The Best Time to Drive Route 66

Driving along Route 66 in California
Mojave Desert

Route 66 by season

There’s nothing to stop you driving Route 66 at any time of year, but the most popular time is between May and October, when the weather is warm and sunny. Don’t forget that the route covers a large area, so the weather is likely to vary considerably and you should come prepared for all eventualities, whichever time of year you travel.

Spring in Flagstaff, Route 66
Spring

As the days start to lengthen again, Route 66 opens up once more. It may still be a little chilly in places, with snow still around in Illinois and the mountains of Arizona, but days are bright and pleasant and the traffic is sparse. It’s a good time to travel to avoid the peak summer traffic but still enjoy sunny days. Look out for green fields and spring flowers blooming by the roadside.

Summer on Route 66
Summer

By the time summer rolls around, all of Route 66’s hotels and attractions are open. This is peak season, so the route gets busy, and in the middle of the day it can be very hot too, so air conditioning in your car is a must. Despite the heat and crowds, the long hours of daylight give you plenty of exploring time, making this an excellent time of year to drive.

Autumn on Route 66
Autumn

Autumn brings cooler temperatures to Route 66, and as the schools start to go back, the route empties once more. The days become shorter but remain bright and sunny, and the beautiful reds and golds of autumn appear on the trees. Note that Thanksgiving weekend is a very popular time for domestic travellers, so you might want to avoid it/join in, depending on your interest.

Winter in Arizona
Winter

There’s every possibility of snow if you drive Route 66 in winter, even in the desert. While a dusting of the white stuff can make the scenery look pretty, the road conditions are not at their best, and some facilities along the route may be closed. That said, it’s also the time of year when you’ll encounter the least amount of traffic, so if you like peace and quiet, it’s ideal. Just come prepared for the cold.

How Round the World Experts will help you

Be inspired online

Enjoy browsing our destinations, holidays and expert tips online. See something you like? Save it into one place via our Triplist tool.

Talk to an Expert

Based on where you want to travel, we'll match you with an Expert who lives and breathes that destination and can offer first hand advice. Contact Round the World Experts.

Plan together

We'll take the time to get to know you, share our expertise and work with you to create the exact holiday you want, for the right price.

Travel safely

From your first call until you arrive home, your Expert will be on hand to help at every step, along with our 24/7 Emergency Support service.

Experience Route 66 with the Experts

At Round the World Experts we have a dedicated team of USA Experts who will tailor-make a Route 66 itinerary based on your interests and budget. Whether you're looking to drive west to east or east to west, or want to add some time in Chicago or LA, give our Experts a call today.

email us leave feedback live chat phone us visit us open menu