Nearby Attractions

At the base of the vermillion cliffs, a myriad of adventures await you whether you’re seeking thrill or solitude. Fish at Lees Ferry, raft the mighty Colorado, hike nearby trails, visit national parks or simply stargaze.

Book your Room

(800)962-9755 or (928)355-2261

Nearby Attractions

Fishing

Hiking

California Condors

National Parks

Places of Interest

Stargazing

Whitewater Rafting

Fishing

Fishing is the cornerstone of our operation here at Cliff Dwellers Lodge. The angling at Lees Ferry has brought us to this desert oasis and we’ve built this business around providing the best possible fishing experience on the Colorado River. Lees Ferry Anglers was established in 1989, and since then we have expanded to include Cliff Dwellers Lodge and The Cliff restaurant in order to provide a complete fishing lodge experience. We have 13 full-time guides on staff, and every one of them is competent in assisting all types of anglers: from beginner to the most advanced fly caster.

The Colorado is a truly unique destination fishing locale. With its thousand foot Navajo Sandstone cliffs and its crystal clear water, the Colorado River is a desert refuge destined to capture the hearts and minds of any fly fishing fanatic. Our up-river fishing trips take passengers 14 miles through Glen Canyon where they will experience why John Wesley Powell, the first explorer of the lower Colorado Basin, gave the canyon a name which connotes a sense of peace and tranquility.

The river flows at varying rates but the water temperature stays at a constant 48 degrees, a perfect environment for healthy trout. Because Lees Ferry is a year-round fishery, an angler can catch 12 to 24-inch free swimming rainbow trout. And as the seasons change, so does the fishing. The summer months are a great time to visit Lees Ferry and target eager rainbows rising to a whole slough of big terrestrials. In the fall, spring and winter months we fish for aggressively feeding rainbows in the riffles and deeper runs. Trout at Lees Ferry gorge themselves on tiny midge larva, scuds, and aquatic worms. The tannins in the fish’s food source cause them to exhibit magnificent spawning colors which have become synonymous with Lees Ferry.

If you are interested in fishing with us at Lees Ferry, please email us or give us a call at 1(800) 962-9755. Our up-river fishing trips include gas and transportation in a covered Koffler Jet Boat (heated during the winter), lunch, rods, and guide service. If you need waders we rent them in our fly shop. We are more than willing to help. Come visit the Ferry and find out why we are proud to call this place our home.

Hiking

Northern Arizona and the Colorado Plateau offer some of the most unique landscapes in the Southwest. From the high-desert canyon country to the ponderosa forest of the Kaibab Plateau, there are hundreds of hiking trails all within a short distance from Cliff Dwellers Lodge. Regardless of the time of year there are many hikes that will suit each individual’s interest and skill level. Summer months are very warm and it is necessary to carry lots of water, two gallons a day per person is recommended. Never hike solo and always let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back. Stay on designated trails and wear proper clothing for the time of year. A wide brim hat and light long sleeve shirt is recommended for summer months along with plenty of sunscreen. Warm clothes and a water-proof jacket are necessary during the winter months.

Whether it’s historical interests, the Colorado River and its trout fishing, or the stark natural beauty of the area, any hiker can find solitude.

Cathedral Wash Location: Two miles after the turn off to Lees Ferry from Marble Canyon is a pull out on the left hand side of the road. There is a Park Service point of interest sign here and the trail begins in the wash bottom another fifty yards down the road.

Hike Description: This hike is a two-hour round trip hike which takes you through limestone narrows to the Colorado River. There are a couple of short drop offs which can be avoided by hiking the upper shelves. The song of the canyon wren can be heard year round and an occasional red tail hawk can be seen. This canyon is subject to flash flooding during summer rain storms. Before entering the canyon check local weather reports. The trail ends at the Colorado River in the Marble Canyon gorge where you can fish and enjoy the solitude. This is a day use area only where overnight camping is prohibited without a permit issued from the Park Service.

The Honeymoon Trail: This trail ran right through the Cliff Dwellers Lodge property and was the historic old wagon road linking St. George, Utah with Lees Ferry on the Colorado River; and from there, to numerous settlements throughout northeastern Arizona. The route was used for several years by young married couples from Arizona seeking Temple marriage in what was then the only “Mormon” Temple west of the Mississippi River.

Brigham Young, the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, sent Jacob Hamblin, who had traveled Northern Arizona, to select an area for a “Mormon” settlement. Hamblin suggested a colony near the San Francisco Mountains along the Little Colorado. In 1873, Young sent Lorenzo W. Roundy to explore with Hamblin. They reported their findings to Young, who then sent Horton D. Haight and a group of men to settle the land. Haight and his party returned to Utah a few months later, complaining that the land was too barren to settle and describing what they considered to be monumental problems.

Yet, in 1875, Young sent 15 men, including James S. Brown, to settle the area. In December, they reached Moenkopi and built a fort in Tuba City. Then they turned to exploring the area. The next year, Brown returned to Salt Lake City and gave a favorable report to Young. Soon, more than 200 settlers arrived and established such communities as Sunset, Joseph City, Snowflake, Show Low and Taylor.

In 1877, the St. George Temple was completed and in 1881 the first of the settlers made the journey to St. George over what would eventually become known as the “Honeymoon Trail.” The trip took 3-6 weeks, with the worst section being the crossing of the Colorado River. Earlier, in 1870, Brigham Young had sent John D. Lee to establish a ferry and by 1872 it was fully functional. Lee worked the ferry until 1874, after which it was manned by the Johnson family until 1896. In 1928, Navajo Bridge was built, replacing the ferry.

Much of the Honeymoon Trail is still visible. In some places it can be negotiated by car, although most of it is passable only by foot, horse or 4-wheel drive vehicle. Some sections are located on private land or Native American lands. The trail is sporadically marked on public lands from the Lees Ferry area to just east of St. George, Utah.

As wagon trains and young couples moved along the trail, they stopped to leave their names chiseled in sandstone or painted in axle grease on the cliff walls in several areas. If one of your loved ones passed along the Honeymoon Trail, their signatures may be etched into the stones of Arizona.

Lower Paria Canyon/Lonely Dell Location: Trailhead for Paria Canyon begins at the historic Lonely Dell Ranch near the Lees Ferry boat launch. Before you cross the bridge at the Paria River, you will turn left onto a gravel road. This road is easy to drive and will not be an issue for any vehicle.

Hike Description: The lower Paria Canyon trail follows the creek bed, which flows year round with shallow muddy water fed by springs further up the canyon. Magnificent sandstone walls streaked with desert varnish rise nearly a thousand feet on either side. The canyon bottom is dotted with cottonwood and desert willow. The trail is easy to follow and allows the hiker to enjoy the scenery. Early in the morning glass the cliffs with binoculars and you might spot bighorn sheep. There is also the possibility of seeing one of the giant California condors effortlessly gliding through the sky. Spend some time poking around the historic Lonely Dell Ranch where first, John Doyle Lee and later the Johnson family lived. There is an interesting cemetery along the trail where many of Arizona’s first pioneers are buried. This is an easy hike and offers its visitors a glimpse into the labyrinth of Arizona’s canyon country.

Spencer Trail Location: Trailhead located a couple hundred yards upstream from the Lees Ferry boat launch. There is a sign and rock cairn where the trail takes off to the left. As of March 14th, the sign seems to have some minor difficulties with staying upright, so you may have to look around on the ground.

Hike Description: The Spencer trail climbs to the top of the cliffs above the Colorado River. This hike is considered difficult and not recommended during summer months or to be done by anyone with a fear of heights. This hike will consume about 4-5 hours. Expect to do a lot of switchback hiking. It is recommended that you bring plenty of water, around 2-3 liters per individual. The view from the top is spectacular (absolutely jaw-dropping, guaranteed) and offers quiet and solitude not found anywhere else. While overlooking the launch point and the beginning of the trail, you will also be able to vaguely see the Navajo Bridge in the distance. Bring some snacks and enjoy the view once you make it to the very top.

Once you arrive at the top of the hike, you may continue straight-bound for a couple hundred yards and you will be able to see the approximate 6-mile turn of the Colorado river, in addition to the city of Page, Arizona in the distance.

Feel free to explore the area, but be careful not to become lost. It is absolutely crucial that you always have a sense of direction.

California Condors

Revered as one of the rarest birds in the world, the California Condor was placed on the Federal Endangered Species list in 1967. Since then, the world population has increased to more than 400 condors around the world.

And you can see about 80 of them around Lees Ferry.

Part of a reintroduction project to attempt to boost the wild population, we currently have more wild condors in the Marble Canyon and Lees Ferry area than anywhere else in the world.

As the largest wild bird in North America, the condors can reach wingspans of 9 1/2 feet. With exceptionally keen eyesight, the condors normally nest in caves on cliff faces up to 6,000 feet in elevation.

National Parks

Not only is Cliff Dwellers Lodge on the road between the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon, it offers access to other National Parks within a few hours. Enjoy our hospitality as you visit some of the world’s most spectacular places.

 

North Rim, Grand Canyon

The North Rim is a quieter way to see the Grand Canyon. Smaller crowds and more of a natural experience welcome you. While the facilities are closed from mid-October to mid-May, the Cliff Dwellers Lodge is open year round. In the summer, be sure to reserve your lodging at the Cliff Dwellers Lodge early. There is a fee to enter the North Rim. You may use a Grand Canyon National Park Pass or a National Parks Pass.

 

South Rim, Grand Canyon

The North Rim is a quieter way to see the Grand Canyon. Smaller crowds and more of a natural experience welcome you. While the facilities are closed from mid-October to mid-May, the Cliff Dwellers Lodge is open year round. In the summer, be sure to reserve your lodging at the Cliff Dwellers Lodge early. There is a fee to enter the North Rim. You may use a Grand Canyon National Park Pass or a National Parks Pass.

 

Zion

A haven for campers and hikers. With beautiful canyons and many geological structures, there are plentiful places to experience first hand. It’s easy to take a scenic drive through the park in your own vehicle or on a free shuttle. If you are looking for solitude and a quiet place to contemplate nature, take a day to visit Zion. There is a fee to enter Zion National Park. You may purchase a pass at the gate or use a National Parks Pass.

 

Bryce Canyon

Hoodoos dot the land known as Bryce Canyon. It’s a great place to hike, bike or camp. There are several programs geared to star gazing at night. Because there is so much diversity in the landscape, sunrises and sunsets are beautiful. There is a fee to enter Bryce Canyon. You may purchase a pass at the gate or use a National Parks Pass.

Places of Interest

Perhaps the best thing about Cliff Dwellers Lodge is all the interesting nearby places. Here are a few of our favorites.

 

Lake Powell

Lake Powell was created in 1963. This is when the Glen Canyon Dam was in the process of being constructed and put into place. It took roughly 17 years for the lake to fill completely. Underneath, if you were to remove over 500 feet of water, you will find Anasazi ruins, many mining sites, among other fascinating history that would be sure to surprise you. Above, you will find yourself surrounded by magnificent rock formations and cliffs.

See the lake with more shoreline than the west coast. The water fluctuates from deep blue to a sea green depending on the time of day and weather. There are rentals for boats or personal watercraft as well as boat tours that will take you to Rainbow Bridge, Antelope Point or, in the summer, dinner cruises. You can swim, fish, scuba dive or walk along the beach. There is a fee to enter Lake Powell, which you can pay at the gate or you may use a National Parks Pass.

Lake Powell is located approximately an hour away from our location.

 

Glen Canyon Dam

The Glen Canyon Dam can be viewed from two different locations – top and bottom. The Dam can be seen from Page, Arizona, and also while on the river from below.

There are free tours of the dam available throughout the day. The Visitor’s Center is located just off of US 89 near Page on the north side of the bridge. There you can watch short films on the making of the dam, view photos from the early years of the dam or take one of the free tours down into the dam itself. Outside, you can enjoy a perfect view of Lake Powell and the Colorado River from the bridge.

 

Honeymoon Trail

The Honeymoon Trail ran right through the Cliff Dwellers Lodge property and was the historic old wagon road linking St. George, Utah with Lees Ferry on the Colorado River; and from there, to numerous settlements throughout northeastern Arizona. The route was used for several years by young married couples from Arizona seeking Temple marriage in what was then the only “Mormon” Temple west of the Mississippi River.

Much of the Honeymoon Trail is still visible. In some places it can be negotiated by car, although most of it is passable only by foot, horse or 4-wheel drive vehicle. Some sections are located on private land or Native American lands. The trail is sporadically marked on public lands from the Lees Ferry area to just east of St. George, Utah.

 

Dinosaur Tracks at Tuba City

When traveling to Lees Ferry or Cliff Dwellers Lodge from the south, you will pass very near a world famous dinosaur track-way that deserves a visit. Or, this can be an easy side trip from Cliff Dwellers Lodge. It’s about an hour drive.

The formation that the tracks lie in is the Moenkopi formation which is 160 to 200 million years old. When the dinosaurs were roaming this landscape, it was a swamp and low area. There are many visible three toed tracks mostly belonging to the dilophosaurus, a large herbivore.

Stargazing

For a brilliant array of stars, step outside and look up at the night skies. With no city lights or haze to detract from celestial perfection, you can see how full of light the sky really is. Test your astronomy skills and see how many constellations or stars you can find.

Summer Viewing: Scorpius, Sagittarius, the Milky Way, Aquarius, Circlet of Pisces, Cygnus, Cassiopia, Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Draco, Virgo, Libra, Leo and others. Jupiter, Venus and Mars can be seen during various months as well.

Winter Viewing: Taurus, Pisces, Delphinus, Gemini, Cancer, Orion, Canis Minor, Canis Major, Head of Hydra, Lepus among many others. Saturn is visible during the late winter months.

For maps and viewing help, visit the science center of the University of Arizona.

Whitewater Rafting

One of the best ways to see the Grand Canyon is by a white water adventure down the Colorado River. Since John Wesley Powell’s first exploratory trip in 1869, thousands of people have become part of the river-running community. The white water trips offered by local certified outfits allow passengers to travel down river and experience breathtaking beauty, fierce rapids, ancient ruins, side canyon hikes and the unique geological history of the Grand Canyon. One hundred years of innovative raft design and multiple generations of qualified river runners have opened up the river as a safe and exciting way to visit one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Folks of all ages are welcome, and many of the river outfits now offer trips for disabled patrons.

The river trips start just down the road from us at Lees Ferry. Passengers and guides alike stay with us at Cliff Dwellers Lodge and dine at our restaurant before their adventure. The entire river trip follows 279 miles of water from Lees Ferry to Lake Mead. As raft and passengers float through the Grand Canyon, the river drops 1,709 feet to the lake and produces some of the most challenging and exciting rapids in the world. Everyday, guests encounter torrent waters and heart pounding thrills. While most river rapids are gauged on a 1 to 5 scale (5 being the most challenging) the Grand Canyon is rated 1 to 10. This fact alone assures an adventure that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

If white water thrills aren’t all you seek, the trip juxtaposes its rapids with serene side canyon filled with trickling streams and spectacular water falls. Nestled back in lush riparian oasis, you have the opportunity to explore prehistoric cliff dwellings and commune with the Grand Canyon’s unique and isolated flora and fauna. If you are a geology buff, a river trip allows you to venture back through geological history starting at the age of the Dinosaurs and ending 1.7 billon years ago when the Southwest was covered by shallow tidal seas.

There are many ways to become a part of the Grand Canyon river rafting community. The simplest and most affordable way of running the river is to hire one of the 20 certified rafting outfits from our community. These outfits offer different adventure packages to fit the needs of guests. Trips vary in length from 7 to 12 days depending if choose a motorized pontoon boat or paddle the canyon in an oar raft or dory. Most of the outfitters allow singles or couples to sign up for group trips; or you can spend your time in the canyon with friends and family on charter trips. Lees Ferry Anglers and Cliff Dweller Lodge work closely with Hatch River Expeditions. They are our neighbors and they have been operating on the Colorado River for the past 65 years. They have a fleet of experienced boatmen and offer most of the packages mentioned above as well as four-day trips.

You can visit Hatch River Expeditions for more information. No matter how you choose to raft the river, you must get reservations in advance. If you are planning a trip down river and need lodging and food contact us or give us a call at 800-962-9755.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest information & news for Lees Ferry & the surrounding area.