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Last Updated: . By Austin Whittall

Bellemont: "Easy Rider" location

Bellemont, Arizona is the site of the Pine Breeze Inn, featured in the 1969 movie, Easy Rider. It has a WWII Army camp built in 1942, the Navajo Ordnance Depot; it stored ammo for the Pacific Theater and has been in use since then.
It also has several sections of Route 66 running across it, including the Historic Route 66 listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
It was the site of a Whiting Bros station and motel. It is set in a forested part of the San Francisco mountains inside the Coconino National Forest.

Highest Town along Route 66

Bellemont is the highest town of all Route 66, at 7,132 feet above seal level.

Drive through Bellemont AZ on your Route 66 road trip.

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Bellemont. Route 66

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About Bellemont, Arizona

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation 7,132 ft (2.174 m). Population 501, (2020).
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) no DST⁄ PDT (UTC-7).

Bellemont is a tiny unincorporated village in Coconino County in the nortwestern part of Arizona. See a Map of Bellemont.

View of the Easy Rider "Pine Breeze Inn", Bellemont, Route 66

black and white photo of rickety woodframe building, with a gas pump, a Richfield sign and gravel driveway, pine trees behind
The Famous Pine Breeze Inn from the movie "Easy Rider". Credits

This region has been inhabited for more than 10,000 years. More recently, the "Sinagua" people lived in an area around Flagstaff, close to the San Francisco Peaks. They were farmers and hunter gatherers who left the region by the 1400's, forced by a long drought. The Navajo people occupied their territory east of the mountains.

The Spanish from Mexico never settled the area during the Colonial Period (1520-1821) and later Mexico lost it to the U.S. after its defeat in the 1846-48 War.

Lt. Edward Fitzgerald "Ned" Beale surveyed a wagon road from Ft. Smith Arkansas to California and passed just north of what is now Bellemont in 1857, the remains of his cart-trail can still be seen.

Beale used camels as pack animals. But as they scared horses and mules, the Army never used them again.

During the American Civil War, the Unionist government separated the region from New Mexico and created the Territory of Arizona (1863). That same year, A military camp site at what would later become Bellemont named the place "Volunteer Springs".

After the Navajo were subdued and placed in a Reservation, settlers began arriving. In 1876 a sheep herder named Walter Hill settled at Volunteer Springs.

The site was chosen by the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (later the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad) to build a siding along its tracks west of Flagstaff in 1882.

The siding soon grew into a small community with a sawmill and logging operations. The village was named Bellemont.

The name: Bellemont

It was named in honor of Miss Bella Smith. Bella was the daughter of F.W. Smith, the General Superintendent of the A. T. & S. F. railroad when the tracks were being laid in this area.
The word combines "Bella" with "Mont", in French "Belle Mont" means "Beautiful Mountain". Bella comes from "bella", Latin for "beautiful".

The post office opened in 1887 and adopted the name of the station.

Route 66 was aligned along the National Old Trails in this area in 1926 and was paved by 1935.

During World War II, the U.S. Army established the Navajo Ordnance Depot to stockpile ammunition for the war in the Pacific against Japan. Since 1982 it is a training site of the Arizona National Guard.

The road was realigned in 1964 along what is now I-40, bypassing the few stores and gas stations in Bellemont. advertisement

Getting to Bellemont

You can reach Parks along Old Route 66 from Parks in the west or using Interstate 40 from Williams, Parks or Flagstaff, take Exit 185 into Bellemont.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Bellemont

Find your room in the motels in town:

>> Book your room in Bellemont

More Lodging Nearby along Route 66

Find more accommodation nearby; there are plenty of lodging options in the cities and towns along Route 66; Williams and Flagstaff have many motels. Click on the links below to find your accommodation in these towns:

Heading East: In Arizona

You are so close to Las Vegas!

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Heading West: Hotels & Motels in AZ & CA

Grand Canyon Hotels

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Book your Hotel in Williams

There is an RV campground in Bellemont

The Weather in Bellemont

Route 66 in Bellemont AZ; location map

Location of Bellemont AZ on Route 66

The climate in Bellemont is dry and semi-continental. Seasons are well defined: winters are cold with heavy snowfall, spring is dry and windy.

Summers are hot and dry until July, then comes the humid summer monsoon period. Fall is dry and pleasant.

Due to its height, plenty of snow falls in winter.

The average high temperature in summer (July) is 79°F (26°C). The winter (Jan) average high is 42°F (5.8°C).

The average low in summer is 44°F (6.4°C) and in winter it is 11°F, well below freezing (-11.4°C).

Rainfall is scarce and averages 20.1 in per year (512 mm); around 8.8 in. (224 mm) fall during the Summer Monsoon period between July and Oct, and another 8 inches between December and March.

Yearly 74 inches of snow fall in the area (188 cm), between late Sept. and early May you may encounter snow.

Tornado risk

All the area that is located to the west of Rocky Mountains hardly has any tornados, but they can strike, and they do!

The Bellemont Tornados of 2010

Bellemont was hit by two tornadoes in the largest single-day tornado-event in the history of Arizona: eight tornadoes struck the state.

This took place in Oct. 2010 and the 1st Bellemont tornado was the longest tracked tornado in Arizona history with a path of 34 miles (54 km) it damaged 100 homes and injured 7 people.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.

Map of Route 66 in Bellemont, AZ

1925 National Old Trails roadmap Williams to Flagstaff and Grand Canyon AZ

Thumbnail of the 1925 N.O.T. map showing Bellemont. Credits
Click on thumbnail map to enlarge

The map (Click on the thumbnail map to enlarge it) shows Bellemont on the left side of Flagstaff. This was an "improved road", a trail that was safe to drive along in a car. The trails were numbered: 22 is the National Old Trails Road or N.O.T.; 32 is the New Santa Fe Trail, 64 is the National Park to Park Hwy.

In 1926, Route 66 was aligned down the N.O.T and a growing flow of motorists drove down the new unpaved highway.

There were several alignments between Bellemont and Parks, and from Parks westwards into Williams. The first one, followed by the N.O.T. ran close to the railroad, winding along the course now taken by I-40. It was realigned several times: in 1931, 41 and finally in 1963.
We describe them further down in the section about the Historic Segments of Route 66 in Bellemont (some of them are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.)

Route 66 Alignment near Bellemont

With maps and full information of the old roadway.

Bellemont, Arizona, its Sights and Attractions

The "highest town on Route 66" and the "Easy Rider" movie location

Bellemont is the "highest community along Route 66" with 7,132 ft. (2.175 m) it also has the famous biker icon, the Pine Breeze Inn is from the movie Easy Rider.

Historic context, the classic Route 66

In his book "A Guide Book to Highway 66", published in 1946, Jack DeVere Rittenhouse mentioned the small village of Bellemont as follows:

a store, post office and two gas station. No other accommodations. Rittenhouse (1946)

According to Rittenhouse its population at that time was 141. Two miles west of it was a trading post.

Some Bellemont Trivia:

Highest Community along Route 66

After the Santa Fe Loop was bypassed in 1935, Glorieta Pass, which had been the highest point of Route 66 lost its place and Bellemont became the Highest community along Route 66 at 7,130 feet (2.175 m.)

Sights in Bellemont

This leg of your Route 66 roadtrip starts west of Flagstaff where the 1940s to 1968 Route 66 alignment along Business Route 40 meets the Freeway at Exit 191. West of this point the original roadway lies beneath the Interstate. There is a short segment (N.O.T. to 1931 US66) along Brannigan Rd. north of I-40 at bellemont but it has no landmarks along it; we marked it with a pale violet line in our custom map of US 66 in Bellemont.

Leave I-40 at exit 185. Here to your right is the small "modern" town along the north side of I-40. But you have to cross to the south side of the Interstate to visit "classic" Bellemont. Take the overpass at Exit 185 and head south along Transwestern Rd. to reach the 1931 to 1964 Route 66 alignments.

At the junction with Route 66, you will see, ahead of you, the entrance to the Camp Navajo Army Depot. It was built following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The War Department decided that it needed additional ammunition depots close to the West Coast (most of them had been built during WWI close to the Atlantic coast). The site was chosen because it was close but not too close to the Pacific Ocean, in case the Japanese Army attempted an Invasion on the West Coast. It had flat terrain and was close to the city of Flagstaff. Route 66 and the railroad linked it to the rest of America.

Camp Navajo entrance monument with name on it, AZ and US flags seen from Route66
Camp Navajo Depot, Bellemont AZ. Click for St. view

It was built in one year by 12,000 workers. It was staffed with 2,000 soldiers; it opened one year to the minute after the Pearl Harbor attack.

It sent ammo to the Pacific Theater and occasionally to Europe. It also served as a prisoner of war camp after March 1945, with 250 Austrian POWs held in custody. It was the only prisoner-of-war camp in northern Arizona. After WWII it served the armed forces during the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars.

In 1993 the DoD moved the ammunition mission to Nevada and transferred the site to the Arizona National Guard. It was renamed Camp Navajo.

Western Bellemont

Historic Route 66 alignments

Take a right along Route 66 heading west. Here several alignments overlap. The original N.O.T. to 1931 roadway -long gone- cut across from what is now the north side of I-40 and reached the area by the railroad depot before heading towards Parks with a NW course (pale violet line in our custom map of US 66 in Bellemont).
In 1931 the higway was realigned further south and the segment east of Transwestern Rd. was used from 1931 to 1964 carrying Route 66 (driveable section map) west of Transwestern the highway ran along a now eliminated section (orange lines in our map) and also took a NW course, but along a new roadbed into Brannigan Park.

US Hwy 66 -right- and embankment of older alignment -left. Fields, some buildings and beyond: mountains with forests

Embankment of 1931-41 US66 (left) and later 1941-64 roadway (right). Click for st. view

The embankment of this alignment can still be seen on the south side of the highway (see picture).

Finally after 1941 and until it was replaced by the four-lane alignment (now I-40), it ran towards Parks along the following aligmnents: driveable segment and lost segments (dark violet and pale yellow lines).

Junior's Bar (Gone)

On the south side of the highway, on the SE corner of Route 66 and Bellemont Standpipe Rd. at 13235 Old Rte 66 was a bar dating back to the 1940s. John Whipp Sr. opened it around 1945, in a wooden building known as Whipp's Inn. His son, Johhny Whipp Jr. moved it to this location in 1956 and named it "Junior". It burned down in February 2006. All that could be saved was a Schlitz beer sign that now hangs down the road at the Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson shop

The original bar faced the 1931-41 alignment, that ran behind the property, the new one faced the 1941-64 roadway (see it in this 1959 aerial photo right center). Now Bellemont Truck repair and towing stands on the property (street view).

black and white photo of rickety buildings and trees, forested hills in the background, seen from Route66
Whipp Inn, Bellemont AZ, in 1962. Source

Vintage Gas Station or store

Opposite, on the SW corner of the junction is a box-shaped block building with an empty signpost, probably a cafe or a gas station. It has been there since 1959 (you can see it in the same aerial photo mentioned further up). It is pictured below:

block building, box-shaped, overgrown grass, empty signpost
Vacant building, maybe a store, Bellemont AZ. Click for St. view

You can drive west for, but I-40 cuts the original 1941-64 alignment and it is a dead-end. Turn around return to the junction by Camp Navajo and head east along the 1931-64 US66

Eastern Section of Route 66 in Bellemont

As you drive east, the first complex to your left, with a red caboose next to the highway is the Grand Canyon Harley Davidson's mother store, with HD motorbikes for sale and rental. Plus their mementos for a Route 66 trip. Don't miss the muffler tree next to the caboose.
To the right is Route 66 Roadhouse. Felix Mansene and his wife, Lori, built the roadhouse in 1996. It changed ownership in December 2019. Good food, Route 66 decorations and more.

Site of the Whiting Bros station and motel

Head east, at the spot where Route 66 Storage is now located, once stood a Whiting Bros service station and a motel. The complex decayed after the mid 1960s when I-40 replaced US66 and was finally torn down. Below is a picture from 1962:

The picture below, taken in 1962 looks east along Route 66, you can see the gas station and in the distance (red arrow) the Pine Breeze Inn. See it in this aerial photo from 1964.

black and white photo a gas station, cars, Route 66 in the foreground and a red arrow marking a motel in the distance. Forested hills in the background
Whitting Bros. station and motel, Bellemont AZ, in 1962. Source

Same spot nowadays, Whiting Bros gone, Pine Breeze still there.

color photo, warehouse, field, Route 66 in the foreground and a red arrow marking a motel in the distance. Forested hills in the background
Site of Whitting Bros. station nowadays, Bellemont AZ. Click for St. view

Read more about Whiting Bros. & Route 66

Pine Breeze Inn: Easy Rider movie location

To your left at 10520 W Route 66. This map shows where it is

It served as location for a scene of the movie Easy Rider, released in 1969 and starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hooper, Jack Nicholson and Karen Black.

The "Inn" is on the north side of the road and can still be seen: a white building with a gas pump. It has a sign with the word "RICHFIELD" on the front, and on the side the current RV Camp name: " "Pine Breeze Inn R.V. Park" sign with the "z" the wrong way round.

The movie Easy Rider was written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hooper and Terry Southern. It is the story of two men who after making a good profit from smuggling cocaine into the U.S. from Mexico and selling it, decide to travel east to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

They ride on their motorcycles and come across all sorts of characters in the turbulent America of the late 1960s: hippies, conservatives, psychedelic drug users, rednecks and prostitutes.

The scene shot at Bellemont finds Wyatt, whose nickname is "Captain America" (played by Fonda) and Billy (Hooper) -characters named after Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid- arriving at a motel.

the Pine Breeze No Vacancy sign scene in Easy Rider, thumbnail

The Motel "NO VACANCY" scene. Click on thumbnail to see video

They had come from California and it was dark, they stopped at the "Pine Breeze Inn" but when the owner saw them, he turned on the "No Vacancy" neon sign. Biker-hippies were not welcome at his establishment. The irked riders departed with Billy yelling a swear word at the proprietor. They camped down the road in a ruined building.

A replica of the "No Vacancy" sign hangs at the Roadhouse down the road.

The Easy Rider movie location:

woodframe building, old gas pump under canopy. Flat roof, box shaped. Pines, gravel drive, Richfield sign across front of building
The old Pine Breeze Inn, Bellemont AZ. Click for Street View

Continue your Road Trip

Your Route 66 road trip leg across Bellemont ends here. Turn around and head back to the Freeway. You can head west into Parks along the 1926-41 Route 66 along Branningan Rd. to continue your journey. This leg has the highest point of the whole Route 66, at 7,405 feet above seal level!
You can also visit the Grand Canyon

Outdoors and Nature

The area around Bellemont

The area surrounding Bellemont is heavily forested with pines. But the village lies in an area that is naturally open, a "park" in the midst of the forest. South of the village is the springs that made it a choice spot for the railway station. Here the snow melt water precolates through the sandsone bedrock and the overlying lava.

There are several cinder cones and good views of Kendrick Peak and Mount Sitgreaves.

snow dusted mountains of the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff
Snow dusted San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff AZ, Tyler Finvoid

National and State Parks

The San Francisco Volcanic Field

This volcanic field, centered on Flagstaff, covers about 1,800 square miles (4.660 km2) is a great outdoors area. Most of it is lies within Coconino and Kaibab National Forests.

The forested volcanic ranges include Piñon, Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, Fir and Bristlecone Pine. It is ideal for hiking, camping, skiing in winter and wildlife viewing.

It is made up of geologically-young volcanoes (6-million-years-old). The highest one is Humphreys Peak which is also the highest point in Arizona (12,633 ft - 3.853 m).

If you visit the Grand Canyon

Some tours and sightseeing

Sponsored content

>> You can Book a Room at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.

Grand Canyon National Park

World Heritage site of UNESCO

The famous park is only 68 miles north of Parks along old US66, NM 64 and US 180. See this Map with directions.

The incredible Grand Canyon is a short drive away from Bellemont; plan a full day trip to visit it. You can also go by train.

>>More information at our webpage: Grand Canyon and Route 66.

Grand Canyon and Colorado River
Grand Canyon and Colorado River, Arizona. advertisement

Some sponsored content

>> Book your Hotel in Lake Havasu City

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Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.

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