How Many States Does Route 66 Run Through?
Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America, is an iconic highway that spans across multiple states in the United States. Stretching from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, this legendary road has captured the imagination of countless travelers and become a symbol of the American road trip. In this article, we will explore the states that Route 66 runs through, along with some frequently asked questions about this historic route.
Route 66 initially served as a vital transportation corridor for those seeking to travel westward, especially during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl era. However, with the development of the interstate highway system, Route 66 gradually became obsolete and was officially decommissioned in 1985. Despite its discontinuation, the nostalgia and allure of Route 66 continue to attract tourists and adventure seekers from around the world.
Now, let’s delve into the states that Route 66 traverses:
1. Illinois: The journey begins in the vibrant city of Chicago, Illinois. Route 66 starts at Grant Park, right on the shores of Lake Michigan. From there, it winds through various towns and cities, including Joliet, Pontiac, and Springfield, covering approximately 301 miles in the state.
2. Missouri: Route 66 enters Missouri just after crossing the Mississippi River into St. Louis. This section of the road covers around 317 miles and passes through cities like Rolla, Springfield, and Joplin. Notable attractions in Missouri include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the Meramec Caverns near Stanton.
3. Kansas: Although Route 66 only passes through a small portion of Kansas, it still holds historical significance. This segment, approximately 13 miles long, crosses the southeastern corner of the state. Popular stops include the town of Galena, which boasts an authentic vintage service station and the famous Cars on the Route restaurant.
4. Oklahoma: Known as the birthplace of Route 66, Oklahoma holds a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts. The route stretches for about 432 miles in the state, passing through cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Clinton. Visitors can explore numerous Route 66 museums, iconic landmarks like the Blue Whale of Catoosa, and charming roadside diners.
5. Texas: Route 66 spends a short but memorable time in the Texas Panhandle. Covering approximately 178 miles, this segment takes travelers through Amarillo, where they can witness the unique Cadillac Ranch and the famous Big Texan Steak Ranch. While Texas only has a small fraction of the road, it still offers a taste of the true Route 66 experience.
6. New Mexico: This state encompasses some of the most breathtaking landscapes along Route 66. Covering roughly 380 miles, the road passes through cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, offering a blend of vibrant culture and natural beauty. Attractions such as the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa and the Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque are must-visit destinations.
7. Arizona: Perhaps one of the most iconic stretches of Route 66 lies in Arizona. Covering around 401 miles, this section features famous landmarks like the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, and the captivating town of Sedona. The road winds its way through Flagstaff and Kingman before reaching its final state.
8. California: The last leg of Route 66 leads to the sunny shores of California. This section covers approximately 315 miles, taking travelers through cities like Needles, Barstow, and finally reaching its endpoint in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Pier, with its vibrant atmosphere and stunning ocean views, serves as a fitting conclusion to the Route 66 adventure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: Is Route 66 still drivable?
A: While Route 66 is no longer an officially designated highway, most of the road is still drivable. However, it is important to note that some sections have been bypassed or replaced by modern highways.
Q: How long does it take to drive Route 66?
A: The duration of the road trip along Route 66 can vary depending on various factors such as the number of stops, pace of travel, and personal preferences. On average, completing the entire route takes approximately two to three weeks.
Q: What is the best time to travel Route 66?
A: The best time to travel Route 66 largely depends on individual preferences. Spring and fall typically offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. However, summer allows for longer daylight hours, while winter offers a unique experience with snow-capped landscapes.
Q: Are there accommodations along Route 66?
A: Yes, there are numerous accommodations along Route 66, ranging from budget motels to historic roadside inns. It is advisable to plan ahead and make reservations in popular tourist areas.
Q: What are some must-see attractions along Route 66?
A: Some iconic attractions along Route 66 include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and the Santa Monica Pier in California. However, the charm of Route 66 lies in the lesser-known roadside gems and small towns that capture the spirit of the historic route.
In conclusion, Route 66 winds its way through eight states, offering a nostalgic journey through time and a glimpse into the diverse landscapes and cultures of America. Whether you embark on a full cross-country road trip or explore smaller segments, Route 66 promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you yearning for more.