NORTH WEST ARIZONA -
THE GRAND CANYON WEST EXPERIENCE
North west Arizona was first explored just after the California gold rush as a means of developing a quick route to the gold fields of California. The first explorer to enter the scene was Captain Lorenzo Sitgraves with his 1851 topographic survey assignment. His survey expedition started at the land of the Zuni (Zuni Pueblo; approximately 100 miles east of current day Holbrook) with these instructions from his superior Colonel J. Albert, Topographic Engineers: "You will therefore go to that place, which will be, in fact, the commencing point of your exploration…" "Pursue the Zuni to it’s junction with the Colorado, determining its course and character… You will then pursue the Colorado to it’s junction with the Gulf of California…" The course taken was very close to present day Interstate 40.
The next exploration of Northern Arizona was by E. F. Beale who arrived at the Zuni Pueblo August 29, 1857 with a caravan of camels for the trek across the northern portion of the new Arizona Territory. Beale believed the camel was the "beast of burden" for the arid region Capt. Sitgraves had crossed 6 years prior. His route was nearly identical to Sitgraves. Both routes trekked through Sunset Crossing (Winslow); Leupp; Flagstaff; Mt Floyd. Kingman and Sitgraves Pass (Oatman).
Following the footsteps of Sitgraves & Beale was John Udall 1858 with a large emigrant train to California. His route was similar to his predecessors. These hardy explorers developed the general route that was to carry our modern "wagons" on Route 66.
In the late 1920s, Oatman had about 10,000 residents, mostly miners. It also had modern conveniences, such as a swimming pool, service stations and a hospital. Oatman locals claim the town had the first movie theater in the state. In 1939, Hollywood’s Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their wedding night here; according to the natives.
Oatman declined after I-40 was built In 1951 population dropped to as few as 25. It looked like the town would die, until "How the West Was Won" was filmed here in 1962. Oatman then became a tourist destination. October to April. More than 1,000 weekend tourists watch staged gunfights along main street, tour Goldroad Mine, feed the wild burros that still wander through the streets. These reminders of the town’s former glory provide the mystique of an Old West mining town. The Oatman Hotel, built in 1902, was refurbished in 1924, following a fire. The Oatman Hotel is listed on the National Historic Building Registry. Dining is limited to the Oatman Hotel bar and restaurant and the Mission Inn are the only two public places to dine in town.
Kingman, Arizona starts the longest original stretch of Route 66 remaining today; earning it the name "The Heart of Historic Route 66".
A famous son of Kingman; Andy Devine, (Jingles) side kick of Guy Madison (Wild Bill Hickok) and several other western radio, TV and movie heroes was raised on the grounds of the Beale Hotel owned by his parents Tom and Amy Devine. Andy Devine Avenue in Kingman is the western point to follow Route 66 to Walapi, Hackberry, Valentine, Crozier, Truxton, Peach Springs, Grand Canyon Caverns, and Seligman at the eastern end of this historical stretch of Route 66.
Traveling North on Andy Devine Ave you soon reach XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX where you veer right and travel to either lake mead (Arizona) or to the Haualapi ranch and the famous skywalk.
The Grand Canyon, scenic Lake Mead, various, historic stops; and now the Skywalk.
Historic sites and points of interest along Route 66 can be found on Historic sites and points of interest along Route 66 can be found on www.arizonaadventures.org. Click 'on the road'.
Reaching the Skywalk and Haualapai Ranch via the beautiful scenic drive through the western Arizona landscape and the Joshua Tree Forrest (Northern region) is an impressive experience of a vast, pristine countryside coupled with country charm.
From Kingman take Stockton Hill Road North to Pierce Ferry Road; turn right and go toward Meadville about 5 miles. Turn right at the Grand Canyon West turnoff and go about 7 miles past the Grand Canyon West Ranch to Route Indian 1. Go about 14 miles to the Hualapai Ranch and the Skywalk.
The serene beauty, the canyon view, coupled with the exceptional hospitality of the Hualapai Ranch staff, plus the escape from the hectic pace of today’s world is more than worth the drive.
Plan to stay the night in the lovely cabins at Hualapai Ranch to enjoy the experience of the exceptional beauty of both a true western sunset and sunrise over the western Grand Canyon and understand the granduer of the Grand Canyon and a true cowboy legacy.
The night is so quiet and the stars are so bright you can almost reach out and touch them. Sitting around a campfire with cowboy music strummed on the guitar, a cowboy poet reading his latest work and folks from all over the world telling their impressions of the Grand Canyon and the beauty of Arizona. It’s not unlike what those first pioneers experienced after a long days travel in the wagon train. Except you get to go to a cabin with hot water, heat/ac and electricity.
Helicopter, Rafting, Hiking, Exploring in the Grand Canyon Massive canyon walls dwarf helicopters as they fly through the canyon in the only places aircraft are allowed below the canyon rim. They look like dragonflies as they deliver visitors to the canyon floor to board pontoon boats for a gentle serene ride up the Colorado River.
Or for the more adventurous the Grand Canyon West offers the only one day rafting experience on the Colorado River. Begin early in the morning with a ride to Diamond Creek. Launch into the water in your raft and encounter your first set of rapids… a taste of what lies downstream.
Pull over on the south side of the canyon to begin a moderate hike to Travertine Falls. Return to the river where the water disappears from the horizon below the towering canyon walls, dropping into a "Caldera," a boulder-choked chute of solid white water!
River Guides are well qualified, each having a background in Hualapai Cultural History, and will help make every trip unforgettable. The motorized rafts are designed specifically for traversing the Colorado River.
• Helicopter tours through the canyon land 4,000 feet below the rim on the banks of the Colorado River.
•Boat rides on the Colorado River between the canyon walls. Looking up for thousands of feet, it is hard to emagine a river carved these walls and created this canyoun, a true wonder of the world of nature.
• Guano Point is a scenic overlook with exceptional views of the river below. Hualapai Tribal Artisans displayed a wide variety of jewelry and native crafts for sale along the parking area. A small cafe offered sandwiches and drinks and a shaded area to sit and enjoy your meal.
• Eagle Point Skywalk offers a gift shop and a wonderful village of northern Arizona native dwellings.
Arizona - Nevada Bridge