Route 66. The Mother Road. The Great American Highway. No matter what name you give it, U.S. Route 66 is a true part of historic Americana and a great way to see some of the most delightful destinations in the western part of the United States. We are lucky in Arizona to have ready access to some of the best highlights along the historic route.
Our FaceBook friend Raymond and his wife are planning a trek across the country, traveling the old Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. We promised to give him some highlights of the best spots to see here in Arizona along the Mother Road.
The most noted stops on the old Route 66 in Arizona include Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, and Kingman. The National Park Service also provides list of notable and historic sites along the highway, including:
Querino Canyon Bridge, Houck
Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park
Wigwam Village Motel #6, Holbrook
La Posada Historic District, Winslow
Walnut Canyon Bridge, Winona
Seligman Historic District, Seligman
Peach Springs Trading Post, Peach Springs
Schoolhouse at Truxton Canyon Trading School, Valentine
Kingman Commercial Historic District, Kingman
Durlin Hotel, Oatman
Old Trails Bridge, Topock
However, when we travel with Ladybug, we like to venture a bit off the road to see some of the more fantastic sights, national parks, towns and destinations. We have many “to visit” places on our list for the near future, but these are the places we have visited so far.
Giant billboards usually over promise and under deliver. The billboard for meteor crater just can’t come close to describing the real thing. An incredible sight – like something out of this world and nothing you’ve ever seen. You simply must stop and see this national landmark.
Just a bit off the road right before you get to Flagstaff is a wonder of nature and history that you simply must see. Walnut Canyon National Monument is a short hike down a steep cliff, allowing visitors to walk through ancient cliff dwellings with stunning views. A relatively quick trip through the dwellings, this is a one of a kind sight. Be sure to bring your walking (or better yet hiking) shoes if you decide to take the trail down.
East of Flagstaff and north of I-40 is another wonder of nature – the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Stop for a look at a very recent volcanic lava flow – a fascinating picture of science in action.
North of Sunset Crater, on the road to the east entrance to the Grand Canyon, lies Wupatki National Monument. In the middle of the desert with views of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, you will find dozens (perhaps hundred) of ancient pueblo settlements dotting the landscape. It’s a fascinating picture of native life before the volcano erupted and western settlers arrived.
We love going to the Grand Canyon and, although it is about an hour or so north of Route 66, it is definitely worth the trip! One o the seven wonders of the natural world, a traveler though Arizona would be remiss if they didn’t plan to make a stop to see the Grand Canyon in all it’s glory. Read about some of our Grand Canyon adventures in other Ladybug’s Blog posts.
About 20 miles west of Flagstaff is a small town called Williams. Williams is a true Route 66 destination, the Gateway to the Grand Canyon and home of the Grand Canyon Railway. The town is nestled in the trees and mountains of Northern Arizona and is a favorite of Phoenicians and out of state travelers. Be sure to stop for a bite to eat, or stay a while and ride the train to see the Grand Canyon National Park. Don’t forget to check out Bearizona. Another must see destination in Northern Arizona and world class treat for animal and nature lovers!
Notable Towns on the Old Route 66 Highway
As you head west on I-40, there are many opportunities to take the less traveled Route 66 highway that runs in parallel to it going east and west. A few tiny towns dot the route, including Seligman and Peach Springs. Seligman is a quaint town with antique stores, restaurants and refurbished motor inns – a true Route 66 delight! Peach Springs is an historic town on the Hualapai Reservation. This is the entrance to the reservation and the road that takes visitors to Havasu Falls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on Havasupai tribal lands. The trip to Havasu Falls is a destination unto itself and remember – you must make reservations in advance with the tribe. Don’t try to hike down and camp without calling ahead. The tribe will send you right back up a the end of the day!
Take a trip down the historic Mother Road and stop to see the sights as you go. Drop us a note with your recommendations – we never get tired of visiting new places. We hope our friend Raymond and his wife have a fantastic trip full of great memories and experiences.
Enjoy your trip!