Historic Route 66

The legendary road which John Steinbeck called, “the Mother Road, the road of flight”, is the nation’s most famous highway.

Crossing eight states and covering over 2,400 miles, Route 66 officially opened on November 11, 1926. Starting in Chicago ending in Los Angeles, Route 66 crossed New Mexico from Tucumcari to Gallup and changed the state forever.

Nationwide demand for a better system of roads increased in the 1920’s as more and more people had automobiles. There were parts of a highway in place along the eventual route of Highway 66, with names like The Grand Canyon Route, National Old Trails Highway and the Will Rogers Highway. These were tied together to create the “Main Street of America”, so called because it passed through the heart of towns such as Gallup.

Route 66 buffs will want to take in historic sites such as the El Rancho Hotel. During Hollywood’s golden years of the 40’s and 50’s, stars such as John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Ronald Reagan, Katherine Hepburn and Kirk Douglas frequented the hotel while filming in the majestic scenery of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Today’s visitors can enjoy a meal or an overnight stay and tour the memorabilia-lined grand lobby.