Take a Drive Down Colorado’s Devil Highway Route 666
Plans for U.S. Route 66 were finalized on November 11th, 1926. This road was given the name 'Main Street of America', and connected the cities of Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California.
Several extensions were added to America's Route 66 in the early stages. The 6th extension added to the route became known as Route 666 and was quickly nicknamed The Devil Highway. This road went from Gallup, New Mexico, through Colorado, and on to Monticello, Utah.
Where is the Devil's Highway Once Known as Route 666?
The American Association of State Highway Officials was correct in the designation of Route 666 as an extension of Route 66. In the 1920s, Route 666 went from Gallup, New Mexico to Cortez, Colorado. The nickname became an issue right away with religious groups, certain Indian tribes, and eventually, even the Governors of the Four Corners Region. People stole the 666 road signs and even made up stories about the devil himself driving up and down Route 666 in his own black sedan. Just look up the 1977 film 'The Car' directed by James Brolin.
Which Section of the Devil's Highway Was in Colorado?
A portion of Route 666 ran from Gallup, New Mexico, and ran North past Shiprock, through the Navajo and Ute Reservations, and up to Cortez, Colorado before turning into Utah. The portion of the highway leading to Utah is also a part of the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway. Portions of Route 666 were also in use in Utah and Arizona for a while before a campaign began to rename and renumber the roads. Route 666 was renamed Route 491 in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. In Arizona, it is now known as US 191.
Legends from the Devil's Highway
Efforts in Arizona and New Mexico led the way to get the Devil Highway renumbered as the popularity of America's Route 66 began to fall away. While in use, the Devil Highway gave birth to legends like the Phantom Hitchhiker, the Hell Hounds, and even sightings of the Devil's own big black sedan traveling down the highway. Scroll on for a look at the highway and facts you may not have known about Route 666.