Midpoint between Saint Louis & Joplin
No other highway in the history of the United States is as celebrated as the legendary Mother Road. It is a throwback to a simpler time. Route 66 in Pulaski County, Missouri will provide glimpses into a younger America.
“Speckled with romantic and unconventional attractions, it was the epitome of “cool”: a winding highway to Hollywood, lined with neon and kitsch, running from Chicago to L.A. right through the heart of the Show-Me State.”
The stretch of Route 66 that winds through Pulaski County is lush with brilliant scenery and breathtaking Ozarks landscapes. Rivers cut through limestone and dolomite rock leaving dramatic bluffs and fertile valleys. Notable author Jack D. Rittenhouse described one of Pulaski County’s segments as “one of the most beautiful sections of the Ozarks.”
An Engineering Triumph
While exploring the road in Pulaski County you will visit cities whose heyday was years ago, as well as cities just finding their roots. The tour will captivate you as you twist along the 30+ miles of historic highway.
Scenic overlooks and rivers are interspersed with historic buildings. Still visible is the historic Hooker Church and Graveyard. Hooker Cut was once rumored to be the deepest road cut in America. Rittenhouse described it as “an engineering triumph and truly a joy to the traveler.”
Scenic Wonder of Missouri
Devils Elbow, hugged by the Big Piney river, will win you over with its unique mix of romantic tie-rafter legends, colorful characters and its striking landscape. The 200-foot-tall bluffs have been described as one of the “seven scenic wonders of Missouri.” Drive, or stroll, across the 1923 steel truss bridge.
“That is Devils Elbow. That is the epitome of Ozarks beauty right there. The bluffs, the shimmering of the sun across the stream. The trees overhanging, the canopy, you just can’t beat this. This is the Ozarks.” -Roamin’ Rich Dinkela
Slightly west, in the Grandview neighborhood, stop at the Scenic Overlook. Photograph the picturesque railroad bridge in the Ozark valley below. Grandview is also known for having some of the best 1943 curbed pavement in Missouri.
World War II Boomtown
During the construction of Fort Leonard Wood businesses and residences sprang up in an area the locals nicknamed Eastville. In 1951 Eastville was incorporated as Saint Robert. Unpack a picnic lunch at George M. Reed Roadside Park. Until recently, this park was the only remaining original roadside park on Route 66 in Missouri.
Birthplace of the Byway
Waynesville, the birthplace of the byway, celebrates its Route 66 roots. Frog Rock is reminiscent of the highway’s famous roadside gimmicks. Vintage buildings surround the historic Square. Waynesville is home to one of only two period courthouses on the Mother Road in Missouri. The oldest “stop” on Missouri’s stretch of the legendary highway, the Old Stagecoach Stop, crowns the east side of the public square.
Closing in on the Laclede County line, Pulaski County’s Route 66 still has treasures to share. Photograph the crumbling Spring Valley Court. Admire the abandoned giraffe-rock Gascozark Service Station and Café.
Complimentary Driving and Walking Tours
Pulaski County Tourism Bureau offers a Historic Driving Tours brochure that will deepen your understanding of Route 66. The brochure includes turn-by-turn directions, background information, and vintage images. Don’t explore Waynesville without the essential Historic Downtown Waynesville Walking Tour brochure! Ask for your free copies when you order your complimentary Pulaski County Visitors Guide.
Spend the Night
Saint Robert, the mid-point between Saint Louis and Joplin, is an ideal location to book your overnight stay for your Route 66 road trip. Choose from clean and comfortable hotel rooms, Airbnbs, or book your stay in an Ozarks cabin! Saint Robert’s wide variety of restaurants, from comfort food to international dining, will add local flavor to this leg of your journey!