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For the section in West Virginia, see Midland Trail (West Virginia).

Midland Trail in Ceredo, West Virginia.

The Midland Trail, also called the Roosevelt Midland Trail, was a national auto trail spanning the United States from Washington, D.C. west to Los Angeles, California and San Francisco, California (though the Lincoln Highway guide published in 1916 states the original eastern terminus was in New York City). First signed in 1913, it was one of the first, if not the first, marked transcontinental auto trails in America.

The early routing of the Midland Trail, from east to west, began in either New York City or Washington, D.C. and continued through Richmond, Virginia and Lexington to Charleston, West Virginia; thence passing through Lexington, KY; Louisville, KY; Vincennes, IN; Salem, IL; St. Louis, MO; Sedalia, MO; Kansas City; Topeka, KS; Limon, CO and then to Denver, Colorado.

From Denver, the original routing split several ways to cross the rockies via Berthoud Pass, Tennessee Pass, Cochetopa Pass and Monarch Pass. All routings converged in Grand Junction and continued into Utah through Green River and Salt Lake City. Past Salt Lake City, the routing moved southward on the same routing as the Lincoln Highway through Iosepa, Orr's Ranch, Fish Springs Ranch and Ibapah. This part of the route was never popular, the state favoring the Victory Highway routing to the north, which is the basic alignment later followed by Interstate 80, and is now largely inaccessible as it is part of the Dugway Proving Grounds.

In Nevada, the highway continued through Ely and Tonopah, then turning south at Goldfield and then west into California at Lida. At Big Pine, California, the original routing then split into four options; one through Mammoth, Mono Lake, Yosemite and Stockton to San Francisco; a second through Bridgeport, Lake Tahoe and Placerville to Sacramento and then San Francisco; a third south through Independence and Mojave and then west through Tehachapi Pass and then northward through Merced and Modesto to San Francisco; and the fourth continuing southward from Mojave through Willow Springs to Los Angeles. By the time the Automobile Club of Southern California prepared their 1917 map of the state, the fourth routing, through Mojave and Willow Springs to Los Angeles, had become the main routing for the Trail.

Following a major realignment of the route and assumption into the state highway system around 1922, the main Midland Trail alignment in California bypassed early stagecoach-era stops at Freeman and Willow Springs and at Neuralia railroad siding, and now routed through Red Rock Canyon to Mojave (the early alignment took a high line route around it, following the Los Angeles Aqueduct), thence following the Southern Pacific railroad tracks through Rosamond and Lancaster and on to Los Angeles, following the route that was later assigned to U.S. 6 (a.k.a. Sierra Highway) in 1937.

Various alignments of this portion of the trail followed the early stagecoach roads built to haul gold from the mines at Cerro Gordo and roads built for the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.


Using the present road names, the highway approximately used the following route:


  1. ^ Eureka Reporter, Grand Central Highway Now Alternate Route, June 30, 1922, p. 1

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