Famously featured in Eagles hit, Take it Easy, this Route 66 town is a hidden gem – a place where history, beautiful landscapes and retro Americana all collide: Winslow, Arizona.
Well I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,
Such a fine sight to see,
It’s a girl my Lord, in a flat bed Ford
Slowing down to take a look at me…
The Eagles, 1972
Top things to do in Winslow:
Visit Standin' on the Corner Park - this art installation was unveiled in 1999 on the corner of the old Route 66 and North Kinsley Avenue and incorporates a number of themes from the Eagles' lyrics. It is made up of a stunning two storey mural, a real vintage red Ford truck (in a genius move, the girl driver of the flat bed can be seen ‘reflected’ in one of the mural windows) and a life size statue of a balladeer guitar-man, nicknamed Easy. Following the death of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey in 2016, his statue was also added to the corner.
Meteor Crater National Landmark - a natural wonder, 25 miles or just under half an hour’s drive west from Winslow. Nearly a mile wide and 550ft deep, this perfectly preserved impact crater was formed 50,000 years ago when a meteor smashed into the Earth at close to 30,000mph. The site is privately owned, and they have guided rim tours, a cinema screening a documentary about the impact and a brilliant visitor centre with interactive displays about famous space rocks from around the world and a large fragment of the meteorite itself that you can touch. During the 1960s and 1970s, NASA astronauts used the crater to train for the Apollo Moon missions, and you can see an Apollo Command Module and the American Astronaut Wall of Fame.
Petrified Forest National Park- strange and wonderful back country where you can enjoy fossils, the remains of trees that fell 225 million (!) years ago, petroglyphs and gorgeous hiking through the colourful Painted Desert landscapes. Be sure to be there around sunset when the rocks are at their most spectacular.
The La Posada Historic District (added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1992) where you will find the beautiful Spanish colonial buildings like the grand 1929 La Posada Hotel (once patronised by Hollywood stars like Clark Gable) and the Winslow Santa Fe Station. Other architectural gems include the 1904 Navajo County Bank Building and the Visitor Centre, formerly an important frontier trading post.
Old Trails Museum, once a bank dating from 1921 (it still has its original marble counters and tiled floor), now a fascinating collection of exhibits (many donated by locals) about the history of Winslow, Route 66 and the Hopi, Laguna, and Navajo peoples. It also has a shop which specialises in regional Navajo and Hopi arts and crafts and books about local history.
9/11 Remembrance Garden - located towards the east side of town is a memorial made from two steel beams measuring 14 and 15ft tall, from the World Trade Centre, in commemoration of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.
Church of the Mother Road, allegedly the world’s smallest church. Measuring just 7 x 4.5 ft, it can seat just 2 people.
Homolovi State Park - visit the historic ruins of pueblos that were home to the ancestors of the Hopi people dating between approximately 1260 – 1400 AD, see petroglyphs and explore several scenic hiking trails through wild prairie amongst the archaeological sites. You can also see nearby the tiny hilltop cemetery of 19th century Mormon settlement, Sunset, abandoned in 1888. There is a campsite in the state park, and a visitor centre/museum with Hopi artefacts.
Check out a ghost town - About 2 miles north of Winslow you will find the remaining structures of Brigham City, another Mormon pioneer settlement, deserted in 1881 after flash floods and crop failure. 24 miles west are the abandoned buildings of Two Guns, including a gas station and the ruins of an old zoo, which became a casualty when Route 66 was bypassed.
Where to eat:
The Turquoise Room, La Posada - located within the beautiful historic railway hotel, La Posada, the Turquoise Room serves Southwestern cuisine with a modern twist and often features bison or elk dishes. You can check out the menu here!
How to get there:
Winslow is located just off Route 40, about 58 miles east of Flagstaff and 107 miles west of the New Mexico Border. The Grand Canyon is about 2.5 hours drive away, and Winslow is in the Amtrak railway line between Chicago and Los Angeles.