Travel on Route 66 from Amarillo to Santa Fe

 

Texas Bar-B-Q at the mid-point of Route 66, in Adrian, TexasTexas Bar-B-Q at the mid-point of Route 66, in Adrian, Texas, between Amarillo and Tucumcari NM - 1,139 miles to Chicago, 1,139 miles to Los Angeles

We've been fortunate these past few years to travel on a number journeys around our great nation.

We've had the opportunity to drive on Route 66 numerous times in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Included below are just a few of our favorite places and scenes along the Mother Road from Amarillo, Texas, westward through Glenrio, Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, and Santa Fe.

Heading West from Amarillo on Historic Route 66

As one heads out from Amarillo today on I-40, the Cadillac Ranch comes into view quickly, on the south side of the road. Access is via a fence gate on the south service road. This folk art site of ten Cadillacs is the work of financier Stanley Marsh. You can walk out to view and photographs the site.

Present day exit from I-40 to Glenrio, on the Texas - New Mexico borderPresent day exit from I-40 to Glenrio, on the Texas - New Mexico border

It is only about 50 miles from Amarillo to the New Mexico border, passing through the small towns of Vega and Adrian.

The Ghost Town of Glenrio

Sitting right on the border is the abandoned ghost town of Glenrio, which still has noticeable traces of Route 66 and the motels and restaurants that used to thrive there before the arrival of I-40. Just west of Glenrio Route 66 bridges are still visible to the alert I-40 traveler.

Tucumcari Travel Highlights

Once into New Mexico, we arrive in Tucumcari with its nice variety of vintage motels and signage. One of the more famous hotels is the Blue Swallow Motel. The Mother Road originally turned north past Santa Rosa, at today's I-40 Exit 256, and headed for downtown Santa Fe.

Early Route 66 Alignment through Santa Fe

Approximately 507 miles long in 1926, the alignment of Route 66 in New Mexico was reduced to 399 miles by 1937. The longest sections of the initial alignment created a large S curve as the road stretched across the middle of the state.

Aligning with U.S. 85, Route 66 followed the corridor of the old Santa Fe Trail and its successor, the Santa Fe Railroad, and passed through the villages of Tecolote, Bernal, San Jose, Rowe and Pecos. Skirting the tourist facilities at Pigeon’s Ranch, the highway climbed Glorieta Pass and descended the narrow defile at Cañoncito, where it diverged from the railroad alignment to veer toward Santa Fe.

Once in Santa Fe, Route 66 passed through the heart downtown, along side the historic LaFonda on the Plaza Hotel. We have stayed multiple times at LaFonda and it has become our favorite lodging choice in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe remained on the original Route 66 until 1938 when the road was rerouted on a more direct route to Albuquerque.

Driving time today to travel the 280 miles from Amarillo to Santa Fe is 4:15 via I-40 to Cline's Corners, and then north on U.S. 285. An alternate route off I-40 is U.S. 84 north after Santa Rosa.

Photo Highlights from Our Road Trips from Amarillo to Santa Fe

We have included below a sampling of the original photographs taken by our staff. We are working to post more photographs and reviews from our road trip archives to this website over time.

The Cadillac Ranch, just west of Amarillo, on Present-Day I-40. Access is from the service road on the south side of the interstate. Park and walk across the field ... free admission!
Shea's in Springfield Illinois, along Historic Route 6

Texas Bar-B-Q at the mid-point of Route 66, in Adrian, Texas - 1,139 miles to Chicago, 1,139 miles to Los Angeles
Texas Bar-B-Q at the mid-point of Route 66, in Adrian, Texas - 1,139 miles to Chicago, 1,139 miles to Los Angeles

Exit 0 on present-day Interstate 40 to Glenrio and Historic Route 66
Exit 0 on present-day Interstate 40 to Glenrio and Historic Route 66

Glenrio, Texas sign at present-day I-40 Business
Glenrio, Texas sign at present-day I-40 Busines

Historic Route 66 right-of-way in Glenrio, Texas
Historic Route 66 right-of-way in Glenrio, Texas

Old Route 66 logo painted on pavement in Glenrio, Texas
Old Route 66 logo painted on pavement in Glenrio, Texas

"First Motel in Texas" and cafe in Glenrio, Texas on Historic Route 66
"First Motel in Texas" and cafe in Glenrio, Texas on Historic Route 66

Happy Motoring! Abandoned ESSO service station at Glenrio, Texas on Historic Route 66
Happy Motoring! Abandoned ESSO service station at Glenrio, Texas on Historic Route 66


Abandoned building and car seen at Glenrio in Texas on US Route 66
Abandoned building and car seen at Glenrio in Texas on US Route 66

Need a break while driving westbound on I-40? Stop at the very well done Glenrio visitor center opered at New Mexico DOT. The staff is friendly and knowledgable, and there is amble travel information, maps and brochures about New Mexico and Route 66 travel stops.
Need a break while driving I-40? Stop at the very well done Glenrio visitor center opered at New Mexico DOT

The famous Cline's Corners at the intersection of I-40 and U.S. 285 in New Mexico. It offers gasoline, food, souvenirs and more! It's always worth a stop.
The famous Cline's Corners at the intersection of I-40 and U.S. 285 in New Mexico.

 

One of the larger cities on Route 66 during its earlier alignments was Santa Fe in New Mexico. It passed through downtown near the historic LaFonda on the Plaza hotel, seen in the photo below.
One of the larger cities on Route 66 during its earlier alignments was Santa Fe in New Mexico. It passed near the historic LaFonda on the Plaza hotel, seen here on the right side of this photo.

 

Travel Reviews of the Segments of Route 66

Planning a Road Trip on Route 66? Here are the major segments ...

Route 66: The Mother Road - Introduction

Route 66: Chicago to Missouri

Route 66: Across Oklahoma to Amarillo

Route 66: Amarillo to Santa Fe

Route 66: Santa Fe to Gallup NM

Route 66: Gallup NM to Seligman AZ

Route 66: Seligman to Kingman AZ

Route 66: Kingman to Oatman AZ