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End of US highway 180

View a map showing this route.

Photo credits: Chris Elbert; Jeff Jensen; me

Approx. time period East terminus West terminus
1943-1949 Weatherford, TX El Paso, TX
1949-1961 Handley, TX El Paso, TX
1961-1963 Handley, TX Valle, AZ
1963-1979 Handley, TX Grand Canyon, AZ
1979-1991 Fort Worth, TX Grand Canyon, AZ
1991-1997 (near Weatherford, TX) Grand Canyon, AZ
1997-2003(?) (near Weatherford, TX) Valle, AZ
2003(?)-present (near Weatherford, TX) Tusayan, AZ

Modern US 180 is actually the second route to be assigned that number. From 1926 to 1935, US 180 [I] ran between Caballo NM and Florence Jct. AZ (view a page about that route here).

US 180 [II] was commissioned in 1943; the east end has always been somewhere along a 40-mile stretch between Ft. Worth and Weatherford TX, either in or around one of those two cities. It's a pretty complicated history, so I've given the east endpoint its own page, here.

At the time, the other end of US 180 was in El Paso TX (you can get more info on this page). From El Paso, one could follow US 80 west through Las Cruces to Deming NM, and then (if they so chose) US 260 northwest to Holbrook AZ. So I don't understand the change that was made in 1961: instead of simply extending US 260 west from Holbrook to the Grand Canyon, the US 180 designation was extended west from El Paso to Deming (co-signed with US 80 the entire distance - over 100 miles); then northwest, replacing US 260 to Holbrook; west with US 66 to Flagstaff; then north to the Grand Canyon. Or, more accurately, to a little place the official Arizona state highway map labels "Valle", which is at the junction with AZ hwy 64. Then in 1963 the route was extended north with AZ 64 to Grand Canyon Village. But it appears AZ DoT has been having a hard time deciding what they want to do with this designation: I'm told in 1997 US 180 was truncated back to its former terminus in Valle... but when I was there in 2004, signage had been extended north again, apparently up to the National Park boundary at Tusayan. If you can shed light on any of this, please let me know - until then, I'll just relate what I know. First, here's a portion of the corresponding USGS quad, dated 1988:

That's at the Grand Canyon Village "T" junction, where AZ 64 makes an elbow turn, and the main visitor center is to the north. Granted, USGS maps aren't always reliable with respect to highway designations, but this one indicates that the US 180 designation once extended up to this junction. Below are photos from the area; this first one is looking north on AZ 64:

me, July 2004

At one time that may have been the northernmost extent of US 180. Below we're looking west on AZ 64:

me, July 2004

In 2004 there was no mention of US 180 within the National Park itself, but heading south right about at the park boundary, a US 180 shield was co-marked with AZ 64:

me, July 2004

Tusayan was just ahead, as I recall. About 30 miles further south, at Valle, of course the two routes split:

me, July 2004

In the distance is Bill Williams Mountain, near his namesake town. There have been times when that junction marked the west beginning of US 180. As evidence, I cite this photo:

Jensen, July 2002

That was looking west on US 180 at Valle. But when I was there two years later, the "End" tab had been replaced with a right arrow:

me, July 2004

And the shot below (heading north at Valle) is ambiguous: while the assembly in the foreground indicates that US 180 begins to the right, you'll also notice in the distance that US 180 is co-signed ahead with AZ 64:

me, July 2004

So it's a little hard to say exactly where the west end of US 180 is today. From what I observed, most signs seem to indicate it ends at the Park boundary near Tusayan:

Elbert, Apr. 2008