To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, we set out on a modern-day journey of the grand scenic loop.
In 1916, the National Park Service was born from an act of Congress, “To conserve the scenery . . . and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Soon after, a grand loop of highway connected twelve national parks of the west, the route known as the National Park-to-Park Highway. These roads were rough, often only rutted tracks of dirt, more often mud, and fraught with danger. But in 1920, a group of brave officials and reporters departed Denver to complete the grand loop in primitive autos, a trek that would take 76 days.
One hundred years later, as the National Park Service nears its centennial birthday, we set off to recreate the 1920 dedication tour of the National Park-to-Park Highway. Though the route is now paved and the cars more reliable, we hope to meet adventure, enjoy the scenery, and promote the conservation of our parks for the next 100 years.