U.S. Route 50 or US 50 is a major east–west route of the U.S. Highway system, stretching just over 3,000 miles or 4,800 km from Ocean City, Maryland on the Atlantic Ocean to West Sacramento, California. The route runs through mostly rural desert and mountains in the Western United States, with the section through Nevada known as "The Loneliest Road in America". In the Midwest, US 50 continues through mostly rural areas of farms as well as a few large cities including Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; and Cincinnati, Ohio. The route continues into the Eastern United States, where it passes through the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia before heading through Washington, D.C. From there, US 50 continues through Maryland as a high-speed road to Ocean City. US 50 passes through a total of 12 states "California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland" as well as the District of Columbia. Time Magazine (July 7, 1997) called U.S Highway 50 "the backbone of America". But one could also call it "the backbone of Colorado" since it has had a major historic role in the development of our state.
Image credit Pat Cobb
Image credit Wikipedia
US 50 was created in 1926 as part of the original U.S. Highway system. US 50 running from Sacramento, California east to Annapolis with a gap in west Utah that was bridged by running the route north via Salt Lake City. In Nevada, the highway crosses a series of north–south running mountain ranges that break up the Nevada desert which are called Basin and Range. East of Carson City, the road enters the heart of the Great Basin, passing by few communities and minimal services, giving it the name "Loneliest Road in America" until reaching Utah. Before the creation of the Interstate Highway System after World War II, US 50 was a major east–west route. Numbered highways in the United States follow a pattern of odd numbers for north–south routes and even numbers for east–west routes, hence the designation of "50" for this route. In the preliminary report, approved by the Joint Board on Interstate Highways in late 1925, US 50 ran from Wadsworth, Nevada to Annapolis, Maryland, passing through Pueblo, Colorado, Kansas City, Missouri, Tipton, Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. [source]
Lincoln Highway US Route 50--the loneliest highway in America. Image credit Zhou Yu
The Loneliest Road Rte 50. Image credit Jeroen Elfferich
Lincoln Highway US Route 50, the loneliest highway in America. Image credit Zhou Yu
US route 50 The Loneliest Road in America. Image credit Masayoshi Kobayashi