Needles, California, may not be as well-known as some of the other destinations in the Golden State, but this small desert town is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and outdoor activities. Located along Route 66 and the Colorado River, Needles is the perfect destination for those looking to explore the American Southwest. In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the best things to do in Needles, CA.
Needles, California, was founded in 1883 during the construction of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. The town was named after the sharp peaks of rock that resemble needles that can be found in the nearby desert landscape. Needles quickly grew into an important transportation hub, with the railroad and Route 66 both passing through the town. During the 20th century, Needles played a significant role in the development of the American Southwest, serving as a major transportation and trade center. Today, the town retains much of its historic charm and offers visitors a glimpse into the history and culture of the American West.
Things to do in Needles, CA
- Visit the Mojave National Preserve – Just a short drive from Needles, the Mojave National Preserve is a stunning natural wonder that offers a wide range of recreational opportunities. From hiking and camping to horseback riding and stargazing, there’s something for everyone in this 1.6 million-acre preserve. Be sure to check out the Kelso Depot Visitor Center, which offers exhibits on the history and culture of the Mojave Desert.
- Explore Route 66 – Needles is situated along the legendary Route 66, one of the most iconic highways in America. Take a drive down this historic road and you’ll see a variety of roadside attractions, diners, and vintage motels that will transport you back in time. Don’t miss the famous “Needles Eye” tunnel, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding desert.
- Enjoy Water Sports on the Colorado River – The Colorado River runs through Needles, providing ample opportunities for water sports such as kayaking, fishing, and swimming. Rent a boat or jet ski and spend a day on the water, or take a relaxing float trip down the river. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at white-water rafting on the rapids of the nearby Topock Gorge.
- Visit the Historic El Garces Hotel – Built in 1908, the El Garces Hotel was once a popular stop for travelers along Route 66. Today, the hotel has been restored to its former glory and houses a museum dedicated to the history of the railroad and transportation in the area. Take a guided tour and learn about the hotel’s fascinating past.
- Hike in the Needles Wilderness Area – The Needles Wilderness Area is a stunning landscape of rock formations, canyons, and desert scenery. There are several hiking trails that lead through this area, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as bighorn sheep and golden eagles.
- Attend the Needles Balloon Festival – Every January, Needles hosts the annual Balloon Festival, a three-day event that features hot air balloon rides, live music, food vendors, and more. Watch as dozens of colorful balloons take to the sky, or take a tethered ride and enjoy the views from above.
In conclusion, Needles, CA, might be a small town, but it has a lot to offer visitors who are looking for a unique desert adventure. From exploring the Mojave National Preserve to driving down Route 66 and enjoying water sports on the Colorado River, there’s something for everyone in this hidden gem of the American Southwest.
This guide was generated using AI technology by ChatGPT