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American Roads: Site Map > Auto Trails > Auto Trail Articles > Motor West, September 15 1917

Arrowhead Trail From Los Angeles to Salt Lake

― from Motor West, September 15 1917, page 9.


Arrowhead Trail map Probably no other unit of the national highway system has received so much favorable publicity throughout the United States, especially in the East, during the first year of its existence as the Arrowhead Trail, connecting Los Angeles with Salt Lake City and with several intermountain highways forming a part of the transcontinental system. This is believed to have been due chiefly to two things: That it traverses a hitherto practically unknown scenic region of Utah, with connections with the Grand Canyon and Zion Canyon; and that soon after the organization of the Arrowhead Trails Association that body became a member of the American Automobile Association and a division of the National Highways Association, the former of which maintains the greatest touring bureau in the country, in New York and Washington, D. C.
Writers for magazines during the past summer have gathered material for illustrated articles on the region made accessible by this highway, and departments of the Federal Government are preparing to issue illustrated stories on the same subject.
There are several factors which tend to make this road popular with motorists. Perhaps the most important, aside from the alluring natural scenery, are that it is open all the year round, if any highway in Utah is open; that it avoids heavy sand and alkali dust; that it crosses the few mountain ranges at easy grades; that it is a comparatively direct route, with a choice of several eastern connections; and that it is being kept in as good condition as it is practicable to maintain a road much of which traverses the desert.
From Los Angeles to a point just east of Bannock siding on the Santa Fe railroad, 288.5 miles, the Arrowhead Trail coincides with the road utilized by the familiar National Old Trail. There are spots here that always will require attention until the work of building a modern highway has been done. The lowest altitude on the entire road after leaving Barstow is reached on this division—615 feet at Amboy. Although it is rough in places on this desert section, one has no trouble in maintaining an average of 25 miles per hour.
From Bannock siding the road runs almost directly north to Las Vegas, Nev., and from Searchlight to Las Vegas as good time may be made as on a California paved boulevard. Between Las Vegas and the wonderfully scenic “Valley of Fire” a few miles are in bad condition, although as a rule Clark county, Nev., has kept its 180 miles of the Trail in excellent condition—60 miles of it being as fine as any strip of desert road in the country. Rough spots will be encountered likewise here and there until crossing the Virgin valley and entering Utah, where conditions northward are more satisfactory. The fact that the run of 853.4 miles has been made in 35½ hours, and that several motorists, with no thought of hurrying, have covered the distance in three days, including the time taken for meals and lodging, are a fair indication of the possibilities to one desiring a speedy trip.
Entering the mountain district of Utah, higher altitudes are reached, and even in the hottest weather of summer conditions are at least tolerable. Six thousand feet—attained at Cove Creek Fort Ranch—is the highest altitude shown by the official log, which covers towns along the line only. No figures for the various mountain passes—all low—are available. But in all cases the grades on these passes are easy, and under the least favorable conditions low gear is rarely resorted to, and then for but a few rods at a time. Intermediate gear will carry most cars over practically all of the grades, with the exception of a few sharp rises.
Motorists desiring information concerning the Arrowhead Trail may address either the Touring Bureau at 625 South Spring St., Los Angeles, or the Touring Bureau at 343 South Main St., Salt Lake City. Copies of the map, 19×5½ inches in dimensions, with the complete log on the reverse side, will be forwarded on request to either of the addresses named.


Arrowhead Trail symbol.


Copyright © S. Varner 2006