United States Highway 26 is an east-west United States highway. It started in Ogallala, Nebraska, and gradually grew to reach the West Coast in Oregon. When the U.S. highway system was first defined, it was limited to Nebraska and Wyoming; by the 1950s, it continued into Idaho and Oregon.
Much of the highway follows the path of the historic Oregon Trail. At its peak, immediately before the establishment of the interstate highway system, US 26 was 1,557 miles in length, and terminated in Astoria, Oregon.
As of 2004, the highway's eastern terminus is in Ogallala, Nebraska at an intersection with Interstate 80. Its western terminus is south of Seaside, Oregon at an intersection with U.S. Highway 101. Prior to 2004, the route's last 20 miles were co-signed with U.S. Highway 101 from the highways' junction south of Seaside north to Astoria where its intersection with U.S. Highway 30 was also U.S. 30's western terminus.
The highway passes through the following states:
The eastern terminus of US 26 is in Ogallala, Nebraska at Interstate 80. From there, it runs northwestward parallel to the North Platte River and intersects with U.S. Highway 385 in Bridgeport, Nebraska. The largest city US 26 runs through in Nebraska is Scottsbluff, which is just 22 miles from the Wyoming border. All told, there are 145 miles of US 26 in the state of Nebraska.
Heading westward, the first city in Wyoming US 26 runs through is Torrington. About 50 miles further west, US 26 joins Interstate 25 and remains co-signed with it until reaching Casper, Wyoming. From Casper to Shoshoni US 26 is co-signed with U.S. Highway 20. After that, US 26 comes close to Yellowstone National Park before curving southwestward and eventually entering Idaho.
From Alpine, Wyoming, the road proceeds to Idaho Falls and joins Interstate 15. It departs at Blackfoot for the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, then skirts the north edge of Craters of the Moon National Monument before joining Interstate 84 in Bliss. It joins further with U.S. Highway 20 at Mountain Home and remains with Highway 20 into Oregon.
The segment, starting at its intersection with U.S. Highway 35 near Government Camp, Oregon and continuing westward to Sandy, Oregon, which closely follows the route of the Barlow Road, has served to define was is sometimes called the Mt. Hood Corridor.
Its westernmost segment, in Oregon between Portland and the coast, is known as the Sunset Highway. While many people may think it received its name because it stretches towards the sunset from Portland, it was officially named January 17, 1946 for the US 41st Infantry Division of the United States Army, also known as the "Sunset Division." Some local historians think that it was more than a coincidence that a logging complex in western Washington County, near the path of US 26, was called Sunset Camp many years before the highway was built.
Related US Routes
- Endpoints of US highways (http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite%2FFalls%2F3369/HwyEnds/End026/end026.htm) (used with permission)