Follow this historic route, or put together your own loop on paved roads.
The idea for "A Grand Automobile Tour" was hatched during a conversation at the dedication of RMNP.
See America First was championed by Stephen Mather, the National Park Service Director, and began in earnest in 1916. No roads connected the National Parks. It was a big idea - a 5,600 mile loop through the Western United States connecting twelve National Parks.
Anton Westgard, the field representative of AAA planned and mapped the route.
Henry Ford's assembly line made automobiles accessible to more Americans, and after WWI, the public interest in driving and in auto trails began to take off.
"See America First" promoted tourism in the National Parks, and this epic tour became something aspired to by the average American family.
Rocky Mountain National Park with it's Scenic Drives, including Trail Ridge Road was a central stop on the route.
On August 26, 1920, twelve adventurous drivers (including 1 woman) set out from Denver to complete the loop in 76 days and publicize it.
Sometimes it's hard to remember that one hundred years ago there were no maps, no gas stations, no mechanics - just unpaved roads, flat tires, and mud when it rained. Get a picture of what it was like from this great documentary called Paving the Way.