If you're planning a road trip down the iconic Route 66, brace yourself for a few thrills and chills. From ghost towns to treacherous cliffs, narrow roads, and extreme weather conditions, parts of this historic highway can give even experienced travelers goosebumps.
But with some preparation and caution, you can safely experience the nostalgia and adventure of traveling America's Mother Road while creating lifelong memories.
We've highlighted eight areas to watch out for as you embark on your Route 66 journey:
1. Oatman Highway (Arizona)
Oatman Highway is a historic and scenic route in Arizona, known for its winding roads and wild burros that roam freely. It offers breathtaking views of the rugged desert landscape.
This winding stretch of Route 66 in Arizona can be treacherous due to its narrow road, sharp turns, and steep cliffs. Drivers must navigate through the Black Mountains, and the presence of wild burros adds an element of unpredictability to the road.
2. Amboy, California
Amboy is a small desert town in California, famous for its iconic Roy's Motel and Café along the historic Route 66. It's a nostalgic stop for travelers.
Its eerie, abandoned buildings and desolate surroundings can make travelers feel unsettled. The abandoned Roy's Motel and Café are particularly famous for their haunting yet nostalgic appearance.
3. The Painted Desert (Arizona)
The Painted Desert is a mesmerizing region within Petrified Forest National Park, characterized by its vibrant and colorful layers of sedimentary rock, showcasing the area's geological history.
While the Painted Desert itself isn't dangerous, the extreme temperatures in this region can make it a challenging place to visit. The desert can become scorching hot during the day and very cold at night.
While you're in Arizona, you might want to check out the best places to be and the adventures that await: The Arizona Bucket List: 13 Places You Simply Must Visit
4. Jerome, Arizona
Jerome is a picturesque hillside town perched on Mingus Mountain, known for its mining history and vibrant arts community. Visitors can explore its historic buildings and enjoy stunning mountain views.
This former mining town is known for its steep, winding roads and haunted reputation. Some believe that the town is home to restless spirits of those who died during the bustling mining era or the Spanish flu epidemic.
5. Devil's Elbow (Missouri)
Devil's Elbow is a scenic spot along the Big Piney River in Missouri, featuring a picturesque bridge and a winding road. It's a popular stop for float trips and outdoor enthusiasts.
However, this section of Route 66 has a dangerous reputation due to its sharp curves and the potential for flooding along the Big Piney River. The road can be especially treacherous during heavy rains.
6. Glenrio, Texas/New Mexico
Glenrio is a well-preserved relic of the past, offering a glimpse into the history of the iconic highway. This ghost town straddles the Texas-New Mexico border and is known for its abandoned buildings and eerie atmosphere.
Travelers might get a sense of desolation and abandonment as they pass through:
It really displays a sadness that this once vibrant town become a quiet Ghost Town due to the Interstate being installed taking people off the original Route 66.
7. Chambless, California
Chambless is a nearly abandoned town in California's Mojave Desert. The town's historic roadhouses and businesses were once essential stops for travelers, but the construction of interstate highways diverted traffic away from Route 66.
The ruins of a gas station and motel are all that remain, creating a haunting atmosphere for those who pass through.
If you need a break from the exciting ghost stories in Chambless, you can drop by California's beaches for a recharge. Check out our list: 22 Stunning California Beaches Pictures That Will Make You Fall In Love With the West Coast
8. Afton, Oklahoma
Route 66 in Afton is home to the famous Afton Station, a historic gas station and diner. It also houses the museum and car collection (especially Packards), showcasing the nostalgia and cultural significance of Route 66.
The town has managed to preserve its heritage and attract visitors who seek to relive the golden era of American road trips.
Hit the Road, Carefully!
Before you embark on your Route 66 journey, here are a couple of quick tips to ensure a safe and memorable adventure:
- Check road conditions and weather forecasts, especially in the more challenging spots mentioned earlier.
- Drive carefully, obey speed limits, and be aware of wildlife in remote areas.
- Don't forget your camera! Route 66 is packed with photo-worthy spots and memories waiting to be framed.
- Strike up conversations with folks you meet along the way. They often have the best stories and recommendations.
- Sometimes, detours lead to the most unforgettable experiences. Be open to spontaneity.
Now, go out there and make your Route 66 adventure one for the books! Remember, the open road is your canvas, so paint it with unforgettable memories.