End of US highway 26

View a map showing this route.

Photo credits: Chris Elbert; Mark Long; Michael Summa; me

Approx. time period East terminus West terminus
1926-1948 Ogallala, NE (near Guernsey, WY)
1948-1951 Ogallala, NE Alpine, WY
1951-1952 Ogallala, NE Idaho Falls, ID
1952-1966 Ogallala, NE Astoria, OR (ferry)
1966-2003 Ogallala, NE Astoria, OR (bridge)
2003-present Ogallala, NE (near Cannon Beach, OR)

The east end of US 26 has always been in Ogallala NE. There aren't many US highways with eastern ends that far west!

The "North Platte" and "South Platte" rivers join to form simply the "Platte" River near the city of "North Platte" NE. (Got it?) Now: by the time the two rivers reach that point, they've been flowing parallel to each other for a remarkable distance - and all the while averaging maybe only 5 miles apart. Not until the vicinity of Ogallala - about 50 miles upstream (west) from North Platte - do the two rivers finally diverge. US 26 is the road that takes westbound traffic off US 30 (and now I-80 as well), and up the North Platte River valley - roughly following the same path into Wyoming as the historic Oregon and Mormon trails. The photo below shows the signage from westbound I-80 for the US 26 exit:

me, June 2001

Approaching that interchange from the south on NE hwy. 61, the signage looks like this:

me, June 2001

That's the east beginning of US 26. Not far on the other side of the overpass we encounter the first westbound confirming assembly:

me, Aug. 2005

This part of US 26 (the segment south of US 30) was signed as such only after I-80 was built; originally the route's terminus was at its junction with US 30. Below we're looking west on 1st Street (US 30) at East "A" Street:

me, Aug. 2005

To the left is a newer viaduct connecting to the I-80 interchange. Until recently, westbound US 26 continued to the right on one-way "A" Street (it was about 2000 when US 26/NE 61 traffic was co-signed with US 30 ahead to a new bypass west of town). Eastbound US 26 came from the right on the next block ahead (Spruce Street), turned this direction, and continued off to the left. But before I-80 was here, the west beginning of US 26 was to the right on Spruce (which used to run both directions). To the left (south of US 30) was designated NE 61, and Spruce crossed the railroad at-grade. It still does, but originally it continued further south via its own bridge across the South Platte, and it connected with today's NE 61 alignment south of I-80. The shot below is looking south on Spruce:

me, Feb. 2000

As I've said, US 26 and NE 61 are no longer routed through here (in fact, this old route is not even signed as a business loop). The stoplight in the distance is at US 30; below is a shot of the signage there:

me, Aug. 2005

That used to be the east end of US 26; NE 61 continued straight ahead and over a now-dismantled bridge. Now the US 26 designation is directed east (left) one block and then south over the newer viaduct. Here's the "End" assembly that was once posted at the river bridge:

Summa, 1987

A series of new signs was erected at the interchange in 2000; here's the modern equivalent of the assembly shown above:

me, June 2001


Originally the west end of US 26 was at its junction with the now-defunct US 185, at a place known as Dwyer Junction WY. In 1948 the US 26 designation was extended to Alpine WY (you can view photos from both places on this page). A few years later US 26 was extended west again, this time to Idaho Falls - you can view photos from there on this page. The following year (1952) the west end of US 26 was extended to Astoria OR; photos from there can be found on this page.


In 2003 OR DoT eliminated US 26's multiplex with US 101, such that its west end is now at a place some maps label "Cannon Beach Jct" (which is a few miles south of Seaside). The photo below was looking west on US 26 at what is now its west terminus:

Elbert, Mar. 2004

Historically, US 26 was co-signed with US 101 up to Astoria. Later that year, that sign had been changed to reflect the truncation:

Elbert, Nov. 2004

If you follow historic US 26 to the right, you almost immediately see the "End" sign shown below:

Elbert, Mar. 2004

That's where westbound US 26 merges with northbound US 101; to my knowledge this is the first assembly where an "End" sign was used by OR DoT. Below is a close-up:

Elbert, Mar. 2004

Heading south on US 101, the west beginning of US 26 appears thus:

Elbert, Mar. 2004

The green signs in the distance are shown close-up below:

Elbert, Mar. 2004

The opposite direction (north on US 101) looks like this:

Long, June 2004

If you take that exit, you'll soon see the first eastbound reassurance marker:

Elbert, Mar. 2004