Good day loves, I just have to introduce you to Emma and David! We were talking it up about small towns when they mentioned a trip they took to Winslow Arizona. When I realized we were talking about the Winslow Arizona from one of my all time favorite bands The Eagles, I was overjoyed! I just knew I had to share this with you! I hope you love it as much as I did (and still do)! Without further adieu, scroll on down and take it easy! Much Love, Chrissy
Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Having left Monument Valley we were making our way west towards Los Angeles when we stumbled upon a hidden gem – a place where history, beautiful landscapes and retro Americana all collide: Winslow, Arizona.
Once an important railway station where trains on the line to California would stop to take on more water, then a bustling stop along Route 66, Winslow was suddenly decimated by the building of Interstate 40 in the late 70s. Totally bypassing the city, and bringing with it huge chains like McDonalds, the new road removed all downtown customers almost overnight.
A few years earlier, in 1972, Los Angeles rock band The Eagles released their first single, Take it Easy, unaware that the second verse which casually mentioned Winslow, AR would turn out to be the salvation of the struggling Mother Road city.
Well I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,
Such a fine sight to see,
It’s a girl my Lord, in a flat bed Ford
Slowing down to take a look at me…
After twenty years of economic downturn, the town formed the Standin’ on the Corner Foundation, determined to use the popularity of Take it Easy to re-attract tourists to Winslow by creating a beautiful art installation faithfully incorporating elements of the Eagles’ song. Unveiled in 1999, Standin’ on the Corner Park is on the corner of the old Route 66 and North Kinsley Avenue and is made up of a stunning two story mural, a real vintage red Ford truck (in a genius move, the girl driver of the flat bed can be seen ‘reflected’ in one of the mural windows) and a life size statue of a balladeer guitar-man, nicknamed Easy. Following the death of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey in 2016, his statue was also added to the corner.
Even if you’re not an Eagles fan, this town has a lot to offer. Take your photo on the gigantic Route 66 sign painted on the road right in front of Standin’ on the Corner Park. Admire the motor bikes of Route 66 road-trippers parked outside the souvenir shops and explore La Posada Historic District (added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1992) where you will find the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture like the famous La Posada Hotel (once patronized by Hollywood stars like Clark Gable) and the Winslow Santa Fe Station. Other gems include the 1904 Navajo County Bank Building, the Visitor Center, formerly an important frontier trading post, and the Old Trails Museum, once a bank dating from 1921 (it still has its original marble counters and tiled floor), now a fascinating collection of exhibits (many donated by locals) about the history of Winslow, Route 66 and the Hopi, Laguna, and Navajo peoples. It also has a shop which specializes in regional Navajo and Hopi arts and crafts and books about local history.
Towards the east side of town, the 9/11 Remembrance Garden has a memorial made from two steel beams from the World Trade Center, and don’t miss the Church of the Mother Road, allegedly the world’s smallest church. Measuring just 7 x 4.5 feet, it can seat just 2 people!
Out of town attractions
3 miles north you will find the remaining structures of Brigham City ghost town, abandoned in 1881 after flash floods and crop failure.
25 miles or just under half an hour’s drive west from Winslow Arizona is the unbelievable Meteor Crater National Landmark. Nearly a mile wide and 550 ft deep, this perfectly preserved impact crater was formed 50,000 years ago when a meteor smashed into the Earth at close to 30,000 mph. The site is privately owned, and they have guided rim tours, a cinema screening a documentary about the impact and a brilliant visitor center with interactive displays about famous space rocks from around the world and a large fragment of the meteorite itself that you can touch. During the 1960s and 1970s, NASA astronauts used the crater to train for the Apollo Moon missions, and you can see an Apollo Command Module and the American Astronaut Wall of Fame.
About 60 miles east of Winslow is the Petrified Forest National Park where you can enjoy fossils, the remains of trees that fell 225 million (!) years ago, petroglyphs and gorgeous hiking through the colorful Painted Desert back-country.
Just 57 miles west on I-40 sits the thriving mountain city of Flagstaff Arizona, also a former Route 66 town and the next stop from Winslow on the train line to California. Immediately cooler in climate and with more trees than Winslow AR, you will feel like you have left the desert behind. The downtown area is packed with artists’ shops, craft breweries and historic architecture like the Babbitt Brothers Building (Flagstaff’s first two story building,1888), the Orpheum Theater (1916) and the Monte Vista Hotel (1926).
Even the train station, built in 1926 and doubling as a visitor center, is a striking red brick Tudor revival building, and a great place to watch the long freight trains passing through.
One of Flagstaff’s most famous attractions is Lowell Observatory where Pluto was discovered in 1930. Visit during the day for the exhibits and guided tours, including the chance to look at the sun through a special solar telescope, but stay after dark for a nightly program of laser guided constellation tours, telescope viewings of the planets and space themed presentations and talks.
Flagstaff also makes a great base for visiting Arizona’s most famous natural wonder: the Grand Canyon. Only about an hour and a half’s drive away, the National Park should be on everyone’s bucket list for an Arizona road trip.
If you’re exploring Route 66, road tripping through Arizona or heading to the Grand Canyon, be sure to put Winslow Arizona on your itinerary.
Emma and David are a husband and wife travel blogging team from TeamThomasTravels. Having in lived in London for years, they have recently moved to leafy Cambridgeshire which now serves as base camp for their adventures. With 6 continents and close to 50 countries between them, recent trips include Canada, Iceland and Japan. They love camping and hiking, and hope to climb Kilimanjaro in the not too distant future. You can visit them on Instagram and see all their great photos too!