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Arrowhead Trail (auto trail)

Arrowhead Trail
Route information
Length: 853.4 mi[1] (1,373.4 km)
Length of the original route along the National Old Trails Road and north through Searchlight, NV.
History: Arrowhead Trails Association formed in 1916, and incorporated in California on 7 December 1916.
Major junctions
South end: Los Angeles, CA
North end: Salt Lake City, UT
States: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah
Highway system
Official name Arrowhead Trail (1914-1924)
Reference no. 168[2]
Official name Arrowhead Trail - Henderson
Reference no. 197[2]

The Arrowhead Trail or Arrowhead Highway was the first all-weather road connecting Los Angeles to Salt Lake City by way of Las Vegas. Built primarily during the auto trails period of the 1910s, prior to the establishment of the U.S. numbered highway system, the road was replaced in 1926 by U.S. Route 91 and subsequently Interstate 15.[3][4] Small portions of the route in California and Las Vegas, Las Vegas Boulevard, are sometimes still referred to by the name, or as Arrow Highway.


  • History 1
  • Current route names 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


1929 photo of the Arrowhead Trail and the Vermilion Cliffs near Santa Clara, Utah.
A 1929 photo of the Arrowhead Trail, now Old Hwy 91, about 5 miles west of Santa Clara, Utah. A section of the Vermilion Cliffs is in the background to the north.

Starting in 1915, Charles H. Bigelow drove the entire route many times to generate publicity for the road.[5]

The Arrowhead Trail initially took a longer route via present US 95 and former US 66 between Las Vegas and Needles, as the more direct Old Spanish Trail was in very poor condition.[6][7] The "Silver Lake cutoff", which would save about 90 miles (145 km),[8] was proposed by 1920,[9] and completed in 1925 as an oiled road by San Bernardino County.[10][11]

Both the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads and the state of Nevada urged the inclusion of the cutoff route into each state's highway systems, the former as part of the federal aid highway connecting Salt Lake City and Los Angeles,[12] and the California state legislature did that in 1925,[13] with it becoming an extension of Route 31. (Across the state line in Nevada, State Route 6 continued through Las Vegas to Arizona.) The initial plan for the U.S. Highway system simply stated that Route No. 91 would run from Las Vegas "to an intersection with Route No. 60" (which became US 66 in 1926),[3] but in 1926 the cutoff was chosen, ending at US 66 at Daggett, just east of Barstow.[4][14]

Picture of the Arrowhead Trail historical marker in Nevada.
Arrowhead Trail (1914-1924), Nevada Historical Marker No. 168, in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

The original routing south from Las Vegas to Needles later became part of US 95 in 1940. The new "cutoff route" was added to the federal-aid secondary system in 1926,[15] which helped pay for a mid-1930s widening and paving, including some realignments (parts of the old road are now known as Arrowhead Trail). The new routing generally followed the present I-15, except through Baker (where it used Baker Boulevard) and into Barstow (where it followed former SR 58 to First Avenue, ending at Main Street, which carried US 66).[16] It entered San Bernardino on Cajon Boulevard, then followed the route of Arrow Highway between San Bernardino and Los Angeles. This route is still called Arrow Route or Arrow Highway through parts of Rancho Cucamonga, Upland , Montclair and Claremont as well as other cities between El Monte and San Bernardino. [17]

The Clark County, Nevada sections of the trail are marked by Nevada Historical Markers 168 and 197.[2]

Current route names


  1. ^ "Arrowhead Trail from Los Angeles to Salt Lake". Motor West (Motor West Company) 27 (11): 9. 15 September 1917. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Nevada Historical Markers". Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Report of Joint Board on Interstate Highways, October 30, 1925, Approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, November 18, 1925
  4. ^ a b United States System of Highways, November 11, 1926
  5. ^ "Arrowhead Trail (1914-1924)". Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  6. ^ Official Automobile Blue Book, Volume Eight, 1917, p. 501
  7. ^ Clason Map Company, Touring Atlas of the United States, 1925
  8. ^ Van Nuys News, Auto Club News, December 21, 1923
  9. ^ Los Angeles Times, Brice Canyon, Zion Canyon National Park, Utah, December 26, 1920, p. VIII1
  10. ^ Eric Charles Nystrom, National Park Service, From Neglected Space To Protected Place: An Administrative History of Mojave National Preserve, March 2003
  11. ^ Los Angeles Times, State Takes Over Cut-off to Nevada Line, October 25, 1925, p. G12
  12. ^ California Highway Advisory Committee and Arthur Hastings Breed, Report of a Study of the State Highway System of California, California State Printing Office, 1925, p. 97
  13. ^ California State Assembly. "An act authorizing and directing the California highway commission to acquire necessary rights of way, and to construct and maintain a highway, which is hereby declared to be a state highway, extending from a point...on the boundary line between the state of California and the state of Nevada...which said highway is commonly known and referred to as the Arrowhead trail". Forty-sixth Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 369 p. 670. 
  14. ^ American Association of State Highway Officials, United States Numbered Highways, American Highways, April 1927
  15. ^ Los Angeles Times, Silver Lake Cut-off to Get Federal Aid, February 14, 1926, p. G5
  16. ^ United States Geological Survey, Barstow (1934, scale 1:125000), Avawatz Mountains (1933, scale 1:250000), and Ivanpah (1942, scale 1:250000)
  17. ^ "LA Times, Traveling a Good Road in a Fine Car--Life Doesn't Get Better Than This". Retrieved 2015-09-09. 

External links

  • Arrowhead Trail article on

Utah portal

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