Show Low, Arizona

The city of Show Low sign welcomes visitors. 

SHOW LOW, AZ (3TV,CBS 5) - Small town charm and easy living in the cool ponderosa pine forests of Arizona's high country.

That's the attraction of Show Low, the largest city in Navajo County, nestled in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona.

The city is the hub of commercial activity in the region. It's one of the fastest growing communities in northern Arizona. How it came about its name is a story branded into Arizona's history.

Legend has it that two settlers living in the area, Corydon E. Cooley and Marion Clark, lived and shared a ranch along the creek where Show Low now sits. The pair owned land they where they raised crops and cattle in one of the most beautiful locations in the state.

But the pair felt there wasn't enough room for the both to pursue their dreams on the same piece of land, one had to go. But who?

The situation was settled with a card game, Seven Up. The game concluded when Cooley only needed one point to win. Clark is reported to have said, “If you can show the low card, you win.” Cooley showed the deuce of clubs, the lowest card in the whole deck, and claimed the settlement, saying “Show Low it is!”

Anthony Cooley is a relative of Corydon E Cooley, one of the two men who held the cards in the infamous card game almost 150 years ago.

Cooley-Clark sculpture

The Slow Low card players are depicted in the Cooley-Clark sculpture

The infamous card game whose stakes were all or nothing for the ownership of the ranch owned by Corydon E. Cooley and Marion Clark likely happened late in 1876 just prior to the new year.

Although there is no formal record of the card play. "It seems in keeping with Cooley's custom of playing cards in the evening for various stakes, including who would do the dishes after dinner," said Anthony Cooley.

The city's main street is named, "Deuce Of Clubs," in honor of the memorable card that sealed the deal for Cooley.

It seems the good folks of Show Low also have a sense of humor, too. To celebrate the arrival of the new year they hold a party in downtown Show Low where they, "drop the deuce," at the stroke of midnight!

Outdoor activities are a popular tourist attraction in this area. Camping and hiking are very popular with over 2 million acres of National Forest land adjacent to Show Low.


Elk are plentiful in the forests of the White Mountains. 

The area around Show Low is loaded with wildlife. Possible encounters with wildlife like deer, elk, bear, antelope, mountain lion and turkey are not uncommon.

If you like to fish, there are over 40 lakes and streams in the area including Fools Hollow Lake, Show Low Lake, Rainbow Lake, Little Mormon Lake and White Mountain lake, to name a few.

The nearby White Mountain Apache Tribe community also offers numerous opportunities for the angler, although a separate license is required from the tribal community.

Do you like to ski? Usually when visitors think of Arizona, skiing doesn't come to mind first, but Sunrise Park Resort, is operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe and is one of a few ski destinations in the state. It is a short drive from Show Low. Cross country skiing is also a popular winter activity in the high country.

Hitting the links in the high country is popular in the summertime and there are seven golf courses in the area to challenge players of all skill sets.

On occasion, forest fires have posed a threat to the community. In June of 2002, residents of Show Low had a close brush with one of the biggest forest fires in the state's history.

On the night of June 22, 2002, the Rodeo Chediski Fire bore down on the city forcing evacuations of thousands of residents and the closure of SR260 between Heber and Show Low. Numerous structures in nearby communities of Overgaard and Heber burned.

It was only through the heroic efforts of the firefighters that the community was saved from destruction.

An area worth visiting, any time of year, the city of Show Low offers outdoor adventure, relaxation, fresh air and tall pines! Go see for yourself! If you want to check out Show Low, its located 175 miles northeast of Phoenix along U.S. 60.



Copyright 2020 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Content Producer

Eric is an assignment editor and content producer with AZ Family-3TV & CBS 5 News. Read more about Eric in his bio.

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