US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail In Pennsylvania

Here is everything you need to know about the US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Length: 427 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The US Route 6, also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail, holds a significant place in American history. Established in 1926, it stretches across 14 states, covering a distance of approximately 3,652 miles from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Bishop, California. The route was initially designed to connect numerous small towns and cities, providing a vital transportation link for both commerce and travel.

The history of US Route 6 dates back to the early 19th century when it was first established as a wagon trail. It played a crucial role in the westward expansion of the United States, serving as a major thoroughfare for pioneers, settlers, and traders. Over time, the trail evolved to accommodate the changing modes of transportation, including stagecoaches, railroads, and eventually automobiles.

During the late 19th century, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization composed of Union veterans of the American Civil War, advocated for the construction of a transcontinental highway to honor their fallen comrades. In 1916, the Lincoln Highway Association, inspired by the GAR’s vision, proposed a coast-to-coast road that would become the precursor to US Route 6. The highway was officially designated as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail in 1947, paying tribute to the veterans who fought to preserve the Union.

Throughout its history, US Route 6 has witnessed significant milestones and events. It served as a vital transportation artery during World War II, facilitating the movement of troops, supplies, and equipment across the country. The highway also played a crucial role in the development of tourism, connecting scenic landscapes, national parks, and historic sites. Today, the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail stands as a testament to the nation’s rich history and serves as a popular route for travelers seeking to explore the diverse landscapes and cultural heritage of the United States.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Provincetown, Massachusetts: The eastern terminus of US Route 6 is a popular access point for the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail. Located at the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown offers stunning coastal views and a vibrant arts scene.

2. Cape Cod National Seashore: As US Route 6 continues westward through Cape Cod, there are several access points to the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail within the Cape Cod National Seashore. These include Marconi Beach, Nauset Light Beach, and Head of the Meadow Beach.

3. Plymouth, Massachusetts: Known for its historical significance as the landing place of the Pilgrims, Plymouth is another major access point along US Route 6. Visitors can explore the Pilgrim Memorial State Park and the Mayflower II replica before continuing on the trail.

4. Providence, Rhode Island: US Route 6 passes through Providence, the capital city of Rhode Island. Here, trail users can access the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail and explore the city’s historic neighborhoods, waterfront parks, and cultural attractions.

5. Hartford, Connecticut: Continuing west, US Route 6 reaches Hartford, the capital city of Connecticut. Trail users can access the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail and explore the city’s parks, museums, and historic sites, such as the Mark Twain House and the Connecticut State Capitol.

6. Scranton, Pennsylvania: US Route 6 passes through Scranton, a city known for its industrial history and connection to the coal mining industry. Trail users can access the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail and explore the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, which offers scenic views and historical landmarks.

7. Cleveland, Ohio: US Route 6 passes through Cleveland, a major city on the southern shore of Lake Erie. Trail users can access the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail and explore the city’s cultural attractions, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

8. Chicago, Illinois: The western terminus of US Route 6 is in Chicago, one of the largest cities in the United States. Trail users can access the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail and explore the city’s iconic landmarks, such as Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Transportation Available

1. Greyhound Bus Lines – Long-distance bus service connecting major cities along US Route 6.
2. Amtrak – National passenger railroad service with stations in various cities along the US Route 6 corridor.
3. Megabus – Affordable intercity bus service with stops in select cities along US Route 6.
4. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service available in many cities along US Route 6.
5. Lyft – Ride-sharing service providing transportation options in several cities along US Route 6.
6. Local Taxi Companies – Various local taxi services operating in towns and cities along US Route 6.
7. Rental Car Agencies – Multiple car rental companies offering services in different locations along US Route 6.
8. Bike Rentals – Local bike rental shops providing bicycles for exploring the US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail.
9. Local Public Transit – Public bus systems serving towns and cities along US Route 6.
10. Airport Shuttles – Shuttle services connecting airports to nearby cities and towns along US Route 6.


The amenities available at the US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail may vary depending on the specific section or location along the trail. However, here are some common amenities that can be found along the trail:

1. Restrooms: Restroom facilities may be available at various points along the trail, including trailheads, parks, or visitor centers.

2. Parking: Parking areas or designated parking lots may be available at trailheads or access points along the US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail.

3. Camping Sites: Some sections of the trail may offer camping sites or designated areas for overnight stays. These camping sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills may be available along the trail. These areas provide a place for visitors to relax, have a meal, or enjoy the surrounding scenery.

5. Interpretive Centers: Along the trail, there may be interpretive centers or visitor centers that provide information about the history, culture, and natural features of the area.

6. Trailhead Facilities: Trailheads often have amenities such as information boards, maps, and sometimes even restrooms or water fountains.

7. Scenic Overlooks: The US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail may offer scenic overlooks or viewpoints where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

8. Water Access: Some sections of the trail may provide access to lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water, allowing visitors to engage in activities like fishing, boating, or swimming.

9. Food and Beverage: Depending on the location, there may be restaurants, cafes, or convenience stores near the trail where visitors can purchase food and beverages.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary along different sections of the trail, and it is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management organizations for specific information about amenities at a particular location.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging:
– Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Comfortable hotel with modern amenities.
– Motel 6 – Budget-friendly motel offering basic accommodations.
– Best Western Plus – Well-appointed hotel with a range of amenities.
– Super 8 by Wyndham – Affordable motel with simple rooms and free breakfast.
– Hampton Inn – Chain hotel offering comfortable rooms and complimentary breakfast.

2. Food Services:
– McDonald’s – Fast-food chain serving burgers, fries, and more.
– Subway – Popular sandwich shop with a variety of options.
– Pizza Hut – Casual pizza restaurant with delivery and takeout options.
– Taco Bell – Fast-food chain serving Mexican-inspired dishes.
– Denny’s – Family-friendly diner serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

3. Emergency Services:
– Local Police Department – Law enforcement agency providing emergency response.
– Fire Station – Firefighters and emergency services available.
– Hospital – Medical facility offering emergency care and medical services.
– Pharmacy – Local pharmacy providing prescription medications and over-the-counter products.
– Gas Station – Convenient access to fuel and basic automotive services.

US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail Difficulty Notes

The US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for travelers. Spanning over 3,600 miles from Massachusetts to California, this historic route presents a diverse range of landscapes and road conditions. While some sections may be relatively easy to navigate with well-maintained highways, others can be more challenging with winding mountain roads, steep inclines, and occasional rough patches. Additionally, the varying weather conditions across different states can further add to the difficulty level. However, with proper planning, experienced drivers can enjoy the adventure and scenic beauty that this iconic trail has to offer.

Features And Attractions

1. Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts: This scenic coastal area offers stunning views of sandy beaches, dunes, and lighthouses.

2. Providence, Rhode Island: Known for its rich history, Providence offers numerous historical sites, including the Rhode Island State House and the Roger Williams National Memorial.

3. WaterFire Providence, Rhode Island: This unique art installation features a series of bonfires on the three rivers of downtown Providence, creating a mesmerizing and romantic atmosphere.

4. Letchworth State Park, New York: Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” this park offers breathtaking views of the Genesee River Gorge, waterfalls, and lush forests.

5. Kinzua Bridge State Park, Pennsylvania: Home to the Kinzua Viaduct, once the tallest and longest railroad bridge in the world, this park offers panoramic views of the surrounding forests and the Kinzua Creek Valley.

6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio: This national park showcases the beauty of the Cuyahoga River, waterfalls, rolling hills, and historic structures like the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

7. Chicago, Illinois: The route passes through the vibrant city of Chicago, offering iconic views of the skyline, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the famous “Bean” sculpture.

8. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: As the route reaches the western states, it passes near this stunning national park, known for its majestic mountains, alpine lakes, and diverse wildlife.

9. Arches National Park, Utah: This park is famous for its unique rock formations, including over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, making it a must-visit natural landmark along the route.

10. Sierra Nevada Mountains, California: The route traverses through the scenic Sierra Nevada Mountains, offering breathtaking views of towering peaks, pristine lakes, and lush forests.

11. Yosemite National Park, California: One of the most iconic national parks in the United States, Yosemite is known for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, and stunning valley views.

12. Golden Gate Bridge, California: The route ends in San Francisco, where travelers can enjoy the iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the city’s picturesque coastline.

These are just a few examples of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along the US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be leashed at all times while on the US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail.
2. Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during winter months or specific hours of operation.
4. Bicyclists should yield to pedestrians and use caution when passing.
5. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail, except for authorized maintenance vehicles.
6. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
7. No camping or overnight stays are permitted on the trail.
8. Do not litter and help keep the trail clean by disposing of trash in designated bins.
9. Observe and respect any posted signs or regulations along the trail.
10. Be mindful of other trail users and maintain a safe distance when passing or overtaking.
11. Follow any additional rules or guidelines specific to individual sections or segments of the trail, as indicated by local authorities or trail managers.

Seasonal Information

The US Route 6, also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail, offers a scenic and historic journey across the United States. The best times of the year to visit this iconic trail depend on the region you plan to explore. Generally, spring and fall are considered the ideal seasons to embark on this adventure, as the weather is mild and the landscapes are often at their most vibrant.

Starting in Massachusetts, the eastern portion of the trail experiences beautiful fall foliage in late September and early October, making it a popular time to visit. As you make your way west, you’ll encounter a variety of climates and landscapes. In the Midwest, summer is a great time to explore, with warm temperatures and lush greenery. The western states, such as Colorado and Utah, offer stunning scenery year-round, but spring and fall are particularly pleasant, as the weather is mild and crowds are smaller compared to the peak summer months.

It’s important to note that seasonal closures can affect certain sections of the trail. In mountainous regions, such as the Rocky Mountains, some portions may be closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall and dangerous road conditions. It’s advisable to check road conditions and closures before planning your trip, especially if you’re traveling during the colder months. Additionally, some attractions and visitor centers along the route may have limited hours or closures during the off-peak seasons, so it’s always a good idea to research and plan ahead to ensure you can fully enjoy your journey.

Overall, the US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail offers a diverse and captivating experience throughout the year. Whether you’re seeking vibrant fall foliage, pleasant spring weather, or a summer road trip adventure, this historic trail has something to offer for every season. Just be sure to plan accordingly, considering the weather, closures, and attractions along the way, to make the most of your journey.


1. Wheelchair ramps: Ramps are provided at various points along the trail to ensure easy access for wheelchair users.
2. Accessible parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrances for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible restrooms: Restroom facilities along the trail are equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair users.
4. Braille signage: Informational signs along the trail include Braille translations for visually impaired individuals.
5. Accessible picnic areas: Picnic spots along the trail are designed to be wheelchair accessible, allowing everyone to enjoy outdoor dining.
6. Accessible viewpoints: Scenic viewpoints along the trail are designed to provide wheelchair users with unobstructed views.
7. Accessible trail surfaces: The trail is constructed with smooth and even surfaces, making it easier for wheelchair users to navigate.
8. Accessible trail width: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices comfortably.
9. Accessible trail crossings: Crossings along the trail are equipped with curb cuts and tactile paving to assist individuals with visual impairments.
10. Accessible trail signage: Trail signs include clear and visible information, ensuring individuals with disabilities can easily navigate the route.

Safety Information

1. Plan and prepare: Research the trail, check weather conditions, and pack essential supplies before embarking on the US Route 6 trail.
2. Stay hydrated: Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout the journey, especially during hot summer months.
3. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing, including sturdy shoes, hats, and sunscreen.
4. Share the road: Be aware of other vehicles and share the road responsibly, as US Route 6 is a highway with traffic.
5. Use designated crossings: When crossing the highway, use designated pedestrian crossings and follow traffic signals.
6. Stay visible: Wear reflective clothing or use reflective gear, especially if walking or cycling during low-light conditions.
7. Be cautious of wildlife: Keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid feeding or approaching them.
8. Stay on designated paths: Stick to designated trails and paths, avoiding venturing into restricted or private areas.
9. Carry identification: Carry identification and emergency contact information in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
10. Stay alert: Pay attention to your surroundings, including traffic, trail conditions, and any potential hazards.
11. Follow trail rules: Observe and follow any posted trail rules or regulations for a safe and enjoyable experience.
12. Travel in groups: Consider traveling with a companion or in a group for added safety and support.
13. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a first aid kit, a map, a flashlight, and a cell phone for emergencies or unexpected situations.
14. Respect private property: Avoid trespassing on private property along the trail and respect the rights of landowners.
15. Check for trail updates: Stay informed about any trail closures, construction, or maintenance updates before starting your journey.

Conservation Notes

The US Route 6, also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail, holds a significant conservation status within the United States. As a designated National Scenic Byway, it is recognized for its historical, cultural, and natural values. The conservation efforts surrounding this iconic highway aim to preserve and protect its unique features for future generations.

One of the key aspects of the conservation status of the US Route 6 is the preservation of its historical significance. The highway played a crucial role in connecting various regions of the country, serving as a major transportation route for over a century. Efforts are made to protect and restore historic landmarks, structures, and sites along the route, ensuring their cultural and historical value is maintained.

Furthermore, the conservation status of the US Route 6 also focuses on the preservation of its natural resources and landscapes. The highway traverses diverse ecosystems, including forests, mountains, rivers, and coastal areas. Conservation initiatives aim to protect and restore these natural habitats, promoting biodiversity and ensuring the sustainability of the surrounding environment. This includes measures to mitigate the impact of development, preserve scenic vistas, and promote responsible tourism along the route.

Overall, the conservation status of the US Route 6 – Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail highlights the importance of preserving its historical, cultural, and natural heritage. Through various initiatives and partnerships, efforts are made to protect and enhance the unique features of this iconic highway, ensuring its long-term sustainability and enjoyment for generations to come.

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