The Land of Enchantment

Route 66 in New Mexico is an adventure of epic proportions, a journey through time in a land of natural wonder. 

Tall Tales & Travel Tips

Did You Know

The modern incarnation of Albuquerque dates to a settlement feasibility study authorized by Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, governor of New Mexico, in 1706. However, initial Spanish exploration in 1540 noted remnants of a village on the site.

The Spanish colonial outpost built here, named San Francisco de Albuquerque, the third established in New Mexico was named in honorarium of Don Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva Enriquez, Duke of Alburquerque, 34th Viceroy of New Spain. English speaking travelers and cartographers arriving in the early 19th century often dropped the first “r.” In late 1879, the New Mexico Townsite Company, a subsidiary of the A.T. & S.F. Railroad, established a town to the east of Albuquerque at the site of a planned station. The new station opened in April of 1880 and in 1886, a post office opened as New Albuquerque.

Following this was the designation of the original town as Old Albuquerque. Urban sprawl eliminated the need for a qualifying adjective by 1900.

Discover The Land of Enchantment

Top Destinations

Jim Hinckley recommends 

The former Enchanted Trails Trading Post located immediately to the west of the city, near the top of Nine Mile Hill. This property is now an RV Park with a gift shop housed in the original building that offers a unique experience for the Route 66 traveler. The owner, Vickie Ashcraft has restored a wide array of vintage travel trailers.

Russell’s Truck Stop, the last exit on I4o in New Mexico fro east bound travelers or the first for west bound travelers. The unique complex blends the modern, all-purpose travel center with a free automotive museum and Route 66 gift shop.

Billed as the “World’s largest Ranch House,” the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico, built by R.E. Griffith, a brother of the movie mogul D.W. Griffith, opened on December 17, 1937. Built with a western colonial styled exterior, and a frontier rustic interior, the hotel served as the primary residence for movie stars and film crews working in the area between 1940 and 1964 during the filming of eighteen major motion pictures.

The prestigious hotel entered a period of decline beginning in the late 1960s that culminated with its closure 1987. Scheduled for demolition, the historic property sold to Armand Ortega, proprietor of some of the largest and oldest Indian trading posts along Route 66, who renovated it.

The two-story lobby with its heavy, rough hewn beams and circular staircase, and decorated with rustic southwestern furniture, authentic Navajo rugs, and mounted animal heads, is a near perfect time capsule from the period of the 1940s and 1950s. Renovation of the rooms kept the period atmosphere but with the limited intrusion of modern amenities. 

The Ancient Land 

Story teller Jim Hinckley visits a ghost town with a colorful history

Route 66 New Mexico Sponsored in part by

Gilligan’s Route 66 Tours 

A guided tour from sea to sea. The fun starts on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago and finishes at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California. Need another reason to discover America’s most famous highway with Gilligan’s Route 66 Tours? How about a drive through the heartland in a Mustang? 

Route 66 In New Mexico 

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All things Route 66 in the Land of Enchantment 

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