Travel Route 66 to Gallup, New Mexico
We've had the opportunity to get out on the road and explore Route 66 in New Mexico numerous times, both eastbound and westbound.
A popular stop on those road trips is the City of Gallup, in far western New Mexico, near Arizona.
|Welcome to the City of Gallup, New Mexico ... "Most Patriotic Small Town in America"|
Visiting Gallup, New Mexico
Gallup is the largest city between Albuquerque and Flagstaff, and has a population of about 22,000 residents.
The city sits at an elevation of 6,512', and is known as the "Most Patriotic Small Town in America".
It is located about 140 miles west of Albuquerque, and 185 miles east of Flagstaff, and only 23 miles from the Arizona-New Mexico border.
The city is located in the middle of the Navajo Reservation.
The city was founded in 1881 as a railhead for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, and named after David Gallup, a paymaster for the railroad.
The railroad today remains an important industry in the city.
Because of the nearby rugged terrain, it was a popular location in the 1940s and 1950s for Hollywood Westerns and has hosted many well-known movie stars such as John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Ronald Reagan and Kirk Douglas.
|El Rancho Hotel & Motel in Gallup, New Mexico ... "Home of the Movie Stars"|
Restaurants such as the famous El Rancho reflect the western and Indian influences on the town.
Today’s visitors can partake in a meal at the El Rancho or enjoy an overnight stay and tour the memorabilia-lined grand lobby.
Gallup has over 30 hotels and over 90 restaurants and is a popular stopover point for those traveling Historic Route 66.
Gallup Area Attractions
Area attractions include:
- Manuelito Visitor Center
- Navajo Code Talker Museum
- Gallup Cultural Center in the historic Santa Fe Railway depot
- Red Rock Park & Museum
- 1928 El Morro Theatre
- Rex Historical Museum
- Summer nightly Indian dances at the McKinley Courthouse Square Plaza
- Fly over Red Rock Canyons in a hot air balloon
- High Desert mountain bike trails
- Hike the Church Rock trail for spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape
- Chaco Culture National Historical Park
- and much more
Shopping is also a big local attraction, with 110 trading posts, shops and galleries in Gallup, making the town the undisputed Southwestern center for authentic Native American art.
Shops like the Bill Malone Trading Company, Richardson's Trading Post and others are popular shopping destinations.
Retail stores in downtown Gallup, New Mexico
Gallup Cultural Center
The Gallup Cultural Center offers diverse programming and arts that celebrate the Native American cultures that neighbor Gallup, as well as Gallup's unique history. It was created in 1996 at the historic Santa Fe Depot by the Southwest Indian Foundation.
The Center is located at 201 East Highway 66, Gallup, New Mexico 87301
Lodging, Dining and Attractions in Gallup ... from TripAdvisor
|Hotel El Rancho in Gallup, New Mexico ... "Charm of Yesterday ... Convenience of Tomorrow"
Read more at the Hotel El Rancho Website
More Scenes & Attractions Around Gallup
|Welcome to Historic Downtown Gallup
|Rex Historical Museum
||Gallup Cultural Center
|Gallup ... in Western New Mexico
||Hot air balloons over Gallup
|Welcome to Historic Downtown Gallup
||City of Gallup neon Downtown Parking sign
|Richardson's Trading Post & Pawn
||Murals in Gallup
|Famous cowboy stars at El Rancho
||USA RV Park in Gallup
|Neon sign at Jerry's Cafe
||Mural at Jerry's in Gallup
More Information and Resources about Gallup
Interactive Map of Gallup, New Mexico
Side Trip to Monument Valley from Gallup
For many Route 66 travelers heading westbound across Arizona, a side trip to Monument Valley is a great opportunity to see this world-class destination.
|Scene at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park|
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located in extreme southeastern Utah, on the northern border of Arizona. It is operated by the Navajo Nation, not the National Park Service.
Many travelers on Historic Route 66 make a once-in-a-lifetime side trip to visit Monument Valley.
The valley is host to towering sandstone rock formations that have been sculpted over time and soar 400 to 1,000 feet above the valley floor. Combined with the surrounding mesas, buttes, and desert environment, Monument Valley is one of the natural wonders of the world.
Over the years, Monument Valley has been the locale for the filming of numerous movies starring such film legends as John Wayne. Scenes in movies such as Stagecoach, Back to the Future Part III, Easy Rider 2001: A Space Odyssey and Forrest Gump have been been filmed in the valley.
Visitors may explore the 17-mile scenic drive through the park in private vehicles or book a half-day or full-day jeep tour to explore the area's backroads and sacred lands with the help of a local guide.
Click to read more about a trip to Monument Valley
The road passes many notable features, including the Mitten Buttes, Three Sisters, Yei-bi-chai, North Window, and the famous Totem Pole. Passenger cars can drive the road, although care must be taken in loose sand and rocky areas. No hiking or driving off the posted track is allowed.
If you have visited Holbrook and Winslow before, one scenario is to divert off Route 66 in Gallup. Head north on U.S. Highway 491 to Shiprock, then west on U.S. 64 and and U.S. 160 to Kayenta. From there turn north on U.S. 163 to Monument Valley.
After your visit, travel to Tuba City and Flagstaff to rejoin Route 66.
A option for the return to Flagstaff is to divert westward to the Page, Arizona area. Here visitors can explore Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend which is a horseshoe-shaped incised meander of the Colorado River, Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. After your stay in the Page area, drive south on U.S. 89 to Flagstaff.
|Map of a road trip from Route 66 in Gallup to Monument Valley to Flagstaff
Earlier Times: Vintage Views along Route 66 in Gallup
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Gallup and Route 66.
What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove through and around Gallup? What did all the service stations, motels and public buildings look like when they were new?
What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.
Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.
These portray the historic road in its prime and help us to visualize, and appreciate, "earlier times" as we drive Route 66 today around Gallup.
||Casa Linda Court
||Log Cabin Lodge
||El Capitan Motel
|Pine Tree Lodge
||El Navajo Hotel
|Route 66 Road Trips in New Mexico|
|Tucumcari thru Santa Rosa to Santa Fe
||Santa Fe thru Albuquerque to Gallup
Other Road Trips on Our Other Website