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Difficulty I-IV
Length 55 Miles
Gauge LITTLE COLORADO RIVER ABV MOUTH NR DESERT VIEW, AZ
Flow Range CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 215 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/15/2017 3:25 am

River Description


Below Cameron, the Little Colorado River flows towards the Grand Canyon through an impressively deep and narrow canyon of its own.   The distance from Cameron to the confluence with the main Colorado is approximately 55 miles, so boaters must expect to take several days.   The steepest 3 miles are reported to be class 4+ in difficulty.   Class 3 and some 4- rapids may be encountered throughout the rest of the canyon.  

All but the last 3 miles of this section are within the Navajo Tribal Reservation.   The last 3 miles are within Grand Canyon National Park. 

Take out:  Since flows in the Little Colorado are unpredictable, but permits for the Grand Canyon must be obtained far in advance, it is highly unlikely that boaters can coordinate a trip down the Little Colorado with a trip through the Grand Canyon.   So, boaters are faced with the dillemma of climbing out of the canyon at the end of their trip.  There are dirt roads along the rim in several areas and probably trails leading out of the canyon to those roads in some spots.  It is unclear what take out strategies have been used by boaters doing this section.

Elevations and gradient:
Cameron  4120 feet.   
Confluence with main Colorado,  2720 feet.
Total drop is 1400 feet over 55 miles, creating an average gradient of about 25 feet per mile. Much of the early distance appears to be very flat.  In the heart of the canyon there are sections of 30 to 40 feet per mile and one mile appears to drop about 80 feet.   


Permits are required from the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department for all trips on the Little Colorado River.  As of 2009, the backcountry permit fee is $5 per person, plus $5 per person per night camping fee.

 

Cameron Visitor Center is located near the put in. 
P.O. Box 459
Cameron, AZ  86020
tel : 928.679.2303
fax:928.679.2017
email: lcr@navajonationparks.org

Permits are also required from Grand Canyon National Park, if you plan on boating the final 3 miles to the confluence with the main Colorado. Contact:  

  • Backcountry Information Center: (928) 638-7875 between 1 pm and 5 pm Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays
  • River Permits Office: (800) 959-9164 or (928) 638-7843

Creative arraignments may be possible.

Other Information Sources: 
Little Colorado River Tribal Park
Video from helicopter showing Cocconino Platuea and small portion of Little Colorado Gorge.
Through the Little Colorado River Gorge, sun and shadows helicopter video.
QUICKSAND AND BLUE SPRINGS Exploring the Little Colorado River Gorge - Book about hiking.
Paddling Arizona at www.funhogpress.com

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Paul Martzen
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10 years ago

Thank you for these recent comments. I am correcting the description as best I can (without having done the run) and eliminating the hyperbole. Any additional information would be appreciated. Looks like somebody copied the previous description straight from the Southwest Paddlers website which appears to be canoe oriented. http://southwestpaddler.com/docs/coloradoaz12.html

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10 years ago

I aborted a trip here with a planned hike out option, as did many others, because it is NOT class V. According to reliable sources, it's about 3 miles of good class IV+, and the rest is painfully flat. Beautiful, but the 12 hour hike out was not worth it. Paddling AZ calls it class IV, and unlike the one here, the description in Tyler's book is trustworthy.

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11 years ago

This run's illegal only if you end your trip within Grand Canyon National Park and don't obtain a permit from the Navajo tribe.

Gage Descriptions

The USGS also provides flow information for the Little Colorado above Mouth near Desert View.

 

Permits

NA

Directions Description


It is unknown whether the route marked on the map below is actually usable.   The Navajo Parks and Recreation Department may be able to provide up to date information. 

No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

article main photo

Grand Canyon Protection Announced!

1/9/2012
Kevin Colburn

Earlier today the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, announced a 20-year moratorium on new uranium and other hard rock mining claims on roughly 1-million acres of land surrounding the Grand Canyon.  We would like to extend a heart-felt thank you to Secretary Salazar, his staff, and the administration for acting as responsible stewards of one of America's most treasured places.

article main photo

Grand Canyon Gets Interim Protection from Mining

7/7/2011
Kevin Colburn

The Secretary of the Interior recently announced a 6-month extension to his Department's moratorium on new uranium mining claims on over 1 million acres along the rim of the Grand Canyon.  This extension will protect the area while the Department of the Interior reviews the 300,000 comments received on their proposal to extend the protections for the next 20 years.

article main photo

Paddlers Rally to Protect Grand Canyon from Uranium Mining

3/29/2011
Kevin Colburn

The paddling community is rallying to support a proposed 20-year federal moratorium on new uranium mining claims around Grand Canyon National Park, citing unacceptable risk to the recreational, environmental, and aesthetic values.  Read more to learn how to submit a comment of your own. 

article main photo

Grand Canyon Lottery Open Until October 21st

10/6/2006
Kevin Colburn

Earlier this year, the Grand Canyon National Park began implementing their new management plan and river permitting system.  Paddlers wishing to enter the weighted lottery, which replaced the old wait list, may do so until October 21st. 
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Paul Martzen

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Kestrel Kunz

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1189914 04/16/09 Paul Martzen n/a
1195760 08/11/09 Paul Martzen
1208050 07/15/17 Kestrel Kunz