Ozark Trail: Old Route 66 West of Sapulpa


The only problem with Route 66 is it’s just too darned new.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could drive an old road, and I mean a really, really old road?  A 3 1/2 mile stretch of pavement west of Sapulpa gives you the chance to do just that.  Through this area, the original alignment of Route 66 followed an even older road: the Ozark Trail.  The OT was a loosely-defined system of roads stretching from St. Louis, through the Ozarks, then across Oklahoma and Texas to El Paso.  The Ozark Trail was one of several named (not numbered) routes that pre-dates the 1926 federal highway plan.

For westbound travelers: watch for the Ozark Trail to split off to the right from Dewey Avenue (OK Rte. 66).  From the main highway, you can spot the OT’s scary-looking old bridge.  Eastbounders: make a left turn just beyond the point where OK Rte. 33 Joins OK 66.

After crossing the scary-looking steel bridge, the Ozark Trail/Route 66 passes by the now-dark TeePee Drive-In.  The TeePee was built in 1950, and survived until 1999 when it showed its last flick.

If you’re interested, apparently you should call 27412.  Okay, you’ll probably need to add a couple more numbers to that.  Various websites (like this one) say the TeePee’s current owner hopes to sell to someone who can restore the old drive-in.  Let’s hope it happens someday.

Beyond the TeePee, the Ozark Trail/Route 66 wanders beside the railroad tracks along this mostly forgotten and rough alignment.

This railroad underpass dates back to 1925.  (Oops, I just gave away the answer to one of the trivia questions in Jerry McClanahan’s EZ-66 Guide!)

The Ozark Trail section ends, and you rejoin OK 66.  Down the road a bit, 66 crosses Interstate 44, and you come upon a couple more (short) fragments of Route 66’s original alignment.

The first is known as the Tank Farm Loop.  It only runs for a couple of miles…

… but those miles are noteworthy because of the road’s surface: beautiful, original Portland cement.

Moments later, another section turns off OK 66 for the brief side trip through the community of Bellvue, Oklahoma.  This is an old “stub” of the original road, turned into a dead-end when the newer alignment came through.

Keep following OK 66 through Bristow.  I didn’t stop there.

Note: This trip was first published in 2008.

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