Yellowstone Trail

The Yellowstone Trail Association was formed in 1912.  The founders envisioned a fully transcontinental route allowing automobiles to travel coast to coast across the United States. The motto was “A Good Road from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound”.  It’s interesting that unlike many ideas, the actual route was begun in the Midwest using existing roads and upgrading them to allow automobile travel.  In 1912 a route from Ipswich to Aberdeen, South Dakota was completed. In 1913 it was continued west to Yellowstone National Park and east to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, along a route from Ortonville through Glencoe, Norwood, Young America, Waconia, Excelsior to Minneapolis and St. Paul.  The automobile friendly route reached Seattle (Puget Sound) in 1915 and Plymouth Rock by 1919.

Main Street Waconia
  • An over the road relay race was held in 1916 heralded as the “Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound Race”, covering 3,729 miles.
  • The Waconia Patriot reported “The streets should be kept clear at Waconia on the afternoon of next Wednesday to minimize any chance of accident as the cars will go thru town at high speed” The anticipated high speed: 31 m.p.h. The Yellowstone Trail followed Main Street in Waconia.
  • In addition to tourist travel, with the impact of World War I on railroads, farmers began using the Trail to transport crops and the military began using trucks, 525,000 by the end of 1918.
  • In July, 1917, the Patriot reported 1850 cars and trucks passing through Waconia on the Yellowstone Trail in one week.
  • By 1920 the Yellowstone Trail was carrying 10,000 vehicles into Yellowstone Park.
Yellowstone Trail