Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
||The Spencer Trail is a steep out and back hike at Lees
Ferry to the top of the Vermillion Cliffs with great views in all
directions. Technically, this hike lies in Glen Canyon National Recreation
Area, but I'm placing it in Marble Canyon due to it's proximity.
Lees Ferry: In the early 1870's the leaders of the Mormon Church in Utah
wanted to colonize Arizona, but the Grand Canyon was in the way. Here, at the
mouth of the Paria River, was the only place they could build a wagon road to
the river, cross on a ferry, and continue south. Explorers, Indian traders,
miners, and finally tourists followed the pioneers.
Spencer Trail: The trail was built by Charles Spencer as a means to
transport coal from Utah to fire boilers which ran sluices for his gold
mining operation. The mining operation was unsuccessful and the mine
abandoned in 1912 after only a year of operation.
||From Flagstaff drive north on Highway 89.
Turn left on Highway 89A, drive over the Navajo Bridge. Turn right at the
sign for Lees Ferry and follow the signs for the boat ramp. Drive past the
boat ramp a short distance to park in the gravel lot near the old ferry
||Sunny and nice
||From the parking lot, walk through the
gate towards the stone buildings you can see ahead. A small kiosk offers
Lees Ferry Walking Tour maps which describe the buildings and history of the
area. A short walk past the structures brings you to a sign marking the
start of the Spencer Trail, which begins climbing moderately up the talus
slope towards the cliffs which tower above you. The path begins climbing
somewhat more steeply as it performs a series of wide switchbacks up the
slope. When it reaches a cliff band, it runs parallel to it for a short
distance, before resuming the climb at an even steeper grade. When you are
within site of the summit, the path levels out, then actually descends
somewhat, before making the final steep climb to the top of the cliffs which
offer great views to Page, Lake Powell and the Red Rock country to the north
and Marble Canyon and Lees Ferry to the south. You may even see some rafters
beginning their 3 week long journey through the Canyon. Enjoy the views and
when ready, return the way you came.
The author and his wife completed this hike in 2.5 hours.
||Click picture for larger
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|The Lees Ferry Fort.
||The reward for your efforts.