Travel Route 66 Across Texas

Greetings from Texas

The Mother Road crossed the Texas state line at Texola, OK, near Shamrock, Texas, and traveled through McLean and Groom on its way to Amarillo. From there it continued west to Glenrio.

The Route through Texas totaled 186 miles, and closely followed today's Interstate I-40.

Heading westbound the route traveled through these places:

  • Texola OK at the Texas-Oklahoma border
  • Shamrock
  • McLean
  • Groom
  • Amarillo
  • Vega
  • Adrian
  • Glenrio at the New Mexico stateline

Map of approximate Route 66 from Shamrock to Glenrio, Texas
Map of Texas Route 66

We have the trip across Texas Route 66 divided into two major segments ... select your area of interest for more details!

Route 66 Road Trips in Texas

Shamrock near Oklahoma to Amarillo

Amarillo thru Adrian to Glenrio on the New Mexico border

Route 66 Road Trip westbound from Shamrock to Amarillo, Texas Route 66 Road Trip westbound from Amarillo to Glenrio

 

Crossing into Texas on Route 66 and Heading for Amarillo

Shamrock, Texas, "Entrance City to Texas" on U.S. 66, seen in this vintage postcard
Shamrock, Texas, "Entrance City to Texas" on U.S. 66


The Pioneer West Museum in Shamrock, Texas
The Pioneer West Museum in Shamrock, Texas

Pioneer West Museum
Shamrock, Texas

The Pioneer West Museum is housed in the Reynolds Hotel, opened in 1928. Adjacent to the museum is the restored Magnolia gas station, also part of the museum, which also includes the Zeigler House and the "Old Barn". Visitors to McLean also enjoy their visits to the nearby Water Tower Plaza showcasing the tallest historic water tower in Texas. Located at 204 N. Madden Street. Free admission.

The Pioneer West Museum in Shamrock, Texas

The restored Magnolia service station in Shamrock, Texas
Magnolia gas station in Shamrock, Texas

Tower Plaza & U-Drop Inn
Shamrock, Texas

The U-Drop Inn opened in 1936 to provide lodging for travelers heading west on the Mother Road. Restored in 2004, today the iconic art deco building of green glazed tile and brick serves as a Visitor Information Center and also houses the Chamber of Commerce. The adjoining Tower Station provided fuel for those early travelers. The restored Inn and Station hosts over 25,000 visittors a year from around the world ... a "must see" when traveling this part of Route 66!

Texas Route 66 bench at the U Drop Inn, Shamrock, Texas


The Tower Plaza and U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas
Ramone's House of Body Art in the movie "Cars" has a strong similarity to the U-Drop Inn.

The Tower Plaza and U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas


The Conoco tower against a brilliant blue Texas sky in Shamrock

The Conoco tower against a brilliant blue Texas sky in Shamrock

Sign at the U-Drop Inn
Sign at the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas
Conoco gas pumps at Tower Plaza
Conoco gas pumps at Tower Plaza in Shamrock, Texas


The Next Stop: McLean

McLean, Texas

McLean Texas is known as "The Heart of Old Route 66" and features a number of historic sites and museums.

McLean Texas ... the Heart of Old Route 66


Phillips 66 Gas Station
McLean, Texas

Vintage Phillips 66 Service Station in McLean, Texas, the location of one of the first gasoline stations in Texas. The early Philliips stations, like the one in McLean, were designed in the "Cottage Look" to blend with local residential neighborhoods. Located at 218 West First Street.

Phillips 66 Gas Station in McLean, Texas

 

 

Phillips 66 service station in McLean, Texas
Phillips 66 service station in McLean, Texas

 

Texas Route 66 Museum and Devil's Rope Museum

The Texas Route 66 Museum is located in McLean, Texas, in the same building that houses the Devil's Rope Museum. The museum includes hundreds of original Mother Road memorabilia, road signs, a recreated Route 66 cafe, and the original large steer from Amarillo's Big Texan Steak Ranch.  And be sure to explore the history of barbed wire, i.e. "Devil's Rope"! Located at 100 Kingsley Street in McLean.

Texas Route 66 Museum in McLean, Texas

Mural in McLean, Texas: The Heart of Old Route 66
Mural in McLean, Texas: The Heart of Old Route 66


The Next Stop on Route 66: Groom, Texas

The leaning Britten USA water tower near Groom, Texas
The leaning Britten USA water tower near Groom, Texas


The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Groom, Texas

The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Groom, Texas

Arriving in Amarillo

Amarillo is the largest city on the 178 mile portion of Route 66 from Oklahoma to Texas and into New Mexico. The city's Route 66 Sixth Street Historic District preserves 13 blocks of cafes, antique shops, boutiques, nightspots and restaurants. It was developed in the early 1900s as the San Jacinto neighborhod.

Modern-day travelers through the city probably also know about "The Big Texan" steak house! It was originally on Route 66, but is located today not far away, on I-40 ... it's place many tourists to Amarillo want to check out.

The famous "Big Texan" in Amarillo, Texas, home of the 72 oz steak!
The famous Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas, home of the 72 oz steak!

 

Riding Route 66 from Amarillo to New Mexico

Greetings from Amarillo Texas ... on Historic Route 66
Greetings from Amarillo Texas ... on Historic Route 66!

Included in this trip from Amarillo to Glenrio are some of our favorite places and scenes along the Mother Road.

This segment includes all of the best of Route 66, including drivable sections, ghost towns, classic motels and famous roadside attractions like the Cadillac Ranch.

Heading westbound the route traveled through these places:

  • Amarillo ... Historic 6th Street and the Cadillac Ranch
  • Vega ... small town America
  • Adrian ... mid-point of Route 66
  • Glenrio ... Ghost town on the Texas-New Mexico border

We have traveled this route multiple times over the years, both eastbound and westbound. Some of the journey is on I-40, which parallels the old Route 66 in most places. Where possible, we choose to drive the segments of the Mother Road where it still remains. Exits to Route 66 are marked in most locales.

The Historic 6th Street district in Amarillo Texas ... on Route 66
Greetings from Amarillo Texas ... the start of our road trip on Route 66!

Map showing towns along U.S. Route 66 from Amarillo to Glenrio
Map showing towns along U.S. Route 66 from Amarillo to Glenrio


Our First Stop: The Cadillac Ranch

The Cadillac RV Park just went of Amarillo, Texas on I-40The Cadillac RV Park on I-40 west of Amarillo

As one heads out westbound from Amarillo today on I-40, the Cadillac Ranch comes into view quickly, on the south side of the road. Access is via a fence gate on the south service road.

This folk art site of ten Cadillacs is the work of financier Stanley Marsh.

It was created in 1974 and consists of what were old or junked Cadillac automobiles, many sporting those classic tail fins.

The cars are half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

Access is from the service road on the south side of the interstate. Park, cross over the fence gate, and walk across the field about 100 yards ... free admission!

Graffiti is allowed as you will quickly learn!

If you are traveling in a recreational vehicle or trailer, the Cadillac RV Park is located nearby, at the intersection of I-40 and Hope Road. A bit further west is the Oasis RV Resort.

The Cadillac Ranch ... classic, half-buried Cadillacs!
The Cadillac Ranch ... classic, half-buried Cadillacs! West of Amarillo Texas on I-40

 

 

Exit 35 from Intersate 40 at Vega, Texas, an access point to Route 66
Exit 35 from Intersate 40 at Vega, Texas, an access point to Route 66

 

Still in Texas: Stops at the Towns of Vega and Adrian

Welcome to Adrian, Texas ... the midpoint of Historic Route 66Welcome to Adrian, Texas ... the midpoint of Historic Route 66

It is only about 50 miles from Amarillo to the New Mexico border, with the Old 66 Road passing through the small towns of Vega and Adrian.

The highway is flat and straight as it leaves Amarillo, but soon crosses suddenly into desert-like hill country.

Vega is the larger of the two towns, with some dining and lodging options as well as a Pilot Travel Center.

Adrian was the mid-way point on Route 66 - 1,139 miles to Chicago, 1,139 miles to Los Angeles. Today, Adrian is a quiet place, the location of the famous Texas Bar-B-Q shown below.

Route 66 Roadside Attraction: Midpoint Cafe and Gift Shop, Adrian, Texas ...
Located at the exact geo-mathematical center of Route 66
Route 66 Roadside Attraction: Midpoint Cafe and Gift Shop, Adrian, Texas
Texas Bar-B-Q & Antiques in Adrian, Texas (Staff photo, September, 2003) ... Later Brenda's Cafe
Texas Bar-B-Q at the mid-point of Route 66, in Adrian, Texas
The historical Bent Door Midway Station in Adrian as seen in September, 2003 (Staff photo)
Currently undergoing restoration ... Read about the status of the restoration on Facebook
The historical Bent Door Midway Station in Adrian, Texas
Photo of the Bent Door Cafe (circa 2014) in Adrian showing restoration progress
(photo courtesy of of the Bent Door Cafe)
The historical Bent Door Midway Station in Adrian, Texas

 

The Ghost Town of Glenrio

Present day Exit 0 from I-40 to Glenrio, on the Texas - New Mexico border
Present day Exit 0 from I-40 to Glenrio, on the Texas - New Mexico border

 

Sitting directly on the Texas - New Mexico border at Exit 0 is the abandoned ghost town of Glenrio. The townsite still has noticeable traces of Route 66 and the motels and restaurants that used to thrive there before the arrival of I-40. Just west of Glenrio, Route 66 bridges are still visible to the alert I-40 traveler.

Originally a railroad town, the village was renamed from Rock Island to Glenrio by the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad in 1908, and began receiving motorists driving the Ozark Trail in 1917. Its original structures were adobe buildings.

The town's location straddling the state line created a variety of unusual circumstances. Although a post office was established on the New Mexico side of the community, the depot where the mail arrived was on the Texas side. There were no bars on the Texas side of the community, since Deaf Smith County was dry, and no service stations were located on the New Mexico side because of that state's higher gasoline tax.

The Rock Island Railroad depot closed in 1955, and the opening of Interstate 40 in 1975 further accelerated the demise of Glenrio.

 

Today it includes the Glenrio Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. The district emcompasses the Route 66 roadbed and 17 abandoned structures.

Remains can still be seen of an old motel, cafe, service station, the post office, and a few other buildings, as well as the old Route 66 roadbed. Some structures are posted, so in respect for owners and residents, please observe any "No Trespassing" signs.

For those traveling westbound, be sure to stop at the nicely designed and operated New Mexico Welcome Center. It is stocked well with maps and brochures about Route 66 and all of New Mexico; friendly staff members are always available to answer questions.

The old Route 66 then continued westward from Glenrio through San Jon, Tucumcari, Montoya, the ghost town of Cuervo and Santa Rosa.


Happy Motoring! Abandoned ESSO service station at Glenrio, Texas on the north side of Interstate 40
Happy Motoring! Abandoned ESSO service station at Glenrio, Texas on Historic Route 66

Abandoned Little Juarez Cafe in Glenrio
Abandoned Little Juarez Cafe in Glenrio

The State Line Motel and Bar ... the "First in Texas" or "Last in Texas" depending on which direction the traveler was headed
The "First Motel in Texas" located in Glenrio on US Route 66

Glenrio, Texas sign on present-day I-40 Business Route
Glenrio, Texas sign at present-day I-40 Busines

Historic Route 66 right-of-way in Glenrio, Texas
Historic Route 66 right-of-way in Glenrio, Texas

Historic Route 66 bridge just west of Glenrio, Texas
Historic Route 66 bridge just west of Glenrio, Texas

Need a break while driving on I-40 and Route 66? Stop at the very well done Glenrio Visitor Center operated by New Mexico DOT. The staff is friendly and knowledgable, and there is amble travel information, maps and brochures about New Mexico and Route 66 travel stops. Plus clean restrooms and water. Highly recommended!
Glenrio Visitor Center operated by New Mexico DOT

 

Driving West
on the Next Route 66 Segment?

Tucumcari to Santa Fe

Route 66 Road Trip westbound from Tucumcari to Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

 

More Route 66 and Travel-Related Resources