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Travel the Wild West of Route 66 in Arizona with
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At Lupton, Route 66 is right next to Interstate 40 as you cross into northern Arizona. The Old Route 66 is often a patchwork of dirt roads in the region, dating back the original 1926-era roads. The paved portions are generally part of I-40 nowadays, unless you're in the incorporated towns. You'll start seeing signs for the world-famous, 220,000-acre Petrified Forest National Park. Known for its colorful 225-million-year-old tree fossils and fascinating historic sites, PFNP offers the Rainbow Forest Museum, Blue Mesa Trail, and the Painted Desert – seen from Route 66.
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Flagstaff is a key city along Route 66 and the largest city along the route in northern Arizona. The city is named after a Ponderosa Pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston to commemorate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876. Route 66 was mapped through in 1926 and forever became one with the city.
To some extent, Humphrey's Peak has actually been visible for you traveling on Route 66 since before Holbrook – on a clear day anyway. And once you're in Flag, the San Francisco Peaks – home to the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort – are also stunning sights.
Just out of Flagstaff in northern Arizona, the first town you reach is Williams along Route 66. The city is far from a shrinking town, though; Williams bustles with people as part of its healthy tourist base. Williams is notable for two things: it's a prime gateway to the Grand Canyon (more on that in a moment), and it's the last town along the entire stretch of Route 66 to be bypassed — back on October 13, 1984. It was founded in 1881 by "Old Bill" Williams, a mountain man (you kind of had to be in those days) and trader. Bill Williams Mountain dominates the landscape just south of town.
Kingman was selected for part of a wagon road in the 1850s, and some of the original wagon road pathway became U.S. 66, including much of the road we've been traveling since Williams in northern Arizona. Sizable gold and silver reserves were found in the area, and mining camps sprang up all around, with Kingman as the center. At 3,300 feet in elevation, Kingman deals with more temperate weather than Flagstaff up in the high mountains. Not a small town, the area has roughly 65,000 residents, so you should be able to find almost anything you need here. Nestled in a natural basin, Kingman became a popular overnight stop for travelers for that reason.
The next city up in northern Arizona is Winslow. Like many cities out West, the Old Route 66 is a multi-lane, one-way combination through the heart of town, with Interstate 40 serving as a modern-day bypass – for better and worse. So where might have you heard of Winslow, Arizona? Perhaps in The Eagles' song "Take It Easy" – which recounts standing on a corner there, recalling a fine sight to see involving a girl in a flatbed Ford, my Lord.
Read more about this historic road as it passes through the following states