A boom town during the heyday of “America’s Highway” Route 66, Amboy once served travelers on the western end of the long road from Chicago to Los Angeles.
When the completion of the Interstate Highway System in the second half of the 20th century made Route 66 obsolete, Amboy, like many other route boom towns, passed into desolation. One of the original residents maintained what little there was left, allowing a few Hollywood movies to be filmed there, but at the turn of the 21st century he’d had enough and sold the entire town. Amboy then passed through different hands and was, at one point, even listed for sale on eBay. The town is currently owned by the owner of the California-based fast food chain Juan Pollo.
Now, the focal point of the almost-empty town is Roy’s, a former diner and service station which has recently started selling gas again. The school, church, airport, and graveyard can still be explored by adventurous travelers who can handle the heavy heat of the Mojave Desert, and a nearby volcanic crater adds to the atmosphere. Come to town with your own water and a full tank of gas, in case Roy’s isn’t open. The only sound you might hear during a visit to this town is a train passing through.
Know Before You Go
Located about 50 miles north of Twentynine Palms and about 80 miles west of Needles, Amboy is accessible from I-40; exit 78.