Pros:A few good prices on Indian goods. Excellent Fry Bread in the dining room.
Cons:A bit "touristy" yet still worth a stop.
The Bottom Line: The Trading Posts in Arizona are now tourists shops but this one, though overly large and having trinkets and such, did offer some fine product...and fry bread for lunch.
In our guide books there was a stop mentioned to take, the Historic Cameron Trading Post. It's there because a bridge is there. Rignt next to the Trading Post complex is the Cameron Suspension Bridge constructed in 1911 keeping trade routs open in this Navajo country area. That bridge was replaced for use by another built in the 1950s The original still stands and makes for interesting photos as it stands high above the Little Colorado River.
The original bridge, constructed for the Committee on Indian Affairs was to be paid for by tolls but the Indians would not be charged. This bridge is now a National Historic Place.
The Historic Cameron Trading Post
The Cameron Trading Post was established in 1916 just a few years after the suspension bridge was opened. It was in good position for trading and was also situated on a road that leads directly to the Grand Canyon.
Because Indians and other traders would be on the road for days getting to the trading post accommodations were made for them to dine and stay over. As the years went on more structures were built and rebuilt. Today this is a major stop for many tour busses doing the Grand Canyon and other nearby National Historic Sites. It is but a half hour drive from both Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument so the lodging is well situated for those doing more than just the Grand Canyon. Also north but a bit further is Lake Powell National Recreation Area for a few days stop.
Though one of the original Trading Post structures still stands it is boarded up however right next to it is the Trading Post of today with huge sign posted above, Hotel, Indian Arts & Crafts, Dining Room.
Inside is a huge shop, I mean huge. I suppose they need that room when tour buses stop. I noticed two while we were there but realise, we were there in the slower season. The trading post is filled with Indian crafts of pottery, leather, jewelry, carvings and tons of other goods. Every trip we take home something to hang on a wall under our outside pergola. This year is was an Indian made arrow we purchased there. I also treated my wife to a pocketbook with a western look having a molded silver cross. She likes it.
We did eat in the dining room that is worth a look even if not lunching there. The tin ceiling is like no other I have seen before and NYC has tones of them. The Indian motif ran throughout the restaurant with photos and handmade Indian goods and artifacts throughout. The stone fireplace and mantel takes center stage!!
Right next door is a small post office that fits in with this old time look. I went in, purchased a post card and sent it to Carolyn thanking her for our days together on this trip. It reached our home the day after we arrived back. Good timing it was.
pops Last Thoughts
Though we could find dining and Indian product to buy elsewhere, this place really did have it all and more than any other trading post or tourist shops anywhere else we traveled on our ten day stint in Arizona. I did stop by many a Indian roadside stand where Carolyn purchased a little this or that, however there is much more variety at the Cameron Trading Post even if having to wade through trinkets and such.
Though I wouldn't make my way a hundred miles to get there, I would plan it on a map when doing some north/central Arizona sites. If in the area be sure to drive north about half an hour to Tuba City and see the Navajo Museum there. That's well worth a stop. It includes a separate museum dedicated to the Code Talkers of WWII.
We had a fine, very fine, fry bread lunch (we love the Indian Fry Bread) of which we packed some for the road. Our two items, the arrow and the western style pocketbook with the silver cross will be treasured for years.
I can recommend Cameron Trading Post even with the trinkets and such. The old buildings and the 1911 bridge add to the full scenic experience.
Arizona Sites and Reviews by popsrocks
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Wupatki National Monument
Historic Cameron Trading Post, Cameron Az
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