The City of Needles was founded in 1883 and named for the nearby mountain peaks, which themselves had been named “The Needles” in 1854 during a survey for the forthcoming railroad. By 1908, demand on the town grew to the point that the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad built the El Garces Harvey House in Needles. That building today is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open for personal tours.

In 2010, the population of Needles was just over 4,000. Yet, it remains a jumping off point for Route 66 travelers on their way for a Las Vegas side trip, and also for their westward journeys into the Mojave National Preserve. In addition to the El Garces Harvey House, other Route 66 landmarks of note include Carty’s Camp, Palms Motel (the Old Trails Inn), and the Needles Regional Museum. Hotels and restaurants line Route 66 through the community, the last of any noted size before the lengthy journey across the Mojave Desert toward Barstow.

By Scott Piotrowski

Here are some things to see when you are in the Needles area:

  • Trails Arch Bridge at the Colorado River
  • Bureau of Land Management welcome kiosk at the Five Mile Road exit from I-40
  • Needles Welcome Wagon
  • Route 66 murals (along Broadway)
  • Historic theatre (on Broadway)
  • Claypool Building (on Broadway)
  • Carty’s Camp (on Broadway). (private property)
  • El Garces Harvey House (on Front Street)
  • Needles Regional Museum (on Front Street)
  • Wayside Rest Park (near railroad tracks)
  • Fiberglass statue of Spike (Snoopy’s brother) inside the Shell Gas Station
  • Mojave Trails National Monument
  • Mystic Maze