Historic National Road

Driving the Byway

In general, the byway follows US-40 from the Atlantic Ocean in Baltimore, MD to the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, IL.

Traveling the Maryland Section


  • Start at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.
  • Follow Lombard Street (return on Pratt Street).
  • Cross Martin Luther King Boulevard.
  • Continue on Lombard Street to Frederick Avenue, which is a two-way street that is the only direct link to the original turnpike.
  • The road crosses Gwynns Falls.
  • The pike enters the Victorian village of Irvington.
  • Frederick Avenue becomes MD 144, or Frederick Road, as it crosses the city line into Baltimore County.
  • Continue west through Catonsville.

Ellicott City to Cookville

  • Follow Frederick Road down to the Patapsco River, the boundary line between Baltimore and Howard Counties.
  • Cross the river into Ellicott City, the Howard County seat, which lies along the narrow gorge cut by Tiber Branch near its junction with the Patapsco.
  • Continue on MD 144 and across US 29.
  • About four miles west of Ellicott City, turn left on US 40 and follow it a 1/4 mile, then turn left again on MD 144 to get back onto the original pike.
  • Proceed west on MD 144 to Marriottsville Road.
  • Continue west on MD 144 to Cookville, and continue north.

Cookville to Middletown

  • MD 144 takes you through Lisbon and on to a right turn on MD 27, or Ridge Road.
  • Go under the I-70 bridge into Mount Airy. The railroad, which followed the turnpike from Baltimore, turns south here -- on Parr's Ridge -- and gradually descends to the Potomac River at Point of Rocks.
  • Turn left on Main Street and then, left again on Ridgeville Boulevard.
  • Leaving Mount Airy, follow Ridgeville Boulevard, MD 144, which is known here as the Old National Pike.
  • Crossing MD 75, you enter New Market.
  • Continue west, going under the I-70 bridge and turning right to stay on MD 144. Cross to the west bank of the Monocacy River.
  • The pike, MD 144, enters Frederick City via East Patrick Street.
  • Continue west on Patrick Street, which becomes US 40 when you pass the US 15 interchange. Continue for a mile, and bear left on the older and more scenic US 40 Alternate, or Old National Pike.
  • As you descend the mountain, the town you see below is Middletown.

Middletown to Hagerstown

  • Beyond Middletown, US 40 Alternate ascends South Mountain, a formidable obstacle to early settlers.
  • Continue west on US 40 Alternate, descending South Mountain into Boonsboro.
  • Drive past farmland on your way to Funkstown.
  • Follow Alternate US 40 through Funkstown.
  • To stay on the National Pike, turn right on Westside Avenue.
  • Follow Alternate US 40 into Hagerstown, where the road becomes Frederick Street. At East Baltimore Street turn left and then right onto Locust Street, which will take you to the center of town. Turn left on westbound Franklin Street.

Hagerstown to Hancock

  • Continue west on US 40 through a region of large mid-19th-century farms and homesteads.
  • Follow US 40 west to Clear Spring.
  • US 40 next takes you along the Fairview Mountain ridge.
  • Continue west to Indian Springs. West of Indian Springs, US 40 merges with I-70 as it crosses the state's narrow panhandle. As you follow I-70 west toward Hancock, look for traces of the old pike winding up and down the northern bank.
  • After about 11 miles, exit on MD 144 in Hancock, where the state is only 1.5 miles wide.
  • MD 144 becomes Main Street as it passes through town.

Hancock to Cumberland

  • Continue west on MD 144 through several miles of orchard country.
  • West of Hancock, MD 144 becomes Scenic 40 in an encounter with I-68, or the National Freeway.
  • Scenic 40 leaves the freeway and follows a portion of the old wagon road four miles up the side of Sideling Hill. This is the longest climb during your journey from Baltimore to Cumberland.
  • As you descend the western flank of Sideling Hill, turn left on McFarland Road, which changes back to Scenic 40 as you enter Allegany County.
  • Scenic 40 closely parallels I-68 and then crosses the freeway to the north side, picking up the original course of the pike over Town Hill Mountain.
  • Cross Green Ridge Mountain, and turn right on MD 144 near Exit 62 to stay on the old pike.
  • Continue west along Scenic 40 keeping a watchful eye for older, more winding paths of the National Pike that have been bypassed. The road crosses Polish Mountain and Town Creek and then enters Flintstone.
  • Before entering Cumberland, the National Pike crisscrosses I-68 several times and finally merges with it near Wolfe Mill.
  • Continue on I-68 west where you will turn off again at Exit 44.
  • At the end of the ramp, turn right on MD 639, or Willow Brook Road, which becomes Baltimore Avenue, and follow it down the ridge to enter Cumberland.

Cumberland to Grantsville

  • Currently the byway is not routed through Downtown Cumberland due to the complexity of the one-way system of streets in Cumberland.
  • The Historic National Road starts at Baltimore Street and heads west on Center Street, which becomes Alternate US 40 as it crosses the Cumberland city limits.
  • To stay on Alternate US 40, turn left at MD 36, and follow the road into La Vale.
  • Continue west along the old road into tiny Clarysville.
  • Continue west past the Eckhart Mines to Frostburg, then on to Grantsville.

Grantsville to Pennsylvania Border

  • Follow Alternate US 40 west to Grantsville.
  • Continue on Alternate US 40 over Negro Mountain.
  • At the bottom of the hill, one of the road's original stone bridges crosses Puzzley Run.
  • Follow the Historic National Road over Keysers Ridge and on to the end of this byway at the Pennsylvania line.

Traveling the Pennsylvania Section

  • The byway begins on the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania, on what is now State Route 40.
  • Addison, containing the historic Petersbug/Addison Tollhouse, is the first major town the byway passes through.
  • Continuing west on the highway, the byway will pass Fort Necessity and Braddock's Grove.
  • Further along the highway, continuing in its north-westerly direction, the byway passes Forbes State Park, and then the towns of Hopwood and Union Town.
  • Another stretch up the highway takes the traveler past the Searights Toll House, the town of Brownsville, and the Flatiron Bridge.
  • The byway then crosses the Ohio River and eventually passes through Centerville, Beallsville, and Scenery Hill, and passes by the Madonna of the Trail.
  • As the byway nears the city of Washington, it intersects with Interstate 79, and then moves on to Washington, at which point the route takes a south-westerly direction and intersects Interstate 70.
  • Once out of the city, the byway passes the S-Bridge, and continues on through Claysville and then West Alexander and the state border with West Virginia, marking the end of the byway.

Traveling the West Virginia Section

  • Follow US 40 through the state from the WV/PA border on the east to the WV/OH border on the west.

Traveling the Ohio Section

  • Beginning in Bridgeport, follow US 40 west to Morristown.
  • At Morristown, follow Main Street west through town, then follow US 40 west again.
  • US 40 dead-ends at Stillwater Creek approximately 2.5 miles west of Morristown.
  • Turn left to get onto I-70 west.
  • Take the next exit (Exit 202) to get onto State Route 800 west, just east of Hendrysburg.
  • Follow State Route 800 west to Township Route 807 west through Hendrysburg.
  • Return to State Route 800 west, then veer right onto Old National Road 40A west.
  • Follow Old National Road 40A west to Fairview, then turn left to get onto I-70 west.
  • Follow I-70 west to Exit 193, State Route 513 north.
  • Immediately turn left onto County Route 690 west.
  • Veer right onto County Route 6764 and cross the Salt Fork over the S-Bridge.
  • Return to County Route 690 west by turning right after the bridge.
  • Turn left onto County Route 75 south, crossing under I-70, then turn right onto County Route 670 west.
  • Follow County Route 670 west. Turn right onto County Home Road north, crossing over I-70.
  • Turn right onto Fairground Road east, then left onto Old National Pike west into Old Washington.
  • Follow Old National Pike west through Old Washington. Turn right onto US 40 west.
  • Turn right onto County Route 450 west, then right onto US 40 west again.
  • Follow US 40 west through Cambridge, crossing over Wills Creek.
  • Turn right onto County Route 430 west through Fairdale. Turn right to return to US 40 west.
  • Follow US 40 west through New Concord. Turn right on Norwich Drive north, then veer left onto Main Street west through Norwich.
  • Turn right onto Brick Road west. Turn right to return to US 40 west at the end of the road.
  • Follow US 40 west to just east of Zanesville. Turn left onto County Route 604 south, then immediately right onto Wheeling Avenue west.
  • Veer left onto East Main Street west into downtown Zanesville. Main Street becomes US 40 downtown.
  • Follow US 40 west. Turn right onto County Route 415 west through Mt. Sterling.
  • Turn right onto US 40 west. Turn right onto County Route 1 (Main Street) west through Gratiot.
  • Stay straight onto County Route 26 west, then turn right onto US 40 west.
  • Follow US 40 west through Bexley. Where US 40 turns right in Bexley, stay straight, following Main Street west into Columbus.
  • Turn right onto Grant Street north, then left onto Broad Street west through Columbus.
  • Broad Street is US 40 in Columbus. Stay on US 40 west to Summerford.
  • Turn right onto Old US 40 west through Summerford, then right to return to US 40 west.
  • Follow US 40 west to South Vienna. Veer right onto Main Street, proceed west through town, then return to US 40 west where Main Street intersects it.
  • Follow US 40 west into Springfield. Veer left onto Main Street west and follow Main Street through Springfield.
  • Turn left onto US 40 west. Follow US 40 west to the state line, which is the end of the Ohio section of the Historic National Road.

Traveling the Indiana Section

  • The Historic National Road in Indiana runs east to west from Richmond, Indiana near the Ohio border to West Terre Haute, Indiana, near the Illinois border.
  • The Historic National Road is most often associated with US Route 40 which goes across Indiana and the other five National Road states.
  • To get to the byway, it is important to note that I-70 intersects the National Road at the Indiana-Ohio border.
  • The old National Road Welcome Center at that junction makes this a logical starting point for visitors.
  • Within cities, the road may acquire other names, or become part of a one-way pair, but the Historic National Road in the Hoosier State is signed as US 40, for most of its entire 156-mile length.
  • Within Indianapolis, the Historic National Road is called Washington Street (note: U.S. 40 follows I-465 around Indianapolis).
  • Also note that at the western end of the state, I-70 intersects with the Historic National Road just west of Terre Haute, also providing a logical starting point for visitors at the Indiana Welcome Center.

Traveling the Illinois Section

  • Generally follow US-40 (west of Terre Haute, Indiana) west to Vandalia.
  • At Vandalia take Illinois Route 140 west to Greenville.
  • At Greenville, follow the signs through town then follow the Old National Trail and US-40 west to Pocahontas.
  • In Pocahontas take State Street to Shouster Road.
  • Follow Shouster Road to Illinois Route 143 to US Route 40.
  • Take US-40 west to Illinois 160, Sycamore Street.
  • Take Illinois 160 though Highland to the Intersection of Highland Road.
  • Then take the Highland Road west to Ellis Road.
  • Continue west on Ellis road to Illinois Route 4.
  • Jog north to US-40, then west to Illinois Route 162.
  • Take Illinois 162 through Troy until it intersects with the Collinsville road.
  • Take the Collinsville road west to Illinois 159 in Collinsville.
  • Take Illinois 159 south to Clay Street.
  • On Clay Street go west to St Louis Road.
  • Follow St. Louis Road to Collinsville Road.
  • Follow Collinsville Road to Broadway Street in East St. Louis.
  • Follow Broadway Street to Eads Bridge road, then west to the Eads Bridge and the West Terminus of the Illinois Historic National Road.