Route 66, the Mother Road, ran southwest in Arizona from Kingman through Cool Springs to Oatman, and onward to Golden Shores and Topock where it turned west to Needles, California.
From the Arizona state line to San Bernardino U.S. Highway 66 followed the old National Old Trails Highway.
Leaving Needles, the road ventured a bit north, through Goffs. This railroad town remained a stop on Route 66 until 1931, when a more direct alignment between Needles and Essex was opened.
The road then headed south, through Chambless and Amboy, and then west to Ludlow, Newberry Springs and on to Barstow. There it turned south and traveled through Helendale, Victorville, through the Cajon Pass, and on to San Bernardino.
A final westward track through Pasadena took the Mother Road to its final end, near Santa Monica.
In 1936 U.S. 66 was extended from downtown Los Angeles to U.S. 101, at Santa Monica.
|Map showing the location of Santa Monica on Historic Route 66
The City of Santa Monica is bordered on five sides by different neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles: Pacific Palisades to the north, Brentwood on the northeast, West Los Angeles on the east, Mar Vista on the southeast, and Venice on the south.
With nearly four miles of beaches and a vibrant urban scene, Santa Monica blends the sophistication of an international coastal city with the laid-back vibe of a California beach town. Even though it’s only 15 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, it feels like a weekend getaway spot.
Fabled Route 66 once traveled along a stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard and reached the terminus of its 2,448-mile run from Chicago near the beach in Santa Monica. A sign commemorates the “end of the trail” on Santa Monica Pier, where travelers can marvel at amazing coastal views from atop the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel at Pacific Park amusement park.
The original terminus of U.S. Route 66 was at 7th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. However, over the years, and decades, Route 66 has had several “official” and “unofficial" ending points. Federal Highway rules stated one highway must feed into another to not "dead-end" a traveler, so Route 66's new ending was re-routed to connect with "Alt 101," today's California Pacific Coast Highway.
The extended route was at the intersection of Lincoln and Olympic boulevards in Santa Monica, about one mile from the Pacific Ocean. This is often referred to as the official ending point of Route 66.
Several Mels restaurants are located in the Los Angeles area, including this one at 1670 Lincoln Boulevard, near the official ending point of Route 66.
This mural is located at the Mels on Lincoln Boulevard. Mels Drive-In website
|Since the official ending point locale can be disappointing to some after the long journey from Chicago, the Route 66 Alliance partnered with the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation in 2009 to mount an unofficial “End of the Trail” sign on the pier, seen below in 2020.
The End of the Trail ... Santa Monica, California (Staff Photo)
Tribute to Robert Waldmire at the Last Stop Shop ... in Santa Monica, the end ... 2,448 Miles
More Information About Santa Monica
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Santa Monica and Route 66.
What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around and through Santa Monica? 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 Santa Monica.
|Greetings from Santa Monica
|Santa Monica Auto Camp
|William Tell Motel
|Bel Monica Motel
|Kensington Auto Motel
|Surf Auto Hotel
|Red Apple Motel
|Santa Monica Travl-O-Tel
MORE CALIFORNIA ROUTE 66