Denver and Route 66 Road Trip

The ultimate guide to seeing the best of Route 66 in one week.

  • 31
  • 28:49
  • 1,884 mi
  • $197
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Created by dalyce - January 25th 2017

Route 66, and its 2,500 miles, is known affectionately as "The Mother Road." It's the quintessential cross-country road trip experience. From Chicago through the beating heart of America and down to Los Angeles, the route officially ends at the Santa Monica Pier. The road reached peak popularity in the late 40's and early 50's before being officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985. After a few years, travelers from America and beyond started feeling tinges of nostalgia, and by the end of the 1980's it was fast becoming one of the most popular road trip routes once more.

400 Frio Ln, Wimberley, Texas United States

Date: August 6, 2017

101 E. 12th Street, Shamrock, TX, US

Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café

On to Texas! The Lone Star state still has about 150 miles of Route 66 road still remaining, and it all closely parallels Interstate 40, so it's easy to hop on and off the patches of Mother Road. A few highlights include Shamrock, Texas, which is home to the Conoco Tower. This once-bustling stop along the route remains a great place to take pictures to this day. Of all the gas stations, open or closed, in America, this may be one of the most stunning. It’s just a hop, skip, and jump off I-40, so you really have no excuse not to stop and see this roadside classic. While you’re in Shamrock, also hit up their very own Blarney Stone.

Phillips 66 on the Route
3.5

219 Gray St, McLean, TX, US

Phillips 66 on the Route

Another great little Texas town to visit is McLean. Here you can stop at the Phillips 66 on the Route, a vintage 1928 gas service station that was designed in what was known as "Cottage Fashion," because it resembled a little country cottage. Adorable!

Palo Duro Canyon State Park
4.5

11450 Park Road 5, Canyon, TX, US

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Date: August 6, 2017

Get your nature kicks on Route 66 at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. This is America's second largest canyon, and it only costs $5 to enter. You can easily drive the length of the park and pull over for some scenic overlooks. There's also a sizeable campground in the park.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch
3.8

7701 E Interstate 40, Amarillo, TX, US

The Big Texan Steak Ranch

No Route 66 trip through Texas would be complete without a big Texan-style meal. Do yourself a favor and head to The Big Texan Steak Ranch. It's a Route 66 legend with its 72oz steak challenge, which began way back in 1962. Just a couple years after owner Bob Lee opened the doors he noticed the influx of hungry cowboys on their paydays looking to down some hearty steaks. One Friday in 1962 he set up an eating contest to see who could eat the most one-pound steaks in an hour. After one cowboy downed 72oz worth of steak (along with a salad, a shrimp cocktail, and a baked potato) Lee declared that anyone who could eat that much steak in an hour gets it for free... and so a legend was born.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Amarillo
4.5

2806 Wolflin Avenue, Amarillo, TX, US

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Amarillo

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Golden Light Cantina
4.0

2906 SW 6th Ave, Amarillo, TX, US

Golden Light Cantina

When you're ready for a cold beer and some good tunes, visit the Golden Light Cantina in Amarillo. It's a fantastic little roadhouse that serves up burgers and beers, and also frequently has swinging live music.

MidPoint Cafe
4.4

305 W Historic Route 66, Adrian, TX, US

MidPoint Cafe

Once you reach Adrian, Texas, pat yourself on the back: you've made it to the middle of Route 66! You'll know you've arrived once you see the MidPoint Cafe, a vintage-style roadside diner, with lots of photo-ops to commemorate your journey down the Mother Road.

Del's Restaurant
4.5

1202 E Route 66 Blvd, Tucumcari, NM, US

Del's Restaurant

Next up is New Mexico! There are about 465 miles of historic Route 66 that run through the state, though in recent years a few of those miles have disappeared. However, there's still plenty of old-school road to drive along, and so many charming communities along the way to visit. There are tons of classic Route 66 places to see, including fully-functioning historic motels, diners and classic roadside attractions. A few of the notable Route 66 cities you'll pass through include Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Gallup. Enjoy a meal at historic 66 hotspot, Del's Restaurant in Tucumcari, where a cow gracefully adorns the sign above the diner.

Tee Pee Curios
4.5

924 E Tucumcari Blvd, Tucumcari, NM, US

Tee Pee Curios

In fact, you should plan on spending at least a whole day in Tucumcari. The entire town feels like you've stepped back in time. The people are salt-of-the-earth, friendly and passionate. They believe in Tucumcari and are fighting for it, so this great Route 66 town doesn't go the way of so many others in the wake of the highway system. Tucumcari is also home to the Tee Pee Curios, a quirky little gift shop. Or you can hit up the Sand Hills Curiosity Shop for some great taxidermy and other antiques.

Blue Swallow Motel
4.3

815 E. Route 66, Tucumcari, NM, US

Blue Swallow Motel

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If you're looking to spend the night in Tucumcari, the Blue Swallow Motel is an absolutely essential Route 66 lodging. It's perfect for photographs pretty much any time of day. Its retro signage is some of the best you'll see along the route, so make sure to pull over for a few pictures, at least.

941mi 14h 25m

3244 Navajo St, Denver, Colorado United States

Heritage Square
3.6

Highway 40, Golden, CO, US

Heritage Square

Tiny Town
4.1

S Turkey Creek Rd, Morrison, CO, US

Tiny Town

Pikes Peak Cog Railway
4.5

515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs, CO, US

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Date: August 7, 2017

Devil's Food Bakery & Cookery
4.1

1024 S Gaylord St, Denver, CO, US

Devil's Food Bakery & Cookery

Jackalope
4.6

6400 San Mateo Blvd NE, ABQ / 2820 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM, US

Jackalope

El Rey Inn
4.5

1862 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM, US

El Rey Inn

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Date: August 13, 2017

Iconik Coffee Roasters
3.9

1600 Lena St, Santa Fe, NM, US

Iconik Coffee Roasters

Best time of year to travel along Route 66: The best time to road trip down Route 66 is between late April and early July, as well as late August through late October. The worst times to visit would be July and August, this is when the temperature is sweltering and all the kids are out of school, which means you'll come across some crowds along the route. In addition, July and August is considered high season, so you're going to be paying higher rates for lodging.