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Route 66 California


"Route 66 in California is more than the end of the trail for west bound travelers.  Between the oasis of the Colorado River and the Bob Waldmire memorial at the end of the Santa Monica Pier a few short blocks from the western terminus is the stunning beauty of a vast desert wilderness and the metropolis of Los Angeles where the various incarnations of Route 66 and tangible links to the highways colorful history await discovery."

Jim Hinckley, historian and author  (newest publication Route 66 Historic Atlas)




"Your California Route 66 Visitor Center"

Link to United States and International Route 66 Associations


The California Historic Route 66 Association is the youngest of the 8 state Route 66 Associations.


Since the Great Depression, campers have found respite at various locations on Route 66.  The Grapes of Wrath described a large campground as one of the first sights when arriving in Needles, California.  Now a deteriorating ghost tourist court, Carty’s Camp cabins in Needles was seen briefly in John Ford’s 1940 film version of “The Grapes of Wrath”



Once the largest roadside business in Amboy, CA, Roy’s Motel and Café has been closed for years.  Amboy, now a desert ghost town, died when Interstate 40 in California diverted traffic 10 miles further north.  More recently, Roy’s filling station and café have operated sporadically in an effort to preserve this historic landmark for tourism.


Route 66’s first stop in California was Needles, the hottest place in the country.  As hot as it was, it was a green place because it rested in the Colorado Valley.  Before travelers ventured out across the Mojave Desert on their way to Los Angeles, they prepared for their nighttime trek across the desert by filling up their gas tank, stoking up on lots of water for the car, the travelers and for the canvas water bag they purchased to hang on their vehicle’s radiator.


Your home away from home - Little Guy trailers/campers


In California, the 316 miles of Route 66 fell into four distinct sections:  the Mojave Desert between Needles and Barstow; the Mojave River Valley between Barstow and San Bernardino; Foothill Boulevard between San Bernardino and Pasadena; and Los Angeles.  Each of the desert stops between Needles and Barstow had a single business geared to helping people cross the desert.  Between Needles and San Bernardino, only Barstow and Victorville offered a wide selection of roadside businesses.


In 1953 in southern California, Maurice and Richard McDonald hired Stanley Merston to design a “fast food” sand they could reproduce every time they expanded into a new location.  The building design, along with its golden arches, became the model for food stands along Route 66 from Los Angeles back to Chicago and everywhere else… the “fast food” stand known as McDonalds. 


Route 66 originally ended on Sunset Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles.  In 1935, the California Highway Department extended Route 66 to Santa Monica along Santa Monica Boulevard.


Get Your Kicks On Route 66 - California Route 66 Attractions

Motorcycle and Classic Car Tours - Guided tours and individual rentals based in Los Angeles

Last Stop Shop is at the end of Santa Monica Pier



Visit Needles, Amboy, Ludlow, Newberry Springs, Barstow, Victorville, Rialto, San Bernadino, Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier, and Los Angeles.


                 Route 66 Museum Victorville, California                   

Discover Our Interactive

Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary Map

Interactive map provided by the National Park Service

(click on map to find out information about your location on Route 66)


U.S. Highway 66 -- popularly known as Route 66 or the Mother Road -- holds a special place in American consciousness and evokes images of simpler times, mom and pop businesses, and the icons of a mobile nation on the road. This travel itinerary aids the public to visit the historic placesthat recall those images and experiences that are reminders of our past and evidence of the influence of the automobile.


The Route 66 DiscoverOur Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary was produced by the National Park Service's Heritage Education Services and the National Park Service Route66 Corridor Preservation Program, in partnership with the American Express and World Monuments Fund Sustainable Tourism Initiative and theNational Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers.