A report on Grand Canyon and Lees Ferry

Image of the Grand Canyon and surrounding area taken from the International Space Station
Lonely Dell Ranch at Lee's Ferry Recreation Area,
The Grand Canyon from an airplane, with the Colorado River visible
Man fly-fishing on the Colorado River at Lees Ferry, AZ
Grand Canyon, Arizona, Nevada, Lake Powell to Lake Mead, June 27, 2017, Sentinel-2 true-color satellite image. Scale 1:450,000.
Historic desert fruit orchard at Lee's Ferry Recreation Area.
Diagram showing the placement, age and thickness of the rock units exposed in the Grand Canyon
Hiking trail along the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry Recreation Area.
Rockfalls in recent times, along with other mass wasting, have further widened the canyon
View of the Colorado River from Lees Ferry
Ancestral Puebloan granaries at Nankoweap Creek
One of the surviving buildings at Lonely Dell, the settlement established by John D. Lee at Lees Ferry in 1870
La conquista del Colorado (2017), by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, depicts Spanish Captain García López de Cárdenas 1540 expedition
Standing 467 ft above the river, the original Navajo Bridge (rear) superseded ferry operations at Lees Ferry in 1929. The second bridge was built in 1995 to accommodate modern traffic load requirements.
William Bell's photograph of the Grand Canyon, taken in 1872 as part of the Wheeler expedition
Map showing the Colorado River basin and some of its major reservoirs; Lees Ferry (slightly left of center) is located directly below Page, Arizona and Lake Powell.
Noon rest in Marble Canyon, second Powell Expedition, 1872
Inflatable rafts lined up for launch at Lee's Ferry
Desert View Watchtower in 2004
1923-built steam locomotive No. 4960 at the Grand Canyon Depot
Grand Canyon covered with snow
Smoke from prescribed fires on the South Rim, as seen from Yavapai Point, April 2007.
Natural fog sometimes fills the canyon, during temperature inversions
Grand Canyon Climate Summary Chart (NPS)
A bighorn ram perched on a cliff in the Grand Canyon
A bighorn ewe at the Grand Canyon, 2008
A California condor in flight, photographed from Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon, 2008. Wild condors are numbered to aid wildlife researchers. As of April 2009, there were 172 wild California condors known.
Red-tailed Hawk flying at the south rim of Grand Canyon
An elk searching for water at Grand Canyon National Park in 2018.
Rafters in the Grand Canyon pass one of the rapids of the (mud-)"colored" Colorado River
Guano Point – a popular vantage point for tourists, situated on the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, Hualapai Indian Reservation
Grand Canyon rescue helicopter, 1978
Ribbon Falls, near the North Kaibab Trail, represents ground water reaching the surface.
David Rust, ca.1910
Railway Station and El Tovar Hotel, Facing WNW, Grand Canyon Village. 1994 photo, HAER
Fred Harvey postcard, The Towering Cliffs above Hermit Camp
Vishnu rock, Trail of Time, Grand Canyon

Today Lees Ferry is a well-known fishing and boat launching point, including for whitewater rafting trips through the Grand Canyon.

- Lees Ferry

Building good relations with local Hualapai and white settlers, he reached the Crossing of the Fathers, crossed the location that would become Lees Ferry on a raft in 1858 and Pearce Ferry (later operated by, and named for, Harrison Pearce).

- Grand Canyon
Image of the Grand Canyon and surrounding area taken from the International Space Station

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Colorado River

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One of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

One of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Headwaters of the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Colorado River in the Grand Canyon seen from Pima Point, near Hermit's Rest
Satellite view of the Colorado River valley near Yuma, Arizona; interstate 8 runs from left to right just below center.
Colorado River as it exits the United States into Mexico beneath the San Luis Colorado-Colonia Miguel Aléman Bridge (September 2009)
The San Juan River near Mexican Hat, Utah
The Green River at Mineral Bottom, just north of Canyonlands National Park
Annual Colorado River discharge volumes at Lee's Ferry between 1895 and 2004
Map showing the Upper and Lower Colorado River Basin, and adjacent areas supplied by Colorado River water.
The Black Suspension Bridge crosses the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon at Phantom Ranch, Arizona.
Remnants of basalt flows from the Uinkaret volcanic field are seen here descending into the Grand Canyon, where they dammed the Colorado over 10 times in the past 2 million years.
Navajo woman and child, photographed by Ansel Adams, c. 1944
Pueblos and cliff dwellings such as this one in New Mexico were inhabited by people of the Colorado River basin between 2,000 and 700 years ago.
Two Mohave warriors beside the Colorado River in 1871
La conquista del Colorado, by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, depicts Francisco Vázquez de Coronado's 1540–1542 expedition
Coronado Sets Out to the North, by Frederic Remington, c. 1905
Lithograph of Fort Yuma, c. 1875
Marble Canyon, one of the many gorges that Powell's expedition traversed
The steamboat Mohave No. 2 at Yuma, c. 1876
John D. Lee, date and photographer unknown. He established a permanent ferry across the Colorado.
Harrison Gray Otis, president of the Colorado River Land Company
Hoover Dam releasing water in 1998
The Grand Ditch, one of the earliest water diversions of the Colorado River, is still in use today.
Hoover Dam under construction, 1934
The Imperial Dam (bottom right) diverts water into the All-American Canal (center) running towards Imperial Valley.
Glen Canyon Dam, the largest dam of the Colorado River Storage Project
The main canal of the Central Arizona Project, crossing the Sonoran Desert
Lake Mead in 2010, showing the "bathtub ring" left behind by low water levels
Heavily forested banks of the Colorado River near Topock, Arizona
The Colorado was named for the reddish color caused by its natural sediment loads, but damming the river has caused it to acquire a clear green hue as seen here in lower Glen Canyon.
A rafting party on the Colorado River

Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, it flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border, where it turns south toward the international border.

In Arizona, the river passes Lee's Ferry, an important crossing for early explorers and settlers and since the early 20th century the principal point where Colorado River flows are measured for apportionment to the seven U.S. and two Mexican states in the basin.

1938 poster of the park

Grand Canyon National Park

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15th site in the United States to have been named as a national park.

15th site in the United States to have been named as a national park.

1938 poster of the park
Grand Canyon Quarter
Grand Canyon regional map
From Powell Point on the South Rim
Sunset at Cape Royal Point, North Rim. Wotans Throne featured.
From Toroweap Overlook on the North Rim
From Desert View on the South Rim

The park's central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered one of the Wonders of the World.

In 1975, that monument and Marble Canyon National Monument, which was established in 1969 and followed the Colorado River northeast from the Grand Canyon to Lees Ferry, were made part of Grand Canyon National Park.

John Wesley Powell's second expedition on a noon-day rest in Marble Canyon

Marble Canyon

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John Wesley Powell's second expedition on a noon-day rest in Marble Canyon
A panoramic view of Marble Canyon from Navajo Bridge.
Looking into Marble Canyon, Shinumo Altar in the distance.

Marble Canyon is the section of the Colorado River canyon in northern Arizona from Lee's Ferry to the confluence with the Little Colorado River, which marks the beginning of the Grand Canyon.

Glen Canyon Dam

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Concrete arch-gravity dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona, United States, near the town of Page.

Concrete arch-gravity dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona, United States, near the town of Page.

Panorama of Glen Canyon Dam showing Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam and Carl Hayden Visitor Center.
A boater on the river in Glen Canyon before damming, circa 1898.
Map showing locations of major dams in the Colorado River Basin, with Glen Canyon near the center of the basin.
Echo Park, looking south with the Yampa River (left) joining the Green River. The USBR proposed damming the Green a short distance downstream, behind the large cliff (Steamboat Rock) at right.
Near Music Temple in Glen Canyon during the 1870s
Glen Canyon damsite from the air in November 1957, prior to construction of the Glen Canyon Bridge
Architectural plans for the Glen Canyon Dam and ancillary structures
Glen Canyon Dam under construction, 1962
Lake Powell filling underway, 1965
Glen Canyon Dam releasing floodwater in 1984, testing repairs of the spillways which were heavily damaged in 1983.
The right spillway gates during 1983 flood, showing flashboards that were installed to increase the water level
Low water levels on Lake Powell in April 2006, seen from Hole in the Rock. The water is 107 ft below the top of the "bathtub ring" along the reservoir shore.
An aerial view of Glen Canyon Dam from upstream, showing the spillways to lower left and right, the Glen Canyon Bridge and the electric switchyard to the right of the bridge.
Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell
Francis turbine runner on display
A generator being repaired with rotor removed
View of the power plant and grass lawn
Inside the turbine hall at the Glen Canyon Power Plant
View of the Colorado immediately downstream of Glen Canyon Dam (right). The green, clear water is caused by the dam trapping sediment, which would naturally cause the river to have a reddish-brown color.
The Colorado River is now much calmer and colder than before the dam was built.
River outlet works are open during high flow experiment in December 2012.
Map of Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon NRA
Chart showing daily water volume observations for Lake Powell, from Jun 28, 1963 to October 11, 2021
Lake Powell surface area shrinkage

The dam is named for Glen Canyon, a series of deep sandstone gorges now flooded by the reservoir; Lake Powell is named for John Wesley Powell, who in 1869 led the first expedition to traverse the Colorado River's Grand Canyon by boat.

It was believed to represent the annual flow as measured at Lee's Ferry, Arizona (the official dividing point of the upper and lower basins), 16 mi downstream of present-day Glen Canyon Dam.

The Latter-day Saints' Apostle to the Indians, scout, and colonist of American West

Jacob Hamblin

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Western pioneer, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and a diplomat to various Native American tribes of the Southwest and Great Basin.

Western pioneer, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and a diplomat to various Native American tribes of the Southwest and Great Basin.

The Latter-day Saints' Apostle to the Indians, scout, and colonist of American West
Location of Jacob Hamblin's home in the Mountain Meadows
Hamblin's home in Santa Clara
Hopi village of Oraibi
The Vermillion Cliffs near Lee's Ferry
Aerial photograph of Jacob Hamblin Park, Kanab Utah, spring 2017
Map showing Jacob Hamblin's documented travels from 1854-1878

This was somewhat north of the later crossing at Lee's Ferry which he discovered.

In 1870 he also acted as an adviser to John Wesley Powell before his second journey through the Grand Canyon.

Painting of the Domínguez–Escalante expedition displayed in the Utah State Capitol building

Domínguez–Escalante expedition

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Spanish journey of exploration conducted in 1776 by two Franciscan priests, Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, to find an overland route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to their Roman Catholic mission in Monterey, on the coast of modern day central California.

Spanish journey of exploration conducted in 1776 by two Franciscan priests, Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, to find an overland route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to their Roman Catholic mission in Monterey, on the coast of modern day central California.

Painting of the Domínguez–Escalante expedition displayed in the Utah State Capitol building
Colorado Plateau
The route of the Domínguez–Escalante expedition of 1776 across the Colorado Plateau
Escalante Pueblo, Dolores, Colorado
Paradox Valley and Dolores River, western Colorado
Grand Mesa, western Colorado
Comanche camp
Map of Yampa Plateau, White River, and Green River in northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah
Uinta National Forest, north central Utah
Utah Lake and Utah Valley
1777 map of western part of the expedition's route through Utah and Arizona. This map was probably drawn by Miera, but is significantly different from the subsequent maps he drew of the area explored.
Paria Canyon
Glen Canyon
Old Spanish Trail (trade route), the route from Santa Fe to Salt Lake Valley was documented for future travelers during the Domínguez–Escalante expedition

The expedition wanted to travel south to the Colorado River but learned from eight Native American men that although they were not far from the Colorado River it was unapproachable, surrounded by a great, deep canyon (the Grand Canyon). Out of provisions, they sacrificed one of the horses for food and the next day sought water. Miera was ill, unable to eat and nearly unable to speak. Near Diamond Butte, they came upon five Native Americans, called Yubuincariris, who showed them to an area of good water and took a few men back to their village to trade for some food, wild sheep, prickly pear and grass seeds. The Native Americans also shared information about other neighboring tribes. Although they knew nothing of Monterey, they had heard of the travels of Father Garces.

Guided by local Native Americans, the expedition proceeded to the site of present-day Lees Ferry, but found it too difficult a crossing. They were led to a second ford of the Colorado River, where they carved steps into the canyon wall. This ford, named the Crossing of the Fathers, is now submerged beneath Lake Powell.