New Mexico Stops on the Way

4 Kicks on Route 66 in Grants, N.M.

You’ll discover vintage Route 66-themed stops and an uncrowded national monument at this classic New Mexico town.

Route 66 Arch

Route 66 drive-thru neon arch
Route 66 drive-thru neon archPhoto by Kenneth Brown Photography courtesy of the City of Grants

Completed in 2016, the drive-under neon arch in Grants, N.M., is shaped like the iconic Route 66 emblem. Park under it to get a great photo of you with the neon arch. It’s off of I-40’s exits 81 and 85 on Route 66.

El Malpais National Monument

La Ventana Arch at El Malpais National Monument
It’s a short hike to La Ventana Arch at El Malpais National MonumentCourtesy Grants, N.M.
Sandstone Bluffs Overlook at New Mexico's El Malpais National Monument
The last rays of the setting sun flood the Sandstone Bluffs Overlook with a soft pink glow at sunsetNPS/John Kuehnert

This uncrowded national monument’s visitor center is in Grants, N.M., making it easy to learn about the area’s volcanic past. Hike around a cinder cone volcano on an easy-to-moderate 3.8-mile loop in the El Calderon Area. 

Route 66 Vintage Museum & Double Six Gallery

Vintage 1942 postcard showing attractions in Grants, N.M.
Vintage 1942 postcard showing attractions in Grants, N.M.Illinois State Library Digital collection, Public Domain

Located in downtown Grants, N.M., this museum features vintage Route 66 postcards and a 1923 Model T Ford. For more information, visit

Nearby is Western New Mexico Aviation Heritage Museum. Liz Taylor’s third husband failed to see the airport’s beacon in 1958 and fatally crashed his plane into Mount Taylor. 

New Mexico Mining Museum

New Mexico Mining Museum in Grants, N.M.
New Mexico Mining MuseumPhoto by C. Britnie Burds courtesy of the City of Grants

The West is known for its boom-and-bust mining cycles. In Grants, N.M., you can learn how uranium transformed this town formerly known as the “Carrot Capital of the World.” Navajo sheepherder Paddy Martinez discovered Grants’ uranium reserves in 1950, which led to a 30-year mining boom. Explore the museum’s exhibits and replica uranium mine.

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