What’s The Best Time Of Year To Ride Route 66

October 22, 2012

What’s The Best Time Of Year To Ride Route 66? People ask us this question all the time. The season starts in May and runs through October – before or after that, you risk running into cold weather, especially in the midwest and the higher elevation portions of 66. We’re ridden Route 66 as early as the beginning of April, and had to deal with pouring rain, hailstorms, even a blizzard! Here are our thoughts on what’s the best time of year to ride Route 66:

1) Weather: Really anytime between mid-May and mid-October you should have a lovely ride. There’s always a good chance you’ll see rain, as Route 66 is more than 2,300 miles long through varied terrain. Be sure to bring rain gear, and if you’re riding in the high summer, also consider a cooling vest, which can make your ride far more comfortable and safe. And even if you’re riding in the summer, bring a warm, light base layer – it can be quite cold in the desert in the morning and evenings. And in the midwest, there’s always the risk of a tornado -plenty of excitement on The Mother Road.

Want to get an idea of the temperature in one of the highest elevated portions of Route 66? Click here for the current weather forecast in Williams, Arizona (and pay close attention to the lows).

2) Tourist Traffic: Let’s face it, Route 66 is growing in popularity, and not only motorcycles but even large tour groups in buses are traveling The Mother Road. While 66 is inherently never going to be as busy as any given Interstate in America, chances are you’ll encounter more fellow travelers in June, July and August. From the first week of September on, there will be less people on the roads as the summer’s over and people return to work. May is a good month too, although the spring weather can be more of a risk. Don’t get us wrong, a ride down Route 66 in the summer months is wonderful, just expect to see more people than you would in the off months.

3) When do you have the time? Really, this is the most important question of all. We all seem to have little things in our lives like work, family, health and other obligations that interfere with our riding! Guided tours have preset dates (click here for the current schedule we offer), but if those dates don’t work, you can always hire a bike and arrange your own trip, and/or do a self-drive tour, where the hotels are pre-booked for you. Just make sure to ride anywhere between May and October; November to April the weather is a bit too risky.

So if pressed, in our opinion, what’s the best time of year to ride Route 66? Mid September – mid October is our favorite time, but really, we’d ride it any time between May and October. It’s the ride of a lifetime no matter what the weather’s like.


  1. yvonne on January 10, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    have your route 66 m/cycle tours starting october 2014, around the 7th for 3 weeks?

    • Jim on January 11, 2014 at 3:58 am

      Hello Yvonne – our last departure for a 2014 Route 66 Guided Tour is October 2nd, and that’s 15 days/14 nights. If you want a longer tour we can arrange a self-drive tour, where you do not have a guide but your accommodations are pre-booked and you’re supplied a bike. I’ll send you an email with this same information – many thanks for enquiring! Jim

  2. Thomas Boyd on January 31, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Jim are there some good places to tent camp along Route 66?
    I’m planning to ride up from Ms. this summer and hit 66 at the Missouri and Kansas line, and ride to the California line.
    Having trouble finding reasonable camp sites. Can you give me a good site or two in each state?
    Thanks for any help you give.

    • Jim on January 31, 2014 at 3:58 am

      Thomas, camping is one of those things that we’ve never really done since we were pretty young. We tend to ride pretty hard when we’re not leading groups, doing long days in the saddle, and at the end of the day we need a stiff drink and a warm bed! There are absolutely better resources out there for camping on a motorcycle than us – you might want to join the forums at http://www.advrider.com as there are plenty of folks who camp and ride minimal there. Also, some areas of 66 can be quite desolate, especially out west. Great to ride during the day but camping would be a little spooky. Wish we could be of more help.

      Many thanks,

      Jim McDermott

  3. Jill on October 23, 2014 at 2:48 am

    Thanks for the reminder to look at the weather charts. I’m just going to be doing portions of 66 over the winter, but still mornings can be quite cool! The kinds of days I’m glad you guys gave me tips on layered pieces for riding!

  4. Doug Turneer on December 31, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I’m going to plan a total length Route 66 trip for myself and two buddies to occur during 2015. Any info you can provide regarding car/motorcycle rentals, trip details, etc. will be much appreciated.

    Our ages are 60, 71, 79.



    • Tim Orr on January 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Hi Doug

      I have emailed you details on our Self guided tour. This can be adjusted to suit your plans but gives a good starting point for planning.

  5. caro!e De on January 6, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Hi Tim
    The information you emailed to Doug re:. self guided tour..Could you possibly send to me? Planning on the same trip June 2016.

    Many thanks

    • Tim Orr on January 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Ive sent it to you Carole

      • Scott Jones on February 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm

        Tim my father n law and myself are planning a self guided ride at the end of May first of June of 2016. We live in Illinois and could you send me info on the in and outs on the trip whats the weather like what to expect and will be taken our time where he is 77 years old and loves to ride. thank you so much.

  6. chrisw on January 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    what is the best rout 66 tour ? ………….. chrisw.

  7. Jason Woodcock on September 13, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Jim& Tim
    Im planning to do route 66 as a self guided tour with my 65 year old father (Bucket List thing) were both experienced riders but I obviously have concerns about how much hard riding my father could do per day, could you send me any info you have about self guided tours and how long the average time taken would be to cover the iconic route.

    I intend to capture the ride using cameras and drones
    Kind Regards Jason

    • Tim Orr on November 4, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Jason
      Ive sent you through information on 66 to your email.


  8. bruce vogel on October 2, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    I’m going to plan a total length Route 66 trip for myself and a friend to occur during 2016 Any info you can provide regarding car/motorcycle rentals, trip details, etc. will be much appreciated.

    • Tim Orr on November 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Bruce
      Ive ridden 66 myself around 10 times so should be able to help. Drop me an email at [email protected] with an idea of the length of time you’d like to take and i will get a=some ideas over to you. Id recommend a minimum of 13 days with 21+ being ideal.

  9. Jenni Gibbens on November 8, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Myself & 2 women friends would love to do Route 66 on Harley Davidsons (Bucket List & ‘special birthday). The question I have is are there any tours that would take us as pillion passengers? Look forward to hopefully a positive reply. Many thanks

    • Tim Orr on November 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Jenni
      Unless you know the rider it’s unlikely you’ll find anyone who would feel comfortable with a stranger as a pillion. it’s a big responsibility and unless you know the person well the close proximity for multiple days could make or brake a ride. Most riders wouldn’t be prepared to risk that. sorry.

  10. Lisa on April 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Would love information on the self guided tour. Planning a month long trip in 2016.

    • Tim Orr on April 13, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Hi Lisa
      Ive sent you over details and costs on the self guided tours.
      Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.

      • nicola edwards on April 26, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        could you send me some details route 66 please .. we are thinking of doing this next year. thanks

        • Tim Orr on May 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm

          Hi Nicola
          I have sent you the information via email.

  11. Debbie Fos on April 20, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    My husband and I are interested in doing the drive next year. I am gathering information now. If I understand your site correctly I would be able to book a self guided tour thru you with pre booked hotel reservations with a day by day itinerary? We do ride motorcycles but not sure if that is the plan…For now we are planning on renting a car. However the bike ride sounds so awesome. Please send me more information on what you offer. Thanks, Debbie

    • Tim Orr on May 26, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Hi Debbie
      Sorry for the late reply, Yes you can book a Self Guided tour through us with Bike , Accommodation and Route Plan included.
      If you would like more details or costs please mail me at [email protected]

  12. Connie Ourlian on October 2, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Time, please send me information on self guided tour we are planning on driving the Route 66 October 18th 2016. Thank you

    • Tim Orr on October 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Information sent to you Connie

  13. Clare on November 9, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Me and my husband are wanting to travel route 66 next year 2017 for our honey moon.
    Haven’t a clue where to start. Could you possible i possible have information / details please ?

    • Tim Orr on December 8, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Info sent Clare

  14. Grant on November 21, 2016 at 3:06 am

    Hi Time, Can you please send me the information on self guided tour were planning on driving the Route 66 mid October 2016.


    • Tim Orr on December 8, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Info sent Grant

      • Louise Moule on January 28, 2018 at 10:08 am

        Please send me some information. Want to take my husband and 2 children for 3 weeks aug/sept time for our anniversary present.
        Thank you

        • Tim Orr on February 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm

          Hi Louise
          I have forwarded you info on our Route 66 Tour.

  15. Luana on April 16, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Hello! Can you please send me the information on self guided tour were planning on driving the Route 66 mid September 2018. Thanks a lot!
    Best regards!!

    • Tim Orr on May 25, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Info sent Luana

      • Jo on July 6, 2017 at 6:50 pm

        Would you be kind enough to send info over please? Many thanks

        • Tim Orr on July 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm

          Info sent Jo

      • Herb Kelley on April 19, 2018 at 12:54 pm

        Tim can you send me information on route 66 I am going in Oct this year

        • Tim Orr on May 22, 2018 at 1:32 pm

          Sent Herb

  16. S parker on May 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Hi could you send us info on Route 66 guided tour

    • Tim Orr on May 25, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Info sent to your email address

  17. Millie Main on May 7, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Hi there, I’m planning on doing Route 66 In 2019 when I turn 25 and wanted a little help on where to start as I know it takes a lot of planning., any help would be great! Thanks

    • Tim Orr on May 25, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Ive sent you over some info on our Guided Tour Millie as it’ll give a good picture of the best way to do it.

      • sylina on September 16, 2017 at 12:10 am

        may we get the guided tour, taking a trip this coming may…thank you so much

        • Tim Orr on October 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

          Info sent Sylina

  18. Rebecca Amer on November 12, 2017 at 6:03 am


    Please may you send me some info on a self guided tour?


    • Tim Orr on December 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks Rebecca, Info sent

    • Alan - London uk on January 24, 2018 at 8:16 am

      Hi could u send me more info on a self guided tour? Thinking late September early October 2018.


      • Tim Orr on February 1, 2018 at 3:40 pm

        Hi Alan

        Ive sent you info on the tour.

    • Doug Philip on April 28, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      My wife and I would like to do a self ride of the Rout 66 but need lots of information on bike hire rates accommodation on the way weather conditions ( generally) where to start from ECT. We live in Australia and know nothing of your great country, we are retired and are free anytime, we have been bike riders for over 40 years, please help. Cheers

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