Wigwam Motel

The California Wigwam Motel was built in 1949 and is inside the city limits of San Bernardino (not in Rialto as the location is often mistaken).  Iconic with the rest of the folklore of Route 66, this hotel that made up of wigwam cabins, attracted western travels back in Route 66’s heyday and still does today.
Wigwam Motel

Scenes at the Wigwam Hotel:

  • Wigwam Motel
    View of the Wigwam when heading west on Route 66
  • Wigwam Motel
    The motel office
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    A cluster of “wigwam” cabins
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    Closer look at some of the wigwams

Already iconic before Disney’s Pixar movies released Cars in 2006, the Wigwam Motel follows a style that was duplicated at other motel sites along Route 66.  The original concept was born in 1933 by Frank Redford.  He built his first motel in Horse City, Kentucky and named it Wigwam Village.  Several more Wigwam motels would be built, some of them along Route 66.

Radford would go on to build seven motels using his wigwam design.  This site would be his seventh.  In the end, Frank and his wife would actually move out here from Kentucky and retire in San Bernardino to run this motel.

Thanks to the movie Cars, which used many of Route 66’s features and scenes, the Wigwam was portrayed as the home of one of the movie’s characters.  Here, in San Bernardino, you can see where that original Wigwam Motel scene actually existed when it was first built.

Today, three of the original motels exist, two of them on Route 66.  One of Redford’s original motels is in Cave City, Kentucky.  The two on Route 66 are in Holbrook, Arizona and this site.


Here is a video tour of the Wigwam Motel site.

Getting There

The Wigwam Motel is located at 2728 West Foothill Blvd in San Bernardino.  Their phone number is (909) 875-3005.

For more information, visit their website.