What’s the Story Behind the Kinikinik Store in the Poudre Canyon?
The Poudre Canyon is filled with interesting sights, sounds, and scenery for miles and miles in every direction. From the rushing river and gorgeous forest views to unique landmarks, there are plenty of places worth pulling off for while driving this stretch of road.
The Kinikinik General Store is one of those places.
The wooden building is situated right off Highway 14, yet it goes unnoticed by many people traveling through the canyon. Those who do stop to check it out might wonder what the story is behind the now vacant Larimer County location.
Kinikinik was named by early settlers, after a native low-lying plant found in the region. The small unincorporated community pretty much consisted just of the store, a few neighboring summer resorts, and some vacation homes. A fun fact: the Colorado destination is famous for being one of the longest palindromic places in the United States, and in the world.
The Kinikinik Store is located on the east side of Cameron Pass. It's just a short way up the canyon from Archer’s Poudre River Resort. Local rancher, Cap Williams, built the store across the road from his main Kinikinik Ranch house. Both the store and the surrounding tourist cabins were constructed from lodge pole logs that were transported down the mountainside in 1901.
During the early to mid-1900s, gas tanks also sat in front of the establishment. Tourists could rent a cabin for the night, stop inside the store and mail a letter, buy provisions, or fill their tanks before traveling onward.
During the 1950s and '60s, the rustic canyon lodge was managed by Nellie and Clyde Keller. Many guests returned year after year to stay at these quaint Colorado cabins. The location's close proximity to the Cache La Poudre made it an ideal destination for fishing, and there were plenty of trails nearby for hiking too.
The cabins were simple, with no running water. A communal toilet sat outside the cabins, but it was kept clean and comfortable for guests staying there. The outhouse also had a picture on the wall with the saying "After you feel well at ease, let in a refreshing breeze, don't run away as in a chase, take your last look at this place!"
The mountain across the road had a large stone face at the top. Youngsters would climb up the mountain to get to the top, while their folks watched from below. According to a former Kinikinik guest, Rebecca Caldwell, old-timers would sit on rocking chairs on the store's front porch every day, watching the world around them.
While the gas tanks are no longer there, the Kinikinik store and guest cabins still are. Motorists passing are offered a glimpse of the magic that once made this Poudre Canyon destination so special.
Take a Peek at the Historic Poudre River Ranch