How to Tour Route 66 Arizona Like a Local

Route 66 has many worthwhile stops, and one of the greatest is Kingman AZ. Find out all the things you can do in & around this Rt 66 stop.

Meet Jim Hinckley: He’s a writer, photographer and tour guide with a passion for sharing the history of the American Southwest. Jim has been involved in Route 66 tourism since the mid-1990s, but his fondness for the region began long before that.

After retiring from the Coast Guard in 1966, Jim’s father threw a dart at the map, and the whole family headed west from Michigan. They jumped on Route 66 near Chicago and eventually found their new home in Kingman, Arizona.

A little known fact is that Kingman is located along the longest remaining intact section of Route 66 in the United States. “Kingman is probably one of the most overlooked tourist destinations anywhere on Route 66,” Jim says. “I always tailor my tours to peoples’ specific interests, and Kingman has just about anything you can imagine.” Northwest Arizona is full of natural beauty, rich history and, of course, lots of fun things to see and do.

To get to Kingman, you can book a flight to McCarran Airport  in Las Vegas, rent a car, and drive an hour and a half southeast to Kingman. For families traveling to the area, Jim suggests these five unforgettable experiences:

Grab a Cold One at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner

Root beer, that is. Mr. D’z makes its own root beer. It’s famously delicious, whether it’s in a frosty mug or over ice cream. This 1950s-style diner is also a great stop for families because it’s located next door to Locomotive Park. “The last of the 1920s Baldwin Mountain locomotives is set up in the park, so kids can climb right up into the cabin,” says Jim. The locomotive is AT&SF steam engine #3759, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mr. D's Route 66 Diner

Find Adventure at Grand Canyon Western Ranch

A modern legend, the Grand Canyon Western Ranch is only a short drive north from Kingman on Stockton Hill Road. The route is the perfect gateway to the American frontier, as it runs along the foothills of the Cerbat Mountains and offers expansive views of the Hualapai Valley. Originally established by legendary cattleman Tap Duncan, Jim says the ranch offers a perfect blend of modern amenities and Old West adventure. The ranch is well known for its lively campouts, guided horseback tours and covered wagon rides.

Grand Canyon Western Ranch

Explore Grand Canyon Caverns

The Grand Canyon Caverns are located along Route 66, one hour northeast of Kingman. Guided hiking tours range from easy to advanced. The easy tours take visitors along paved walkways flanked by handrails. If you’re feeling adventurous, advanced tour groups go off the trail and deep into the lower reaches of the caverns, about 300 feet below the surface. There’s also a dinosaur-themed miniature golf course. According to Jim, the golf course is very popular with kids and adults alike.

Grand Canyon Caverns

Visit the Kingman Historical Powerhouse

The Kingman Powerhouse was built in 1907 to generate power for the city of Kingman and area mines. But when the Hoover Dam was completed, the Powerhouse was no longer needed as a generating station. Instead, it was used to house a variety of businesses, from recycling to storage. After extensive renovation in the 1990s, it’s now home to the Kingman Visitor Center, the award-winning Historic Route 66 Museum and the Route 66 EV Museum. “It’s the world’s only electric vehicle museum, and it’s a must-see for those interested in automotive history or vintage cars,” says Jim.

Kingman Powerhouse

Experience the History of the Wild West

Jim encourages visitors interested in the history of the American West to start in Chloride. A little ghost town a half-hour northwest of Kingman, visiting Chloride is like stepping into a time capsule of the Wild West. You can see old homes, storefronts and mines that were once alive with the daily hustle and bustle. You can stop for the night at Windy Point Campground in the Cerbat Mountains and wake up with a bird’s eye view of the valley. On a clear day, you can see beyond Arizona to Nevada, Utah and California.

“I refer to the Kingman area as the grand adventure,” Jim says. And these five experiences are only the beginning. Jim’s advice for travelers is to prepare to be surprised. There are beautiful sights, new activities and excitement at every turn. 

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About the Author

Jim Hinckley

A Kingman resident since 1966, Jim Hinckley has been sharing the story of Route 66 and the American Southwest for decades. While his portfolio includes thousands of feature articles, 14 books and internationally acclaimed photography, his true passion lies in sharing the natural beauty of the region with visitors. You can learn more about Jim by finding him on Vayable, or by visiting his blog, Route 66 Chronicles.