From LA to the Grand Canyon via the Route 66

Three years ago, we did a 3 weeks Souhtwest road trip in a jucy. Although it has been quite some time, we have very good memories of that trip. When a friend asked me if I would choose Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon or Miami, I did not hesitate. I’ll choose Las Vegas! Not because of Las Vegas itself, but because all the amazing places you can reach from there, like the Grand Canyon, Zion NP, the Arches NP, the Horseshoe Bend or Antelope Canyon. In the end, my friend is going to fly to Los Angeles and to rent a Jucy as well. I have recommended her to drive from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon via the Route 66. It is not the fastest, but the coolest way. There are a lot of villages (more or less touristy) to stop. There is also a passport in which you collect stamps and at the end, they give you a certificate of having completed Arizona´s Route 66. From all those stops, here are the sites that we liked the most.

 

From LA to the Grand Canyon via the Route 66

 

Calico Ghost Town

Adults: $8, children 4-11: $5, under 3: free

From Los Angeles 230km / 3h

Calico Ghost town is not really on the route 66, but if you go from LA to Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon is an essential stop. This ghost town is located in the Calico Mountains in the Mojave Desert, California. It was founded in 1881 as a silver mining city. With its 500 mines, Calico produced more than $ 20 million in silver in a span of 12 years. When silver lost its value in the mid-1890s, Calico lost its population. The miners packed their bags, loaded their mules and left, leaving the city that once gave them a good life. It became a “ghost town”..

Calico has been restored, although not all of its buildings are the original ones. Many were demolished and rebuilt in Western movies style. The ones that are still original are the Lil’s saloon, the Lucy Lane house, the Smitty gallery, the main store and Joe’s saloon. On a hot day, there’s nothing like sipping a ice cold lemonade on Joe’s terrace.

In addition to wandering around the ghost town, you can visit a mine and the museum, ride the mining train, enter a house with optical illusions and, of course, have a drink and eat in a saloon. With children, it’s without doubt a cool plan.

 

Oatman

From Calico 265km / 3h

Oatman was our last stop on Route 66 (we drove it the other way, from the Grand Canyon to Los Angeles) and it was the stop that the little one liked the most. This town is an authentic old west city, where “wild” donkeys wander and were you can witness staged shootings. The donkeys aren’t shy, they are used to tourists and eating from your hand. They are the descendants of the donkeys that were dumped when the city ceased to be a mining center.

 

Cool Springs

From Oatman 14km

Cool springs is a restored gas station, which now also has a museum and a gift shop. The Route 66 stretch from Oatman to Cool Spring is one of the most scenic ones.

 

Kingman

From Cool Springs 32km

We drove in three days from The Grand Canyon to LA. We spent one night in Kingman and visited the power plant, which now is also the visitor center. Here, we got our certificate of having completed Arizona’s Route 66. We collected the passport to get teh stamps in Williams, the first town where we stopped. In this passport, you have the still existing stretches of Route 66 and the places where you need to stop to get a stamp. When you get 7 stamps, you can get the certificate of having completed the route. The truth is that we didn’t sought information beforehand for this section and the passport came in handy.  It took showed us the route and the most characteristic places. So, if you have started route 66 from Los Angeles, go to the Kingman visitor center to get your passport.
In Kingman, in addition to the power station, there is a steam locomotive, a railway museum, the Mohave museum of history and art and vineyards and other tourist attractions.

 

 

Hackberry General Store

From Kingman 46km 

In hot days, there’s nothing like a stop at the Hackberry General Store for a cold coke. Here, they don’t sell cans but the ¨traditional¨ coca-cola bottles. But Hackberry General Store is perhaps best known for the 1957 red convertible Corvette that is parked at the door.

Hackberry General Store was operated by artist Bob Waldmire, who toured Route 66 in his 1972 orange Volkswagen minibus. Bob was Fillmore’s inspiration in the movie Cars. If you have CARS-lover kids, make sure to stop here and see the real tow mate mater 🙂

Grand Canyon Caverns

From Hackberry General Store 58 km

The Grand Canyon caverns are the largest dry caves in the United States. They are between 200 and 300 feet below the surface, and are accessible through an elevator. When we were here, the guided tour had just started and for the next we would have had to wait almost two hours. So in the end, we didn’t visit them. Anyway, the exterior has a gas station with old cars that also remind to CARS.

Seligman

From Grand Canyon Caverns 40km

Seligman is where the historic Route 66 was born. In 1987, thanks to Angel Delgadillo, The Arizona Route 66 Association was formed. Driving this route became again popular. He converted his barber shop into a gift shop and visitor center. Today you can still see the chair where he used to serve customers. If you want to buy a souvenir from Route 66, you will surely find it here.

The other point of interest in Seligman is Snow cap drive-in. Juan delgadillo built this drive-in using mainly wood scraps obtained from the Santa Fe railway depot. With a somewhat peculiar decoration and a menu with a touch of humor (there are “hamburguers without ham”, “dead chicken” and “cheeseburger without cheese”) is a place that shouldn’t be skipped from Route 66.

 

 

 

Williams

From Seligman 69 km

Williams is the last town on Route 66 before continuing to the Grand Canyon (well it’s the first if you come from the other direction). The truth is that more than a town is a city and like many others, has a historic center with tipical Route 66 facades and decoration.

There are several tourist attractions for those who want to spend some time as the Grand Canyon steam train, or Bearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife Park. The tourist office has 66 things to do in Williams. At the time, Liam was ten months. If we were going to Williams now, we would definitely take a ride in the steam train 🙂

Grand Canyon Village

From Williams 96km

The last 96km and you will reached the Grand Canyon. If you get hungry on the way, you can stop at the flintstone bedrock city, a place set in the Flintstones and in which there is also an “amusement park” (entrance costs $5).

 

I hope this overview gives you a good idea of all the places you can stop when driving from LA to the Grand Canyon via the Route 66. It’s really a fun thing to do and you can decide if you stop in one, two or in all.

 

Have you driven from LA to the Grand Canyon via the Route 66? If yes, which one was your favourite stop? If not, would you take Route 66?

This post also linked at Weekend Wanderlust and travel inspiration:

 

Travel Notes & Beyond

 

Share this!

20 Comments

  1. Anisa

    I have not driven on Route 66, but I would love to. All the towns look adorable. I especially love seeing the old style gas stations. I also want to do roadtrips to some of the other places you mentioned like Zion & Bryce. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  2. Oh My Gosh. All I want to do now is go to Calico Ghost Town. It looks so awesome! I love that kind of stuff. You guys visited so many cool places, all worthy of a stop. I’m pinning this for when I plan my Route 66 trip (with a side stop at Calico Ghost Town). #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. shere

      Calico and Oatman were our favourite places. We haven’t been in a ghost town before, but after Calico, we would visit others too. It was really fun (and not expensive)

  3. I have only done a small section of Route 66 in Arizona. I had grand plans for one of my trips but they were too ambitious! I ended up checking out Oatman and Cool Springs and I had to get to the freeway after that. I hope to explore more of Arizona in the future. I like the state a lot. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  4. Wow, what a cool guide!!! It looks like something from a history book! I like all the bikes in the village, I mean: what is route 66 without some proper bikers eh!
    #TheWeeklyPostcard

  5. This would be such a fun drive! I haven’t drive Route 66 before but it looks like there’s a lot of cool small towns! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  6. Oh, your kids are so cute, Shere! I miss those times when we traveled with our son on this road. He particularly liked Calico, where he always wanted to stop on our way to Las Vegas. Route 66 is very scenic in some parts. You took a great family trip. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  7. A few years back we did a road trip from the East Coast to the Grand Canyon with some of it on Route 66 so I thought I might see some familiar ground with your post – but I didn’t except Williams and Grand Canyon Village. So cool to see all the neat little tucked away places. I love a good road trip!

  8. That’s a great post, We did south-west road trip year and we didn’t have enough time to enjoy Route 66 properly. We only visited Calico, Kingman, Seligman, and Williams. You have here very nice photos. I think we will come back soon. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  9. Route 66 is such an iconic road trip, and from your photos I can see why! Definitely appeals to Americana nostalgia. Loved the donkeys especially! How many days did you take to cover this distance?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *