Stretching from the Colorado River to just west of Ashfork, this All American Road makes for a fantastic road trip.
In all these miles (158 miles, 254km), you will find so many things to see and do on Route 66 in Arizona. So, in celebration of Route 66 turning 90 (1926 - 2016), we have compiled a list of 66 things to see and do on Route 66 in the great State of Arizona (from West to East).
There are some things you can see and do across Route 66, on the road, or in almost any community. Here are some suggestions:
1. Get the Arizona 66 Passport. Originally launched in 2010, this handy little travel guide is fun for Route 66 Road Trippers, both young and young at heart. Don’t set out for a drive on Route 66 without it!
2. Geocaching on Route 66 adds a bit of adventure to the drive. Geocaching is a real-world treasure hunt where players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone app or a GPS-enabled device and then share the experience online.
3. Browse Route 66 Gift Shops. Some Arizona favorites include Angel and Velma’s Route 66 Gift Shop (Seligman), Grand Canyon Caverns Gift Shop, Diamond Creek Restaurant Gift Shop (Peach Springs), Hackberry General Store, Memory Lane Gift Shop (Kingman Powerhouse), Cool Springs and several shops in Oatman.
4. Eat in a Route 66 Diner: Mr D'z 66 Diner (Kingman, known for home-made root beer floats), Rutherford's 66 Family Restaurant (Kingman), Westside Lilo’s Cafe (Seligman, known for brats & carrot cake), Snow Cap (Seligman, known for a sense of humor and closed between the week of Thanksgiving and early Spring), Roadkill Cafe (Seligman), Goldies Route 66 Diner (Williams), Cruiser's Route 66 Cafe (Williams), Galaxy Diner (Flagstaff), and Dar's Route 66 Diner (Winslow).
5. Locating and photographing wildflowers along the road is a seasonal activity, but they provide beautiful scenes in the Arizona Desert. Oatman Highway (Route 66 west of Kingman) flowers up as early as February and can remain dotted with color through early May. You might find California poppies, desert prim-rose, globe mallow, daisies and verbena in bloom. Elevations are higher between Peach Springs and Ashfork, and cooler temperatures translate to later flowering cycles. Monsoons often bear brilliant shows of sunflowers in August, September and October.
6. Go RVing (yours or rent one) and travel the Mother Road. Route 66 between Kingman and Ashfork is an RV friendly Highway. Note: the orginal stretch between Kingman and Oatman is not RV friendly. To go west, use Interstrate 40, which follows the Route 66 alginment from 1952 to 1985. As a side note, www.stjo66.de is a fantastic resource website showing Route 66 alignments over the life of the Highway. There are RV Parks in towns along Route 66, such as Kingman. But a few nature sites are also near Route 66, including Hualapai Mountain Park, Grand Canyon Caverns RV Park and the many camp grounds of the Kaibab National Forest.
7. Wild Life viewing, such as the 318 species of birds in Topock Marsh, wild burros along Oatman Highway (Route 66 west of Kingman), or pronghorn, prairie dogs and antelope between Kingman and Seligman.
8. Train watching! Route 66 follows the railroad tracks laid out in the 1880’s, so it’s no wonder there are so many places to pull off and watch today’s steel horses. Some great locations include Topock bridge (the original Old Trails Bridge can be seen here), Old Trails Road (Route 66 pre-1940) where you can position yourself between both sets of tracks, the Kingman Railroad Depot and Powerhouse Visitor Center in Downtown Kingman. Other locations include several pull offs between Hackberry Road and Crozier Canyon, a section of Route 66 just west of Seligman along Aubrey Cliffs, and Old Crookton Road about 4 miles east of Seligman (map links are approximate and may not reflect exactly where a car pull off is accessible).
The 52 miles (84km) between Kingman and the Colorado River at Topock is the original Mother Road. Predating the declaration of Route 66 in 1926, it was built for the stream of prospectors looking to stake a claim in the Oatman Gold Rush of 1902. It is representative of the Mother Road mentioned in John Steinbeck's "Grape's of Wrath" and best symbolizes Route 66 during the American Great Depression of the 1930's. By 1952, America’s love affair with big cars won over, and Route 66 was rerouted to the current alignment of I-40.
Plan for 1.5 hours of drive time between Kingman and Topock, plus additional time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. Speed limits range from 25-45 mph (40-72 km/h).
9. Rockhounding at the BLM Thimble Butte pull-off is a fun family activity. Here you can find fire agate and chalcedony roses. Watch for snakes and desert critters in warmer months.
10. Cool Springs was the last service station before heading up into the Black Mountains. Much of the original structure was exploded in the making of the movie Universal Soldier. The building was rebuilt and now serves as a gift shop and museum. It’s also a great place stop, buy a soda and take in the views.
11. The Cuesta Fire Agate Mine has been in operation since 1928. It is located on Oatman Highway (Route 66 west of Kingman) 4 miles east of Oatman. This scenic location offers a pay-to-mine service, contact the mine owner for more information regarding cost and availability: Don Nelson, 928.565.4145.
12. Shaffer Fish Bowl Spring is located on Oatman Highway (Route 66 west of Kingman) shortly past Ed’s Camp. A natural spring leads down to a basin where there are several gold fish. A few stone steps, often with loose gravel and burro droppings, leed up to the spring capture basin and it’s quite a view over the valley below! According to Kingman resident Art Fuller, when the State Highway Department cut the road in near the spring, they built the stairs and small pool. In the mid 50's the highway department also added a hand pump drinking fountain into one of the holes in the rock and put a fine screen over it to keep out bugs and animals. Within a few years the State determined the drinking fountain was a liability and it was removed. But the pool remains today. Art Fuller’s father, Arthur F. (Bud) Fuller Sr., worked for the State Highway Department from 1946 to 1961. One of his duties was to take care of the spring during the time the family lived in Oatman, 1946-1953. Other residents report that travelers sourced it for water to fill canvas bags or the radiator as they drove up the old highway. Perhaps there’s more historical context to Radiator Springs than Disney/Pixar realized in the movie Cars. It seems that knowing where springs were along the highway was important for drivers who needed to top off a radiator from time to time. A word of caution – watch for bees gathering water from the cool spring!
13. Sitgreaves’ Pass was first mapped out by Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves in 1851 while on an expedition to see if the Colorado and other rivers could be navigated by steam boat. From the top of the pass at an elevation of 3,550ft (1,082 m), you can see the across the Black Mountains into California and Nevada to the West and across the scenic switchbacks to the Hualapai Mountains in Arizona to the East.
14. Gunfight reenactments in Oatman occur two or more times daily – depending on the crowd’s demand – but always starting at high noon. Always a fun sight to see, the local miners have been putting on a show for years. Turns out, Oatman miners didn’t stop mining when the gold ran out, they just moved operations from the dried wash beds in the hills to the flowing stream of travelers.
15. Meander through the eclectic shops on Oatman’s wooden boardwalk. Oatman hasn’t changed much since the gold rush days, still the same old buildings slapped together of whatever settlers could find. However, the shops and bars don’t cater to the Miners coming out of the hills, but to the travelers coming down the road. They have a quirky selection of trinkets, art and apparel to browse while enjoying the Oatman hospitality.
16. Oatman Stables is only open October through April, but that’s because it’s the best weather for going horseback riding. They offer ½ hour, 1 hour and 2 hour wagon or horseback rides into the rugged Black Mountains. Reservations are highly recommended.
17. Topock Marsh is a 4,000 acre marsh located where Route 66 crosses the Colorado River. As part of the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, a popular bird watching area with over 300 species of birds (click here for species lists). Topock Marsh is a good location to explore by canoe or kayak. If you don’t have your own watercraft, there are several businesses in the area where you can rent boats, canoes and kayaks.
Kingman is at the Heart of Route 66 and the longest continuous ribbon (158 miles, 254km) of America's Mother Road!
18. The Historic Downtown Kingman self-guided walking tour covers more than 40 sights and buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places. For a behind the scenes look at the history of this Northwestern Arizona community, pick up a walking tour map at any of the Kingman Museums or in Certified Folder Distribution racks at the local motels/hotels.
19. The Historic Powerhouse in Kingman is home to the Arizona Route 66 Museum, Bob Boze Bell’s “The 66 Kid” gallery and the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum. The main building was completed in 1909 with the back additions (currently occupied by the museum) added in 1911. Construction progress was followed in news papers as far away as the Arizona Republican in Phoenix and the Los Angeles Times. The Powerhouse supplied power to Kingman and area mines until Hoover Dam began producing power in the late 1930’s. Sixty years later, the building was restored as a historical monument and Visitor Information Center, opening in 1997. The Arizona Route 66 Museum, which opened in 2001, was dubbed “Impressive new Route 66 Museum” in the article An Asphalt Odyssey by Reed Johnson, August 19, 2001 in the Los Angeles Times.
20. Locomotive Park is home to famed Sante Fe Steam Engine #3759. Built in 1928, this locomotive weighs nearly half a million pounds, has 80” diameter driving wheels and could travel at a full 100 mph. Today visitors can climb up on the old steam engine for an engineer’s view while modern trains roll by on nearby tracks.
21. The Bonelli House, constructed in 1915, was the second home of the Bonelli Family built on the same site after the original 1894 wooden-frame house burned down. Tour guides are at the House on weekdays between 11am and 3pm to conduct personal tours, provide historic background, share stories, and answer questions about pioneer life and activities of the day. Admission is included with admission to the Mohave Museum of History & Arts and the Arizona Route 66 Museum.
22. Mohave Museum of History & Arts includes exhibits on the local indigenous people, settlers, mining and ranching in Northwestern Arizona. Renowned Southwestern artist Roy Purcell was the first director in the new building and he developed many of the displays still in use today.
23. White Cliffs Wagon Trail, located just a mile from Downtown Kingman, has wagon tracks dating back to the late 1800’s that are still visible today. The trail was used to bring ore from Stockton Hill mine to the railroad. There are very few places like it still in existence where you can see historic wagon tracks etched into stone.
24. Camp Beale ruins are located along Beale’s Trail, which was surveyed by Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale in 1857 and laid the foundation for what became Route 66. Camp Beale was founded in 1871 to protect settlers traveling by wagon along Beale’s Trail and the Fort Mohave & Prescott Toll Road. The spring at Camp Beale provided water for the early town of Kingman and for steam locomotives traveling through.
25. Famous Route 66 murals in Kingman are located at the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, Kingman Water Tanks, TNT Auto and the Ramada Inn.
26. The Kingman Railroad Museum is located in Kingman’s railroad depot built in 1907. From inside the Museum, you can safely watch the real thing just feet away outside the large glass windows and enjoy three different gauge model railroads.
27. Hiking or Mountain Biking - Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area is an interconnected hiking/biking trail system on the west side of Kingman. The nearest trailhead to Route 66, Monolith Gardens Trail, is just 1.3 miles away. This trail system ties into Beale Loop Trail and follows portions of Beale’s Trail, which is the pathway that much of Route 66 eventually followed through Arizona. This system is one of the most scenic trail systems in Arizona with rock monoliths, a variety of desert vegetation and fantastic mountain views.
28. Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course, just one and a half miles from Route 66, dates back to 1917. It was an oiled course until the early 1970’s and became a full 18 hole championship golf course in 1995. The course is known for challenging greens, scenic fairways, good year-round weather and low rates.
The 106 miles (170km) from Kingman to the end of Crookton Road near Ashfork is iconic 1950's-60's Route 66. This stretch is similar to what most American's remember from 1950's and 1960's family road trips out west to the Grand Canyon or California.
The speed limit is 65 miles/hour (105km/h) on the open road between Kingman and Seligman. In towns, it slows down to 25 to 40 mph (40-64 km/h). Along Old Crookton Road (Seligman to Ashfork) the speed limit drops to 55 mph (89 km/h). You should plan for 1.5-2 hours of drive time, plus time to see the sights. This road is RV friendly.
29. Desert Diamond Distillery is one of a handful in Arizona open to the public for tours and tastings. The tasting bar - where you can take a flight of four rums and a vodka - was rescued from a famous French restaurant on the old Las Vegas strip known to be a favorite place of the Rat Pack, and many other Vegas characters of that era.
30. Kingman Army Air Field was a training site for some 36,000 military personel during World War II. The war ended in 1945 and a year later the training base became Storage Depot 41. Between 1946 and 1948, seven thousand aircraft were melted down to 70,000,000 pounds of aluminum and shipped out of Kingman. Now the Kingman Army Airfield Museum resides inside one of the remaining WWII hangers. Although all WWII aircraft stored at Storage Depot 41 were destroyed, the museum is a good collection of artifacts, photographs and training equipment from the past.
31. Valle Vista Championship Golf Course is an 18 hole championship course set in the quiet Mohave desert.
33. Giganticus Headicus is a 14 foot tall Tiki style head at Antares Point on Route 66. Gregg Arnold created the sculpture in 2003 and 2004. Some of Arnold’s other art projects are displayed around the location, formerly Kozy Corner Trail Park (“Cozy Cone” ring a bell, Sally?). Antares Point is along the longest continuous curve on a U.S. Hwy (approx. 2 miles) and offers fantastic views into the Arizona desert. If you pay a visit in October, the giant figure blushes pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
34. Hackberry General Store was originally operated by the Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire who traveled the road in his orange 1972 Volkswagen Microbus. Bob was unofficially the inspiration for Fillmore in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. Photo ops abound around Hackberry; a rustic store front, the tin-can billboard, nostalgic gas pumps, craggily mountain faces, old blacktop and scenic vistas. Hackberry is a microcosm of Route 66.
35. Keepers of the Wild Nature Park’s founder Jonathan Kraft was a performer with wild animals in Las Vegas, movies, TV shows, commercials and a variety of shoots and exhibits. However Jonathan realized that animals in entertainment do not have a quality of life, so he established Keepers of the Wild in Las Vegas in 1995. Today, Keepers is along Route 66, with almost 200 exotic animals on 175 acres of beautiful rock formations and natural vegetation.
36. Diamond Creek Road in Peach Springs is the only road to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. You can purchase a permit at the Hualapai Lodge to make the trek down, but it is a dirt road and can wash out so always check on current road conditions. About a mile before hitting the bottom, a stream crosses the road, so most drivers park and hoof it the last mile. Remember - most rental contracts prohibit taking vehicles, SUV or not, on unpaved non-maintained roads.
37. The Grand Canyon Caverns are 21 stories below ground in the third largest dry lime stone caverns in the world and one of a handful of original Route 66 attractions still going strong today. From the beginning, this place was full of twists and turns. Walter Peck, who discovered the caverns, believed it was full of gold and cavemen bones. He purchased the land in a frenzy only to discover he was a fool with pockets of rocks and recent remains that turned out to be from a couple local tribal members who passed away from the flu. When Hwy 66 was aligned near the Cavern’s entrance in 1928, Walter sold a “dope on a rope” experience to passers-by for 25 cents. Later the bones of a giant sloth were also found and the Caverns were named 'Dinosaur Caverns', which were a hot item at the time. In the 1960's, air passages were found to connect the caverns to the Grand Canyon, and it was rechristened 'Grand Canyon Caverns'. Dinosaurs still have a strong presence there today, but the only twists and turns are the ones you take on the 45 minute tour. Of course, if you're really looking for a twisted time, take the Ghost Walk (next item on this list).
38. The Grand Canyon Caverns Ghost Walk Tour deserves its own mention. Several paranormal investigators have peered into the Caverns, after The Route 66 Paranormal Society conducted an investigation in 2013 and came up with some interesting results, Caverns began offering the Ghost Walk evening tour. Shortly after, the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventurers became interested. In October 2015, Ghost Adventurers aired their 130th episode featuring the Grand Canyon Caverns ghostly presence.
39. The Grand Canyon Caverns Mini Golf Course is a quarky little place to get your game on. Located near the motel rooms, it adds something to do if you’re staying at the Inn. It also makes a good stop for getting out and stretching your legs in the quiet Arizona Desert.
41. Read Burma Shave Signs. The famous Burma Shave signs (billboards of yester-year) have been recreated in specific sections with original phrases along stretches of Route 66 in Yavapai County.
42. Meet Angel Delgadillo, the small town barber who started it all. Angel Delgadillo is a world renowned Route 66 enthusiast who pulled together the first organization across the country to preserve Route 66 - the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. He has been interviewed hundreds, if not thousands of times from journalists all over the world and is featured on dozens of documentaries about the Mother Road – including the bonus documentary on the DVD for Pixar’s Cars. Angel can usually be found in his barber shop at the Angel and Velma’s Route 66 Gift Shop.
43. Ashfork Route 66 Museum, located in a former ADOT substation, is all volunteer run and incldues some very interesting displays of Route 66 and their former Harvey House - Escalante.
The places listed below are east of the Route 66 loop (i.e. America's longest remaining stretch of Route 66), but are none-the-less wonderful Arizona Route 66 experiences!
44. Williams Visitor's Center and Museum
45. Grand Canyon Railway (Williams)
46. Williams Zip-Line
47. Bearizona (Williams)
48. Deer Farm (east of Williams)
49. Lowell Observatory (Flagstaff)
50. Riordan Mansion Arizona State Park (Flagstaff)
51. Museum of Northern Arizona (Flagstaff)
52. Walnut Canyon National Monument cliff dwellings (Flagstaff)
53. Twin Arrows Trading Post ruins
54. Two Guns ruins
55. Meteor Crater (west of Winslow)
56. Lorenzo Hubbell Trading Post & Visitor Center (Winslow)
57. Standin’ on the Corner Park (Winslow)
58. La Posada Hotel one of the few restored Harvey Houses (Winslow)
59. Old Trails Museum (Winslow)
60. World’s largest petrified tree at the Geronimo Indian Store (Holbrook)
61. Stay in a Tepee at the Wigwam Hotel (Holbrook)
62. Petrified Forest Museum (East of Holbrook)
63. Painted Desert (East of Holbrook)
64. Old Fort Monument (Joseph City)
65. Jack Rabbit Trading Post (Joseph City)
66. Red Rock Cliffs (Lupton)
This list continues to be updated, so if you don't find your favorite thing to see or do along Arizona's Route 66, check back or email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
last updated November 16, 2015.