Route 66 - Scenic Route - Lake Michigan

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Route 66

Scenic Route · United States of America
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  • Die Route 66 führt geradewegs durch die Mojave-Wüste
    / Die Route 66 führt geradewegs durch die Mojave-Wüste
    Photo: Tony Hisgett, CC BY,
  • / Old Rio Puerco Bridge in Bernalillo County
    Photo: John Phelan, CC BY, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Auf der legendären Route 66 durch die Mojave-Wüste
    Photo: Wolfgang Paulus, CC0, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Die Route 66 aus der Vogelperspektive
    Photo: Joe Mabel, CC BY, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Route 66 State Park bei Eureka, Missouri
    Photo: Yinan Chen, CC0, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Malerischer Sonnenuntergang bei Gallup in New Mexico
    Photo: John Phelan, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Eine der größten natürlichen Steinbrücken der Welt: die Rainbow Bridge
    Photo: Abe Ezekowitz, CC BY, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Eingang zum Route 66 Museum
    Photo: Kevin, CC BY,
  • / Am Ziel angekommen: Das Ende der Route 66 in Santa Monica
    Photo: Christian Beiwinkel, CC BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons
  • / Überdimensionale Werbefigur: Der Gemini Giant schmückt die Kleinstadt Wilmington.
    Photo: paul stumpr, CC BY-SA,
m 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 -500 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 km Santa Monica Grand Canyon Route 66 Hall of Fame Las Vegas Route 66 Museum Gemini Giant Rainbow Bridge Chicago
For decades, Route 66 has been fascinating motorsport and travel enthusiasts alike. The famous freeway extends over almost 4,000 km and is considered a symbol of unlimited freedom. This tour presents you a couple of sightseeing spots along the road and leads you all the way to California’s picturesque Pacific coast.
Distance 3,836.8 km
59:02 h
10,650 m
10,808 m
2,285 m
28 m
The famous panoramic route starts in Chicago (Illinois) and leads you through six federal states to the sunny coast of Santa Monica (California). However, the actual route is not the original one, even if it’s called “Historic Route 66“. It’s more a touristic route which consists of sections of the former freeway. Nonetheless, it seems like Route 66 hasn’t lost anything of ist appeal. And with all the stunning sights and tourist attractions along the way, such as Grand Canyon, Las Vegas or the sunny coastline of Santa Monica, that doesn’t come as a surprise. Besides, there are other interesting stopovers like “Route 66 Hall of Fame“ and “Route 66 Museum“which give you an interesting insight into the history of Northamerica’s most famous freeway.  

Author’s recommendation

From Flagstaff you can do a short sidetrip to Grand Canyon, about 75 miles at the north of Route 66. You can get there by US-180 W and AZ-64 N. Besides, don’t miss the chance to visit Las Vegas. It’s about 105 miles from Kingman (Arizona) via US-93.
Profile picture of Wolfgang Paulus
Wolfgang Paulus
Update: July 15, 2021
Highest point
2,285 m
Lowest point
28 m

Safety information

Please check road conditions before starting the tour.

Tips and hints

It takes about 14 to 2 days to cover the full distance (depending on how many breaks and stopovers you have).


Chicago, Illinois (191 m)
41.885070, -87.624334
41°53'06.3"N 87°37'27.6"W
16T 448201 4637204


Santa Monica, California

Turn-by-turn directions

The tour starts in the city center of Chicago (Illinois). We take IL 53 heading south-west until Joliet, then we continue in the same direction for further 90 km until the small city of  Wilmington where we can see the “Gemini Giant“. After that, we continue on the Interstate 55 towards Pontiac where we can visit “Route 66 Hall of Fame“. We continue on the Interstate 55 heading southwest past Bloomington until we reach Springfield (Illinois). Between Springfield and St. Louis we can take the less travelled IL 157 which runs parallel to the Interstate 155. In St. Louis we pick up Interstate 44going west until Springfield (Missouri). From there we get to Joplin after about 115 km. Between Galena and Baxter Springs we can cross Rainbow Bridge at Spring River, then we go on in a south-westernly direction on Interstate 44 (or take the less travelled OK 66) until Okalhoma city. From there we get to the city of Clinton on Interstate 40. That’s where the “Route 66 Museum“ is located. We continue on I 44, heading west past Amarillo, Albuquerque and Flagstaff until Barstow. Then we turn toward south-west and move on until Santa Monica by CR 66 past Victorville, San Bernardino and Beverly Hills.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


From Chicago O’Hare International Airport with Blue Line towards Forest Park until the city centrer of Chicago (total duration: about 40 minutes).

Getting there

From Chicago O’Hare International Airport you can get to the city center of Chicago within 30 minutes (approx. 15 miles). You can rent a car at the airport.


There are designated parking areas at the airport.


41.885070, -87.624334
41°53'06.3"N 87°37'27.6"W
16T 448201 4637204
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


For the stopovers along the road you’ll need sturdy shoes with a good profile, warm clothes and rainwear.

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3,836.8 km
59:02 h
10,650 m
10,808 m
Highest point
2,285 m
Lowest point
28 m
Public-transport-friendly Scenic Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Botanical highlights Flora and fauna Linear route


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