About Holbrook, Arizona
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation 5,082 ft (1.548 m); population 5,053 (2010).
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) no DST⁄ PDT (UTC-7).
Holbrook is the county seat of Navajo county in eastern Arizona, on Route 66. See a Map of Holbrook.
Petrified wood at the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
This part of Arizona has been inhabited for over 10,000 years. In more recent times, the Anasazi or Ancestral Pueblo people lived along the Colorado Plateau to the north of the Little Colorado and Puerco Rivers. Their homeland reached from the Colorado River in the west to the Rio Grande in the East. Southern Nevada, Utah and Colorado was their northern boundary. They were farmers who flourished between 700 and 1150 AD; then pushed by war and drought, moved into northwestern New Mexico and originated the Pueblo people ca. 1300 AD.
Navajo County is the third county in the US ranked by land surface designated as Indian reservations.
Then they moved to the southwest into New Mexico where they originated the Pueblo People.
They had been displaced by other groups, among which were the Navajo (who called themselves Diné - or "People"). They were hunter gatherers of Athabaskan origin, and originated in Canada like the neighboring Apache.
The adopted farming, imitating the Pueblo and later bred sheep and goats (after the Spanish introduced them into the region in the 1600s).
View of some petrified trees at Petrified Forest National Park
A Spanish expedition led by Francisco Vazques de Coronado explored the area in 1539, and one group commanded by García López de Cárdenas discovered the Colorado River and became the first Europeans to see the Grand Canyon. Their route passed very close to modern Holbrock.
Spain incorporated what is now Arizona into its American Empire in 1597, and in 1821, an independent Mexico inherited the land, only to lose it in 1848 to the U.S.A., after a war. During this period of 350 years, the Navajo had raided the settlements and villages in New Mexico.
The American Army began a campaign to pacify the region by setting up a fort (Fort Defiance) in what is now Arizona in 1851. Despite the American Civil War, a harsh campaign under Gen. Carleton led to the surrender of the Navajo and their internment under terrible conditions in New Mexico. Public outrcy reversed this situation and the Navajo Treaty of 1868 allowed them to return to their homeland.
The Navajo Reservation was created and peace was attained.
The Name: Holbrook
fter H.R. Holbrook who was First Chief Engineer of the Atlantic and Pacific railroad.
The surname combines two Old English words: "hol" (Hollow) and "broc" (stream). It may have also absorbed the Dutch surname van Hoobroek.
The Lt. Edward Fitzgerald "Ned" Beale (1822 - 1893) was commissioned to survey and build a wagon road from Ft. Smith to California, and he followed a route that roughly lined up with what is now Route 66.
He passed through the place where Holbrook is now located, in 1857. Beale employed camels, imported from Africa as pack animals. Though hardier than mules, the camels scared both horses and mules. The Army decided not to use camels in the future.
In the meantime (1863) the Arizona Territory was separated from New Mexico and what is now Holbrook became part of Yavapai County, as it was so large, it was split up, and Apache county was created in 1879. In 1895, its western part was separated to create Navajo County. And Holbrook won the county seat beating Winslow by a narrow margin.
In 1867, the Santa Fe Stage Company (Star Mail Stage) established passenger and mail service between Santa Fe and Los Angeles; they forded the Little Colorado River at the confluence of the Rio Puerco River. Juan Padilla set up a stage station and store there. The place was called Horsehead Crossing. In 1870 a small military outpost was established there.
In 1876 the Mormons from Utah moved south along the Honeymoon Trail which also went through Horsehead Crossing.
In 1881, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, which later became part of the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad set up a station 2 miles west of Horsehead Crossing and named it Holbrook. The post office opened in 1882.
The Aztec Land and Cattle Company
A vast ranch for raising cattle, it was formed in 1883 and its land spanned one million acres. It became the second largest cattle ranch in the U.S.; their ruthless cowboys kept homesteaders out and attacked the sheep ranchers. They held sway over 2 million acres. They were known after their brand, "Hashknife".
But a long dry spell and the tough winter of 1898 wiped out their cattle. They went broke in 1900.
The Hanging incident
During the 1880s and 90s, cowboys and railroad workers kept the saloons working and the heavy drinking gun-toting men gave the town a violent reputation: Holbrook was a real Wild West town. The county soon erected a Courthouse with a jail in its basement (Historic Navajo County Courthouse).
Frank Wattron, elected Sheriff in 1896, was required by Arizona State law to "invite" other sheriffs to the first (and only) execution to take place in Holbrook: a convicted murderer named George Smiley was to be hanged on Dec. 8, 1899. Jokingly, Wattron had invitations printed and sent them as required. However a reporter got his hands on one of them and it soon hit the papers all around the world, a sheriff inviting people to an execution. President McKinley got in touch with the Governor of Arizona who postponed the execution for one month and admonished the Sheriff. Smiley was hanged on Jan. 8, 1900. His ghost is said to haunt the courthouse.
A fire razed the town in 1888 and a flood struck in 1891. Overgrazing led to silting in the river and more flooding. The 1923 flood cut all communications and wahed away part of the town. Business moved to the north of the railway tracks, to higher ground, further from the river. in the 1930s, the US Army Corps of Engineers built levees along the Rio Puerco to protect the town. They are still in use today.
Vintage Travel Decal of the Petrified Forest, Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
Tourists began arriving in 1906 by rail to visit the Petrified National Monument, created that year. The National Old Trails Road reached Holbrook in 1913, and the town incorporated in 1917 and Route 66 was aligned through it in 1926.
The Interstate highway I-40 bypassed the town in the 1960s and business declined along the Main Street which had been US 66. But you can still see, and even sleep in some, the iconic motels that line the Mother Road.
Where to Stay
There is lodging on Route 66 in Holbrook itself
>> Book your Hotels in Holbrook
Lodging Near Holbrook along Route 66
Heading East.... In Arizona
- 47 mi. Chambers
East... In New Mexico
- 96 mi. Gallup lodging
- 158 mi. Grants
- 178 mi. in Acomita Pueblo
- 237 mi. in Albuquerque
- 272 mi. Moriarty motels
On the Santa Fe Route 66 segment in New Mexico
- 295 mi. Santa Fe
>> There are RV campgrounds in Holbrook
Weather in Holbrook
Holbrook has a dry semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters. The day-to-night temperature swing is considerable throughout the year due to the low relative humidity; this means that Summer nights are pleasant and cool, but winter nights are quite cold.
The average high temperature during summer (July) is around 95.4°F (35.2°C) and the average summer low is approx. 598°F (15.4°C).
The winter (January) average high is 50.6°F (10.3°C); and the average low is 20.9°F which is below freezing (-6.2°C).
The arid area does not receive much rainfall, only 9.2 inches per year (234 mm). Half of it falls during the Summer Monsoon period from July to October (4.9 in. - 125 mm). There are some 49 days with precipitation every year.
Snowfall is light with about 6.3 in. per year (16 cm), which falls between October and April.
There is almost zero tornado risk in Holbrook: Navajo County has no Tornado watches. The area west of the Rocky Mountains has virtually no tornado events at all.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Holbrook
To the west are Winslow (33 miles) and Flagstaff (90 miles).
Map of Route 66 through Holbrook
Static Map showing Route 66 alignment through Holbrook, AZ
Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment; Red line: where the original roadbed is under the modern I-40 freeway alignment.
Display Holbrook Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
Route 66's alignment in Arizona: Holbrook
Route 66 across Arizona
Historic Route 66 has been designated as an All-American Road and National Scenic Byway in Arizona.
Click on the link for a Full description of Route 66 across the state of Arizona.
Below is more information on the Route 66's alignment which passed right through Holbrook along its Main Street.
Holbrook, Arizona, its Sights and Attractions
Things to Do and Places to See
Gateway to the Petrified Forest
Holbrook is a town with many vintage Route 66 Motels and historical landmarks like the Wigwam Motel or the Rock Shop; the Petrified Forest National Park is nearby.
Begin your walking tour in the central part of town, at the corner of Navajo Blvd. and Hopi Drive. Head south along Navajo Blvd. and on the second block, on the right hand side of the road is the Rock Shop:
Dinosaurs at the Rock Shop in Holbrook AZ
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View
Rainbow Rock Shop
101 Navajo Blvd, Holbrook
Picking up petrified wood at the National Park is not allowed, so the petrified wood sold in local shops does not come from the park; it is obtained from private lands outside the park boundaries.
There is fancy polished wood and rough pieces of petrified wood, you can pick your choice. The fake dinosaur statues are awesome.
Keep on southwards, cross the tracks and on the first road, take a left. This is the Historical South Central Avenue District and the street is "Bucket of Blood St.".
South Central Avenue Commercial Historic District
119 S. Central Ave.Holbrook, AZ.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Buildings dating back to 1888 in the "Wild West" days of Holbrook it includes the Bucket of Blood Saloon.
The South Central Avenue runs on the south side of the tracks in south Holbrook. It was the downtown area of the city. The buildings were built after the fire of June 26, 1888 that destroyed most of the downtown area.
To avoid fires, they were erected in adobe, bricks and stone. Four commercial buildings make up the historic district, They are, from west to east, the H. H. Scorse Mercantile, the Pioneer Saloon, the Robinson & Co. Drug Store and the Bucket of Blood Saloon.
they are very similar: flat roof, a 25 foot wide facade facing the AT & Railway.
After the 1923 flood the business district moved to the north side of the tracks, and most buildings on the south side were abandoned.
Bucket of Blood Saloon
Wackiest Street Name
According to USA Today (External link).By clicking you will leave our Website. Come back soon!, South Central Avenue which is also known as "Bucket of Blood Street", was ranked 6th in "wackiest street names" in the USA in 2006.
119 S.C. Ave., Holbrook
See the Street View and map.
Part of a site listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Saloons were a key element in the social life during the Old Wild West days. Ranch workers interacted, drank heavily, played cards and womanized there. Alcohol and gun-toting men led to frequent shootings too.
The place was originally named "Cottage Saloon", and was built in 1888 by Byron Terril who sold it the following year to Charles O. Brown.
After a double murder that took place there in 1891, it was informally known as "Bucket of Blood". The county prohibition in 1913 and the statewide prohibition on December 31, 1914 killed the business.
Joe & Aggie's Cafe in Holbrook AZ
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View
Head back along Navajo Blvd. to your starting point and then go left, along Hopi Dr., on the right side of the road, after the small park, is a classic Route 66 Café:
Joe & Aggie's Cafe
120 W Hopi Blvd., Holbrook
This American Mexican food place and its owners were mentioned in the credits of the animated movie "Cars" as follows: "A Special Thanks To Those Who Inspire Us On Route 66, "The Mother Road" ... Arizona ... Aggie Montano, Alice & Stanley Gallegos, Joe & Aggie's Cafe, "Hottest Chow On The Mother Road", Holbrook, AZ."
A classic stop owned and operated by the Gallegos. www.joeandaggiescafe.com (External link).By clicking you will leave our Website. Come back soon!,
Return to Navajo and Hopi and take a left northwards along Navajo Blvd., after one block, cross to the eastern side of the road and visit the Courthouse.
Historic Navajo County Courthouse
Navajo County Historic Courthouse and Museum, Holbrook AZ. Shereth
100 E Arizona St.Holbrook, AZ.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Historic County Courthouse built in 1898 in a Richardsonian Romanesque style. It now houses the Chamber of Commerce office and the Old West Museum
Navajo County Historical Society Old West Museum
100 E Arizona St.Holbrook, AZ.
It has exhibits, collections and artifacts from Holbrook's past.
Daily 8:00 AM to 5 PM. (928) 524-6558. Free Admission. holbrookazmuseum.org (External link).By clicking you will leave our Website. Come back soon!
Holbrook's Vintage Route 66 motels
After your walk around the downtown area, get your car and visit the remaining vintage Motels along the old Route 66:
- Holbrook Motel
- Plainsman Restaurant
- Hiway House Motel
- Motel Tonto
- Woods Inn
- Whiting Motel
- Wigwam Motel
Holbrook Motel, now the Americas Best Value Inn Holbrook
720 Navajo Blvd, Holbrook, AZ
The Holbrook Motel, shown in the postcard below (from the 1950s), was described as "THE HOLBROOK MOTEL U. S. 66 East Holbrook, Arizona 62 Modern units - T. V. - ceramic tiled showers, wall to wall carpeting, refrigerated air conditioning, individually controlled wall heaters. Away from the railroad noise and focal point for the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon and the Indian Country. Phone JA 4-6216. Restaurant - Excellent Food.".
It is still open, but its name has changed to Americas Best Value Inn Holbrook. Some of the original building's features are recognizable like the crested brickwork on the roof.
Then: The Holbrook Motel in the 1950s, in Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
Now: Americas Best Value Inn Holbrook, Holbrook AZ on Route 66
The Plainsman Restaurant Then and Now
1001 W Hopi Dr., Holbrook, AZ
The Plainsman, was and still is as the postcard below states, "One of Arizona's Finest Restaurants and Cocktail Lounges. West side of Holbrook on Highway 66. Adjacent to Desert View Motel, Holbrook, Arizona.".
The Plainsman 1960s postcard in Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
The Plainsman today in Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
The Hiway House Motel now the Roseway Inn
310 W Hopi Dr., Holbrook, AZ
The Hiway House which is now the Roseway Inn, informed its customers in its postcard (see the image below) that: "HIWAY HOUSE® West Hopi Drive, Holbrook, Arizona Another member of the famous Flamingo-Hiway House Hotel system, noted for all the charm and deep down comfort of the 90s, but with the service and convenience of Tomorrow. Aunt Suzie's kitchen famous for food and "Grub ip a tub" box lunches".
Hiway House Motel in Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
The sign has changed, a Sun decorates the wall under the gable, and an air conditioning unit is on the roof, but the "Vacancy" sign seems to be the original one.
Roseway Inn, Holbrook Arizona on Route 66
The Motel Tonto now Knights Inn
602 Navajo Rd. Holbrook, AZ
The Motel Tonto proclaimed its features on the back of the postcard shown below: "MOTEL TONTO 602 Navajo Blvd., Holbrook, Arizona 86025 Phone 524-6263 Interstate 40, U. S. 66 - 2 blocks from center of town - 30 Units - Heated Pool - Room Phones - TV - Refrigeration - Tub-Shower Combination - Large Family Units - Free Ice - Pets Welcome."
By the way, do you know what "Tonto" means in Spanish? Well, it means "dumb", "silly", "fool", "idiot". The name was made famous among English speakers by the fictional character from the Lone Ranger who was Comanche, named Tonto. This name was probably inspired by the name of Tonto Basin in southern Arizona which in turn was named after Tonto Creek, which was named so by Woolsey in 1864 after his Yuma employee Tonto Jack.
A 1960s postcard of Motel Tonto in Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
The building is still recognizable, color has changed and weeds grow in the cracks of the pavement. Now is the Knights Inn
Knights Inn, a former 1960s motel on Route 66 in Holbrook AZ
The Woods Inn now Holbrook Inn
221 W. Hopi Dr. Holbrook, AZ
The Woods Inn which nowadays is the Holbrook Inn, is depicted in the 1960s postcard shown below. On the back of the card, it promoted itself as follows: "WOODS INN 221 W. Hopi Drive Holbrook, Arizona Phone 524-3961 26 units -- Free T.V. -- Full Tile Bath -- Refrigeration -- Electric Heat -- Wall to Wall Carpeting - Telephones - Good Restaurant Close By.".
A 1960s postcard of Woods Inn, Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
Nowadays it is the Holbrook Inn with a different office, but the sign is basically the same (other words on it).
Holbrook Inn, today, on Route 66
The Whiting Motel now Economy Inn
612 W. Hopi Dr. Holbrook, AZ
The Whiting Motel is shown below in a 1970s postcard. The back of the card said "WHITING MOTELS are located in Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, Kingman, and Yucca, Arizona Barstow, California and Continental Divide, San Fidel Interchange, West Albuquerque,Gallup, & Tucumcari in New Mexico, (all on Interstate 40) 612 West Hopi Drive Phone (602) 524-3946 Box 850 - Holbrook, Arizona 86025".
The Whiting Brothers were based in Arizona and had a vast network of filling stations and motels in the region, many of them along Route 66.
Four Whiting brothers (Arthur, Earnest, Eddie and Ralph) founded the company in 1926 -the same year that Route 66 was created- and saw it grow to over 100 filling stations plus fifteen motels and truck stops from California to Texas. Many of them were located along Route 66 where you can still see the remains of those that were abandoned.
Their slogan was "Most of the Best for the Least".
The company based in Arizona went through difficult times during the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973, which led to fuel shortages and when the Interstate highway system bypassed many of their service stations located on U.S. Highways (like Route 66). The company sold the stations piecemeal.
There are two (one in ruins and one operating) iconic Whiting Bros. service stations in New Mexico, in Moriarty and San Fidel), also on Route 66 are the remains of the Continental Divide Whiting Motel.
Whiting Motel 1970s postcard. Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
Below is how it looks today, an Economy Inn: basically the same, different color, but they kept the same ornamental gazebo in the front court.
Economy Inn, Holbrook, on Route 66
Wigwam Village Motel #6
Do it in a Teepee...
811 West Hopi Dr.Holbrook, AZ.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
A genuine icon on Route 66, the 1950 Wigwam Motel
Historic Wigwam Motel, Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
Wigwam, Tepee and Hogan
A wigwam is a native shelter made from a pole structure covered with bark. It is usually used as a synonym for tipi or teepee, but they are not the same.
A teepee is a conical tent used by the natives of the Great Plains. It is made with animal hides set upon wooden poles. They have smoke flaps a the tip of the cone. The word "tipi" means "dwelling" in Lakota language (Thípi) and the word "wigwam", derives from the Algonquian "wikewam", with the same meaning.
The local Navajo natives did not use wigwams. They lived in houses called "hogan": a round or polygonal shaped building with timber or stone walls packed with earth, a door facing east and a bark roof.
The first "Wigwam Village" was built in Cave City Kentucky in 1938 by Frank Redford. He patented the idea. Chester E. Lewis liked the idea and licensed the right to use it, paying Redford a royalty fee. Lewis built a total of seven Wigwam Villages over the next 20 years. The sixth village was finished in Holbrook in 1950, hence its name "Village #6".
The motel consists of 15 freestanding teepees placed in a "U" shaped distribution around the central office. Each wigwam is made of concrete and is 21 ft. diameter (6.4 m) and 28 ft. tall (8.5 m), equipped with toilet, sink and shower and a vintage car parked in front of it.
The interstate system hurt business and Lewis sold it in the 1970s and the new owners sold gasoline. After his death, his widow and children bought it back and reopened it as a motel in 1988. Part of the central office was turned into a museum with Mr. Lewis collection of Route 66 mementos, petrified wood and Indian artifacts.
Only two other "Wigwam Villages" survive the #2 in Cave City, Kentucky and #7 in San Bernardino, California, the latter is on Route 66.
It is still open today and entices guests with the slogan "Have You Slept in a Wigwam Lately?"
Tours & Itineraries plus outdoor Fun
The nearby Petrified Forest National Park is a great attraction and the old Route 66 alignment to the east of Holbrook also has some icons worth seeing. Take a day trip and visit both National Park and US 66; you can also search for tiny chunks of a metorite that fell near Holbrook in 1912.
Nearby Route 66 Towns
Head east and visit Navajo, Sanders, Houck, Lupton or further east to New Mexico to visit Gallup. Go west and visit Joseph City, Winslow, Barringer Crater, Two Guns, Twin Arrows, Winona and Flagstaff.
The Meteor Fall of 1912
At 6:30 in the evening on July 19, 1912, a booming sound followed by successive explosions was heard over Holbrook. A meteor exploded in mid air, about 1 or 2 miles high, 6 miles to the east of the town, and fragments fell over an oval-shaped area abouth 1.5 mi. wide and 1 mi. long.
The neighbors went to the impact site, the section house at Aztec Rail Yard, and recovered thousands of fragments of the meteor. The largest weighed 14.5 lbs (6.6 kg) and can be seen at the Bateman Physical Sciences Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, other pieces were the size of peas. The metor must have weighed 421 lbs. (200 kg). The Foote Mineral Company of Philadelphia purchased the remains and 16,000 pieces have been recovered.
It was an L6 chondrite meteor, which has "chondrules" of metal-sulphide, an interior with silicate mineral and spots of nickel-iron alloys and iron-sulphide compounds.
To reach the place where the meteor fell, see Map, it is 12 miles from the town by road.
The Alignment of Old Route 66 near Holbrook
Holbrook is the western tip of the US 66 segment that links Sanders to Holbrook, which is described below:
From Sanders west to Holbrook
Leave Sanders and head north along US 191 until reaching Exit 399 of I-40, cross to the north side and head west along US 191 Frontage Rd. (also I-40s Frontage Road). This is a 6.5 mile-long stretch that ends at US 191 just north of Chambers. See this Map from Sanders to Chambers.
The original roadbed ends there (in the past it continued westwards), this means that there is a gap in the old roadbed. So you must drive south towards Chambers along US 191 and at I-40's Exit 333 head west again along I-40 until reaching its Exit 330.
West of Chambers
At Exit 330 you can drive both north and south of I-40: head along the segment to the north of I-40 to the dead-end; return and go along the south of I-40 to Crazy Creek. A total length of 8.5 mi. This is shown in this Map: West of Holbrook to Crazy Creek.
At Crazy Creek the old road uses a culvert to pass under I-40 and reach its north side. The road (Pinta Rd.) runs north of I-40, parallel to it, but not close to it. It is a 12.3 mile segment that ends at the Petrified Forest National Park on Park Road. See the Map from Crazy Creek to Petrified Forest NP.
Painted Desert Trading Post
There were actually two Trading Posts with a very similar name on Route 66 east of Holbrook in the Petrified Forest area: the Painted Desert Point Trading Post (closer to Holbrook) and the Painted Desert Trading Post (further east).
Painted Desert Trading Post
It is further east (see this map), head north from Exit 311 and then east for 6.3 miles along Pinta Rd. to the east of the bridge over Dead Wash (named so because a prospector named Lewis was found dead there by his neighbor, Jackson, in 1897).
The Painted Desert Trading post offered rugs, curios, jewelry, and also sandwiches and cold beverages. It had two gas pumps in the front (no canopy), and a simple white building with a flat top and the three windows that faced forward with a single entry door.
It was built by Dotch Windsor in 1942, who ran it with his first wife Joy Nevin until they divorced in 1956. It was the dawn of the Interstate period and Dotch closed the post.
Painted Desert Trading Post in the 1930s. Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
Nowadays, eighty years later, the passing of time has caused, ruin and decay. As you can see below, the dorway is empty and the windows gone. The words Desert Trading Post can still be made out on the front of the former store:
Painted Desert Trading Post today Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ. Route 66
At the National Park, there is a nother gap, you will have to follow Park Rd. south to I-40, and at Exit 311 head west along I-40. You will see the original US 66 on the south side of I-40, and you can reach it if you want to drive along it, at Exit 303. This Map of US 66 from Petrified Forest to Little Lithodendron Wash, it is a 8.1 mile-long segment.
On this segment, heading east, across the Little Lithodendron bridge is the "other" Painted DesertTrading post:
Painted Desert Point Trading Post
It was 21 miles east of Holbrook. You can reach it (see this map) from Exit 303 on I-40 head to the south side and drive east for 3.8 mi. It is on the north side of the Old Route 66.
Built in 1946, only the foundations of the rectangular building and the concrete base of the gas pumps remain. At one time it was rumored that it had illegal slot machines. It was run by Harry Charles Osborne, who in 1952, aged 78 was forced to kill his deranged son at the trading post.
Little Lithodendron Wash Bridge
Route 66Holbrook, AZ.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
A wooden truss bridge built in the 1932 on US Highway 66
This wooden bridge is 243 ft. long and 23 ft. wide, its longest span is 18.7 ft. long. It crosses the Little Lithodendron Wash, also known as Carrizo or Little Carrizo Wash -Carrizo is Spanish for "rush".
Lithodendron combines the Greek words "Lithos" (stone) and "Dendros" (tree), "stone tree" after the neighboring Petrified Forest National Park.
The wash has several branches that Route 66 had to cross. Two bridges were erected in this spot, and only one survives. It is a timber tressle bridge built 1932 and rehabilitated in 1986 it can still be driven across.
It is a "Tressle" bridge because the short timber spans are supported by a rigid frame or "tressle". This is its Street View.
After the historic bridge, at Exit 300 you must get on I-40 westbound all the way to Exit 294, at Sun Valley, where you can drive the original alignment along Pima St., this ends right next to Exit 292 in a dead end. You can backtrack a couple of miles and reach I-40 at Exit 294 (See this map) or, take a dirt road that runs south right beside the dead end,and reach the North Frontage Rd. at Exit 292. See the Map from Little Lithodendron Wash to Hopi Travel Plaza.
West of Exit 292, the roadbed of I-40 overlaps the original alignment until Exit 289, here you can leave I-40 and drive into Holbrook along Navajo Blvd. (3.1 miles). This is the Map of Route 66 into Holbrook
National and State Parks
Petrified Forest National Park
It is the only National Park in the U.S. to include and protect a section of Route66. Its badlands of multi-colored stones with bands of red, violet, green, ochre and white sediments from the Triassic period 200-million years ago are worth seeing. And then is the petrified wood, the fossils and historical sites...
Short 2 to 3 hour visit
At least Walk the Painted Desert Rim Trail to Kachina Point, Drive Blue Mesa Road and Stop at Rainbow Forest Museum to see the stone tree trunks strewn on the ground.
- Stop at the Painted Desert Visitor Center
- Drive the 28 miles of road through the park: to the south, visit the Rainbow Forest Museum and watch the park film; walk Giant Logs and Crystal Forest trails; drive the Blue Mesa Road. To the north: Visit the Painted Desert Visitor Center and watch the park film
- Drive the circuit and stop at the overlooks in the Painted Desert, include a stop at the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark.
Half a Day visit
Add the following:
- Drive through the entire park.
- Stop at Painted Desert Inn Museum (in the Historic Landmark).
- Walk the trails at Painted Desert Rim and Crystal Forest.
- Stop at the Route 66, Newspaper Rock, Agate Bridge, and Jasper Forest overlooks.
- Visit Puerco Pueblo, walk the Puerco Pueblo Trail.
- Hike the Blue Mesa and ⁄or Agate House Trails.
- Walk the Giant Logs Trail (pick up a trail guide at Rainbow Forest Museum)
One or more days
Do the above and add:
- Choose an Off the Beaten Path hike into the Wilderness Area
There is no overnight lodging in the park, camping in the park is limited to backpacking in the wilderness area and permits are required.
"The Tepees", Blue Mesa region of the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, by Austin Whittall
The Petrified Trees
200 million years ago, during the Late Triassic Epoch this area was a lush rainforest with ferns and coniferous treees 10 ft. in diameter and 180 ft. tall. As they died or fell they were buried by sediments or covered with volcanic ash (known as the Chinle Formaiton) that preserved them before they decomposed. Ground water later dissolved silica in the volcanic ash and saturated the logs and crystallized, replacing what was once living tissue with quartz. This preserves the life-like appearance of the wood.
Iron oxides give the petrified wood its red, organge and ochre hues.
60 million years ago, the uplift of the Colorado Plateau led to the erosion of the younger rock that overlay the Chinle Formation, and this uncovered the logs and fossil plants.
The park is one of the few in the world to have flora from the LateTriassic: cycads, ferns, ginkgoes, lycopods and more.
More details: Official Petrified Forest NP Website (External link).
Rusting 1931 Studebaker sedan on US 66 near Holbrook AZ. A. Whittall
Painted Desert Inn
Petrified Forest N. P.Holbrook, AZ.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
A classic National Park lodge built in 1920 and restored to its original 1949 appearance. Now a museum.
Built in 1920 by Herbert David Lore as a lodge, it was acquired by the National Park Service in 1935. It was originaly built in petrified wood, but it was soon renovated in a Pueblo Revival Style after it was purchased.
It has ponderosa Pine logs protruding from the adobe and stone walls, earth-toned stucco and flat roofs. It was renovated by Mary Jane Colter in 1947 and closed in 1963 when a new visitor center replaced it. It was saved from demolition in 1976 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
It was completely restored to the way it looked back in 1949 and reopened in 2006. It is no longer an inn, but a museum, don't miss the restored murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie or the mountain lion petroglyph on exhibition there.
More details on this historic site at the Desert Inn NPS Website. (External link).
Original artwork by A. Whittall based on Google Street View Imagery.
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.
Will Croft Barnes, Arizona Place Names, University of Arizona Press, 1988.
Historic Route 66 in Arizona All-American Road, National Scenic Byway, www.fhwa.dot.gov.
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.
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