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Grand Canyon National Park to Palm Springs via Route 66

Bristol, England...
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Grand Canyon National Park to Palm Springs via Route 66


Myself and the wife are going to be driving from the Grand Canyon to Palm Springs in December

we are looking to drive as much of Route 66 as possible. the route I have researched is

GCNP - Oatman - Kingman - Amboy - Joshua Tree national Park. Driving as much of Route 66 as possible

What will the roads be like around this time of year will they be easily passable? we will be driving a Mid Size SUV.

Do you think this is a good route?

where would you suggest stopping off to visit etc?

we are looking for a nice scenic route.

any advice would be very much appreciated


Marina, California
Destination Expert
for Tucson
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104 reviews
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1. Re: Grand Canyon National Park to Palm Springs via Route 66

Your problem section will be GCNP to Seligman, mostly on I-40. It regularly snows in that region, and December is prime time for that. You shouldn't have any issues on the rest of the route. If you have not already seen it, there's a short-cut from Amboy to Palm Springs via Amboy Road and 29 Palms, but that would cut you off of Route 66 a little earlier.

An SUV is not necessary. If the roads are bad enough where you need an SUV, then you probably should not be driving. They usually do okay in Northern AZ with the snow plowing, but I-40 is regularly closed for a day or so at least once per year. It's usually later in the winter though. I think it was February this past winter. If I-40 is closed, then nothing around there will be open, as that's the high-priority road.

The Oatman section is really nice. I also like the Peach Springs section, but it's not quite as scenic. It's all very nice though.

Oatman can take up an hour or so. For Joshua Tree, I would guess close to 3 hours if you're not going to hike, but I don't find it to be a particularly interesting park. There's also a Hualapai Cultural/Visitors Center in Peach Springs, but there's not much to it. Lots of interesting, 50's and 60's era signs and buildings in Seligman, Ash Fork, Kingman and Needles.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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2. Re: Grand Canyon National Park to Palm Springs via Route 66

Use AZ64 to I-40 and get off the interstate at Seligman. Follow RT66 from there to Amboy and then use the shortcut.

Be aware of weather conditions. Worst weather can happen at the highest elevations from Grand Canyon National Park to Ashfork. As noted, if conditions require more than a traditional car or SUV, you need to get off the roads and wait for the storm to pass. In AZ us AZ511.com for up to the minute information about road issues.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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60,942 posts
42 reviews
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3. Re: Grand Canyon National Park to Palm Springs via Route 66

R66 in California is called National Trails hw. You can drive the section between Needles and Amboy via the so called ABC villages. Some abandoned places to see there. (Like Roadrunners restaurant) Amboy has Roy's Cafe, a fallen shoe tree and new roadsigndevelopments from R66 buffs. There's Amboy Crater just west of Amboy. If you continue driving NTH west you'll get to Ludlow and from there you can meander parallel to I40 to Newberry Sprngs and Daggett. Newberry Springs has Bagdad Cafe and in Yermo is Peggy Sues dinner.

Road is good, trains are running alongside (mile long freight trains impressive!). Max speed is 55 mph on NTH. You'll leave NTH in Amboy it you head to Joshua Tree from there. 29Palms has a lot of nice murals. Take 62 on the way to Yucca Valley and Palm Springs and see Pioneer Town with Pappy and Herriets restaurant/cafe with the movie set.

GC-Williams-Ash Fork-Seligman-Peach Springs-Hachberry- Kingman-Cool Springs-Ed's Camp, Sitgreaves pass-Oatman-Topock-Needles-Goffs etc all for R66/NTH.


Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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18,652 posts
15 reviews
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4. Re: Grand Canyon National Park to Palm Springs via Route 66

I don't think R-66 is particularly interesting in California. The better parts are in Arizona. And one of the better sections is Kingman to Oatman over Sitgreaves Pass.The road is old and narrow and curvy.The restored Cool Springs is a neat place to stop.


If you cut across at Amboy, you can see Roys Cafe.Once across the RR tracks, you can often get interesting pics of the water colors in the settling basins for the salt works.

Near JTNP you can cut off Amboy Road at Utah Trail Street which puts you into the north entrance of the park.Then do the north loop(where all the Joshua Trees are)and exit at the west at the town of Joshua Tree.

Pioneertown is a worthy stop like Tet mentioned.


In PS don't miss the tram or the Indian Canyons.

5. Re: Grand Canyon National Park to Palm Springs via Route 66

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