“Drive the 10,000 miles across America and you will know more about the country than all the institutes of society and political science put together.” – Jean Baudrillard

Travel the Road

You are about to embark on a journey through a cross section of American landscape and culture, riding a ribbon of highway that weaves our nation together. This road has long been a symbol of adventure, freedom, and exploration – an integral part of the American experience. This is your chance to slow down and see the country, whether via motor home, sports car, Harley, ’57 Chevy, bicycle or mini-van.

Modern travelers often seek the quickest means of reaching a destination. Experience travel through the eyes of a tourist from an earlier era and savor the journey. Imagine traversing the Appalachian Mountains in a Model T Ford on a Sunday drive and returning to tell tales of adventure. Or ponder the great courage in riding a stagecoach or wagon to settle new territory.

Mile Marker

The use of mile markers goes back to the Roman Empire where its roads were marked at periodic intervals that were primarily used for the efficient movement of troops throughout the empire. To date, over 83 of these stone markers remain along the original routes of US 40. Look for them across your travels through Maryland.

To discover your own adventure, follow the Maryland Scenic Byways Historic National Road signs posted on local routes. Stop at landmarks or wayside exhibits to uncover stories about the people who built, traveled, lived and worked along the Historic National Road. Look for changes in the landscape as you traverse Maryland, which reflect regional patterns of culture, geography, history, art and science.

The byway can be driven in one or more days, with stops in Baltimore, Catonsville, Ellicott City, Mt. Airy, Frederick, Middletown, Hagerstown, Cumberland or Grantsville.

The Historic National Road connects five Maryland Heritage Areas, two National Heritage Areas, five official Main Street Communities and four Arts & Entertainment Districts, which are special places to experience through the many landscapes, waterways, museums, theaters, shops, art galleries, crafts and events found along the byway. These are also a reflection of the significant efforts made by local communities to preserve and share the Historic National Road’s history, culture and natural beauty.