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Oatman

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Both tourists and wild burros are daily visitors to downtown Oatman.

Oatman is a old mining town on Route 66 in Western Arizona. It's about equal parts touristy kitsch and real, honest-to-goodness Wild West atmosphere.

Understand[edit]

Gold was discovered in the nearby hills in the early 1900's and the town was home to a boom that lasted until the mines closed in the 1930's. The current population of 150 is down from about 23,000 in its boom years. The main street, lined with gift shops, looks like a set from a Hollywood Western -- and with good reason: Hollywood dolled up the facades to film How The West Was Won [1] here in 1962. A staged gunfight takes place every day at high noon. On the other side of the equation, if you show up after the tourists go home, you'll start to get a real feel for the place: a town of grizzled miners and dogged entrepreneurs determined to make a living at the far edge of civilization.

Get in[edit]

Follow Route 66 from Kingman or Laughlin. This portion of Route 66 is twisty and narrow and thus not appropriate for larger vehicles.

Get around[edit]

Those expecting to find transportation available from the Oatman Metropolitan Subway System (OMSS), or even simple bus and monorail transportation, will be disappointed at the lack of options. For those able to put that disappointment aside, the tiny town is completely walkable; however, due to the frequent burro visits be careful where you walk. Parking is available in dirt lots at either end of the main street.

See[edit][add listing]

Local characters stage a gunfight on Main Street at high noon and donate the proceeds to the Shriners Hospital for Children. They're available afterward for photographs. Road traffic will be held up for the duration of the show.

A group of wild burros visits daily to munch on carrots that local shopkeepers are all too happy to sell. They have become obese from the practice and BLM has requested shop managers stop selling carrots. Some are selling alfalfa cubes to offer the burros instead. Feeding baby burros is discouraged. Feeding wild burros on the road outside the town of Oatman is not legal and causes a road hazard. Pull well off to the side of the road to watch them.

Note that despite the fact that they roam main street and will walk right up to passersby, these are in fact wild burros and will kick, bite, and otherwise behave like wild animals if they feel threatened. Keep dogs away from them as the burros won't distinguish a dog from a coyote and will attempt to kick and/or stomp it.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Gold Road Mine Tour, Route 66 (Just east of Oatman), ''+1'' 928-768-1600 (, fax: ''+1'' 928-768-9588), [2]. 11AM-5PM. Tour of century old mine shaft lasts about an hour. $12/6 (Adults/Children under 12).  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

The downtown contains a large number of souvenir and other stores. Amidst the mix of t-shirts and burro-related novelty items are a handful of unique establishments run by grizzled locals.

  • Jackass Ron's, Main Street (Route 66), [4]. Daily 9AM-4PM.  edit
  • Jackass Junction, 219 Main Street. Large selection of Native American pottery and other Indian items. Prices are very low compared to other Indian Galleries.  edit
  • Main St. Emporium, 150 S. Main Street (Route 66), ''+1'' 928-788-3298 (), [6]. Daily 10AM-5PM. Locally made hand-crafted items such as art and candles that you can watch being made.  edit
  • Oatman Gift Shack, 221 Main Street, 928.768.8433. One of the oldest shops in Oatman. Some of the lowest prices in town.  edit
  • The Ore House, 194 Main Street (Route 66), ''+1'' 928-768-3839 (, fax: ''+1'' 928-768-3839), [7]. Daily 9:30AM-5:30PM. Rock and gift shop. Large selection of Southwest area rugs.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Olive Oatman Restaurant and Saloon, 171 Main Street (Route 66), ''+1'' 928-768-1891 (), [8]. 8:30AM-4:30PM. Lunches $5-7.50.  edit
  • Prospector Cafe, ''+1'' (928) 768-2555.  edit
  • Route 66 Deli & Expresso Shop, 134 Main, ''+1''(928) 788-2661.  edit
  • Silver Creek Saloon & Steak, 170 Oatman, 170 Oatman.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Judy's, 260 Main St, ''+1'' (928) 768-4463.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Crystal Palace & Motel, 233 Oatman, ''+1'' (928) 768-5007.  edit
  • Oatman Hotel, 181 Main Street, ''+1'' (928) 768-4408. Hotel supposedly haunted by several ghosts. As of December 2010 the hotel is undergoing renovation and closed to overnight guests, although the lobby and bar remain open.  edit
  • Karen's cabin. Karen is a local shop-owner and miner who runs a cozy guest cabin. Find her at Arizona Girl shop to inquire. If you arrive in the evening, go to Judy's saloon and ask them to track her down. The cabin sleeps five, has a working kitchen, space heaters and wood stove. There's a barbecue in the small yard and a beautiful view of the rugged mountain-scape. If you're at all interested in gold mining, ask her about it - she's got the bug. Also, ask to see the tortoises.  edit

Get out[edit]

Routes through Oatman
BarstowTopock  W noframe E  KingmanFlagstaff


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