Arrowhead Trail (auto trail)

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Arrowhead Trails Association.svg

Arrowhead Trail

Route information
Length853.4 mi[1] (1,373.4 km)
Length of the original route along the National Old Trails Road and north through Searchlight, NV.
HistoryArrowhead Trails Association formed in 1916, and incorporated in California on December 7, 1916.
Major junctions
South endLos Angeles, CA
North endSalt Lake City, UT
CountryUnited States
StatesCalifornia, Nevada, Arizona, Utah
Highway system
Auto Trails
Official nameArrowhead Trail (1914-1924)
Reference no.168[2]
Official nameArrowhead Trail - Henderson
Reference no.197[3]

The Arrowhead Trail or Arrowhead Highway was the first all-weather road in the Western United States that connected Los Angeles, California to Salt Lake City, Utah by way of Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 (US 91) and subsequently Interstate 15 (I‑15).[4][5] 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.


Starting in 1915, Charles H. Bigelow drove the entire route many times to generate publicity for the road.[2]

The Arrowhead Trail initially took a longer route via present U.S. Route 95 and former U.S. Route 66 between Las Vegas and Needles, California, 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),[4] but in 1926 the cutoff was chosen, ending at US 66 at Daggett, just east of Barstow.[5][14]

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][citation needed] 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 Irwindale and San Bernardino.[17]

The Clark County, Nevada sections of the trail are marked by Nevada Historical Markers 168 and 197.[2][3]

There exists a monument to the Arrowhead Trail across from the north end of the Terrible's Hotel & Casino [formerly the Gold Strike Hotel and Gambling Hall] property's entrance in Jean, Nevada. It is from here that Las Vegas Boulevard begins and proceeds north to the Las Vegas Strip.


Current route names[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arrowhead Trail from Los Angeles to Salt Lake. Motor West. Vol. 27. Motor West Company. September 15, 1917. p. 9. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Arrowhead Trail (1914-1924)". Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved April 3, 2020. State Historical Marker No. 168.
  3. ^ a b "Arrowhead Trail - Henderson". Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved April 3, 2020. State Historical Marker No. 197
  4. ^ a b Joint Board on Interstate Highways (1925). Report of Joint Board on Interstate Highways, October 30, 1925, Approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, November 18, 1925 (Report). Washington, DC: United States Department of Agriculture. OCLC 733875457, 55123355, 71026428. Retrieved November 14, 2017 – via Wikisource.
  5. ^ a b "United States System of Highways Adopted for Uniform Marking by the American Association of State Highway Officials" (Map). Bureau of Public Roads. 1:7,000,000. American Association of State Highway Officials. Washington, DC: United States Geological Survey. November 11, 1926. OCLC 32889555. Retrieved November 7, 2013 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  6. ^ Official Automobile Blue Book. Automobile Blue Book. Vol. 8. 1917. p. 501.
  7. ^ "Touring Atlas of the United States". Clason Map Company. Archived from the original on September 16, 2020. Retrieved February 9, 2009., 1925
  8. ^ "Auto Club News". Van Nuys News. December 21, 1923.
  9. ^ "Brice Canyon, Zion Canyon National Park, Utah". Los Angeles Times. December 26, 1920. p. VIII1.
  10. ^ Nystrom, Eric Charles (March 2003). "From Neglected Space To Protected Place: An Administrative History of Mojave National Preserve". National Park Service.
  11. ^ "State Takes Over Cut-off to Nevada Line". Los Angeles Times. October 25, 1925. p. G12.
  12. ^ Arthur Hastings Breed, ed. (1925). Report of a Study of the State Highway System of California. California Highway Advisory Committee. California State Printing Office. 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. ^ United States Numbered Highways. American Highways. American Association of State Highway Officials. April 1927.
  15. ^ "Silver Lake Cut-off to Get Federal Aid". Los Angeles Times. February 14, 1926. p. G5.
  16. ^ "Barstow" (Map). United States Geological Survey. 1:125000. 1934., Avawatz Mountains (Map). 1:125000. 1933.; and Ivanpah (Map). 1:250000. 1942.
  17. ^ Tice, Steve (February 16, 2000). "Traveling a Good Road in a Fine Car--Life Doesn't Get Better Than This". LA Times. Archived from the original on September 9, 2015.

External links[edit]