Grand Canyon National Park

Lee's Ferry/ Marble Canyon

Exiled by the Mormon Church for his role in the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre (in which Mormons and Paiute Indians slaughtered 120 gentile settlers), John D. Lee ran a ferry at the base of the Vermilion Cliffs for years before being captured and put to death for his role in the crime in 1877. Today, Lee's Ferry is best known as the put-in for raft trips into the canyon and for the world-class trout fishing in the clear, cold water below Glen Canyon dam. Visitors stay at a campground here or at one of three lodges along sparsely populated Highway 89A, which crosses Marble Canyon, via Navajo Bridge, just south of Lees Ferry.

The Colorado River begins its meandering 277-mile journey through Grand Canyon by slicing into the earth downstream of Lee's Ferry, at the northeastern tip of the park. While the walls gradually rise, the river cuts downward, forming the narrow, steep-walled Marble Canyon. About 80 miles downstream of Lee's Ferry, the rock walls rise sharply along monoclines (places where rock bends around fault lines), and Marble Canyon gives way to the deeper, broader Grand Canyon. Although Marble Canyon bears little resemblance to the expansive canyon downstream of it, it cuts through the same rocks and is considered part of the same geological formation.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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