Roads for Adventures
The Changing Decades...
In the decades between the 1930s and the 1950s, travellers along Historic Route 66
changed markedly... along with their hopes and dreams, their vehicles and
accomodations, and their perspective of the Black Mountains.
Dust, Depression, and the Promised Land
A half-million people emigrated from the ust Bowl states to the fertile
California fields during the Depression Era of the 1930s. Carrying all
their worldly possessions in their Model A or Model T Fords, those hearty
emigrants feared the steep, winding grades of Route 66 over the Black
Mountains. Many even hired local residents to drive or tow their car over
the dreaded Sitgreaves Pass in the cool of the evening before crossing the
Colorado River into the Mojave Desert.
Glamour, Convertibles, and Adventure
As prosperity followed World War II, military conveys were replaced by
convertibles and the glitz of Hollywood. More cars joined other
travellers on Route 66 seeking the adventure of the open road, and the
roadside camps of the 1930s grew into businesses to serve the new fun-
seekers. Their view of the Black Mountains changed from an obstacle of
nature to an adventurous challenge. Here too, crossings were not only
east to west, but also west to east -- and back again!
Gateway to the Southwest
The 1950s brought a surge in that new American phenomenon -- the
famiy vacation. Route 66 enticed travellers in and through the heartland
of the scenic Southwest. Although improvements in the family station
wagon made mountain driving easier, drivers also wanted faster roadways
through flatter landscapes. In 1953, Route 66 was officially rerouted
through Yucca and away from the Black Mountains -- one less obstacle to
A New Vision
While the popular television program "Route 66" ran its course, the view
of the Black Mountains shifted from winding barrier to one of scenic beauty and valuable resources. The mountains stell held visions of
America's past, such as remnants of the mining community of Gold Road
and the nostalgic flavor of Oatman. But the mountains also house
150,000 acres of wilderness and the largest herds of wild burros and
desert bighorn sheep in Arizona. Clearly the Black Mountains have
remained a constant in a changing world.
Get Your Kicks...
Whatever brings you here -- scenic beauty, history, or nostalgia -- follow
the Main Street of Americ through the Black Mountains. Witness the
striking beauty of the mountains at sunrise, hear the bray of a distant
burro, spot a bighorn on a rocky crag. Whatever you want, you'll likely
find it... on Route 66.
Rediscover the West...
Back Country Byways open doors to new
experiences. Following a Byway can take you back
in time, allow you glimpses of things you've never
seen, and provide you with a variety of
recreational opportunities. Each byway has
exeptional values, whether scenic, recreational,
or historical, and provides a unique encounter
with the land.
The Bureau of Land Management's Back
Country Byways Program is a national
effort to open up the less traveled corridors
of the western public lands, to provide
access to the treasures of our rich
heritage, and to enhance opportunities
for scenic driving. The public lands
exhibit such a diversity of resources
and uses -- they can provide an
enjoyable experience for almost anyone!
...And Respect the Lands
The western lands are special places. These public lands, as well as the lands in
private ownership surrounding them, require great care. The resources must be
preserved, not only for the wildlife that inhabit the lands, but also for future visitors.
Please be considerate of others you encounter in your journey, leave gates as you
found them, pack out trash, and value the rights of private landowners.