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Gallup to Lupton, Arizona

Arizona/New Mexico Border

Painted Desert Trading Post

On the Road

Route 66 passes through some of the most colorful parts of the United States when it passes through Arizona.

Geographical features such as volcanoes, meteor craters, petrified forests, and painted deserts can be seen without ever leaving the car.

Parts of Route 66 intertwine with the interstate weaving back and forth near railroad right-of-way. It also isn't uncommon to find a few gravel road sections either.


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Miles Traveled: 25 miles


Lupton, Arizona


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Day 27: Gallup to Lupton, Arizona

As you get closer to Lupton you begin to see the geography change. Some of the beautiful scenery in the world is ahead of you for the next several hundred miles.

Winslow Mail July 1 1905Lupton was named after George W. Lupton of Bakersfield, California. Mr. Lupton was appointed trainmaster for the Albuquerque-Winslow division on July 1, 1905. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Lupton had been the trainmaster for the Arizona Division. Within a month he and his family had relocated from Winslow to Albuquerque residing in a cottage at 613 West Coal Avenue (35° 4.851'N, 106° 39.293'W) just a few blocks south of the current Amtrak Station. Unrelated to his move, during that same year train engineers began using automobile goggles to offset the dust and wind conditions created by the improved speeds of railroad engines.

Walter Scott, his famous mule "Blue" and $40,000 worth of gold during his first arrival to BarstowHaving also lived in Barstow, California, previously to his move to Arizona, Mr. Lupton was fortunate enough to know Walter Scott, "king of the desert mine." Scott was a cowboy turned millionaire that had a secret desert gold mine about 159 miles south of Barstow in the middle of the Death Valley Desert. Only Scott and his faithful mule "Blue" new the whereabouts of this mine. The above photo shows Scott and his mule during their first visit to Barstow. A book about Scott was published in January of 1906.

It was during this time that Lupton, Arizona, was also its name.

By February, 1907, Mr. Lupton left the Winslow area for good and headed back to California taking over the position of superintendent of terminals in San Francisco.

Lupton died in his home at the age of 88 in 1957, two years after retiring from his position as assistant to the vice president in charge of operations at the Santa Fe Railway's Chicago office. His death made national news perhaps because of the familiarity of his name. In the mid-50's over one million cars passed through Lupton and Arizona each year.

The Lupton area is known as Painted Cliffs. The Painted Cliffs Welcome Center sits near Lupton exit off of I-40. The center is open seven days a week with hours depending up the time of the year and the amount of daylight.

Lupton started being a popular place to stay during the early years of Route 66. At least one 14-room hotel was packed every night with travels who first traveled the Old National Highway that was later renamed Route 66.

Seven Regions of ArizonaThe center is a great place to gather information about the area. The center showcases exhibits from Arizona's seven regions. It also has vending machines and restrooms. The Welcome Center has been open since May of 1994. The construction of this Welcome Center Tucson Citizen December 16 1977was delayed for nearly 20 years with the discovery of 1,200-year-old food stuffs and artifacts. About 18 inches down below ground level were burial sites, jewelry of turquoise and pink pipestone, and pottery.

During the 1950's the silhouette of a buffalo hovered over Route 66 Fred the Buffalo hung out at the Box Canyon Indian Storeacross the road from the Box Canyon Indian Store in Lupton. This sign encouraged travelers to stop and see live buffalo for free. Owners Ted and Thelma Womack credit that the sign attracted at least half of the 2,000 to 3,000 people that stopped by on a summer's day. The Womacks kept Fred, the buffalo, corralled behind the store. Fred had a real impact on the store's income as visitors had to walk through the shop to see him. Fred was treated like a king as he only required $1.50 worth of alfalfa every day. Today you can do a Google search for "Fred the buffalo" and see how his popularity has spawned copycats for decades.

Lupton sits just east of the Painted Desert. This United States desert is in the four corners area where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado meet. The Navajo Nation control much of the Painted Desert and have lived in this area along with the Hopi Nation for over 500 years.

This region contains caves, pinnacles, and other formations formed by the erosion of soft rock but water and wind borne sand.

News November 6, 1923

The most impressive carving is a enormous natural bridge cut out of sandstone just down the road from Lupton.

Painted Cliffs Arizona in USA

While there are small towns along the way to Lupton there isn't any lodging west of Gallup until you reach Chambers.

Blue Mesa - Petrified Forest in Arizona

Today as it sat in the 1960's stands Chief Yellow Horse's Trading Teepee. Juan Yellowhorse was born March 23, 1930. His parents were among the first whoThree Hogans Trading Post Ad began indian trading throughout the four corners area that Lupton sits near. Chief Yellow Horse bought the old Miller Trading Post in 1960 along with Fred the Buffalo. This was not the only trading post nearby. Another Lupton trading post was the Three Hogans trading post started in the 1930's.

Chindle point - Petrified Forest in Arizona

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