Dixie Highway MarkerFlorida Auto Trails

Before the U.S. Numbered Highway System was established in 1926, inter-state traffic followed paths blazed and promoted by various trails associations, a system collectively known as Auto-Trails. The Auto-Trail System relied on dues paid by members along the route to pay for advertising. Improvement of the route was left to locals. The markers used were as colorful as some of the promoters. All you really needed to run a auto trail was a couple buckets of paint and a knack for self-promotion. Mapmakers tried in vain to keep track of the various trails and trailmarkers. Trail markers were occasionally posted as independent signs, but more often were posted by painting them on utility poles, bridge abutments, and fence posts. If you want a history of Auto-Trails and the routes they took nationally (and Internationally in some cases) see Dave Schul's North American Auto Trails, linked below.

This website is focused on the named Trails of Florida, based heavily on a 1925 Rand McNally Map of Florida. The routes are shown along the major highways (US and Florida state routes) that replaced them in function, and directly in many cases. A more detailed turn-by-turn route guide would make a good future project.

The map shows 14 named trails in Florida, and one named Toll Road:

Atlantic Highway
Bee Line Highway
Central Florida Highway
Connors Highway
Dixie Highway
Florida Short Route
Lee - Jackson Highway
Lone Star Trail
Memorial Boulevard
Mississippi River Scenic Highway
Old Spanish Trail
St. Augustine Road
(South) Atlantic Coastal Highway
Tamiami Trail
Woodpecker Route

I have seen references to a "Gulf Coast Highway", which may have stretched from Pensacola to St. Petersburg along US 98 and US 19, but this was not on the map.

Mississippi Valley Highway was included in the above graphic because the map showed Mobile, Alabama, a spur terminus of that route.

The following trails may or may not have been posted in Florida. Sources - Schul site, Library of Congress Archives

  1. Appalachian Scenic Highway, with a spur route entering the state north of Lake City and a terminus in Marco, and a spur route from that at Wildwood, terminating in Miami, with a connector from Arcadia to Palm Beach
  2. Black Bear Trail, terminating in Miami
  3. Cleveland-Marietta-Asheville-Florida Highway, terminating in Jacksonville after following US 1 from Waycross, GA
  4. Detroit-Asheville-Miami Highway (aka Lakes-to-Florida Short Route), entering the state north of Lake City with a terminus in Miami and a spur from Lake City to a terminus in Tampa
  5. Glacier Trail, entering the state between Dothan and Tallahassee and terminating in Jacksonville or Miami
  6. Great Lakes - Atlantic Highway, terminating in Miami
  7. Great Lakes - Gulf Highway, terminating in Apalachicola
  8. Henry Grady Highway, terminating in Fort Myers
  9. Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway, terminating in Miami
  10. Lakes-to-Florida Highway, terminating in Jacksonville after following US 1 from Waycross, GA
  11. Lakes-to-Ocean Highway, terminating in Tampa with a spur to Miami
  12. Stonewall Jackson Highway, terminating in Tallahassee



North American Auto Trails by Dave Schul - The best source for information on Auto Trails.

US Highways: From US 1 to (US 830)

This page first posted to the web by Robert V. Droz on May 22, 2001
This page last updated Friday, November 09, 2001