A small, desert city (current population: 9,192) located in the Little Colorado Valley, Winslow’s main claim to fame is being mentioned in an Eagles song. It is quite isolated, located within Navajo County in northeastern Arizona, right off I-40. It’s around 57 miles east of Flagstaff, which is the closest large city in Arizona. The next closest, larger cities would be Phoenix, 186.5 miles south, and then Albuquerque, New Mexico, approximately 240 miles to the east.
How Winslow got its name is debated, with some arguing that it was named after Edward F. Winslow (a railroad tycoon) and others claiming it’s named after Tom Winslow (a prospector who lived in the area). I tend to believe it was named after the railroad tycoon, given that Winslow was an important stop on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway, a.k.a. AT&SF, during a time when the railroads were extremely important. Winslow was mainly used for adding water and fuel to the trains; however, maintenance took so long that passengers had time to disembark, have a meal, and do some shopping. However it got its name, it was officially incorporated in 1900, although settlements began here as early as 1890.
As mentioned above, it’s most famous for being mentioned in the Eagles song, “Take It Easy”, which has the line “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me”. Winslow has taken this lyric and Olympic style sprinted with it, dedicating an entire corner of the town to the lyric, complete with a mural, flatbed truck, and bronze statue of Glenn Frey (front man and founding member of the Eagles).
This corner in Winslow is certainly the biggest draw to the town; however, there are other reasons to visit. Winslow is near the Navajo and Hopi Reservations; there is Las Posada (the last Fred Harvey hotel to be restored to its former glory, which was originally designed by Mary Colter in the early 1900’s); Winslow’s Remembrance Garden (dedicated to victims of 9/11); and the Old Trails Museum. Downtown also has a lot of souvenir shops, boutiques, and small restaurants.
Winslow is also near the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert (50-minutes – The Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert.), Canyon de Chelly National Monument (2-hours), Homolovi Ruins State Park (10-minutes), Meteor Crater Natural Landmark (30-minutes), Wupatki National Monument (1-hour), and the Sunset Crater (1 hour). It’s approximately 2 ½ hours from the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park (it’s really grand).)
Overall, Winslow is a great pit stop on any I-40 traveler’s journey. Not only are there interesting, cultural references to see within Winslow, you can also make it your base for seeing many of north/northeastern Arizona’s major landmarks. Whatever your reason for visiting, the bottom line is – tourism is one of Winslow’s biggest economic draws, so give them a visit if you’re ever passing through!