Begun in 1811, the National Road was perhaps the first great endeavor for the young United States. Now a National Scenic Byway, the road was built with a goal both noble and simple: to connect the nation. Today, you can travel along this road to see quirky attractions, eat at home-town diners, visit classic historic sites and marvel at many natural wonders.
The National Road is the perfect place for cruising. The scenery is glorious, the asphalt is pristine, and adventure awaits off every mile marker. Make the trip to Cumberland’s annual Labor Day Super Cruise where more than 600 cars, trucks and motorcycles typically participate.
The Road to the Civil War
The road that bore the brave soldiers to Gettysburg and Antietam still echoes with their footfalls. Start at the Baltimore Civil War Museum, site of the first bloodshed of the war. Visit Frederick’s National Museum of Civil War Medicine and study its more than 1,200 artifacts. Walk the Bloody Lane at Sharpsburg’s Antietam National Battlefield where—in three hours of combat—5,500 soldiers were wounded or lost their lives, to pay respect to those whose footsteps never followed it home.
Celebrate American Ingenuity
Just east of Grantsville in Garrett County, walk across the 354-foot stone arch of Casselman River Bridge which is open only to pedestrians. In Allegany County, pull off at the historical marker and take in the views of The Cumberland Narrows, a scenic one-mile water gap formed thousands of years ago through the mountains of Western Maryland, and explore the trail at Lover’s Leap. Grab your flashlight and explore the C&O Canal’s Paw Paw Tunnel, long considered one of the engineering wonders of the world since only dynamite, picks, shovels, and mules were used in its creation. Go for a train ride at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, birthplace of American railroading and the nation's first confluence of road and rail travel.