- 54 miles (86 km)
- Allow 1.5 hours.
- No fees.
This byway includes the section of US 50 traversing Preston andTaylor Counties. The original route chosen for US 50 was deemed toodifficult, so in 1830 a new route was devised and commissioned asthe Northwestern Turnpike. The completed thoroughfare was a vitallink to the West for freight and settlers. Today, US 50 follows thebasic route of the Northwestern Turnpike, also known as the GeorgeWashington Highway, as originally designed, and upgrades andalterations have done little to change the mileage of the road.
Because of the rugged terrain, construction of the road wasquite a challenge. Two of the biggest barriers were Cheat andLaurel mountains, with the Cheat standing at 2,746 feet and a 9%grade for three miles and 28 curves, and the Laurel at 2,602 feetand an 8% grade on both the east and west faces.
The many small communities that dot the landscape along US 50owe their existence to the commerce along the old NorthwesternTurnpike and the industry spurred by the construction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that parallels the route.