Route 66 in Needles California

Historic U.S. Route 66 in California

Route 66, the Mother Road, ran southwest out of Kingman through Cool Springs to Oatman, and onward to Golden Shores and Topock where it turned west to Needles, California.

Needles is located in San Bernardino County in the Mojave Desert on the western banks of the Colorado River. The city was founded in 1883 during the construction of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and was later incorporated in 1913.

The famous El Garces Harvey House, built by the railroad, is today on th National Register of Historic Places.

Needles was a major stopping point on Historic Route 66 beginning in the 1920s and continuing through the 1960s, when the route was discontinued and replaced by Interstate I-40. The city was the locale of numerous tourist courts, motels and diners, catering to the traveling public.

Map showing the location of Needles on Historic Route 66
Map showing the location of Needles on Historic Route 66

Situated in the desert, Needles is well know for its extreme high temperatures, but its winters are mild.

Route 66 sign in Needles, California

Today, it remains a jumping off point for Route 66 travelers on their way for a Las Vegas side trip, and also for their westward journeys into the Mojave Desert and onward to Santa Monica.

Attractions and Things to Do in and around Needles

While in the area, Route 66 visitors enjoy many attractions in Needles, including the following:

  • Grapevine Canyon Petroglyph
  • El Garces Harvey House Hotel/Santa Fe Depot
  • Needles Welcome Wagon
  • Needles Regional Museum on Front Street
  • Route 66 murals on Broadway
  • Trails Arch Bridge at the Colorado River
  • Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
  • Jack Smith Memorial Park
  • Moabi Regional Park
  • Historic theater on Broadway
  • Golf Courses
  • Mystic Maze
  • Colorado River Resorts

Scenes Around Needles California

The famous wagon in Needles
Needles, California on Historic Route 66
Welcome to Needles and Route 66
Welcome to Needles, California, and Historic Route 66
Water resort in Needles, California

Route 66 Roadside Attraction:
Needles El Garces Train Station in California

Formerly a grand Harvey House Hotel, restaurant and Santa Fe train station. The hotel and restaurant were open from 1908 to 1949. The train station closed in 1988.

Route 66 Roadside Attraction: Needles El Garces Train Station in California

The Trails Arch Bridge

The Trails Arch Bridge

Needles Regional Museum

Located right across the street from the El Garces Harvey House, the Needles Regional Museum displays many artifacts from the area. It features exhibits about local history, Santa Fe Railroad, Harvey House, Route 66, historical photographs, Mojave Indian bead work and pottery.

Visit the museum at 929 Front Street, Needles CA 92363 Phone 760.326.5678

Read more at the website of the Needles Regional Museum

Needles Regional Museum

Be sure to check out the beautiful, new mural on the side of the Museum unveiled in early 2022. The Museum commissioned Zach Stanfield to design and paint it. The colorful mural depicts a cowboy, US 66, the Santa Fe Chief, the Needles Peaks, the Old Trails Arch Bridge and Spike hitchhiking to the Needles Museum.

The new mural on the side of the Needles Regional Museum in California

More Murals in Needles

One of the many murals in Needles: The Gateway to California

Needles California mural on Historic Route 66

Snoopy: Home Sweet Home

Needles California mural on Historic Route 66 ... Snoopy Home Sweet Home

The Car and the Boat on Route 66

Needles California mural on Historic Route 66: the Car and the Boat

Earlier Times Along Route 66 in Needles

Del Rhea Lodge
Del Rhea Lodge, west end, Route 66, Needles, California
El Rancho
El Rancho in Needles, California
Swains Motel
Swain's Motel at 511 Broadway, U.S. Highway 66, Needles, California
El Garces Harvey House in Needles
Harvey House in Needles


Historic Route 66 California Gateway Site

Located approximately two miles west of the Colorado River off Interstate 40, this day use and picnic area memorializes the entryway of Historic Route 66 into California.

The site contains covered picnic tables, an information kiosk, visitor log book, desert plants and trees, and a wind gauge.

Operated by the Needles Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management.

Historic Route 66 California Gateway Site Historic Route 66 California Gateway Site

Interactive Map of Needles, California

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

Needles California Travel Guide at TripAdvisor

Needles Travel Guide

Needles Hotel Directory, Traveler Reviews and Reservations

Needles Restaurant Listings and Reviews

Needles Attractions and Things to Do

More Information and Resources about Needles

City of Needles


Needles Tourism and Recreation


Needles Chamber of Commerce


Needles Field Office: Bureau of Land Management


Weather Conditions at Needles: Weather Underground


California Route 66 Association