I have lived in Arizona the majority of my life. I have traveled and camped throughout Arizona. And yet, I did not experience the wonder that is Lees Ferry Campground in Northern Arizona until the Spring of 2017.
Lees Ferry, where have you been all of my life and why did no one ever tell me about you? Lees Ferry Campground is located in Northeast Arizona along the Colorado River. It is the location where many organized floats down the Colorado River begin. The campground is about a 30 minute drive from Lake Powell. The campground sits on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River. It is surrounded by beautiful red rock landscape. The campground is fairly small with no hook-ups and pit toilets. The small size makes it even more wonderful. There are some nice spots that look right over to the river. When we where there it was a mix of motor homes and tents.
The experience camping at Lees Ferry is almost like camping in the Grand Canyon without the very long hike, packing your supplies and the resultant blisters, muscle aches and realizing “now that I’ve hiked in this damn canyon I actually need to hike up and out!” No, you can just drive right in, park your car, pitch your tent and feel accomplished. The views are breathtaking.
The river contains trout and probably some other fish, but we caught trout. The fishing I’m told is some of the best in Arizona. Fishing guides regularly take people out in this area of the river due, I assume, due to it’s accessibility. We just fished from the shore but managed to catch several nice trout over two days time. Which may sound, sad but it is pretty good for us here in Arizona!
The water is relatively calm just above the parking area near the river. I was able to put in a kayak and paddle around. There is also a nice sandy beach by the rougher water down stream to put up a chair or spread out a blanket and enjoy the sounds of rushing water. Not far up the river is the famous Horseshoe Bend. You get to the trail head for Horseshoe Bend about twenty minutes down the road to Lake Powell. Well worth a look.
We camped at Lees Ferry in the Spring. There were not very many people, but the weather in Spring is unpredictable. We went through a surprise snow storm in Flagstaff on the way up. The first night camping it was incredibly windy and chilly. The next day was warm and sunny! The third day was overcast and rainy. That’s pretty much what you get in Spring. The Summer will be hotter and more crowded. Fall would probably be a good time to visit with less people and better weather.
I can’t recommend Lees Ferry enough. If you are camping through Arizona at least spend a night here. While the campgrounds in the Grand Canyon are outstanding, unless you hike into the canyon your really don’t get the same feeling as you do in Lees Ferry and don’t get to enjoy the fabulous Colorado river. And throw a line in, you just might catch some dinner!