Historic Route 66
"Standin' on the Corner" Park, Winslow
Route 66 was the Mother Road, the primary route connecting Chicago, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, San Bernardino and Los Angeles for many years. Across Arizona, the traffic of the original Route 66 has been taken over by Interstate 40, but there are some lengthy sections of the old highway still remaining, like the 30-mile stretch north of Interstate 40 between Winona and Flagstaff. There are also sections of the old road still in use in places like Lupton, Holbrook and Winslow, but those are only short sections along a major street in town.
US Highway 66 was officially born in 1926, when the Federal government was trying to forge a network of trans-continental highways. The section of road across Arizona was 367 miles long. The eastern half (between Lupton and Ash Fork) enetres Arizona on the edge of the Navajo Nation, the largest Indian Reservation in the lower 48 states. This is more red rock country with several miles along the highway of multi-colored sanstone pillars, monuments and bluffs, then you're into the open desert past the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park to Holbrook.
If you get off the Interste at the eastern exit for Route 66, you'll pass through old Holbrook, about 2 blocks north of the railroad tracks. This is an area of trading posts and motels from the 1940's and 1950's. You can even rent a night inside a concrete wigwam if you're up for it. Just south of the tracks off of US 180 is where you'll find what's left of the famous Bucket of Blood Saloon. Keep going west on Rooute 66 and you'll be forced back onto the Interstate just west of Holbrook.
Joseph City is maybe another 20 miles across the desert, Winslow another 30 miles beyond that. In Winslow is another section of the old Route 66 through town. In the heart of the historic area in downtown Winslow is where you'll find Standin' on the Corner Park, commemorating the famous Take It Easy by the Eagles. Stay west on Route 66 and you'll be forced back onto the Interstate again.
At Winona, you can get off the Interstate and take a 30-mile break from the big road by following the old road through the Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest of the area around Flagstaff. In Flagstaff, the route will take you along the edge of the historic downtown district before it continues west and forces you back onto the Interstate again. It'll be Interstate all the way through Williams and on to Ash Fork where you will have a choice to make.
From Ash Fork, the original Mother Road continues on through Seligman. While so much else in modern America is trying to modernize, Seligman is actively trying to retain its 1950's ambience (and character). Peach Springs is to the northwest, on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, then you'll go past the Grand Canyon Caverns and down the hill and across more desert to Kingman. Just the other side of Kingman is where you'll find the Historic Route 66 Back Country Byway.
Along Route 66 in Holbrook
Historic Route 66 in the Flagstaff area