A Journey Through Time: New Mexico on Route 66 

Blue swallow motel on Route 66 in scottsdale, arizona.

Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, is one of the most iconic and historic highways in the United States. Stretching from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, this historic route covers a total of 2,448 miles and passes through eight states, one of which is the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico. With its deep-rooted heritage, breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant culture, New Mexico is a must-visit destination for anyone embarking on a journey along Route 66. 

New Mexico and Route 66: A Historic Connection 

New Mexico has a long and storied connection with Route 66. The original route, established in 1926, crossed the state from east to west, passing through cities like Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Albuquerque and Gallup. In the 1930s, a realignment moved the route to a more direct path, bypassing Santa Fe, the state’s capital. This realignment sparked controversy and disappointment among the residents of Santa Fe, but it also helped shape the Route 66 we know today. 

Cultural and Natural Wonders 

New Mexico is known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty, and a drive along Route 66 will take you through some of the state’s most incredible places. From the vast, open plains in the east to the rugged mountains in the west, New Mexico offers diverse and awe-inspiring scenery. Along the way, you’ll encounter landmarks like the historic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, a classic example of Route 66 architecture, and the vibrant murals in downtown Albuquerque. One of the most unique stops near Route 66 in New Mexico is the Acoma Pueblo, also known as Sky City, which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America. 

Food and Festivities 

No trip along Route 66 would be complete without sampling the local cuisine, and New Mexico offers culinary experiences unique to the region and its cultures. From mouth-watering green chile cheeseburgers to traditional dishes like enchiladas and tamales, New Mexican food is a flavorful fusion of Native American and Hispanic influences. Along Route 66, you’ll find plenty of diners and restaurants serving up these delicious dishes. 

New Mexico is also home to festivals and events that celebrate its rich culture and history. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held each October, is one of the most popular and colorful events in the state, attracting hot air balloon enthusiasts from around the world. 

The Land of Enchantment 

New Mexico is a state full of wonders, from its breathtaking landscapes to its rich cultural heritage. A journey along Route 66 will take you through so much of this incredible state, offering a glimpse into its past and a taste of its vibrant present. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover or simply looking for a memorable adventure, New Mexico’s stretch of Route 66 should not be missed.