Before you embark on your whitewater rafting expedition with Hatch River Expeditions, you may have some extra time to spend in the Marble Canyon area. In fact, it’s worth getting there early to mosey around the place.
On the Way
If you’re driving from the north, be sure to stop in at Grand Canyon North Rim (and Zion NP if you have the time) on your way. Drive all the way out Walhalla Point and look down at the Colorado River. It’s all about the grand perspective and this is a good starting point. The Rangers have good talks about geology, archaeology and other Canyon topics. The drive from 8,800+ feet at North Rim to the desert floor of Marble Canyon at 4,100 feet is stunning. Make sure you do the drive in daylight and have time to stop at Vermilion Cliffs vista, it is simply breathtaking.
From the south, you may make the detour to Grand Canyon South Rim even though it’s crowded and accommodations are difficult in the summer. There are a few vantage points from which you can see the River, but the history of the Canyon is all around you.
1 Hour in Marble Canyon: If you have one hour and are at the mercy of having no car, walk the rain drainage’s (mind the rattle snakes) behind Cliff Dwellers down the hill to the original Cliff Dwellers Lodge. It’s called the Rock House and was built by Blanche Russell in the early 1930s after her car broke down and she fell in love with the place.
You may also want to explore the cliffs behind Hatch River Expeditions warehouse. The road that leads to the top takes you to Edwards Abby’s old stomping grounds.
Make sure you sit on the patio at The Cliff restaurant and enjoy dinner with an amazing view. Cliff Dwellers is located next door to Hatch River Expeditions’ headquarters. A night in their lodge is included in the price of full Canyon and upper Canyon river trips.
5 Hours + a car: Take the road to Lee’s Ferry (where your raft adventure will start) and follow the signs to the Mormon settlement of Lonely Dell Ranch. Wander the orchards, graveyard and stone buildings.
A left turn out of the road to Lee’s Ferry will take you to nearby Old and New Navajo Bridges. You can drive across New and walk the Old for a view of the Colorado River. Navajo/Dine sell jewelry on the south side and the north side has the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center. You’ll be passing under these bridges towards the beginning of your white water river rafting trip! At river mile 4.5, the bridges give you a view down into Marble Canyon; the beginning of the Grand Canyon. A photo from this vantage point would be great to review when you’re on the Colorado River the next day.
Just south of Page (and about a half hour drive from Navajo Bridges) on AZ 89, view the famous Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River. A short walk from the parking area will bring you to the view point. In addition to the Navajo Bridge, this is a great spot to get some perspective that you can relate back to once on your raft. You will not be rafting this portion of the Colorado River, though.
North of the horseshoe bend is Glen Canyon Dam where you can tour the Carl Hayden Visitor Center and Dam http://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm.
Use caution when driving local roads – especially at night. It is open range land. Cows can unexpectedly walk or be standing in the road.
1 Day + a car: Wire Pass Trail is a permit-less, half day hike located 30 miles west of Page on AZ89.
A day is enough time to visit the Grand Canyon North Rim. A stop at the Jacob Lake turn off rest stop shop is a must for any cookie lover. Keep a watchful eye out for the bison that roam the wildflower fields on the drive in to the Park entrance.
Spending time in the area before your trip will give you an introduction to how the desert works and some of the stories that make the Grand Canyon a special place.
Marble Canyon is headquarters for whitewater rafting the Colorado River through Grand Canyon was last modified: July 22nd, 2015 by