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Today’s Guide to Yesterday’s Auto Route West, The Yellowstone Trail

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And, of course, Where did the YT go in my area?

In 1912, a group of small town businessmen in South Dakota  undertook an ambitious project to create a useful automobile route, the Yellowstone Trail, across America. This was at a time when roads weren't marked, there were few maps and slippery mud was the usual road surface.

The Yellowstone Trail Association located a route, motivated road improvements, produced maps and folders to guide the traveler, and promoted tourism along its length. It became a leader in stimulating tourist travel to the Northwest and motivating good roads across America.

Today, almost all of the route of the Yellowstone Trail is on slower, less traveled roads. Some sections of the Trail, especially in the West, have remained little changed and are a delight to visit.We are the modern version of the YT Association with members who enjoy exploring the YT, learning about its history, researching its location, and exchanging information and ideas.      Join in!

Note for the newcomer:

In the 1910s and 1920s “Trail” was used to mean a long-distance auto road  

 If you are not pulling a car out of the mud, keep your horse off the road!

December 2, 2017.     This site  is under development. Map links in Washington are corrected – thanks to a report from a user. The maps section contains the best maps of the Trail available anywhere, but they are still drafts and your corrections, suggestions, and help will be most welcome.


If you have problems, contact me.  Your comments, suggestions, corrections, and anything else about the website that might be helpful may be sent to jridge@yellowstonetrail.org

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These maps, while the most complete

and accurate available

are nevertheless

“Works in Progress”


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