Winter is an ideal time to explore your desert neighborhood. The

temperatures are mild, the snakes are hibernating, and with a bit of luck, the mountains will be tinged with snow. In short, it is a perfect time to pack up the easel and art supplies from Tumbleweeds and Tarantulas, and unleash the inner artist with some landscape painting. And, as luck would have it, Kingman, Bullhead City, and Lake Havasu City, are at the heart of some of the most dynamic landscapes in the southwest. Bisecting it from east to west is 160-miles of smiles, the longest remaining uninterrupted segment of Route 66.

Sitgreaves Pass in the Black Mountains – photo Jim Hinckley’s America

The Route 66 corridor from Topock on the Colorado River to the scenic Partridge Creek Bridge near Ash Fork, Arizona is, arguably, the most scenic section of this storied old highway.  For the landscape artist or photographer, this is a paradise of unlimited opportunity and challenge. Along this highway corridor is the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, Oatman, the ghost town of Goldroad, Sitgreaves Pass, Cool Springs, neon nights in Kingman, the quirky artistry of Gregg Arnold made manifest in Giganticus Headicus framed by the sweeping Sacramento Valley, the ghost town of Hackberry and the Hackberry General Store, and Grand Canyon Caverns. 

Near Kingman there is a vast and scenic trail system in the foothill of the Cerbat Mountains that includes the aptly named Monolith Gardens. And in the Hualapai Mountains and Hualapai Mountain Park, a pine forested island in a sea of desert, there is another a shade dappled trail system that offers panoramic views of the valleys below. And if you prefer something a bit less strenuous, there is room on the porch of the Hualapai Mountain Lodge for an easel if an artist wants to try and capture the elk in the parking lot framed.

The adventures, and opportunities, don’t end there. Diamond Creek Road (tribal permit required) in Peach Springs is the only vehicle accessible road to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The west rim of the Grand Canyon is seventy miles north of Kingman. The Mojave National Preserve, and the old railroad town of Kelso with its picturesque depot is just a few miles to the west in the California desert.

And after you have captured the majesty of our neighborhood on canvas, Kingman has a dynamic arts community that includes the Kingman Center For the Arts, and the ArtHub. The former maintains a gallery on Beale Street and often displays the work of local artists, and the latter includes an artist in residence program. The schedule for gallery showing is found on the Kingman Center For The Arts website, as well as the Promote Kingman Facebook page.

This winter gather up your art supplies, pack a lunch, and paint the neighborhood. While your at it, discover the amazing place that we call home.