Looking at the current condition of many Illinois roads and highways, it might seem like any of them could qualify as being the oldest highway in America, but giant potholes and cracks don't always mean the road is old, as all Illinois residents know.

When I asked around here if anyone knew which highway in Illinois is the nation's oldest, the two answers I got the most were wrong. If you guessed either one of these highways, you might want to guess again:

Historic Route 66 Shield Shaped Neon Sign Along the old route
Getty Images
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Getty Images
Getty Images
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Up Until Recently, I Had Never Heard Of This Highway, And Had No Idea It Was The Oldest In The United States

It's called The Yellowstone Trail, and it covers 3,719 miles from coast to coast, starting in Massachusetts and ending in Washington state.

Michael Bedeau, Facebook
Michael Bedeau, Facebook
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About 5 weeks after the sinking of the Titanic, The Yellowstone Trail was established on May 23, 1912 as the first transcontinental automobile highway through the upper tier of states in the United States. The reason it's called The Yellowstone Trail is because the road follows a path or trail that was once used by people traveling to Yellowstone National Park.

The Yellowstone Trail, Facebook
The Yellowstone Trail, Facebook
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The Yellowstone Trail, Facebook
The Yellowstone Trail, Facebook
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The Yellowstone Trail, Facebook
The Yellowstone Trail, Facebook
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Here's a few facts and figures about America's oldest highway, courtesy of YellowstoneTrail.org:

  • The slogan is "A Good Road from Plymouth to Puget Sound."
  • Originally designed to be 25 miles, but ended up being 3,719
  • The Yellowstone trail snakes through Northern Illinois cities and towns including Chicago, Evanston, Glencoe, Waukegan, Lake Forest, and South Chicago
  • Before the road was built, most cross-country traveling in America was done by train

One Of Rockford's Most Historic Homes Is Almost 180-Years-Old

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.