In centuries gone by, before roads were made, what were the trails/paths/roads called that were made by the frequent passage of wagon teams or carriages joining towns together?
The ancient Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Greeks constructed roads with artificial wheel-ruts deliberately cut into rock. The ruts were spaced apart from each other the same distance as the wheelspan of an ordinary carriage, and thus constituted grooves that guided the carriages on the rutway.Wikipedia
Picture from the Gaeawiki - Atridean_Empire
In the northern U.S., the modern equivalent, a rural or forest road created by the passage of motorized vehicles, is called a two-track road.
I could not find a dictionary definition or other official reference, but here are a few example uses:
In the US, since the days of the Oregon Trail, the ruts themselves are commonly called wagon ruts, and are typically all that is left of a road/path/trail that once was heavily travelled. (Google image search on "wagon ruts")
But to answer your question, if the ruts developed naturally (were not intentionally built into the roadway, per the "rutways" answer), then I think the "2 track" answer holds. "The Oregon Trail is still visible in parts of the western US as a rutted 2 track through the prairie."
In Scotland around 1815, roads "made by the frequent passage of wagon teams or carriages" probably would have been called 'cart tracks':
His guide then dragged the weary hack along a broken and stony cart track, ....
Caledonian Mercury, 09 March 1815 (Midlothian, Scotland; paywalled)
Another Scottish example, from 1822:
Instant search was immediately made...when the child was found...apparently not much hurt! the skirts of its clothes were in the cart track.
Inverness Courier, 03 October 1822 (paywalled)
And from 1823:
For some time after my departure from the village, I found a cart track, which served to guide me across one of the wildest and most extensive wastes, mosses, or muir, or rather, all three combined and commingled into one, in Scotland. But by-and-by this track began to diverge strangely, and subdivided itself into separate and almost invisible traces, and I was not a little puzzled, at times, to select, amidst such a perplexing variety.
Another name, 'cart path', appeared in England's popular press rather than Scotland's.
The term 'carriage path', like 'cart path', although I found examples in use in the 1820s, appeared in England and Ireland rather than Scotland. Likewise 'carriage track'.
The term in use in Ontario, Canada, in and around 1865, is likely to have been affected by the scope of the locale; because of the diversity of the immigrant population, terms in use at that time might have been largely determined by (a) the cultural background of the speaker, and (b) the dominant cultural derivation of local communities.
Perhaps due to limitations in the data available to me, I did not find examples of 'cart track', 'cart path', 'carriage path' or 'carriage track' from Ontario until the 1890s. At that time, 'cart track' was by far the most common.
Cart-tracks? Or maybe cart-ruts or cart-road?
- Carriage track/path/lane
- Cart track
- Grass ride ("Ride" is a British term for a carriage path)
- Dirt road
- Rutted carriage path
- Old roads in New England were named after the town they went to. So if a road leads from Lincoln to Concord, the half that's near Concord is called, "Lincoln Rd." and the half that's in Lincoln is called "Concord Rd." or maybe "Concord St." if it's heavily settled near town.