Saturday, December 19, 2015
Route 66-Kingman to Topock
The last section of Route 66 in Arizona goes over the Sitgreaves Pass. It’s steep and narrow with many curves and very scenic. Vehicles over 40’ are prohibited.
In 1926 Cool Springs had a service station and a cafe. Cabins were added a few years later. The buildings on the location look old and authentic but a fire in 1966 had reduced them to a pile of rubble. Ned and Michelle Leuchtner, who bought the property in 2001, restored the gas station (now a snack and souvenir shop) using vintage photographs as a guide.
When Route 66 came past Ed Edgerton’s mining claim he saw a good opportunity and opened a trading post, gas station, cafe and cabins. It’s been closed for years but the buildings are in fairly good condition and there’s a lot of equipment scattered around. The property is fenced off so it’s not possible to get a closer look.
There are several spots at the top of the pass to pull over and get a good view of the mountains and the road winding it’s way down.
Almost all of the land along this section is BLM land but there are few roads and most of the ones that do exist are pretty rough and narrow, jeep and OHV trails rather than roads.
Gold was discovered in Oatman in the 1860s and the boom that followed brought hundreds of miners to the area. Today tourists and wild burros outnumber the permanent residents. Main Street (Route 66) is lined with stores, restaurants and cars. It can be hard to find a place to park.
Between Oatman and Topock there are at least five large, flat pull offs along the road that are good for overnight stops. They’re not far off the road but there’s little traffic so it’s very quiet.