Cathedral Wash Slot Canyon | Lees Ferry Arizona

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Only a few miles downstream from Horseshoe Bend lies Lees Ferry and Cathedral Wash. However, despite it’s close physical proximity, it takes about an hour to drive there from Page, AZ! While that might seem like quite a way, it is also far enough to get away from most of the tourist crowds. If you can get to the trail early, you might even have it all to yourself! Click below for our adventures in the Cathedral Wash slot canyon:

Cathedral Wash Trailhead

Just 3 miles south of Lees Ferry Campground is a pullout for upper and lower Cathedral Canyons. The entire area is within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and requires either an entrance fee or an annual parks pass. As a bonus, if you are coming from Page, Navajo Bridge makes for an amazing view of the Colorado River before you enter the recreation area!

We didn’t hike the upper canyon on this trip. If we had spent more time in the area we definitely would have! It is the lesser used of the two trails, and as I understand it, calling it a trail is a bit generous. You basically follow an unmarked trail up the wash until it dead ends at the Vermillion cliffs. It isn’t a slot canyon, but the rocks up this way are much more colorful and the towering cliffs up to the Paria Plateau are all the views you need!

The lower canyon is what most people refer to as Cathedral Wash. It is a 3.3 mile round trip through the slot canyon down to the Colorado River. You can easily get over half way into it before any rock scrambling begins. Since it was pretty slow going for us as a family we met quite a few hikers on the way back that, like us, didn’t plan to go all the way down. Whether or not you feel comfortable with the rock scrambling portions and make it all the way to the river, you won’t regret spending a couple of hours here!

Historic Lees Ferry

Because of the surrounding canyons, Lees Ferry is the only place within 700 miles where you can drive all the way down to the Colorado River. A ferry operated here from 1872 until 1928. The end of the ferry coincided with the opening of nearby Navajo Bridge.

Nowadays, you can still check out some of the historic buildings and even pick your own fruit from Lonely Dell Ranch. Lees Ferry is now a popular site for fishing, but even more so for launching rafts into Grand Canyon!

Paria Beach

About a mile down the river from Lees Ferry boat launch, Paria Beach is a great place to cool off after a hike. It has its own parking area, but there’s also a short trail to it from the campground. The beach area is technically within Grand Canyon National Park since Marble Canyon is considered the beginning of it.

Colorado River from Paria Beach

Where To Stay

The most obvious places is right in Lees Ferry Campground. There are also some boondocking options nearby. See our related blog post about campgrounds near Page for more info!

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Pinable image of a mom and her kids in Cathedral Wash
Pinable image of balanced rock and Colorado River by Lees Ferry
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