Lees Ferry Hiking



Lees Ferry Hiking is rugged country with extreme temperatures. Flash floods are possible during the wet season and can occur even when the sky is clear. Carry plenty of water and check with the ranger station before attempting these trails.

Spencer Trail

This trail climbs 1700 feet up the cliff behind Lee's Ferry Fort. The trail is rubbled and not well maintained. Keep your eyes on the ground to prevent falling. The views of the Colorado River and the Ferry are wonderful. You will also get some views of the Paria River valley as you climb. There are long switchbacks. At the top you get a view of Lake Powell, Navajo Mountain, Page Arizona and the river. Most people consider this an moderate trail if you're in good condition. The elevation may be considered strenuous for some hikers.

Late fall, winter and early spring are the best time to hike in this area.

Getting there: From Flagstaff go north on US 89 about 110 miles. At Bitter Springs, turn west (left) on US 89A and go 14 miles to Navajo Bridge. Turn right into Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Drive to the boat ramp at the end of the road and park in the parking lot.

River Trail

This trail starts at the Lees Ferry launch ramp and follows the old wagon road past the fort to the upper ferry crossing site. A “Walking Tour Guide” is available. It's hike is about a mile round trip and takes about an hour. This a an easy hike.

Rider Canyon

This hike is a mile and a half on slippery boulders until you reach the Boulder Narrows. It can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours depending on your experience hiking slot canyons. They can be slippery and require more time plus you will have to do some scrambling to get in and out of the canyon. It is very scenic so well worth the trip.

Getting There: From Flagstaff drive north on Highway 89. Turn left on Highway 89A towards Jacob Lake and follow it across the Navajo Bridge. Turn left on a dirt road just past mile post 557. Head south on this dirt road. In 2.1 miles bear left at a road junction and cattle guard, at 3.3 miles stay left again. At 4.6 miles you'll reach the Kram Ranch, turn right and pass through a fence. The road heads south for about a half mile then bends east. At 5.6 miles you'll reach another fork, stay left and continue driving. At 11.9 miles from the highway bear left at a junction following a faded brown hiker's sign. At 12.2 miles follow the hiker's sign right. This section of the road has a few rough, rocky sections and you'll follow it right to the canyons edge at 14.2 miles. You need a high clearance vehicle.

Soap Creek Canyon

This is a somewhat nerve wracking but scenic hike. The ground may appear dry but frequently it is wet and muddy. This is caused by water pockets that form after flash flood during the wet season. The hike down is challenging . It's a 4 ½ miles and will take about 3 to 4 hours.

When you arrive at the bottom you can camp on the Colorado River banks. Trout fishing is very good here and you will probably see white water rafters floating by.

It is a good idea to contact the Bureau of Land Management before starting the hike to check on the conditions of the canyon. You will need an overnight camping permit if you choose to stay the night. You will also need a fishing license and trout stamp if you want to fish. You are allowed to keep 6 fish each day. This hike is for experienced hikers only.

Getting there: Drive southwest from Marble Canyon (about two hours north of Flagstaff) on Highway 89A for about nine miles, to a point just past mile marker 548. Turn southeast (left); go through and re-latch a gate, then drive one-half mile to the Lees Ferry trailhead.


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