberty Way
Alliance Hemingford Crawford Hot Springs Lincoln Hawkeye Pike
Alliance, Scotts Bluff, Mitchell Lincoln Highway
Alton-Jacksonville Airline Lincoln Trail
Altoona-Bellefonte-Cumberland Trail Lincoln-Crete-Dorchester Trail
Anchor Line Lincoln-Sterling Highway
Anchor Way Lincoln-Valparaiso Highway
Anthracite Trail Littleton-Salisbury
Apache Trail Logan-Lee Highway
Appalachian Highway Lone Star Route
Arlington Lowell Lone Star Trail
Aroostook Trail Longfellow Highway
Arrowhead Trail Louisville-Lexington-Latonia Trail
Ashokan Reservoir Route Lynn-Salem Way
Atlantic Highway Mackinaw Indian Trail
Atlantic Pacific Highway Magnolia Route
Atlantic Yellowstone Pacific Hiway Manchester Somers Route
Auburn-Niles Route Mandan Killdeer Mountain Highway
Ayr Line Marion Kenton Trail
“B” Line Highway McDavid Trail
B.F. Blue Pole Trail Memorial Boulevard
Baltimore Pike Memphis-Bristol Highway
Banff Grand Canyon Road Meridian Highway
Bankhead Highway Meridian Highway (illinois)
Beartooth Trail Michigan Road
Bedford-Danbury Route Michigan-Detroit-Chicago Highway
Bee Line Mid-State Highway
Bee Line Highway (same as “B” Line?) Middle Buster Highway
Belleville-Carlyle Trail Middletown Durham Center
Belt Line Midland Trail
Ben Hur Highway Midwest Trail
Ben Hur Route Military Tract Trail
Berkshire-Burlington Way Miller Trunk Line
Better Way Mineral Wells Trail
Big Creek-Cohocton Valley Route Minnesota Scenic Highway
Big Four Route Minute Man Route
Billings Cody Way Mississippi River Highway
Black and Yellow Trail Mississippi River Scenic Highway
Black Diamond Trail Mississippi Scenic Route
Black Hills Lake Metigoshe Mississippi Valley Highway
Black Hills Loop Highway Moberly Quincy Air Line
Black Hills Loop, River & Omaha Trail Mohawk Trail
Black Hills Sioux Trail Mohawk-Lake Ontario Route
Black Hills Trail Montauk Highway
Black Hills, Rose Bud & Omaha Scenic
Montour Falls Cayuta Route
Black Hills-Lake Metigoshe-Highway Mount Desert Trail
Black River Valley Route Muncie Lima Fremont
Black Trail Nagatuck-River Route
Bloomington Way National Highway
Blue Grass Road National Old Trails Road
Blue Grass Way National Park to Park Highway
Blue J Route National Parks Highway
Blue Line National Parks Pike
Blue Pole Highway National Short Cut Highway
Blue Valley Drive National White Way
Bob Dunn Highway Naugatuck-New Haven Route
Boone Way Navajo Trail
Boston Haverhill Road Nelson Trail
Boston Post Road New Hampshire College Road
Boston Sakonnet Point Road New Haven Derby Road
Boston-Wareham Road New Haven Durham Center
Brewster-Danbury Route New Haven Farmington Way
Brewster-Middletown Route New Haven Middletown Way
Bridge Route New Haven Milldale
Broadway of America New Haven Springfield Way
Broadway-Salem Way New London Colchester Route
Buffalo Highway New London Colchester Glastonbury Route
Buffalo Pittsburgh Highway New London Fitchburg Route
Burlington & Peoria Air Line New London-Norwich-Stafford Route
Burlington Highway New Santa Fe Trail
California-Banff Bee-Line New York and Berkshire Route
Camp Dix Way New York-Albany-Montreal Route
Canada-Kansas City-Gulf Road New York-Albany-Troy Post Road
Cannon Ball Route Newtown-Bridgeport Way
Cannon Ball Trail Niagara River Route
Canton-Alliance-Pittsburgh Trail North and South Pike
Cape May Way North Hampton Pittsfield Way
Capital Route North Hempstead Turnpike
Capitol Trail North Platte Valley Highway
Caterpillar Trail North Shore Trail
Central Dixie Highway North Star Highway
Central Florida Highway North Star Route
Central Highway North Star Trail
Central Michigan Pike North Texas Highway
Central Montana Highway Northern Highway
Central Nebraska Highway Northern Tier Route
Central Texas Highway Northwestern Trail
Chadron Hot Springs Nutmeg Trail
Chenango Valley Route O. A. A. Trail
Cheshire Road O. K. Short Line
Chicago Buffalo Highway Oakdale Trail
Chicago Dubuque Trail Ocean to Ocean Highway
Chicago Iowa Trail (Chi-Iowa Trail) Ohio Indiana Michigan Way
Chicago Kansas City Gulf Highway Oil Belt Route
Chicago Trail Oil City Route
Cincinnati Lookout Mountain Air Line Okaw Trail
Cincinnati-Parkersburg Way Oklahoma City Lincoln Highway
Clarion Way Oklahoma-Kansas-Colorado Highway
Cleveland-Canton Parkersburg Way Okoboji Trail
Coal-Oil-Hi-Wa Old Burlington Way
Coast Route, Oregon to San Francisco Old Oregon Trail
Coast to Coast Route Old Santa Fe Trail
Colchester Yantic, Norwich-Pawcatuck
Old Spanish Trail
Colorado to Gulf Highway Omaha-Lincoln-Denver Trail
Columbia River Highway Omaha-St. Louis Short Line
Connecticut River Way Omaha Trail
Contoocook Valley Road Omaha-Topeka Trail
Cooley Highway Oregon Trail
Corn Belt Route Osage Highway
Cornhusker Highway Oswego-River Route
Cotton Belt Highway Overland Trail
Cranberry Trail Ozark Trails
Crawfordsville to Anderson Pacific Highway
Cross State Trail Parks Highway
Custer Battlefield Highway Peoria-Pekin-Bloomington Way
Custer Battlefield Way Perry Highway
Custer Trail Peoria-Pekin-Havana Jack Way
Dahlonega Trail Pershing Way
Dallas-Canadian-Denver Highway Pigeon Roost Route
Danbury-Bridgeport Route Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway
Daniel Boone Trail Pittsburgh-Erie Way
Daniel Webster Highway Pittsburgh-Uniontown Way
Dansville Acoco Plains Air Line
Dansville Corning Route Plains Mountain Highway
Dartmouth College Route Platte Purchase Route
Davis Highway Post Road
Del Rio Canadian Postal Highway
Denison Whitesboro Fort Worth Gulf Potash Highway
Denver-Black Hills Highway Poughkeepsie-Hartford Route
Denver-Deadwood Poughkeepsie-Sharon Route
Denver Estevan Highway Powder River Trail
Denver-Joplin Highway Powder Way
Des Moines, Kansas City & St. Joseph
Interstate Trail
Providence-Rice City Route
Detroit-Chicago Highway Puget Sound to Gulf Highway
Detroit-Lincoln-Denver Highway  Quincy Trail
Diagonal Trail Rainbow Route
Diamond Trail Randolf Gulf Route
Dixie Bee Line (Dixie B-Line) Range Line
Dixie Highway Red Ball Route
Dixie Highway in Indiana Red Clover Leaf Route
Dixie Overland Highway Red Star Route
Dixie Route A Red X Route
Duluth-Fargo Highway Regina Yellowstone
Dunes Highway Resort Route
East Dixie Highway Ridge Road
East Shore Tour River to River Road
East Texas Highway Robertson Highway
Effingham-Newton-Robinson Trail Robby Highway
Egyptian Trail Rochester-Caledonia Route
Electric Highway Rochester-Canandaigua Route
Elmira-Cortland-Cazenovia Route Rock River Resorts Route
Elmira-Watkins-Flint Route Rock River Valley Route
Erie Trail Rockingham Road
Ethan Allen Trail Rockville-Willington Route
Ethan Allen Way Rocky Mountain Highway
Everett Powers Highway Rocky Pond Road
Evergreen National Highway Roger Q. Mills Highway
F. F. F. Highway Rome-Oneida Route
Farrier Highway Roosevelt Midland Highway
Fitchburg Keene Route Roosevelt National Highway
Flint Trail Rose Trail
Florida Short Route Sacandaga-Lake Pleasant Route
Fort Elliott Highway Sa-Ka-Ka-Wea Trail
Fort Smith, Pauls Valley & Wichita
Falls Highway
Salt Lake Yellowstone Highway
Fort Worth Plains Air Line Saranac-Lake Placid Route
Fox River Route Schenectady-Lake George Route
French Lick Route Schuylkill River Route
Fulton Chain Route Scioto Trail
G. P. C. Highway Sedalia Joplin Short Line
Galatin Trail Sequoyah Trail
Galesburg-Peoria Trail Seward-York-Aurora
Gap Way Shabbona Trail (or Shab-Bona Trail)
General Sullivan Trail Shenandoah Valley Pike
Genesee Valley Route Sherman Pike
Geneva-Clifton Springs Route Sherman-Sheridan Highway
Geneva-Lyons Route Shore Road
George Wahington Highway Short Cut West Highway
George Washington National Highway Sioux City, Dennison Cut Off
Gettysburg-Baltimore-Annapolis Trail Skaneateles Route
Geysers to Glaciers Road South Atlantic Coastal Highway
Glacier National Parks Highway South Bend to Knox
Glacier to Gulf Highway South Shore Trail
Glacier Trail South Side Road
Glen Falls-Lake Champlain Route Southeastern Highway
Glidden Route Southern Highway
Golden Belt Highway Southern Minnesota Air Line
Golden Belt Road Southern National Highway
Golden Rod Highway Southern Tier Route
Golden Rod Trail Southern Tier Trail
Grainland Highway Southwest Trail
Grand Central Highway Spanish Trail
Grand Circle Tour St. Augustine Road
Grand River Road St. Lawrence River Route
Grant Highway Star Highway
Great Plains Highway Starved Rock Trail
Great Plains Road Suncook Valley Road
Great Plateau Highway Sunflower Trail
Great White Way Sunset Trail
Green Mountain Pass Sunshine Highway
Green Road Susquehanna Trail
Green Trail Susquehanna Valley Route
Gulf Plains and Canada Swastika Trail
Gulf to Panhandle Highway Tamiami Trail
Hammond Highway Tecumseh Trail
Hannibal Edina Trail Terre Haute-Columbus-Cincinnati Trail
Hannibal Kirksville Trail Terre Haute-Decatur-Springfield Trail
Harding Highway Texas Mexico Division (Bankhead Highway)
Harrison Trail Texas Oklahoma Colorado Highway
Hartford Springfield Way Theodore Roosevelt International Highway
Hartford Unionville Way Thompsonville-Stafford Springs Way
Hartford-Westfield Route Thousand Islands Trail
Havana-Lincoln-Champaign Trail Three “C” Highway
Haverhill Newburyport Tidewater Trail (Norfolk-Washington)
Haverhill Raymond Tip Top Trail
Hebert Hoover Highway Toledo Chicago Pike
Highland Cut Off Toledo-Angola-Goshen Trail
Highline Highway Toledo-Cleveland-Buffalo
Hills & Lakes Toledo-Cleveland-Buffalo Route
Hoosic-Brattleboro Route Toledo-Cleveland-Buffalo Trail
Hoosick River Route Top of Michigan Trail
Hoosier Dixie Highway Torrington-Norwalk Route
Hoosier Highway Transit Road
Horatio Earl Memorial Highway Tri State Trail
Horse Shoe Trail Troy East Greenbush Route
Hub Highway Tuxedo Trail
Hubway Twin City Black Hills Cut Off
Hudson-Berkshire Way Twin City Black Hills Yellowstone Trail
Hudson-Derry Two “C” Highway
Huntington Manitau Culver Trail U of I Trail
I. O. A. Short Line Union Pacific Highway
Illinois Corn Belt Route University Trail
Imperial Highway Utah-Idaho-Yellowstone Highway
Independence-Winfield Trail Valley City, Minot, Green Trail
Indian Head Trail Valparaiso-Joliet
Industrial Way Vermont State Roads
International Highway Victory Highway
International Pavedway Vigilante Trail
Iowa Parks Highway Wabash Trail
Itasca Park Highway Wahbash Way
Jackson Highway Washington-Harrisburg Route
Jefferson Davis Highway Washington Highway
Jefferson Davis National Highway Waterloo-Ithaca-Owego Route
Jefferson Highway Waubonsie Trail
Jericho Turnpike Wayne Highway
Jersey Coast Way West Michigan Pike
Jersey Link West Side Road
Jim Hogg Highway Weymouth-Bridgewater
Kansas City & Oklahoma Highway White Horse Trail
Kansas City, Iola & Tulsa Highway White River Trail
Kansas City-Ft Scott-Miami-Tulsa Short
White Way-7-Highway
Kansas-Colorado Boulevard William Penn Highway
Kansas-Oklahoma-Texas Highway Wonderland Way
Kansas Oklahoma Texas & Gulf Highway Woodpecker Route
Keeway Trail Woodrow Wilson Way
Kennebec-Penobscot Trail Yellow Trail
Keystone Trail Yellowstone Glacier “B” Line
Keyway Trail Yellowstone Highway
Kickapoo Trail Yellowstone Trail
Killington Trail York Trail
King Edward Highway


In the mid-to-late 1920s, auto trails were replaced with the current system of numbered Highways throughout the U.S. and Canada, but you'll still find Auto Trail markers, names and sometimes even sections of pavement all across America.

There are a few names on the list which you may have heard of before, like the Tamiami Trail or The Lincoln Highway, but have you heard of The Lone Star Route, National Old Trails Road, the Ozark Trails system, the Postal Highway and the National Old Trails Road? 

Sure you have, but by a different name. These four auto trails became Route 66.



West Terminus Marker
East Terminus Marker
The Old Spanish Trail, a transcontinental highway connecting the old Spanish colonial towns of St. Augustine, Florida on the Atlantic coast with San Diego, California on the Pacific. It was one of the most prominent and persistent of all American auto trails. But we're pretty sure most people never even heard of it. (map at post top). The OST largely follows what later became U.S. Highway 90 in the east and U.S. 80 (and Historic U.S. 80) in the west. Some of the route has hardly changed.
Old Spanish Highway Section in 1926 (above) and today (below)
US Routes 80 & 90 Map
We also uncovered numerous modern day associations focused on keeping the history of these long forgotten roads alive. We'll look into them to discover which lesser known Auto Trails might be awaiting your next Classic car drive.

Until then, happy trails!