The Top 10 Historic Trails - Page 2
Historic Route 66, Illinois
Route 66 was commissioned in 1926 to link Chicago to Los Angeles, a distance of 2,440 miles (3,927 km). It was updated and realigned over the years, but the Historic Route 66 can still be traced. The Illinois segment, the first to be completed, starts on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and heads along I-55, past classic roadside architecture of the 1930s to 1950s, all the way to East St. Louis on the Mississippi.
PLANNING: Allow two to three days. Best from spring through fall. An alternative route after Springfield follows Ill. 4. www.illinoisroute66.org
Billy the Kid Trail, New Mexico
A mountainous loop from Ruidoso visits Wild West sites associated with the gunfighter Billy the Kid. The Byway Interpretive Center and Hubbard Museum of the American West provide background. At Lincoln State Monument, see the courthouse where, in 1881, Billy the Kid awaited hanging, before his escape. He died in a gunfight at Fort Sumner.
PLANNING: Allow at least three hours. The 84-mile (135 km) route follows U.S. 70, 380, and N. Mex. 48. www.byways.org
Trail of the Ancients, Colorado/Utah
A double-loop route straddling the "Four Corners" takes in a region inhabited since ancient times by Native American peoples and passes through dramatic sculptural landscapes of bare, eroded rock. Covering 480 miles (772 km), it starts at Cortez and Mesa Verde National Park, and includes Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and the Anasazi Heritage Center.
PLANNING: The route follows U.S. 160, Colo. 145, 184, U.S. 491, C.R. 10, U.S. 191, Utah 95, 275, 261, U.S. 163, 162, 262. www.byways.org
Pioneer Historic Byway, Idaho
Beginning at Franklin, drive across the southeastern corner of Idaho for 127 miles (204 km) to Freedom. For part of the way, the route follows the Oregon Trail along the Bear River. Conflict with the Shoshone led to the Bear River Massacre of 1863, near Preston. A detour leads to the ghost town of Chesterfield, an early Mormon settlement.
PLANNING: Allow at least half a day. The route follows U.S. 91, Okla. 34, U.S. 30. www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org
San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway, California
Starting at the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, founded in 1772, head north through spectacular coastal scenery, taking in missions, railroad museums, and Hearst Castle, the palatial mansion of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, near San Simeon. The drive ends at the Monterey County Line, just south of Big Sur.
PLANNING: The 57-mile (92 km) route follows Hwy. 1. www.byways.org