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Vegas to Chloride & Oatman via Route 66

Trip details: 126 Miles / 203 Kilometers One-Way

Looking for a more casual day trip made up of diners and ghost towns rather than bullets and canyons? This southerly Epik Trip towards the famous Route 66 will take you along some of the stops included in our Grand Canyon Route, including the Hoover Dam and Willow Beach, before heading further down the trail amongst quiet relics of the Old West.
Once again we’ll take I-11 past Boulder City, jutting up to pass Hoover Dam before taking a turn southward past Willow Beach, but this time we’ll skip the bullets and the beef and save room for a plethora of options further down the road. Rather than taking a left at Dolan Springs, we will forge onward via US-93 to discover the towns that time and society left behind.

Our first new stop: Chloride.

A one-time silver mining camp turned living ghost town, Chloride is still home to about 350 people, but this remnant of the Wild West is thick with quiet past and bizarre junk art strewn from one end of the area to the other. Made for photography, Chloride is a living, breathing conversation piece. Inspect and document it as you would the wares of a Moroccan bazaar. A tip: If you’ve got 4-wheel drive, Native American petroglyphs and the murals of local prospectors await along a 1.3-mile trail that starts just outside town.

From Chloride we head off to intersect with Route 66, the most iconic of US highways and the favored byway of pop culture heroes since 1934. Also known as the Mother Road and the Main Street of America, Route 66 rose to prominence due to its depiction in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, a classic novel chronicling the movements of peoples westward during the Dustbowl years of the 1930’s. Its once dangerous curves and seemingly lawless spirit has forever united it with notions of freedom and escapism.

Today, it is a monument to America’s mid-20th century staples: The motel and the diner.

After taking in Kingman and various vintage establishments in the area, stop in at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner and treat your palette to the full embrace of 1950’s Americana. You’ll need a full stomach as you venture further into the past at our next and final stop.

Turning away from Will Rogers Highway, we drive on to a rugged road carved out of now missing wilderness towards a town of memorably-named shops and wandering donkeys.

Once amongst the largest gold mines in the American West, the village of Oatman remains fixed in the Western past. Remarkably well-preserved buildings from the latter days of mines and mills, from the jail to the local hotel, Oatman offers a curious glimpse into an era now long faded. But it does so in style. Walking along wooden sidewalks, one finds the streets lined with curious establishments such as Outlaw Willie’s and Jackass Ron’s, each offering oddities and curios for sale or barter.

Bring your wallet and a sense of humor, and return to Vegas with a phone full of photos and a burro’s weight in stories for friends and family.

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