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Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon

Summary: 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.
Directions: 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 structures.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Easy
Length: 3.5 miles
Date Hiked: March, 2003
Weather Conditions: Sunny and nice
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: 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.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife completed this hike in 2.5 hours.
Maps: None
Books:  None
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
The Lees Ferry Fort. Climbing.
More climbing. The reward for your efforts.