Southwest Road Trip: Two Days Along Route 66

The 600 miles of Route 66 from Albuquerque to Kingman make an excellent two-day southwest road trip filled with sights and memorabilia. Here’s your itinerary, complete with where to stay and where to eat for a genuine Route 66 experience.

Day 1: Albuquerque to Winslow

270 miles, 4.5 hours

Get an early start, setting out on Albuquerque’s Central Avenue, aka Route 66. Pick up I-40 west of town after passing the Rio Puerco Bridge. Get back on Historic Route 66 at Laguna (exit 114) and drive about six miles to Paraje. Take Indian Route 23 south to Sky City Cultural Center and book the first tour to Acoma Pueblo’s mesa-top settlement (9:30am in summer), which should take about two hours. Have lunch at the cultural center’s café and hit the road.

After lunch, drive the surviving sections of Historic Route 66 from McCartys, New Mexico, to Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, about 150 miles. Spend the final few hours of the day driving the main road through the national park, stopping at various viewpoints.

A final 45-minute sprint on I-40 west to Winslow and you’re in the refined atmosphere of La Posada, a former Harvey House railroad hotel that has been restored to its former glory. Have dinner at the hotel’s exceptional restaurant, The Turquoise Room.

Seligman, Arizona.
Seligman, Arizona. Photo © Larisa Duka/123rf.

Day 2: Winslow to Kingman

220 miles, 4 hours

Have breakfast at The Turquoise Room before driving an hour west on I-40 to Flagstaff, stopping to photograph a few of the Route 66 ruins along the way. Take a stroll around Flagstaff’s historic downtown and Southside District, which are divided by Route 66 and the railroad. Hop back in the car and drive about 30 minutes west to Williams, which has a quaint downtown that celebrates the town’s Mother Road heritage. Have lunch at one of the restaurants along Route 66 in downtown Williams.

Drive about 15 minutes farther west to Ash Fork and gas up before heading out on a 120-mile uninterrupted drive along Historic Route 66 to Kingman. Along the way, stop for a one-hour tour of Grand Canyon Caverns, a stroll through the gift shops in Seligman, and a bottle of soda pop at the Hackberry General Store.

Spend the night in Kingman at the Route 66-themed El Trovatore Motel or the Hill Top Motel and have dinner at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner.

Tim Hull

About the Author

A resident of Arizona for more than 40 years, Tim Hull has hiked its trails and driven its backroads from the deserts to the mountains to the wondrous depths of the Grand Canyon. As a news reporter and freelance writer for the past 20 years, Hull has written about the history, politics, environment and culture of Arizona and the Southwest for newspapers, magazines and websites. His family's roots in the state run deep, beginning in the 1870s when his maternal great-great-grandfather opened a doctor's office in Prescott, a mountain town in the state's central pinelands. In his spare time Hull travels the world with his wife and writes fiction. He is also the author of Moon Grand CanyonMoon Tucson, and Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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