For us, Holbrook has been a rest stop on our trips between the Midwest and the Valley of the Sun, as it has been a rest stop for travelers since the 1880’s.
The banks of the Little Colorado River have had travelers for thousands of years. The town sits at the confluence of the Little Colorado and the Puerco. It started out as a railroad town and a connection point for the local ranchers. Then Route 66 rolled through and brought travelers headed for California. Most recently, I-40 passed by. Long trains still follow the tracks and long lines of trucks, RV’s, cars and trucks rush past. If you stop for a bit, though, you’ll find an older, quieter place.
The Navajo County courthouse dates to 1898 and contains a small history museum. Part of the old Route 66 runs through town and hasn’t changed all that much since the road was retired. Don’t forget to check out the Wigwam Motel! It was built during the 30’s for the Route 66 traffic and has been parodied as traffic cones in the Pixar movie “Cars.”
There are rock shops where you can pick up petrified wood (legally!) and enjoy the whimsy of the dinosaurs looking across the road at you.
It’s just three hours to Phoenix, three and a half to Albuquerque, and a little more than an hour to Flagstaff. It’s also 28 miles east to the entrance on I-40 for the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Park. Along the way you can see other dinosaurs, along with a few of the petrified logs laying out in the fields. (At 75 MPH, the shots aren’t as good as I’d like them to be…)
In the spring after the snow melt, the Little Colorado north of Leupp offers a muddy waterfall higher than Niagara Falls.
Southward, it’s only an hour or so to the great ponderosa pine forest along the Mogollon Rim.
The town is also on the south side of the Navajo Nation and it reflects that in its population. It’s not far to places like the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.
Holbrook is in the high desert, so it can get cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Plan accordingly.