Lincoln Highway Road Trip Blog
The Lincoln Highway, named after former president Abraham Lincoln, was America’s first intercontinental highway. It had slipped from public consciousness just 13 years after being built due to the numbered highway system introduced in 1926. However, toady approximately 80% of the 3,000-mile long road that links Times Square in New York with the Panama Pacific International in San Francisco still exists and its endless number of roadside attractions make it a great road to explore. Here are three of the must-visit sections:
York, Pennsylvania to Latrobe, Pennsylvania
This section of the highway totals around 170 miles and mixes poignant and eccentric pit stops with breath-taking rural scenery. Take the U.S. Route 30 from York towards Gettysburg, location of the most famous battlefield of the Civil War.
Continue west along Route 30 and you’ll reach the Michaux State Forest, home to a very curious attraction: Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum. On top of its spectacular gardens and home-made candy emporium, it’s home to over 12,000 elephant figurines. Be sure to grab a souvenir for any elephant fans you know!
Back in the car and continue west to take in the stunning views offered up by a drive over the Allegheny Mountains. You will pass through Breezewood and on to Bedford where you will find The Coffee Pot; a restored eatery shaped like a giant coffee pot! There are two other roadside giants further along the highway.
Around half an hour further along Route 30 and you’ll see sign posts for Flight 93 National Memorial Museum, built on the crash site of United Airlines 93. A part of the journey to take stock and pay your respects to those killed on 9/11.
The final stretch of this section from Bedford to Latrobe is an hour’s drive and includes a number of attractions. The other two ‘roadside giants’; The Bicycle Built for Two and the 22’ high Gas Pump. Whilst in Latrobe, check out the Lincoln Highway Experience museum located in the city.
Wyoming/Colorado border to Rawlins, Wyoming
The Terry Bison Ranch is a great spot to start this particular trip. Located just south of Cheyenne, close to the Wyoming/Colorado border, the ranch offers a wide range of activities that the whole family can enjoy; horse-riding, herds of camels, emus and Llamas and a mini-train for kids.
From here, head west on the I-80 until you reach Sherman Summit on the crest of the Laramie Mountains. The highest point on the Lincoln Highway, take this opportunity to park the car, stretch your legs and take in the magnificent vistas. There is a monument to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s 150th birthday located close by so be sure to take a picture or two before moving on.
Continue west onto Laramie, where you can pretend to be a prisoner at the Territorial Prison built in the 1870s. If you happen to be visiting during October, you may be fortunate enough to catch a ghost tour of the city that starts at the prison.
Next up is Rock River and Como Bluff. Drive north along Route 287 to get there, Como Bluff is home to a dinosaur graveyard and a building built from prehistoric bones. Sure to be of interest to any wannabe palaeontologists you’re travelling with.
Drive further west along Route 287 and you’ll pass through Medicine Bow, before heading through Hanna, Coyote Springs and Fort Steele on your way to Rawlins. This part of the trip encompasses a drive through some truly breath-taking scenery, so be sure to keep your eyes on the road (as difficult as that may be!).
Tooele, Utah to Reno, Nevada
Of all three drives, this one is the longest and is perhaps the closest to what the Highway would have been like in 1913. From Tooele, head towards Interstate 80 and then travel west through the vast, barren yet beautiful landscape of the Bonneville Salt Flats (where many a land speed record has been broken), and the Great Salt Lake desert until you arrive at Wendover.
Wendover boasts a number of top-class hotels and casinos, so makes an ideal place for a stopover. From Westover, take the Route 93 Alternate and head south to Ely. Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge is well worth a visit, although getting there requires taking a big detour off Route 93 and then negotiating dusty desert roads.
Once you reach Ely, another overnight stop is recommended. Also home to numerous hotels and casinos, there’s also an opportunity to take in some culture at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, both close to Ely.
After a refreshing night’s sleep, you’ll be ready to tackle the so-called ‘loneliest road in America’ – Interstate U.S. 50. This stretch of road to Reno has earned this title by intersecting over 317 miles of open country and several mountain passes that total over 7,500 feet. As there are only a few stops along the way, make sure you’re well stocked up before setting off.
Hiring a car
If you choose to hire a car for a trip such as this, it’s important to take out car hire excess insurance before you travel. This covers any excess charges you may incur if the vehicle you hire is damaged or stolen and is much cheaper than buying through the rental company at the desk. It is also more comprehensive, covering the most vulnerable parts of the vehicle which the rental companies do not offer.