Lee's Ferry - Page 1 of 1

[Lee's Ferry scene.]   [Colorado River at Lee's Ferry.]
Ruins at Lee's Ferry, Arizona.   Colorado River at Lee's Ferry.

We took a short detour to visit this historic site on the Colorado River. Although it's now a popular put-in for river running and provides access for fishermen, the site has a long history of use by the early settlers. The river leaves its canyon and flows through open land here, so it was a natural site for a river crossing. The crossing was heavily used by the Mormons in the 1860's as they traveled from Utah to establish settlements in Arizona. The increasing white settlement resulted in strife and warfare with the Native Americans, and a small fort was established at the crossing. In the early 1870's, John Doyle Lee became the first permanent resident; the site bears his name. Ferryboats operated from 1873 to 1928, and habitation continued through the 1940's.

The river is flatwater between Lee's Ferry and Glen Canyon Dam (about 15 miles upriver), but enters its first set of rapids just downstream from Lee's Ferry (there is a warning cable across the river). Since the dam is relatively close, the river water is cool and clear. The public river access has parking, restrooms, drinking water, electricity, and a large boat ramp. Due to its easy access, this put-in is very popular. Supposedly, it's very difficult to get a rafting permit for a private group. The only practical way to run the river at this location is to take a commercial guided trip.

You can reach Lee's Ferry from Page, Arizona by heading south on US-89 for about 23 miles, then heading north on US-89A for about 14 miles.

Internet Links

Lee's Ferry - interesting site with complete history and lots of pictures
Map of Lee's Ferry - from Mapquest
Aerial photo of Lee's Ferry - from TerraServer (parking lot and boat ramp)

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