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Exploring the Historic Route 66 in Arizona: A Journey Through Time

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Wednesday, 29th November 2023

The Legacy of Route 66

Route 66, also known as the “Mother Road,” is a legendary highway that has captured the imagination of travelers for decades. Established on November 11, 1926, and fully paved by 1938, this historic route originally stretched 2,448 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, passing through eight states, including Arizona. In its heyday, Route 66 was a vital path for migrants heading west, especially during the 1930s Dust Bowl, and played a crucial role in the development and prosperity of the communities it traversed.

Route 66 in Arizona

In Arizona, Route 66 originally covered 401 miles, offering a unique blend of scenic beauty and historic charm. The longest stretch of the original Route 66 in the United States, thanks to preservation efforts, extends over 350 miles from Lupton on the Arizona-New Mexico border to just west of Kingman near California.

Cities and Attractions Along the Way

Wigwam Motel, Route 66, Holbrook, Arizona
  1. Holbrook: A gateway to the Petrified Forest National Park, Holbrook is a must-visit for those exploring Route 66 in Arizona.
  2. Winslow: Known for its significance both to railroad travelers and now to motorists, Winslow offers a peek into the vibrant history of Route 66.
  3. Flagstaff: Located 80 miles from the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff is notable for its four-season experience and proximity to this world-famous landmark.
  4. Williams: This charming small town, midway between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, is known for its historic downtown district and numerous lodging and dining options.
  5. Seligman: A preserved section of Route 66, Seligman captures a vibrant slice of classic Americana.
  6. Kingman: The heart of historic Route 66 in Arizona, Kingman is a gateway to the past.
  7. Oatman: This town is known for its rugged character and the presence of friendly burros roaming the streets.

Tours and Starting Points

One popular tour option begins in Phoenix, looping northeast through incredible Sonoran Desert scenery towards Payson, and then onto Holbrook, where the Route 66 adventure truly begins. The tour takes travelers through Winslow, Flagstaff, and Williams, offering a rich experience of the historic road.

Driving Directions from Phoenix

Starting from Phoenix, drivers can head northeast towards Payson, following the scenic routes that lead to Holbrook, the beginning point of the Route 66 segment in Arizona. This route provides an opportunity to witness the stunning landscapes of the Sonoran Desert.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to embark on this nostalgic journey is during the spring or fall. These seasons offer pleasant weather, making it ideal for road trips and exploration.

Best Starting Point in Arizona

For those looking to experience the essence of Route 66 in Arizona, starting from Holbrook is a great choice. It offers direct access to the preserved segments of this historic highway and serves as a gateway to other notable towns along the route.

Holbrook, Arizona

Route 66 in Arizona is more than just a road; it’s a journey through American history, culture, and stunning landscapes. Whether you’re a history buff, a road trip enthusiast, or someone looking to experience a slice of classic Americana, Route 66 offers an unforgettable adventure. So, pack your bags, start your engines, and get ready to travel back in time on the iconic Route 66!

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