The “EZ66 Guide” describes the drive from Kingman to the ghost town of Oatman on Historic Route 66 (Oatman Highway) as “HIGHLY recommended, but VERY steep/crooked (and a bit rough in patches), with scary drops!”
Do you remember that trip, Marybeth?!
I knew the boys would enjoy it, so after work & school were done and we had some lunch, we headed out on Oatman highway.
The road starts out straight and flat as you drive towards the Black Mountains . . . this part of the drive could actually be called a little boring, but the mountains are beautiful.
We had just started the climb when we reached Cool Springs.
The original store dated back to 1926, then was used (and apparently destroyed) as part of a movie set, and has recently been rebuilt.
The vintage gas pumps are pretty cool, but I’m not too sure I’d want to use the rest room!
The gift shop had lots of Route 66 stuff – one of the biggest selections I’ve seen. We stopped for a few minutes and talked to a couple who were heading the opposite way. They told us about a herd of bighorn sheep about 5 miles up on the mountain, so we made sure to stop and look for them.
We started up the narrow road, around the numerous switchbacks,
and passed by “Ed’s Camp”. Now, this is something I remembered from my previous drive to Oatman . . . it’s a lot more desolate-looking now, though!
Ed’s Camp in 1991
Ed’s Camp in 2014
There were 3 or 4 motorhomes around the back, though, so I guess somebody is living out there!
We reached the top of Sitgreaves Pass,
where we got out to enjoy the view and find the herd of bighorn sheep.
From the pull-off parking area, we walked down the trail until we caught a glimpse of the herd of bighorn sheep.
We quickly spotted them, and they spotted us, too!
On the other side of the pass, we stopped again to check out the road that we would be taking DOWN into Oatman . . .
there were several old cars on the mountainside under the road . . . and a small cemetery at the top of the hill.
This parcel of land could be yours if you are interested!
The view is beautiful,
but the commute is a little treacherous!
We made our way through the hairpin turns and steep descent into the little ghost town of Oatman.
Oatman is an old gold-mining town (that isn’t really a town – it’s never been incorporated)
which has become a tourist destination largely due to the wild burros that wander the streets and shops.
We found this guy standing guard outside the door of one shop . . . he (or she) was not interested in moving out of the doorway!
We walked through several shops . . . mostly T-shirts and jewelry,
and watched people feed the wild burros.
This poor little guy was walking around with a sticker on his forehead asking people not to feed him.
The town is bigger than I remember, with more little shops, but there are still several original shops and the historic Oatman Hotel.
By the time we walked through the shops on both sides of the street,
it was almost time for the gunfight, so we got ice cream cones and stayed to watch the show.
There were several burros wandering through the crowd, begging for food or trying to get into people’s bags.
The show ended with a “bang”, and we made our way back to our car.
Driving down the road is almost as difficult as walking down the sidewalks . . . maybe worse, since the burros have the right of way!
The drive west out of Oatman is a LOT easier than the drive from Kingman, and seemed to take no time at all!
We arrived in Bullhead City on the Colorado River, and it looked like an oasis in the desert!
Across the river is the gambling town of Laughlin, Nevada, and we took a drive along Casino Drive,
and stopped to admire the view of the river.
Bullhead City and Laughlin seem like a world away from the little ghost town of Oatman!!
We didn’t see anywhere we wanted to try for dinner, so we headed east on the Davis Dam Road back to the RV Park. Nicolas was thrilled to be driving on a stretch of highway that Ford uses to test our vehicles!
It was an enjoyable afternoon, and a great day for a drive!