In Western New Mexico, the devil once had his own road. At least, that’s what some people believe. In fact, U.S. Route 666 has been dubbed the Devil’s Highway or the Highway to Hell.
This road runs from Gallup, New Mexico, north through Navajo Nation and Shiprock, and then up to the Colorado border.
It became a U.S. Highway in 1926 and acquired its controversial numbering because it was the sixth spur connected to Route 66. It also passed through the other Four Corners states: Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.
The satanic significance of the number 666 in Christianity, along with the high rate of fatalities on the New Mexico section of this road in particular, led to its nickname.
This is a tough highway to drive, with approximately 400 sharp curves in one 60-mile portion alone. In 1997, Route 666 was determined to be one of the most hazardous roads in the nation.
In 2003, Governor Bill Richardson pledged to alter the road’s name. The application passed through the New Mexico Legislature rapidly. Reasons given for the name change referenced the negative impact on people living in the area, concerns that the choice of name affected the local economy, and the fears of travelers using the road.
As a result, U.S. Route 666 became Highway 491.
The route was expanded with an eye to improving safety and people no longer steal the signs.
Have you driven along this road when it was U.S. Route 666? Is it really the road from hell?