Historic National Road Scenic Byway - West

Follow America's oldest road through the county to discover important parts of early American history.

About the Byway

Allegany County's Historic National Road Byway is part of Maryland's 170-mile Historic National Road Scenic Byway - one of 18 scenic byway systems in the state - which runs from Baltimore to Grantsville, MD. Authorized during Thomas Jefferson’s administration and constructed beginning in 1811, the National Road was the main transport path for thousands of settlers and helped to physically unite the young nation during westward exploration. About 620 miles long, the National Road connected the Potomac and Ohio Rivers. The first part of construction began in Cumberland, MD, and winds through the Cumberland Gap in the Alleghenies to Wheeling, West Virginia. Construction ended in Illinois when funding ran dry. In the 1870s, railroads became more popular, and the National Road was utilized less. In the 1920s, the automobile was invented, and by 1926, the road was part of U.S. 40 as a coast-to-coast highway.

America's First Road Trip

America's first road trip starts right here in Mountain Maryland where you will discover the National Road Monument, demarcating Mile Marker "0," where the first section of the National Road was completed in Cumberland, MD. Make your way through Allegany County on Route 40, the Historic National Road, to discover pieces of America's early transportation history. Visit museum exhibits on the National Road or go for an adventure on the Great Allegheny Passage, which also shares its Mile Marker "0" of the 150-mile trail from Cumberland, MD, to Pittsburgh, PA, right near the National Road mile marker. Hop aboard the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad for a roundtrip heritage ride along the former Western Maryland Railway, from Cumberland, MD, to Frostburg, MD. Discover the last standing tollhouse along the National Road as you make your way along Route 40 through LaVale, MD. 

Watch Maryland's Scenic Byways: Historic National Road Video


Add Adventure to Your Road Trip

Points of Interest Along the Scenic Byway

  • 16701 Lakeview Road
  • (301) 784-8400

Rocky Gap Casino Resort is located adjacent Rocky Gap State Park near Cumberland, Maryland, in the heart of Allegany County. This location features miles of hiking trails and incredible mountain views. Rocky Gap Casino Resort is a AAA Four-Diamond Award® and TripAdvisor…

  • 3 Pershing Street
  • (301) 777-7200

The Allegany Museum offers an in-depth journey through Allegany County and the surrounding region's history, spanning from the arrival of Native Americans 12,000 years ago to the 20th century Industry. The museum also highlights the evolution of transportation, featuring the…

  • 31101 National Pike
  • (301) 478-2794

Located on the top of Town Hill Mountain in scenic Western Maryland. Known as "the Beauty Spot of Maryland" because of the magnificent views and vistas, it is the perfect spot for reflection and renewal. Town Hill is the only private land on the top of the mountain and is…

  • 19 Depot Street
  • (301) 689-3380

"Make the Journey" on the National Road to the Thrasher Carriage Museum. Costumed docents transport visitors back in time to explore early transportation. Guides and interpretive signs offer a glimpse into the world of the elegant traveler. Stories of the clothing, activities…

  • P.O. Box 228

Chosen by National Geographic as one of the "Top Fall Trips In The World," the Great Allegheny Passage winds through Maryland's mountains and along Wills Creek, giving bicyclists, hikers, and cross-country skiers some of the most majestic views in the east. Linking up to the C&O…

  • 14302 National Highway
  • (301) 777-5132

Constructed in 1811, the National Road, the first federally funded road, made Cumberland "The Gateway to the West," establishing mile marker one. Travel the road as it cuts through the Narrows in LaVale, a spectacular 1,000-foot breach between Wills and Haystack Mountains that…

  • Riverside Park

Authorized during Thomas Jefferson's administration and constructed beginning in 1811, the National Road was the main transport path for thousands of settlers and helped to physically unite the young nation during its westward expansion. About 620 miles long, the National Road…

  • 13 Canal Street
  • (301) 759-4400

The award-winning Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has been providing train rides and railroad adventures for families and railroad fans for over 30 years in the heart of Mountain Maryland. Enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of your journey from the comfort of one of our…

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