By Jim Hinckley
Just sixty scenic miles from Kingman is a delightful little oasis, a living time capsule from the era of I Like Ike buttons and Studebakers. It is an almost magical place that seems suspended in time. Enhancing that sense is an almost complete unavailability of cell service, the quirky miniature golf course, the friendly and smiling staff, and the ample use of kitschy dinosaurs scattered among the trees and on hillsides.
Fittingly, Grand Canyon Caverns evolved with Route 66. First “discovered” in 1927, the year following certification of US 66, the resort then marketed as Dinosaur Caverns was the second largest tourism attraction in the state of Arizona by 1960. However, with completion of I-40 through the area in the 1970’s, as with Route 66 itself, the caverns complex soon became a faded relic. The service station closed. The motel fell into disrepair, and even the caverns tours themselves began to provide clear evidence of the once legendary resorts decline.
Enter John McEnulty, a California businessman who was enamored with the caverns. His association with the resort had begun decades before when he visited during his annual hikes into the Grand Canyon or neighboring Supai with its towering waterfalls.
Since acquisition of the property, McEnulty and his son Sean have worked tirelessly to restore the facility but yet present the illusion that it is 1964, the year the resort was at its peak.
The kitchen at the caverns complex a mile from the motel has been modernized but the restaurant itself appears unchanged from the 1960’s. The gift shop has been restored. The expansive RV park was the recent recipient of an award from Good Sam. The motel and swimming pool has been fully renovated, and a small museum added in the building that houses a small store, lounge, and breakfast area for guests. A challenging miniature golf course has been added, in addition to trail rides and a disc golf course. The airstrip and rodeo grounds are fully restored, and construction of an expansive mountain bike trail system is underway.
The paved trail system through the caverns has been renovated and expanded, and the world’s quietest motel room added. The recent discovery of new chambers provide guests with the opportunity to experience adventuresome spelunking adventures.
Setting the stage for a visit to the caverns, for the day or memorable weekend getaway, is the drive itself; sixty scenic miles of historic Route 66. Along the way is the old Antares Point complex, now home to an area visitor center managed by Grand Canyon Caverns, as well as the studios of sculpture Greg Arnold and Giganticus Headicus. There is also the Hackberry General Store, the ghost town of Hackberry, Peach Springs, capital of the Hualapai reservation with its lodge and excellent restaurant, and Keepers of the Wild wildlife park.
If your looking for a bit of an escape from the ordinary, look no further than Grand Canyon Caverns. Did I mention that serve excellent pie? The Grand Canyon Caverns – The Grand Canyon Caverns

The Grand Canyon Caverns – The Grand Canyon Caverns

The Grand Canyon Caverns

Photos copyright Jim Hinckley’s America
Jim Hinckley’s America – Route 66 Chronicles ®

Jim Hinckley’s America – Route 66 Chronicles ®

The official blog and website for author Jim Hinckley is your passport to adventure on Route 66 and the back roa…