In 1878, 10 years after the Navajo returned to northeastern Arizona from their forced exile at Bosque Redondo in New Mexico, John Lorenzo Hubbell bought a trading post at this site. He established it on a 160-acre homestead that was along an old trade route whose first recorded use was by the Dominguez-Escalante expedition in 1776. The building that survives today was first built in 1883 from heavy sandstone that was quarried in the area. This was an excellent location on the southern banks of the Pueblo Colorado Wash. Navajos from the surrounding areas journeyed to Hubbell's trading post to trade their wool, sheep and handicrafts for the flour, coffee, sugar, baking powder, tobacco, canned goods, cloth and tools that they had grown accustomed to during the years of their confinement at Bosque Redondo. For many years this was a true "trading post" as cash almost never changed hands between the trader and the Navajos.

John Hubbell had an excellent reputation among the Navajo because he treated them fairly and with respect. Members of his family continued to operate the trading post until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1965. The store is still active and is now operated by the Western National Parks Association, a non-profit group that cooperates with the National Park Service in the operations of many facets of the National Parks in the western US.

When you walk into the Hubbell Trading Post today, what you are seeing is the original structure. Interior and exterior maintenance is ongoing with the intent being to preserve and protect that original structure. Along the road in to the Trading Post you'll pass several 8-sided Navajo hogans: these are original Navajo homes. All the jewelry, baskets, pottery, paintings, and rugs for sale on the property are authentic, hand-made Navajo creations.