Route 66: New Mexico

A sign on a street with varying shades of blue that reads "Blue Swallow Motel" with a bird outline on it.
Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM

Photo courtesy of Rhys Martin

Miles: 535 (approx.)

In New Mexico, Route 66 dips, curves, and winds across arid rangeland, mesas, railroad towns, tribal communities, and National Monuments. Settlements were established according to topography and availability of water and are usually separated by many miles. The area is renowned for its cultural diversity and rich mixing of tribal, Spanish, and American history.

Route 66 through New Mexico initially followed the Santa Fe Trail north from Santa Rosa to Romeroville and Santa Fe, then south along the Camino Real through Santo Domingo Pueblo and Albuquerque, to Los Lunas and Isleta Pueblo. By 1937, Route 66 was officially realigned to bypass this North-South path, adopting instead an East-West routing from Santa Rosa directly through Moriarty, Albuquerque, and Laguna Pueblo. This major re-routing reduced the cross-country journey by about 100 miles, and is known as “Hannett’s Joke”.


In 1989 the New Mexico Route 66 Association was formed to educate, preserve, and promote the road. By 1994, Route 66 was designated a National Scenic Byway. The National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program has supported 25 cost-share grant projects in New Mexico including numerous neon sign restorations, El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, and the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari.

New Mexico Route 66 History: National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form

Addendum: Description and Historic Context for Pre-1937 Highway Alignments

New Mexico-General

State Maintained Segments

State Maintained Route 66: Albuquerque to Rio Puerco
State Maintained Route 66: Bernalillio to Algodones
State Maintained Route 66: Correo to Laguna
State Maintained Route 66: Iyanbito to Rehobeth
Route 66 Rural Historic District: Laguna to McCarty's-Cubero
State Maintained Route 66: Manuelito  to the Arizona Border
State Maintained Route 66: McCarty to Grants
State Maintained Route 66: Milan to Continental Divide
State Maintained Route 66: Montoya to Cuervo
State Maintained Route 66: Palomas to Montoya
State Maintained Route 66: San Jon to Tucumcari

Neon Signs Along Route 66 in New Mexico
Locally Maintained Route 66: Glenrio to San Jon
Historic Bridges of New Mexico
Abandoned Route 66: Cuervo to SR156


Aztec Auto Court
Auto Oriented Commercial Development of Albuquerque
Cottage Bakery
DeAnza Motor Lodge
El Campo Tourist Courts
El Vado Auto Court
Enchanted Mesa Trading Post
Hilltop Lodge
Jones Motor Company
J.R. Willis House and La Miradora Apartments
KiMo Theater
La Mesa Motel
La Puerta Lodge 
Luna Lodge
Maisel's Indian Trading Post
Modern Auto Court
New Mexico Madonna of the Trail
Nob Hill Business Center
Pig and Calf Lunch
Rio Puerco Bridge
Skinner Building
Tewa LodgeTower Courts

Blue Water

Bowlin's Old Crater Trading Post


El Rancho Hotel


Glenrio Historic District


Glorieta Pass Battlefield


Charley's Automotive Service

La Bajada

Route 66 and National Old Trails Road Historic District

Laguna Pueblo

Pueblo of Laguna

Los Lunas 

Otero's 66 Service


Richardson Store

Santa Fe

Santa Fe Plaza

San Fidel

Acoma Curio Shop

Santa Rosa

Park Lake Historic District

Santo Domingo Pueblo

Santo Domingo Indian Trading Post

Santo Domingo Pueblo


Roy T. Herman's Garage and Service


Blue Swallow Motel

Cactus Motor Lodge

Metropolitan Park Bath House and Swimming Pool Historic District

Last updated: February 10, 2022