About Peach Springs, Arizona
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation 4,780 ft (1.457 m). Population 1,090 (2000).
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) no DST⁄ PDT (UTC-7).
Peach Springs is a town located on the western border of Mohave County, in northwestern Arizona. (Map of Peach Springs).
Peach Springs serves as the administrative headquarters of the Hualapai people, and is located on the Hualapai Reservation.
The Northwestern part of Arizona has been populated for at least ten thousand years and during the historic period, the Havasupai (also known as Supai) and the Hualapai people lived here.
The Shell Service Station at Peach Springs as it looks today
They were farmers and grew corn, beans, melons and squash. They lived in dome-shaped housesbuilt with branches and thachet with juniper bark.
The place was first reported by Father Francisco Garcés, a Franciscan missionary who camped here on June 15, 1776, while trekking to the Hopi villages to the east. He found the springs and called them Pozos de San Basilio, that is, Saint Basil's Wells. They are the head of Truxton Wash, now an intermittent flow of water, but at one time an stream.
They were rediscoverd by Mexican fur trappers in the 1820s, the Aguaje de Garcés, at that time the territory passed to Mexico after it became independent from Spain in 1821.
Mexico ceded the region to the U.S.A. after its defeat in the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.
American explorers like Ewing Young and Kit Carson named the spring "Surprise Spring" but they were also known as "Young Spring".
In 1857 the U.S. government sent Lt. Edward "Ned" Fitzgerald Beale to survey and open a wagon trail from Ft. Smith (Arkansas) to California; his route passed right through Peach Springs.
The Name: Peach Springs
The town owes its name to the peach trees that grew beside the nearby springs. It is a local tradition that they were planted by the XVIIIth Century Spanish missionaries that came from San Bernardino, California - a town which is located on Route 66.
The Hualapai resisted the advance of the Americans but were defeated in 1874 after being starved out in Meriwitica Canyon and deported to La Paz, south of Parker, AZ. The new location was not suitable and many died so the government established the tribal reservation in 1883.
In the meantime settlers flowed along Beale's trail into California and the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (later the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad) laid their tracks next to it. The railroad set up a station at Peach Springs as it provided the water needed to run their steam powered locomotives (The Hualapai later litigated with the railway over rights to the springs).
The post office opened in 1887 and the railway built a "Harvey House" hotel for tourists who would then go up to the Grand Canyon via Dimond Creek. This initial period of prosperity ended in 1907 when the rail link from Williams was built to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The National Old Trails Road was built in the 1910s and this brought tourists (in cars) back to the town. At that time it was merely a supply point for the proposed Diamond Creek Power Dam on Colorado River. The Trading Post opened in 1917 and when the National Old Trails Highway became part of Route 66 in 1926, traffic boomed. The Shell Station opened in 1929. The depression took its toll on tourism and only after World War II did traffic pick up again. But in 1979, I-40 bypassed the entire segment of Route 66 between Kingman and Seligman. The town declined until Route 66 was reborn as a "Historic and Scenic Byway" in Arizona.
Where to Stay in Peach Springs
Spend a night in Peach Springs at its Hotel:
>> Book your Hotel inPeach Springs
More Lodging Near Peach Springs along Route 66
Heading East.... Hotels & Motels in Arizona
- 37 mi. Seligman motels
- 60 mi. Ash Fork
- 79 mi. Williams
- 102 mi. Bellemont
- 113 mi. Flagstaff
- 137 mi. Twin Arrows restort
- 172 mi. Winslow
- 204 mi. Holbrook
- 250 mi. Chambers accommodation
More Accommodation Close to Route 66 ...
Heading West: Motels
- 50 mi. Kingman motels
West, Hotels & Motels in California...
>> There is an RV campground 12 mi. east of town
Peach Springs has a dry and sunny climate with 286 sunny days every year. There are 43 days with precipitation yearly.
Average summer High (Jul) 97° (36.1°C) and an average low of 58°F (14.4°C). It has a below freezing average winter low (Jan) of 27.8°F (-2.3°C) while the average winter high is about 53°F (11.7°C).
It only gets 3 in. of snowfall (7.5 cm) and 11 inches of rain (280 mm) every year. Most of it during the summer rainy period, as thunderstorms.
This part of Route 66, to the west of the Rocky Mountains has virtually no tornado events.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Peach Springs
You can reach Peach Springs using the Historic Old Route 66 in Arizona from Kingman to the west or Seligman to the east.
Map of Route 66 through Peach Springs Arizona
Static Map showing Route 66 alignment through Peach Springs, AZ
Display Peach Springs Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
The map above shows several alignments through Peach Springs, the color key For Peach Springs only is the following:
(for the other parts of the map, check the color key of the map of the corresponding city)
Pale Blue: Driveable 1926 to 1952 Route 66 alignment.
Blue: The old alignment of Route 66 that can be seen but not driven west of Peach Springs.
Route 66's alignment in Arizona: the Historic Route 66 in Peach Springs
Route 66 across Arizona
U.S. highway 66 better known as Route 66 was designated as an All-American Road and National Scenic Byway in the state of Arizona.
The section of Route 66 that starts east of Seligman and, passes through Peach Springs, ending at Topock on the Colorado River is the longest remaining section of Route 66 in the entire U.S.A.
Click on the following link for a Full description of Route 66 across the state of Arizona.
Below you will find plenty of information on the alignments of Route 66 around Peach Springs.
Sights and Attractions in Peach Springs, Arizona
What to Do, Places to See
A Native American Flavor
Peach Springs has two historic Route 66 buildings: the John Osterman Shell Station and the Peach Springs Trading Post. Don't forget to visit the nearby Diamond Creek on the Grand Canyon or the Grand Canyon Caverns.
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Peach Springs AZ
When Jack DeVere Rittenhouse drove down Route 66 in 1946, researching for his "A Guide Book to Highway 66" he gave a brief outline Peach Springs as follows: "courts: Quamacho, Peach Springs and Texaco; garage: Milligan; Camacho Café no hotels; few stores; limited facilities.".
City Tour in Peach Springs
Start your tour at the Hotel & Resort Hualapai Lodge. The building, on the south side of Route 66 in the central part of the village is a hotel with a heated pool. There is a gift shop with tribal art and a restaurant.
Walk eastwards along Route 66 and you will reach the Shell Service Station:
John Osterman Shell Station
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
There are different versions about who and when it was built. One says John Osterman built it in 1927, another that his brother Oscar did so in 1932. Oscar also built the Peach Springs Auto Court (a motel) next to it, where the Hualapai Lodge is now located.
View of the historic Shell Service Station in Peach Springs
John left Sweden in 1914 as a sailor on a German ship which after the outbreak of World War I was detained on the Mexican Pacific coast. He was interned but managed to escape and enter the U.S.
By chance he ended up in Peach Springs where he opened a gas station on the National Old Trails road. His brother Oscar came to America and he sold him the station. In 1926, hearing that U.S. 66 would be routed through Peach Springs he returned.
In 1932 the highway was realigned so he opened a new service station which he built to resemble the El Alamo mission in San Antonio Texas.
It has a concrete frame with a stepped facade, several bays and the walls were built with concrete blocks shaped to resemble stone.
A Canopy covered the gas pumps. It remained in operation until the 2000s and was listed as a Historic Place in 2012.
Cross to the north side of Route 66 and head west, past the Market and the post Office, you will reach the old historic Trading Post
Historic Peach Springs Trading Post
863 Highway 66
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
E. Carpenter opened the first trading post in 1917 and later added a partner, Ancel Taylor, who bought him out in 1924. They sold supplies to the natives and bought their handicrafts.
The original building was a wood fram store that also sold gasoline to those driving along the National Old Trails Road. In 1926 the road became U.S. 66 and more traffic drove by the store, boosting business. Taylor needed more space, so in 1928 he tore down the wood frame store and had the current stone building built by Cecil Davis.
It's style is Pueblo Revival with stone walls, Ponderosa Pine beams jutting out of the walls, lage chimneys and a high facade.
Taylor sold it in 1936 and finally it was acquired by the Hualapai tribe in 1950. It served as the post office and store. The post office moved out in 1965. Business fell off when I-40 bypassed the town in 1978 and it now houses the Hualapai Tribal Forestry, Wildlife Conservation, and Game and Fish.
A 1936 postcard showing the Trading Post in Peach Springs
The postcard depicts a swastika in the store's sign, which is a Native American (Navajo) symbol and has no other connotation. Before being desecrated by the vile Nazi's, it was for hundreds of years a religious symbol among many people around the world (Navajo and Buddhist are only some of them).
The Trading Post as it looks today
Tours and Nearby places to visit
Grand Canyon Caverns
The Caverns are 12 miles east of Peach Springs along Route 66, Map of the itinerary.
The Cavern was discovered by chance when Walter Peck almost fell into a deep hole in 1927. He decided to make some money from it by lowering the tourists into the caves with a winch (named Yampai at that time and later renamed Coconino Caverns). Then he widened the entrance with stairs in the mid 1930s.
The place was renamed "Dinosaur Caverns" in 1957 and in 1962 the name change again to "Grand Canyon Caverns".
See the mummified 150 year old remainns of a bobcat, a recreation of an 18,000 year old Ground Sloth, whose bones were found in the cave. And tour the caverns 200 - 300 feet below the surface (now there's an elevator).
There is Lodging at the Caverns.
Read more at the Cavern's website
Diamond Creek and the Grand Canyon
Havasu Falls. Credits
The Grand Canyon and the Colorado River are located to the north of Peach Springs 15 miles (25 km) as the crow flies. And even though the Grand Canyon gorge here is only 2,000 ft. (600 m) high. The Diamond Creek, an intermittent stream flows into the Colorado River there, passing through the Hualapai reservation.
It was for many years the main tourist spot on the Grand Canyon, as it was the place where the Colorado River itself could be reached easily, and there was a hotel there (Diamond Creek Hotel).
All this came to an end when the railway link was built between Williams and the Grand Canyon in 1907.
The Diamond Creek Road (dirt & rodk road) runs along the creek's canyon and provides the only access to the Colorado River between Lees Ferry and Pierce Ferry. The Hualapai tribal government charges a fee for all vehicles and people traversing the road (about $30/person). Map of the road
Be careful with Flash Flooding during the rainy period. It can be dangerous and damage the road. The road is better suited for SUVs (don't take a rented vehicle along it as it may violate your rental contract).
Hualapai River Runners
Diamond Creek on the Grand Canyon is where the whitewater rafting trips start out from and you can book one-day Colorado River trips or whitewater rafting tours at the Hualapai Lodge. From March through October.
Read more at the Hualapai River Runners website.
See a 360° view at Diamond Creek on the Colorado River
Supai and Havasu Falls
Further away (71 mi. - Map) are the famous Havasu Falls are located, close to the village of Supai, Arizona, in the Havasupai Reservation, close to the Grand Canyon's South Rim.
The Hualapai Tribe
The Hualapai Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe. "Hualapai" (pronounced Wal-lah-pie) means "People of the Tall Pines".
The Hualapai reservation was created in 1883, and covers one million acres, spanning the counties of Coconino, Yavapai and Mohave. It borders the Grand Canyon to the north and is home to 1,621 residents, of which 1,353 are tribal member. Another 1,000 Hualapai live off the reservation.
The tripe also offers tour packages with great views from the Skywalk (a glass bridge that enables visitors to walk beyond the rim of the Grand Canyon at 4,000 feet (1.200 m) above the Colorado River).
The Alignment of Old Route 66 Seligman to Peach Springs
It is 37 miles from Seligman to Peach Springs, all of it along the 1940 - 1979 alignment of Route 66. Map from Seligman to Peach Springs.
Head west down Route 66 from downtown Seligman. At the western tip of town the 1926-30 alignment turned south (on the west side of the modern Chevron gas station located there by the entrance ramps to I-40) and crossed the tracks. It curved to the southwest and then to the northeast crossing back to the north side of the tracks and modern US 66 at Chino Point, 3.9 miles west of the Chevron service station
(See the spot), the power line marks the course of the 1926-1940s alignment.
Both 1930s and the later alignment meet again 2.7 miles north, where the power line joins the road ( See location). To the right you will see the edge of the mesa known as Aubrey Cliffs a red sandstone formation.
18.7 mi. west of Seligman, on the left are some trees and the 1946 Pica Motel (not mentioned by Rittenhouse as it was completed after his trip through the area). Street View.
The 1940s to 1979 road runs in a long straight stretch through Aubrey Valley passing by Rittenhouse's "Deer Lodge" (17 mi.), which offered "Cabins and gas". They are long gone, but there are homes nowadays at this site. Just two miles ahead is Hyde Park, to the right.
Rittenhouse mentioned it as a Café with cabins and gasoline (See a vintage postcard).
It's slogan was "Park your Hide at Hyde Park" and was the nearest lodging to the famour "Yampai - Coconino Caverns" (now the Grand Canyon Caverns). All that remains of it are the foundations and rubble (See Street View).
This section of Route 66, through Cedar Grove and up to the Indian Reservation was not paved until after 1935.
Grand Canyon Caverns
On the south side of the road, Hyde Park Rd. leads to Yampai Divide (a railway siding) and 1.6 miles ahead is the access to Grand Canyon Caverns Village (26.3 mi. from Seligman). Drive down it (Access Map to reach the Grand Canyon Caverns).
Onwards to Peach Springs
The Old Bridge. Google. Click for Street View
The road keeps on straight, crossing the Indian Reservation Boundary. And then, the old 1926-1930 road turns to the south side of the modern alignment, along what is now Indian Route 19, heading towards the railroad at Nelson (where there is a plant producing lime) and then west into Peach Springs.
Route 66 in its 1940s to 1979 continues, paved, all the way into Peach Springs north of the railroad.
The 1930s-1940s alignment can be seen, occasionaly, on the south side of the current alignment just west of the Coconinio - Yavapai county line.
The road descends into Peach Springs, the "Capital of the Hualpai Nation".
Outdoors, National and State Parks
There are plenty of outdoor spots where you can enjoy nature close to Seligman.
Will Croft Barnes, Arizona Place Names, University of Arizona Press, 1988.
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.