Route 66 in the Mojave
Touring Needles to Victorville

State Line to U.S. 95

California State Line sign on bridge crossing the Colorado River.

1.0 - Moabi exit.
This exit has two worthwhile side trips.

    A right takes you toward Park Moabi. Make a right at the stop sign. You are now on the original alignment of Route 66. About a mile up the twisty road, 66 ends at a large sign made out of rocks. The white bridge, which currently carries the pipeline across the Colorado River, was originally Route 66.

    If you take a left, follow the pavement to its end. Make another left. About a mile down this well-maintained dirt road, on the north, is the Topock Maze. This 15-acre geoglyph is believed to be about 600 years old. There are two explanations of its use: 1) that this was where warriors stopped for a purification rite before returning home from battle (the theory recorded on the marker); 2) that the souls of the Mojaves passed through here after death — the bad souls losing their way in the maze, the good souls going on to the afterlife.

Of an even more mysterious utility than the Topock Maze is the structure found at this site. Slow down and prepare to stop for the Agricultural Inspection Station.

Exit the freeway at East Broadway and turn right. You are now on National Trails Highway.

Once a pleasant overnight stay, Carty's Camp was constructed by William and Earnest Mansker in 1925, one year prior to National Trails Road becoming Route 66. The Manskers had seen a similar camp near the Grand Canyon.

Fork. At this point you can either continue on Broadway through downtown Needles or follow the original Route 66 alignment to Front Street. We follow the path to Front Street.

One block from the fork on your left sits the Palms, a well-known overnight stop for early travelers. Until recently, the Palms continued operating as a bed & breakfast by the name National Trails Inn. Note the borax wagon across the street.

You are now on Front Street. To your right is El Garces, one of the famous rail stops built by Fred Harvey. As of this writing, the city of Needles will be purchasing the property and is seeking an architectural firm to oversee restoration of this historic site. On your left are a number of shops and the Needles Regional Museum.

Turn left at the end of Front Street and then right on Broadway.

After Broadway crosses the railroad tracks, take a left onto West Broadway.

The El Rancho Hotel, another famous stop, caught fire on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1999. As of this writing, there are no known plans for restoring the hotel.

The borax wagon across the street from National Trails Inn was donated to the City of Needles by the original owner of the El Rancho.

After you cross the freeway, you come to a fork in the road. Turn left.

One of the original 66 rest stops, Needles Wayside Park is being considered for redevelopment by the Bureau of Land Management. The Needles Regional Museum has built a nature trail here, and many of the old concrete picnic tables still exist.

Rejoin the freeway.

Exit Goffs Road. Take 95 North.

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