Highways used to have names, not numbers

Brief by Central Staff

Transportation – January 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Before highway nomenclature was standardized with numbers, many were named, like the Rainbow Route becoming U.S. 50, or the Lincoln Highway turning into U.S. 30 in the West.

Some other named roads and their modern numbers:

Salida to Saguache and Monte Vista (U.S. 285), the Sangre de Cristo Route.

Montrose to Ouray, Silverton, and Durango (U.S. 550), the San Juan Way.

Twin Lakes to Aspen and Glenwood Springs (CO 82) was the Roaring Fork Route.

Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Raton, New Mexico (essentially Interstate 25) was the Great North and South Highway.

U.S. 24 once extended well past Minturn — clear to the West Coast — and was known as the Pike’s Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway.

U.S. 285 from Denver to Fairplay and Poncha Springs was the Tenderfoot Trail.

U.S. 40 was the Victory Highway, but the part from Denver to Kremmling, followed by what is now the Trough Road from Kremmling to State Bridge, then to Wolcott and eventually Grand Junction, was the Grand Valley and Hot Springs Scenic Route.

The names survive today in some street names, as with Rainbow Boulevard for U.S. 50 through Salida. And the state has resumed using names for its scenic byways, like the Top of the Rockies (Wheeler Junction to Twin Lakes), Frontier Pathway (Pueblo to Westcliffe), and Los Caminos Antiguos (Cumbres Pass to the Sand Dunes)