Touring Wonderland

Since the parks opened in the second half of the nineteenth century, roads and vehicles have provided the primary means of experiencing national parks. Early park visitors, however, traveled by stagecoach along simple dirt roads constructed by private toll companies or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Despite meager federal appropriations, primitive equipment, and difficult

Touring Yellowstone National Park, 1916. Dirt road built by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

conditions, early park road builders accomplished many impressive construction feats ranging from Yellowstone's Golden Gate viaduct and the steep stage roads into Yosemite Valley to the winding Nisqually Road on Mount Rainier. Stagecoach excursions through the early national parks were long and dusty outings - seeing the sights of Yellowstone National Park could easily take a week or more - relieved by stays in grand hotels or primly maintained tent cabins. Touring the national parks in this manner was a privilege restricted to those who could afford the time and expense of lengthy vacations and costly accommodations.

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