Monday, August 11, 2014

Historic Cameron Trading Post

     Fall is just around the corner and traveling Arizona's north country is even more perfect when autumn leaves are a part of the adventure.  Here is our story about one of our favorite places in northern Arizona and an eastern gateway to the Grand Canyon.

    Any opportunity to spend time at a nearly 100-year-old institution should always be seized by those in search of Arizona.  That chance always comes about when traveling in northern Arizona by spending a night or two at the historic Cameron Trading Post.  All too often travelers just pass by these old stone buildings as they hurry on their way to Lake Powell or the facilities of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  But this is one Arizona centenarian that can easily become an enjoyable, yearly, autumn habit.
    The Cameron Trading Post is located on Arizona Highway 89, just 30 minutes from the Grand Canyon National Park entrance and only 80 miles from Lake Powell.  Here in 1916, along the banks of the Little Colorado River Gorge, brothers Hubert and C.D. Richardson established The Cameron Trading Post.
    In those days all travel to the post was by horse, wagon or days of hard walking.  A swayback suspension bridge had been built over the Little Colorado River Gorge in 1911 allowing the Navajo and Hopi people to come to the newly opened post and barter their crafts and wool blankets for dry goods.
    Native American guests were treated as family by the Richardson Brothers who became much more than merchants to the native people.
When modes of transportation changed and tourists began to discover northern Arizona, the family-friendly philosophy set down by Hubert and C.D. remained.
    The Cameron Trading Post today is an authentic Native American Indian hotel & trading post that offers travelers luxury suites, double and single rooms with a shopping area equal to any trading post found in the Southwest.
    A charming dining room overlooks the Little Colorado River Gorge as wonderful meals are served and a huge fireplace warms guests all day long from the fall and winter chill.  Native American art is everywhere and the quality and variety are second to none.
    A short 9.4 miles from the trading post on Arizona Highway 64 is found a series of special overlooks along that Little Colorado River Gorge. The Little Colorado River begins on the slopes of Mt. Baldy near Big Lake.  It meanders north and west for 315 miles till it reaches it’s mighty, river namesake.  It is here, some 285 miles from its headwaters, that time, limestone and the flowing waters of the Little Colorado River have created an 1800-foot shear-walled gorge.  It is one of the most magnificent, desolate and grim looking spots found in Arizona. 
The rugged gray walls of the gorge are only outdone in wilderness by the many areas of ankle-grabbing quicksand that are found along the sandy beaches of the river.  Yet from the series of overlooks off Highway 64, the Arizona adventurer can peer deep into the narrow canyon and observe the riparian environment that thrives along banks of the little river. 
Metal handrails provide necessary viewing safety while ramadas, fireplaces and tables provide a perfect place for a canyon-side picnic.  Navajo vendors are found here daily, hoping to sell their newly made crafts. 
From this location the Little Colorado River plunges in elevation over 2000 feet before it enters the Colorado River some 30 miles upstream.  For experienced hikers the 60 miles of meandering river walking from Cameron to the Colorado River of the Grand Canyon is one difficult, yet a possible Arizona adventure.
For those whose thrill seeking nature is satisfied by the gaze into the gorge, a short 30-minute drive back down Route 64 once again brings us back to the Cameron Trading Post.  Here all can once again enjoy the food, lodging, gardens and decor of the Cameron Trading Post and indulge in a nighttime treat of the best Indian Fry Bread found anywhere in Arizona.

Link -

Photos 1 – 16 are ours; Photos 17 – 22 belong to our friend Ken Jackway of Arizona  Photos

Highway 89 bridge over Little Colorado River

1 comment: