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National Old Trails Road

Needles - Kingman - 1923



The next section of the National Old Trails road marks the entry of the west-bound motorist into the "Golden State" California. It also signalizes the beginning of the desert, which many people picture as a vast expanse of sand very difficult to traverse. To offset this erroneous impression, travel over the desert portion of the National Old Trails is no more difficult than any other, and as a rule, road conditions can be classed as fair. The route leads west from Kingman and winds its way over the excellent road for a short distance down grade thru a canyon, then across a section of the desert and over the Goldroads Grade to the mining towns of Goldroad and Oatman. From here the road, which is usually in good condition, extends almost due south to Topock. Crossing the Colorado River from Topock the next sixteen miles to Needles is over a fair dirt road. The country is broken by many dry streams and arroyos, and there are many short winding grades down into and up out of arroyos that will require careful driving. The total distance between Kingman and Needles is 69.5 miles.

This is a section of the Southwest that is not only rich in various minerals but teeming with legend and history of the original prospectors who drifted into the country with pan and shovel, with pickax and burro, exploring the rocky ranges that lifted their menacing bulk against the desert horizon. Oatman, named after one of the early incomers, is a thriving mining center about halfway between Kingman and Needles. It took nerve, vision, and an unquenchable optimism to tackle these wastes in search of a fortune, but the persistency of the gold seeker is akin to the tenacity of a snapping turtle. It is the very quality that has unlocked the doors of the wonderful mineral deposits of Arizona and given it its rank among the states in the production of valuable ores.

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These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
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