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Mammoth Cave Hotel's Centuries of Hospitality


Route 66 and Northern Arizona
No one thing connects a tourist to the heritage of northwestern Arizona more than Route 66. “Older” readers will know exactly what I’m talking about.


Western expansion was fueled, in part, by folks fleeing the dustbowl along Route 66 and then fanned by books like “On the Road,” a burgeoning teenage culture focused on the automobile, and a 1960’s television show named after the country’s first federally initiated interstate highway.

Established in 1926, Route 66 encompassed 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles and sliced across the northern sector of Arizona, right throughFlagstaff— founded in 1876 and named after the town’s tall pine “flagpole” marking “Beale’s Wagon Road and Camel Route.” As it turned out, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, U.S. Highway 66 and Interstate 40 all shadowed Beale’s famous route.

Voila! With Route 66, northern Arizona’s cultural, geologic, and Wild West histories opened to visitors in cars. Visitors who wanted to see the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, Meteor CraterNavajo Nation, the Grand Canyon and other icons got “their kicks on Route 66.”

Today Route 66 is Flagstaff’s main drag and your fork in the road to explore the rich heritage of the area. While navigating around Flagstaff experiencing its many wonders why not spend a few days with Forever Resorts at nearbyMormon Lake Lodge (a cultural icon in its own right, just minutes southeast of Flagstaff)? To name a few cultural favories—beyond the obvious Lowell Observatory and Museum of Northern Arizona— explore the NAU Campus and the Riordan Mansion—a 13,000 s.f. “duplex” built in 1904 by lumber-baron brothers coincidently married to sisters. This special AZ State Park showcases furniture, architecture and living history of the area. Take time to meander thehistoric downtown district. See a show at the early 1900's Orpheum Theatre, visit the historic 1926 Atlantic & Pacific railroad depot (which is now a cool Visitor Center) and the nearbysandstone freight depot (1886) then browse the eclectic eateries and brew pubs of Flagstaff’s famous Southside district. Drive north of Flagstaff, toward Page and Lake Powell (Rte. 89), and tour the fascinating Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments, once home to Anasazi and Sinagua tribes who farmed and traded in the region. Here you’ll experience four amazing pueblos (built between 1040 and 1100) and learn about the volcano eruption that ultimately facilitated tribal habitation and farming.

Mormon Lake Lodge is open year round featuring new and historic cabins, an RV Park and Campground, and an onsite restaurant and lounge.



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