Little Colorado, Arizona, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||23 fpm|
|Max Gradient||80 fpm|
|LITTLE COLORADO RIVER NEAR CAMERON, AZ|
|usgs-09402000||200 - 10000 cfs||I-IV||01h17m||1010 cfs (running)|
|Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.|
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
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:
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