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.
The ramp will probably be busy, and it’s easy to get stressed out with so much activity, but stay calm, collected, and organized and you’ll be rigged without too much trouble. Below is some very basic information about what’s at the ramp and some tips.
- 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.
- 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
- Restrooms: There are flush restrooms available here, behind the parking lot. Enjoy them, because it’s groover city once you push off.
- 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.
- Shade structure: Don’t organize your gear underneath the shade structure.
- Camp: Your day zero camp (called First 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.
Be ready for the NPS Ranger to check your required trip items. Be organized and have them ready to go.