Route 66 End of the Trail

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Our last day on Route 66 will take us straight to Los Angeles!

The official western stopping point of the legendary Mother Road is Santa Monica’s Pier. This is the place where Route 66 comes to its end, not because travelers were already dead tired, but just because the Pacific Ocean stood on their way!

The popular East-to-West migration path brought people out west during the Dust Bowl era, supported economies all along its twists and turns when rough times were upon us, and 85% of the original roadway still manages to survive despite the emergence of the Interstate Highway System.

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Even if you’ve never had the pleasure of traveling its rambling route, you probably know the path it takes due to the popular song that lists all of its stops.

Many simply imagine it just runs right into the Pacific Ocean. And while it officially had to end at a highway intersection (originally with El Camino Real at 7th and Broadway in downtown LA and later at Lincoln and Olympic to reach Pacific Coast Highway without plunging over the edge of the Palisades),. In an effort to end the epic highway on a high note, Dan Rice of 66 to Cali (who bought the logo to raise awareness of 66 through a souvenir shirt company and had created temporary end signs several months earlier), the Route 66 Alliance and the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corp. got together and on the 83rd anniversary of the highway’s inception, dedicated the sign to mark the long tradition of journey’s end at Santa Monica Pier.

When the pier was recognized (US Highway 66 was officially decommissioned in 1985) as journey’s end for Route 66, it only made sense for a replica of the long-missing sign to be erected  looking out over the Pacific in a symbolic display of what was the destination of so many travelers over the last century. Both sides are labeled “End” so that visitors ask “If it ends here, where does it go?”. After all, 66 today is about the journey as much as the destination. 

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