We've had the opportunity to get out on the road and explore Route 66 in New Mexico on numerous trips. Santa Rosa is located west of Tucumcari and east of Albuquerque.
When Route 66 passed through Santa Rosa in 1930, numerous service stations, cafés and motor courts were built to accommodate motorists traveling the Mother Road.
Driving down Santa Rosa’s Historic Route 66 today, travelers see many old signs and buildings … remnants of the days when the bright neon lights were a welcome sight to weary travelers looking for great food and comfortable lodging.
Santa Rosa still delivers that down-home, Main Street USA friendliness. It offers classic Route 66 cars and neon, the best in fishing, boating and water skiing, camping, and a place for a cool swim in the Blue Hole.
Located on the Pecos River, between Albuquerque and Amarillo, you can see picturesque stone buildings in the historic district, enjoy down-home meals, chill out with our waterslide and pedal boats at Park Lake, walk or bike-ride along recreational trails or on level sidewalks connecting the downtown plaza where the grand Guadalupe County Courthouse is a central landmark, along the Route 66 corridor or on improved trails through an extensive but compact City parks system.
The Santa Rosa Information Center can assist with maps, event information, recreation opportunities, dude ranches, rodeos, local southwest history, the geology of the world-famous Blue Hole and in locating Route 66 alignments and remnants of the road.
Santa Rosa offers a variety of hotels, inns, RV parks and campsites for visitors to the area.
One of the popular local attractions is the Route 66 Auto Museum, which draws car buffs from all over the country and beyond. The museum houses a large collection of classics, low riders, muscle cars and motorcycles … plus, gas pumps and other auto memorabilia from the early days of Route 66.
Route 66 comes to life as you tour this iconic collection of vintage cars, trucks, toys, gas pumps, and memorabilia, all brought together to celebrate and remember the glory days.
There’s enough chrome, fins, and colorful finishes to give any car buff an unforgettable experience. A gift shop and snack bar are part of the experience as well.
For more information visit the Website of the Route 66 Auto Museum or phone 575.472.1966
The world famous Blue Hole offers all sorts of water-based sports, including diving, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving ... see photos below.
There’s nothing ordinary about Blue Hole, from its crystal clear water to its constant 61° temperature. Start your experience at the Blue Hole Visitors Center!
Nearby Santa Rosa Lake State Park is the place to be for camping, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, swimming, hiking, biking and so much more! Centered around Santa Rosa Lake, the state park is the best way to experience the beautiful desert scenery.
Santa Rosa Lake State Park
Veer off the Historic Route 66 to reach, where visitors can camp lakeside. Santa Rosa Lake is a man-made lake formed by the Santa Rosa Dam. The system creates a large reservoir with a surface area of 26 square miles. Visitors have plenty of room to explore the natural sights and wildlife living within the region.
The park has several hiking and walking trails. Visitors can walk through the desert landscape and grassland plains to see the flora and abundant wildlife. The trails are well-marked, making it easy to reach the points of interest, including incredible views of the lake and other natural scenery.
For more information visit the Website of Santa Rosa State Park
Several bridges cross over the Pecos River near Santa Rosa, including one that you can drive along Route 66. But there’s a lot of historical prominence to stopping by the original Pecos River Bridge. The Pecos River Bridge is a scenic railroad bridge built approximately 50-feet above the river. At one point, it was North America’s highest railroad bridge and still ranks among the top.
Pecos River Bridge is one of the most historical bridges in Santa Rosa and a famous local attraction.
|Santa Rosa Scenic Historic Marker
|Santa Rosa Campground & RV Park
More Scenes Around Santa Rosa
|Approaching Santa Rosa on I-40
|Santa Rosa Pre-1937 Route 66
Park Lake in Santa Rosa
Guadalupe County Courthouse
The Historic Guadalupe County Courthouse, or the Santa Rosa Courthouse, was built in 1909. It’s located within the Shelbyville Court Square, on the corner of Parker Avenue and S. Fourth Street.
|Sun 'n Sand Motel, Santa Rosa, New Mexico
|La Mesa Motel, Santa Rosa, New Mexico
More Santa Rosa Information and Resources
As one leaves Santa Rosa today heading west, there are two options to follow:
Approximately 507 miles long in 1926, the alignment of Route 66 in New Mexico was reduced to 399 miles by 1938 bypassing Santa Fe.
The longest sections of the initial alignment created a large "S curve" as the road stretched across the middle of the state, as shown in the map below.
|Route 66 alignment in central New Mexico in 1926 and post-1937
MORE NEW MEXICO ROUTE 66
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Santa Rosa and Route 66.
What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around and across Santa Rosa? 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 across Santa Rosa.