How Long Does It Take to Drive Route 66? (Estimate)

Planning a road trip along the iconic Route 66? You might be wondering how long it takes to drive the entire length of this historic route.

While the total driving time on Route 66 is around 32-38 hours without any stops, it’s important to note that this isn’t the most enjoyable way to experience the journey.

To truly immerse yourself in the charm and attractions along the way, it’s recommended to take a more leisurely pace.

Experienced travelers suggest planning for about 200 miles a day, especially in areas with numerous attractions. At this pace, you can complete the entire length of Route 66 in approximately 10-12 days.

However, if you want to fully explore the route, visit attractions, and take side trips, it is advisable to allocate at least 14-21 days or longer, depending on your individual interests and time constraints.

How Long Does It Take to Drive Route 66?

Embark on a nostalgic road trip along Route 66, spanning from Chicago to Santa Monica, California.

This iconic route stretches for approximately 2,448 miles, offering a glimpse into America’s past and present. From bustling cities to charming small towns, Route 66 is a journey through history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Driving the entire length of Route 66 takes around 32-38 hours without any stops.
  • A more leisurely pace of about 200 miles a day allows for a complete journey in 10-12 days.
  • To fully explore the route and take side trips, allocate at least 14-21 days or longer.
  • Route 66 spans approximately 2,448 miles, from Chicago to Santa Monica.
  • Immerse yourself in history, culture, and stunning landscapes along the way.

How Long is Route 66 in Each State?

Route 66, famously known as the “Mother Road,” passes through multiple states, each with its own segment of the iconic road. Below is an overview of the approximate lengths of Route 66 in each state:

State Approximate Length (in miles)
Illinois 301
Missouri 317
Kansas 13
Oklahoma 432
Texas 179
New Mexico 380
Arizona 397
California 314

As you can see, the length of Route 66 varies across different states, with Oklahoma having the longest stretch of 432 miles and Kansas having the shortest span of just 13 miles.

Exploring each state’s section of Route 66 allows travelers to experience the unique charm and attractions offered along the way.

Best Time to Travel Route 66

Planning a road trip along Route 66? The timing of your journey can greatly impact your experience.

The best time to drive Route 66, when considering weather and travel conditions, is during the spring months from March to early June.

This period offers mild temperatures and comfortable driving conditions. The fall months of September, October, and November are also ideal, with pleasant weather and beautiful autumn colors along the route.

However, it’s important to note that winter months may have icy and snowy conditions, particularly in the northern sections of the route, while summers in the desert areas of the Southwest can be scorching hot.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip, it’s recommended to check weather forecasts and adjust your itinerary accordingly.

Paying attention to the weather is particularly crucial when driving Route 66, as the route covers various climates and regions.

Forecasts can help you prepare for potential weather-related challenges and make informed decisions while on the road.

Average Driving Time on Route 66

When planning your epic Route 66 road trip, it’s important to consider the average driving time to ensure a realistic itinerary.

While the total distance of Route 66 is approximately 2,448 miles, the actual driving time can vary depending on various factors.

Taking into account an average driving speed of 45 miles per hour, the estimated pure driving time to complete Route 66 is about 50 hours and 37 minutes.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that this calculation does not include stops for fuel, restrooms, food, and other necessary breaks.

To have a more accurate estimate, it is advisable to plan for approximately 52 hours of driving time, encompassing pit stops for refueling, stretching your legs, and enjoying the attractions along the way.

Remember, Route 66 isn’t just about reaching the destination quickly; it’s about savoring the journey, exploring the iconic landmarks, and immersing yourself in the rich history and culture of each state it traverses.

So don’t rush through it, take your time, and make delightful memories along the historic route.

Whether you choose to complete the journey in one go or break it down into multiple days, the typical driving hours on Route 66 may vary depending on your pace and the number of stops you plan to make.

Take the opportunity to embrace the freedom of the open road and create a bespoke adventure that suits your travel style and interests.

Recommended Stops and Sightseeing Along Route 66

Route 66 is not just a road, it’s an adventure filled with must-see attractions, iconic landmarks, and breathtaking scenery.

As you embark on your journey, be sure to plan for some unforgettable stops along the way. Here are a few popular destinations that should be on your radar:

1. Chicago

Start your Route 66 road trip in the Windy City, where you can explore the vibrant neighborhoods, visit iconic landmarks like Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, and indulge in deep-dish pizza.

2. St. Louis

Home to the iconic Gateway Arch, St. Louis is a must-stop city along Route 66. Take a ride to the top of the arch for panoramic views, visit the historic Anheuser-Busch Brewery, and don’t forget to try some delicious BBQ.

3. Amarillo

Make a pit stop in Amarillo, Texas, and experience the quirky charm of Cadillac Ranch, where classic cars are half-buried in the ground. Sample some delicious Tex-Mex cuisine and immerse yourself in the Old West at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

4. Santa Fe

Experience the unique blend of Native American, Spanish, and Mexican cultures in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Explore the historic Plaza, admire the adobe architecture, and discover the vibrant art scene that has made this city famous.

5. Albuquerque

Known for its annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque offers a range of attractions for visitors.

Take a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway for stunning views of the city, explore the Old Town, and delve into New Mexico’s rich history at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

6. Flagstaff

Located in the beautiful landscapes of northern Arizona, Flagstaff is the perfect base for exploring the natural wonders of the area. Visit the iconic Grand Canyon, explore the ancient ruins of Wupatki National Monument, and hike through the stunning landscapes of Walnut Canyon.

7. Los Angeles

As you approach the end of Route 66, make sure to spend some time in the northern neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Visit iconic sites like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, and the Getty Center.

These are just a few of the many incredible stops along Route 66. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply soaking up the Americana vibes, this iconic road trip has something for everyone.

So pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable journey along the Mother Road.

Time Zones on Route 66

Route 66 spans across three different time zones, so it’s important for travelers to be aware of the time zone changes along the way. Here is a breakdown of the time zones along Route 66:

Central Time Zone

This time zone includes the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, which are the starting points of Route 66. Travelers will initially be in the Central Time Zone, which is 6 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-6).

Mountain Time Zone

As you continue west on Route 66, you will enter the states of New Mexico and Arizona, which are in the Mountain Time Zone. This time zone is 7 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-7).

Pacific Time Zone

The final stretch of Route 66 in California is in the Pacific Time Zone. Travelers in this time zone are 8 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-8).

Be sure to adjust your clocks accordingly as you cross these time zones to avoid any confusion or scheduling conflicts. The time difference on Route 66 can affect your planned itinerary, so plan ahead and make any necessary adjustments.

Experience the beauty and diversity of the different time zones along Route 66, where each stretch of the road offers its own unique charm and attractions.

States Time Zone Time Difference from UTC
Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Central Time Zone UTC-6
New Mexico, Arizona Mountain Time Zone UTC-7
California Pacific Time Zone UTC-8

Note: The time zone boundaries and offsets mentioned here are accurate as of the time of writing and may be subject to change. Please refer to official sources for the most up-to-date information on time zones along Route 66.

Alternatives to Route 66

While Route 66 is the iconic road trip route from Chicago to Los Angeles, there are alternative routes that may offer faster travel times.

By following the interstate highways, you can complete the journey in approximately 30 hours of driving time.

However, it’s important to note that these alternative routes may not provide the same cultural and historical significance as Route 66.

When choosing an alternative road trip, it’s essential to consider personal preferences and the desire for an authentic and scenic experience.

To help you decide on an alternative route, here are a few options:

  1. Interstate 80: This route takes you through states such as Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. Along the way, you’ll encounter unique landscapes, charming small towns, and breathtaking national parks.
  2. Interstate 70: Traveling through states like Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah, this route offers diverse scenery, including the majestic Rocky Mountains and beautiful canyons.
  3. Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1): For a coastal road trip experience, consider driving along the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles. You’ll enjoy stunning ocean views, picturesque towns, and iconic landmarks.

These alternative routes provide different perspectives and allow you to explore new regions of the United States.

Whether you choose a faster option or decide to take the scenic Route 66, the most important thing is to enjoy the journey and create lasting memories.

Traveler’s Tip:

“Consider your priorities when selecting an alternative road trip. If you’re more interested in reaching your destination quickly, the interstate highways are a good option. However, if you want a road trip filled with history, attractions, and unique experiences, Route 66 remains the top choice.” – Road Trip Enthusiast

Factors Affecting Travel Time on Route 66

When embarking on a journey along Route 66, it is important to consider several factors that can influence travel time.

These factors include weather conditions, road conditions, traffic, and the possibility of detours. Being aware of these influences and planning accordingly will ensure a smoother and more enjoyable road trip experience.

Weather Conditions:

Weather conditions along Route 66 can vary depending on the time of year and the region you are traveling through. It is essential to check weather forecasts and be prepared for any potential weather-related challenges.

Snowstorms in winter or extreme heat in summer can have a significant impact on driving conditions and may require adjustments to your itinerary.

Road Conditions:

The condition of the roads on Route 66 can also affect travel time. It is crucial to stay updated on any road construction, closures, or repairs that may cause delays or detours.

Increasing traffic or speed limits on certain stretches of the road can also impact travel time. Being aware of road conditions and planning for potential slowdowns or detours will help you navigate Route 66 more efficiently.


Route 66 attracts a significant number of travelers, especially during peak seasons. This can result in heavy traffic in certain areas, leading to delays and longer travel times.

Planning your journey with consideration for potential congestion and rush hour periods will help you avoid unnecessary delays and make the most of your time on the road.

Detours on Route 66:

Occasionally, detours may be necessary due to road work, accidents, or other unforeseen circumstances. These detours can add additional travel time and require adjustments to your planned itinerary.

Staying updated on any possible detours and having a flexible approach to your journey will ensure a smoother experience even in the face of unexpected challenges.

By taking into account these factors, you can better plan your travel time on Route 66 and make the most of your road trip adventure.

Importance of Planning and Flexibility

Planning is essential for a successful and enjoyable Route 66 road trip. When embarking on this iconic American journey, it’s crucial to consider factors such as desired trip duration, attractions to visit, and personal interests.

By carefully crafting an itinerary, travelers can ensure they make the most of their time on Route 66.

However, it’s equally important to embrace flexibility and allow for adjustments along the way.

Route 66 offers a multitude of options and experiences that may capture your interest and curiosity.

Don’t be afraid to deviate from your original plan and explore unexpected gems that come your way.

Being flexible on Route 66 allows you to fully immerse yourself in the journey. It enables you to take detours to charming small towns, captivating museums, breathtaking natural wonders, and other hidden treasures.

By letting go of rigid itineraries, you open the door to unplanned adventures and memorable encounters.

Embracing flexibility also allows you to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Weather conditions, road closures, or unexpected roadworks may require last-minute adjustments to your route.

By remaining open-minded and adaptable, you can navigate these challenges with ease, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable road trip.

Ultimately, the value of flexibility lies in the freedom it offers. Don’t confine yourself to a strict schedule or checklist.

Instead, let serendipity guide your journey. Take the time to enjoy spontaneous moments, savor delicious local cuisine, and connect with the diverse cultures and landscapes along Route 66.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

So, while it’s essential to plan your Route 66 road trip, remember to embrace the unexpected. Allow yourself the freedom to adjust your itinerary, follow your curiosity, and create lifelong memories on this legendary American road.

Benefits of Planning and Flexibility on Route 66
1. Customized Itinerary
2. Embracing Spontaneity
3. Discovering Hidden Gems
4. Adapting to Unforeseen Circumstances
5. Making Lifelong Memories

Remember, Route 66 is not just a road; it’s an adventure waiting to be explored. So, pack your bags, plan your trip, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey filled with incredible sights, fascinating history, and the freedom to create your own unique experience.

Recommended Road Trip Resources

Planning a Route 66 road trip? Here are some recommended resources to enhance your journey and make the most of this iconic American adventure:

Route 66 Passport

The Route 66 Passport is a must-have for any traveler embarking on a Route 66 road trip.

This handy booklet allows you to collect stamps and souvenirs at different stops along the way, serving as a unique memento of your journey. It’s a great way to document your adventure and commemorate each milestone.

State-Specific Passports

In addition to the Route 66 Passport, several states along the route offer their own passports with additional attractions and rewards.

Examples include the Oklahoma Route 66 Passport and the Arizona Route 66 Passport. These state-specific passports provide even more opportunities to explore and discover hidden gems along the historic route.

Road Trip Travel Guides

For comprehensive information about Route 66 attractions, accommodations, and travel tips, consider investing in road trip travel guides.

These guides, available in print and online formats, offer detailed insights and recommendations to help you plan your itinerary.

Some popular options include the Route 66 Travel Guidebook and the Lonely Planet’s Route 66 Road Trips. These resources combine expert advice with stunning visuals to enhance your Route 66 experience.

By utilizing these road trip resources, you’ll have the tools and information necessary to create a memorable and enjoyable journey along the historic Route 66.


How long does it take to drive Route 66?

The total driving time for Route 66 is approximately 32-38 hours. However, it is recommended to plan for at least 10-12 days to fully explore the route and enjoy the attractions along the way.

How long is Route 66 in each state?

Route 66 is approximately:
– Illinois: 301 miles
– Missouri: 317 miles
– Kansas: 13 miles
– Oklahoma: 432 miles
– Texas: 179 miles
– New Mexico: 380 miles
– Arizona: 397 miles
– California: 314 miles

What is the best time to travel Route 66?

The best time to travel Route 66 is during the spring months from March to early June, or the fall months of September, October, and November.

Winter months may have adverse weather conditions, and summers in the desert areas can be extremely hot.

What is the average driving time on Route 66?

Considering an average driving speed of 45 miles per hour, it would take approximately 52 hours of driving time to complete Route 66, including pit stops for breaks and refueling.

What are some recommended stops and sightseeing opportunities along Route 66?

Popular stops along Route 66 include Chicago, Springfield, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and the northern neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

What are the time zones on Route 66?

Route 66 crosses three different time zones. Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are in the Central Time Zone. New Mexico and Arizona are in the Mountain Time Zone, while California is in the Pacific Time Zone.

Are there any alternatives to Route 66?

There are alternative routes that may be faster, following the interstate highways. However, these routes may not offer the same cultural and historical significance as Route 66.

What factors can affect travel time on Route 66?

Factors such as weather conditions, road conditions, traffic, and detours can influence travel time on Route 66. It is important to stay updated on road conditions and be flexible in case of unexpected situations.

How important is planning and flexibility for a Route 66 road trip?

Planning is essential for a successful trip, but it is also important to be flexible and allow for adjustments along the way. Route 66 offers a multitude of options and experiences, so travelers should embrace the freedom to explore and deviate from the original plan.

What resources are recommended for planning a Route 66 road trip?

Some popular resources for planning a Route 66 road trip include the Route 66 Passport, state-specific passports like the Oklahoma and Arizona Route 66 Passports, and road trip travel guides available in print and online.

What is the conclusion for Route 66 travel time?

To fully explore Route 66, it is advisable to plan for at least 14-21 days or longer, depending on individual interests and time constraints.

The journey offers a unique and unforgettable road trip experience, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of America.


Embarking on a journey along Route 66 is an experience unlike any other. The estimated travel time to drive the entire length of Route 66 is around 10-12 days, depending on individual preferences and the number of stops and side trips along the way.

However, to fully immerse yourself in the rich history and diverse attractions that this iconic route offers, it is recommended to allocate at least 14-21 days.

During your road trip, be sure to plan ahead and include time for sightseeing, exploring charming towns, visiting museums, and indulging in the local cuisine.

Remember, flexibility is key, allowing you to adapt your itinerary and take advantage of unexpected discoveries and hidden gems that you encounter along the route.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking an adventure, driving Route 66 will leave you with lasting memories.

From the vibrant city of Chicago to the sun-soaked beaches of California, this iconic American journey is a testament to the spirit of exploration and the beauty of the open road.

So, pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable trip down Route 66!

Related Posts