Route 66 in Barstow

Historic U.S. Route 66 in California

Route 66, the Mother Road, passed through a number of cities and towns as it made its way westbound across California: Needles, Amboy, Barstow, Victorville, San Bernardino, Pasadena and Santa Monica.

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.

Welcome to the City of Barstow ... Cross Roads of Opportunity

The Mojave River was the first artery bringing Native Americans to the Barstow area followed by the American Railroad system. The town soon grew around a railroad depot spurred by the Industrial Revolution. A century later, the automobile paved the way for Route 66, Interstate 40, Interstate 15, Highway 247, and Highway 58, lending to Barstow’s moniker: Crossroads of Opportunity.

Today, the City of Barstow is located in the Inland Empire North region of San Bernardino County, midway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Barstow is centrally located in the western Mojave at the entrance to the Mojave National Preserve.

Travelers on Historic U.S. Route 66 will enjoy exploring the Barstow area as the city's connection with the Mother Road remains strong today!

Map showing the location of Barstow, California on Historic Route 66
Map showing the location of Barstow, California on Historic Route 66


Barstow Harvey House

Originally built in 1911 as Casa del Desierto, a Harvey House hotel and Santa Fe Railroad depot, it currently serves as an Amtrak station and government building housing city offices, the Barstow Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. It is also home to two museums: the Western America Railroad Museum and the Route 66 Mother Road Museum.

681 North First Avenue Barstow, CA 92311

Barstow Harvey House: Casa del Desierto

Casa del Desierto at the Barstow Harvey House
Casa del Desierto at the Barstow Harvey House in California
Historic Marker at the Barstow Harvey House
Historical marker at the Barstow Harvey House in California
Harvey House in Barstow, California
Harvey House in Barstow, California

Route 66 Mother Road Museum

For those interested in the history of the old road, we recommend a visit to the Route 66 Mother Road Museum in Barstow. The Museum displays a collection of historic photographs and artifacts related to Route 66 and the Mojave Desert Communities.

Displays include development of the United States Route 66 from early pioneer trails, railroads, automotive history, businesses and sites. It is located in Barstow's historic Harvey House, a short distance north of Route 66, at 681 N. First Street.

Exterior view of the Mother Road Museum, Barstow, California

Entrance area at the Mother Road Museum
Entrance area at the Mother Road Museum in Barstow, California
Motorcycle exhibit at the Mother Road Museum
Motorcycles on display in one of the many exhibit areas at the Mother Road Museum in Barstow, California

Western America Railroad Museum

The Museum is dedicated to sharing the history of railroading in the Pacific Southwest.  It features both indoor and outdoor displays and is popular with railroad enthusiasts. 

Indoor displays include timetables, uniforms and other railroad memorabilia.  Several locomotives and rail cars are located outside.

Entrance area to the Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow, California

Diesel engines of the Santa Fe Railroad on display at the Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow, California
Passenger rail car of the Arizona & California Railroad on display at the Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow, California

The Cars of Barstow on Route 66

Barstow has a long-standing connection with Historic U.S. Route 66, and the automobile ... today a number of murals, signs and monuments add to the history of the Mother Road in Barstow.

The black convertible on Route 66
Barstow California Signage: the black convertible on Route 66

The green Ford Mustang in Barstow, California
Barstow California Signage: the green Ford Mustang on Route 66
The black Corvette
Barstow California Signage: the black Chevrolet Corvette on Route 66
The blue 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air
Barstow California Signage: the blue 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air on Route 66

The Murals of Barstow

Barstow has a number of well known murals around the city, including these ...

Read more about Barstow Main Street murals

Main Street Murals in Barstow
The Main Street Murals in Barstow, California
Route 66 Mural in Barstow, California
Route 66 Motorcycle Mural in Barstow, California
William Barstow Strong Mural
William Barstow Strong Mural ... Waterman Junction ... Barstow, California

Discovering the Desert at Barstow

The Desert Discovery Center (DDC) is a 7,000 square foot facility surrounded by 12 acres of public land located in the heart of Barstow. The Center houses the “Old Woman Meteorite”, the second largest meteorite found in the United States when discovered in 1975. It is located at 831 Barstow Road.

Travelers along Route 66 also enjoy many other desert recreational areas, such as the Coon Canyon Trail, Fossil Canyon Trail, Rainbow Basin Scenic Drive and the Owl Canyon Campground.

Website of the Desert Discovery Center in Barstow

The Desert Discovery Center operated by the Barstow Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management Exploring the desert near Barstow, California: Coon Canyon Trail, Fossil Canyon Trail, Rainbow Basic Scenic Drive and the Owl Canyon Campground

Calico Ghost Town

Located northeast of Barstow is the Calico Ghost Town and former mining center. It was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town and was home to over 500 mines at its peak. The population grew to 3,500 residents, but by the turn of the century the price of silver fell and Calico became deserted.

The site was later converted into a county park and named Calico Ghost Town; it is operated by the San Bernardino County Regional Parks. Along with its history and attractions, Calico Ghost Town has shops, restaurants and offers camping, hiking and off-roading. The official address is 36600 Ghost Town Road, Yermo, CA 92398.

Website of the Calico Ghost Town

Mojave River Valley Museum

The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the scientific, historical, and cultural heritage of the Mojave Desert.

Located at 270 E. Virginia Way, Barstow, CA 92311

Website of the Mojave River Valley Museum

Mojave River Valley Museum, Barstow, California

Barstow Station

A great place to stop while driving Route 66, Barstow Station features a number of food outlets, including Subway, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's and more. It also offers WiFi, a liquor store, and restrooms.

Located at 1611 E Main St, Barstow, CA 92311

Barstow Station in Barstow, California: McDonalds, Subway and more!

Lodging, Dining and Attractions in Barstow ... from TripAdvisor

Barstow California Travel Guide at TripAdvisor

Barstow Hotel Directory, Traveler Reviews and Reservations

Barstow Restaurant Listings and Reviews

Barstow Attractions and Things to Do

Earlier Times: Vintage Views along Route 66 in Barstow

Earlier times on Route 66: the Desert Lodge Motel in Barstow, California

 

We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Barstow and Route 66.

What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove through and around Barstow? 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 Barstow.

Greetings from Barstow
Greetings from Barstow, California
Sage Motel
Sage Motel at 220 W. Main Street in Barstow, California on Route 66
Cactus Motel
Cactus Motel in Barstow, California on U.S. Highway 66 one half-mile east of downtown
El Rancho Barstow
Barstow, California
Town & Country Motel
Town & Country Motel at 1230 E. Main Street in Barstow, California at the top of the hill on U.S. Route 66
Casa Loma Motel
Casa Loma Motel on US 91 and 66 in West Barstow, California

 

 

More Information and Resources about Barstow

City of Barstow

 

Barstow Chamber of Commerce

 

California Welcome Center at Barstow: VisitCalifornia.com

 

Barstow Harvey House: Casa del Desierto

 

Mojave Valley River Museum

 

Weather Conditions at Barstow: Weather Underground

 

California Route 66 Association

 

Bureau of Land Management Barstow Field Office

Interactive Map of Barstow, California

 

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