Lee’s Ferry

The starting point for the Grand Canyon, Lee’s Ferry, is rich with history. John Lee was sent by the Mormon Church to create the ferry crossing, which officially launched on January 11, 1873. Its creation and fast success were imminent as it was the only place with relatively flat land leading to the river on either side for hundreds of miles. For an excellent and brief history of John Lee and the crossing, the NPS has this article.

Today, Lee’s Ferry is still significant and for much of the same reasons: Relatively flat access to the river, which is why it’s the official Grand Canyon starting point. For your rafting trip, Lee’s Ferry can be a busy place and it’s important to stay organized and remain courteous. This page will help with some orientation to give you an idea of what to expect.

General overview

Keep rafting fun. The ramp will probably be busy, it might be hot out and people tend to get stressed because their gear is everywhere. Not to mention someone just realized they don’t know a damn thing about backing up their truck and trailer, so to make it easy, everyone decided to watch. Don’t let it get to your head – be cool, you’re going rafting! There’s no rush, it’s not a race and the river will be there in 30 minutes, 4 hours and tomorrow. Help out the guy with the trailer.  Introduce yourself to new faces. Be a mellow and friendly person. Below is some very basic information of what’s at the ramp and some tips.

  1. Boat ramp: Private trips are given the furthest downstream end of the boat ramp. Upstream is commercial groups, and upstream of that is meant for those going up river. Keep your gear organized and don’t take up the entire ramp.
  2. Parking lot: There is a parking lot located at the ramp. Once you’re done rigging, you will need to move your vehicle back up the road you arrived on, to the larger parking lot area. This is where the shuttle drivers will be looking for your vehicle
  3. Restrooms: There are flush restrooms available here, behind the parking lot. Enjoy them, because it’s groover city once you push off.
  4. Water: There is a spigot located next to the restrooms. Fill up everything that you have as this will be your last easy place to fill water. Seriously, everything you got. Don’t push off tomorrow with a half full water bottle, as you’ll only be creating work for yourself down the road.
  5. Shade structure: Don’t organize your gear underneath the shade structure. That’s bad form.
  6. Camp: Your day zero camp is just downstream. Between the ramp and camp is 0.1 miles of flat water. There is no need to rig to flip when you float to your camp.

Not labeled, but the NPS will have a Ranger check your required trip items. Be organized and have them ready to go.

If you hired an outfitter, follow their instructions and you’ll be rigged in no time.

The views are excellent from the start.

The best part of taking photos is you’re unavailable to help unload.

Some gear requires thoughtful packing. Other gear, not so much.