Lee's Ferry (also Lees Ferry or Lee Ferry) is a site on the Colorado River in Coconino County, Arizona, United States, about 7.5 miles (12 km) southwest of the town of Page, Arizona and the Glen Canyon Dam, and about 9 mi (15 km) south of the Utah-Arizona border. It is the former location of a ferry established by John D. Lee, a Mormon settler. Today, the site is used primarily for fishing and launching rafts.
In 1871 Mormon settler John D. Lee was directed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to establish a ferry on the Colorado River. The location had earlier been scouted by the Mormon explorer Jacob Hamblin on his numerous missionary expions to the Hopi and the Navajo east of the Colorado River. Previously, the river had been forded at the Ute Crossing or The Crossing of the Fathers, which is now under Lake Powell. With financing supplied by the church, Lee built the ferry in 1871??872 near the confluence of the Paria River with the Colorado. Due to its proximity to the confluence, the site was originally named Paria Crossing. It features a natural slope from the cliffs to the riverbank, allowing safe crossing over the Colorado River in otherwise impassable terrain. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Lee's Ferry was the only crossing of the Colorado River by ferry between Moab, Utah and Needles, California; it was heavily used by travelers between Utah and Arizona.
Since Lee traveled frequently, the ferry was managed primarily by his wife, Emma Lee. Lee was eventually forced to leave the ferry site to evade law enforcement officers for his part in the 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre; he was executed by firing squad on March 23, 1877. In 1879 Emma Lee sold the ferry, for 100 milk cows, to the LDS church, which continued to operate it until about 1910. Coconino County, Arizona subsequently managed the ferry. The Lee's Lonely Dell Ranch and the ferry are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, together with the wreckage of the riverboat Charles H. Spencer.
The ferry was closed in 1928 when the Navajo Bridge (now carrying U.S. highway 89-Alt) over Marble Canyon was built 7 km to the southwest.
A steel wire cable basket for Park Service use now crosses the Colorado River at the old ferry site.
Lee's Ferry is considered the official beginning of Grand Canyon National Park on the Colorado River and is used as a fishing area and river rafting launch site. The site features several buildings built at the site beginning in 1874 along with a steamboat abandoned in 1913 by a mining company working the canyon walls nearby. The area is managed by the National Park Service within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area as a historical site.
Lee's Ferry is the principal starting point for rafting trips through the Grand Canyon, which are said to offer "a trip backwards through time" as the river cuts through progressively older strata. The majority of trips are run by dedicated commercial rafting enterprises using motorizedinflatable raftsto carry large parties of tourists on the river (up to two dozen passengers per raft) with most trips lasting a week to ten days. Some trips travel all the way to Lake Mead some 277 river miles downstream and can last several weeks. Permits for private trips are backlogged on an extensive waiting list with up to ten years required to obtain a permit. All but the most experienced rapid runners are discouraged from this potentially dangerous trip.
Trips upstream from the nearby Paria Riffle may be made without special permit (other than a day use boating fee) and users may travel upstream on calm waters to the foot of Glen Canyon Dam. Camping sites are also available for a minor Park Service fee.
Near Lee's Ferry is where the annual flow of the Colorado River is measured in order to divvy up its water among the seven states that depend on it. Their future of the water supply from the Colorado River will be decided at Lee's Ferry.
Boating Facility Features
- Licenses For Sale
- Gas and Oil
- Tackle and Equipment
- Any Motor Size
- Launching Area
- Boat Trailer Parking
- Drinking Water
- Trailer Spaces
- Camping Allowed
- Paved Access
- Gravel Access
- Dirt Access
Scenes from the movie Into the Wild (based on the book by Jon Krakauer) were shot on location at the Lee's Ferry National Park Service Station, which featured actors Emile Hirsch as Christopher McCandless and Steven Wiig as the Lee's Ferry Ranger, Steve Koehler.
- U.P. native goes 'Into The Wild'
- Arizona Boating Locations Facilities Map
- Arizona Fishing Locations Map
- Where to Fish in Arizona Species Information
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In 2003, cartoonist Jay Fosgitt was commissioned by Goodrich Quality Theaters to create a promotional character for the company. After numerous revisions, the company settled on the current design and named the character Kernal Korn. Later,inflatable mascotsof the character were manufactured and distributed to all Goodrich Quality Theater locations. These figures remain on display at Goodrich theaters. The character is also used for theater promotional materials, such as in-theater advertisements for Goodrich's free kid shows, though his use has become less frequent in recent years.