Welcome back, friends! We hope you enjoyed your extended pit stop in the riveting town of Lowden, Iowa–home of prairie flowers and rural peace. But it’s time to make like Kerouac and hit the open road again on our great American road trip. So, stretch your legs now because we’ve got a good 1,600+ miles left to cover.
Welcome to Nebraska!
Wave goodbye to Iowa and enter Nebraska through its largest city, Omaha. Catch a beer festival and enjoy a hearty steak or take the kiddos to the Henry Doorly Zoo—voted best in the US. Celebrate making it halfway across the country by taking in The World’s Largest Ball of Stamps in Boys Town.
Once you hook up with the Old Lincoln Highway, revel in the “agricultural bounties” of the Cornhusker State. (We hope you saved up some podcasts and an extra box of granola bars.) Check out this link, for a list of attractions and amenities along the Historic Byway as you make your way into the Mountain Time Zone.
OPTIONAL EXCURSION: Denver, CO
Whoa! Another optional side trip?! This is the ultimate American road trip, after all. Welcome to Denver, where you can REALLY reward yourself, as recreational marijuana was passed here in 2014. (You might even want to stay an extra night…) The Mile High City has no shortage of things to do, from arts and culture to outdoor adventures. Get your sillies out and head north on US-287 through Fort Collins into Cheyenne, Wyoming. Those who opted out of the fun, how’re those corn fields treatin’ ya?
Oh, Hey Wyoming!
Welcome to the Cowboy State, home of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. While those are a good 5+ hour drive from the Lincoln Highway route, they’re not necessarily off the itinerary. If you don’t want to make the detour, you’ll still be treated to some stunning views of the Medicine Bow National Forest.
Check out the mysterious Ames Pyramid on your way through Buford. And if you make a stop in Laramie, you can check out an historic district that looks straight out of an old Western. Much of this portion of the Lincoln Highway has been replaced with I-80. But we suppose if there’s one state where you have to suffer along the interstate, Wyoming’s the place to do it. Soak up the views as you make your way through Echo Canyon into Utah.
Next Stop: Utah
Choose your own adventure for entering the Beehive State—north along I-84 and Main Street, USA or stick with I-80 and head south along a more direct and maintained route. Either option gives you unparalleled views of the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains and gets you into Salt Lake City. Once there, hike around the Great Salt Lake, zipline at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, or keep it simple with a tour around the city’s art and architecture. Like your trip in, you can choose your way out, traveling northwest along I-80 or south into Ibapah for some epic climbing and mountaineering.
On to Nevada
Either route out of Utah takes you into the Silver State, but you may want to stop in Ely, an old stagecoach station, for some snacks before you pick up US-50 aka “the loneliest road in America”. It just wouldn’t be an ultimate American road trip without experiencing this legendary stretch of highway. So, cue up the tunes, empty your bladder, and click here for a detailed list of all the things to see along the way.
Make your way into Carson City, stopping at the largest alpine lake on the continent—the stunning Lake Tahoe. Then pass through the El Dorado National Forest and take some last few deep breaths of clean mountain air before you head on to metropolitan Sacramento. Orrrr… Take the much more exciting and daring northern route across the Sierra Nevada for one of the great white-knuckle drives. Make a stop at Donner Pass to enjoy the breathtaking views and creepy old railroad tunnels. And don’t forget to thank your lucky 21st century stars that we don’t travel by wagons anymore.
LAST STOP: CALIFORNIA
YOU MADE IT! You’re on the West Coast!! Enter Sacramento and enjoy a host of museums, riverfront restaurants, and theaters. Stick with the original meandering Lincoln Highway or bite the bullet and hop on I-80 to save yourself a few hours as you make your way to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. A small marker, compliments of the Boy Scouts, stands on the southwest corner of the plaza to welcome you after that grueling trip. A little underwhelming, we say. Head to any one of San Francisco’s fantastic bars and celebrate the right way!
Well, you survived the ultimate cross-country American road trip. Now sell your car and buy a plane ticket back to New York because that was ROUGH. Join us next month for another road trip route, some great eats, and funky stops along the way. Share your fav stop on the Lincoln Highway in the comments section below and make sure to give us some recommendations for future road trip coverage.