Historic Auto Trails
The following table lists each of the known Auto Trails which existed in Michigan in the late-1910s and 1920s. The "|" symbol denotes a terminus, while a state abbreviation and the ">" symbol (e.g. "Ind. >") denote the exiting or entering of the trail to or from another state or province.
|Name & General Route|
|Central Michigan Pike
| Holland - Grand Rapids - Ionia - St Johns - Owosso - Flint - Lapeer - Imlay City - Port Huron |
|Chicago Motor Club Route
Ind. > New Buffalo - Stevensville - St Joseph - Benton Harbor |
| Detroit - Ypsilanti - Clinton - Jonesville - Coldwater - Kinderhook > Ind.
| Ironwood - Iron RIver - Iron Mountain - Escanaba |
Ind. > Kinderhook - Coldwater - Union City - Battle Creek - Bedford - Hastings - Freeport - Alto - Cascade - Grand Rapids |
| Detroit - Ann Arbor - Jackson - Albion - Battle Creek - Kalamazoo - Paw Paw - Dowagiac - Niles > Ind.
|Dixie Highway - East Mainline
| Sault Ste Marie - Pickford - Cedarville - St Ignace - Mackinaw City (DH West Branch) - Cheboygan - Onaway - Rogers City - Lachine - Alpena - Spruce - Lincoln - Oscoda - Tawas City - Whittemore - Prescott - Sterling - Standish - Bay City (DH Cut-Off/Vassar departs) - Saginaw - Flint (DH Cut-Off/Fenton departs) - Davisburg (DH Cut-Off/Fenton rejoins) - Clarkston (DH Cut-off/Vassar rejoins) Pontiac - Detroit - Wyandotte - Monroe - Erie > Oh.
|Dixie Highway - West Branch
| Mackinaw City (DH East Mainline) - Pellston - Petoskey - Charlevoix - Elk Rapids - Traverse City - Benzonia - Bear Lake - Manistee - Scottville - Ludington - Pentwater - Hart - Muskegon - Grand Haven - Spring Lake - Coopersville - Marne - Grand Rapids - Wayland - Plainwell - Kalamazoo - Paw Paw - Decatur - Dowagiac - Niles > Ind.
|Dixie Highway Cut-Off (via Vassar-Davison)
| Bay City (DH East Mainline) - via Pine-Portsmouth Rds & M-46 - Richville - Vassar - Davison - Ortonville - Clarkston (DH East Mainline) |
|Dixie Highway Cut-Off (via Fenton-Holly)
| Flint (DH East Mainline) - Fenton - Holly - Davisburg (DH East Mainline) |
|East Michigan Pike
| Toledo - Monroe - Detroit - Pontiac - Flint - Saginaw - Bay City - Standish - Prescott - Tawas City - Oscoda - Lincoln - Alpena - Lachine - Rogers City - Onaway - Cheboygan - Mackinaw City |
|Grand River Road
| Grand Rapids - Cascade - Alto - Clarksville - Lake Odessa - Grand Ledge - Lansing - Williamston - Howell - Novi - Detroit |
Oh. > Munson - Morenci - Jasper - Adrian - Tecumseh - Saline - Ypsilanti - Detroit |
|Horatio Earle Memorial Highway
| Detroit - Center Line - Utica - Romeo - Imlay City| later extended northerly - Marlette - Bad Axe - Kinde - Port Austin |
|Lakes & River Drive
| Detroit - Grosse Pointe - St Clair Shores - Mt Clemens - Chesterfield - Richmond - St Clair - Port Huron| possibly briefly extended north - Lakeport - Lexington - Port Sanilac - Harbor Beach - Port Austin |
| Indiana state line - White Pigeon - Three Rivers - Schoolcraft - Kalamazoo - Plainwell - Wayland - Grand Rapids (original southern terminus pre-1923) - Howard City - Big Rapids - Reed City - Cadillac - Fife Lake - Lodi - Kalkaska - Mancelona - Elmira - Boyne Falls - Petoskey |
Sources seem to indicate the signed Mackinaw Trail never extended north from Petoskey to Mackinaw City!
| Detroit - Ypsilanti - Ann Arbor - Jackson - Marshall - Battle Creek - Kalamazoo - Paw Paw - Decatur - Dowagiac - Niles - Buchanan - Galien - New Buffalo > Ind.
|New Hudson-Holly Road
| New Hudson - Milford - Holly |
| Kalamazoo - Vicksburg - Mendon - Nottawa - Sturgis > Ind.
|Saginaw Valley Route
| Battle Creek - Bellevue - Charlotte - Lansing - Perry - Owosso - St Charles - Shields - Saginaw |
Oh. > Ottawa Lake - Blissfield - Tecumseh - Clinton - Manchester - Napoleon - Jackson |
|Theodore Roosevelt International Highway
Ont. > Detroit - Pontiac - Flint - Saginaw - Bay City - Standish - Sterling - Prescott - Whittemore - Tawas City - Oscoda - Lincoln - Alpena - Lachine - Rogers City - Onaway - Cheboygan - Mackinaw City - St Ignace (spur to Sault Ste Marie) - Moran - Epoufette - Rexton - Engadine - Gould City - Curtis - Germfask - Blaney Park - Manistique - Rapid River (U.P. Branch to Marquette) - Escanaba - Powers - Iron Mountain - Florence, Wisc. - Crystal Falls - Iron River - Watersmeet - Wakefield (U.P. Branch from Marquette) - Ironwood > Wisc.
|Theodore Roosevelt International Highway - Eagle River Spur
| Houghton (TRIH U.P. Branch) - Hancock - Dollar Bay - Lake Linden - Calumet - Mohawk - Eagle River |
|Theodore Roosevelt International Highway - U.P. Branch
| Rapid River (TRIH Mainline) - Trenary - Marquette - Ishpeming - Michigamme - L'Anse - Houghton (spur to Eagle River) - South Range - Greenland - Bruce Crossing - Bergland - Wakefield (TRIH Mainline) |
|Top of Michigan Trail (also known as Northern
Michigan Tourist Pike)
| Toledo, Oh. - Ida - Dundee - Milan - Ann Arbor - Brighton - Fenton - Flint - Saginaw - Bay City - Auburn - Midland - Sanford - North Bradley - Beaverton - Gladwin - Meredith - Prudenville - Roscommon - Grayling - Gaylord - Indian River - Cheboygan - Mackinaw City |
Oh. > Frontier - Hillsdale - Jonesville - Pulaski - Concord - Jackson - Leslie - Mason - Lansing| briefly extended north(?) St Johns - Alma - Mt Pleasant - Clare - Farwell - Evart - Mc Bain - Cadillac |
|West Michigan Pike
| Michigan City, Ind. - New Buffalo - St Joseph - Benton Harbor - Watervliet - South Haven - Holland - Grand Haven - Muskegon - Whitehall - Hart - Pentwater - Ludington - Scottville - Manistee - Bear Lake - Benzonia - Traverse City - Elk Rapids - Charlevoix - Petoskey - Pellston - Mackinaw City |
Also a spur route from Niles via Berrien Springs to St Joseph existed.
While the information for both the auto trails, their paths and their markers came from a variety of sources, a special thank-you is warranted for Robert Beasecker, Senior Librarian with Special Collections, Grand Valley State University Libraries. Robert provided several excellent scans from a 1920 Kenyon Company map of Michigan. Not only were the markers on the Kenyon Company map in color—a rarity for the 1920s—but it also pinpointed a few heretofore undiscovered auto trails. Again, many thanks to Mr. Beasecker for his assistance and contributions.
In addition, several other sources have been consulted, including:
- Rand McNally "Official Auto Trails Map, District No.3: Michigan," 1921, 1922, 1923
- Rand McNally "Junior Auto Trails Map: Michigan," 1924
- LeRoy Barnett's wonderful 288-page book "A Drive Down Memory Lane: The Named State and Federal Highways of Michigan," published in 2004. (See informational box on the Memorial Highways page for more information on this book.) Barnett's book is responsible for the East Michigan Pike and Saginaw Valley Route listings and markers here.
- Dave Schul's excellent North American Auto Trails website
- Robert V Droz' also excellent Whatever Happened to the Dixie Highway? website
- Matt Salek's Colorado Highways: Historic Motor Trails page provided inspiration