During ideal times, the Little Colorado Gorge can be an absolute, magnificent paradise. Although it’s difficult (if not impossible) to predict them very long in advance, most days of the year fall into this category.
Dry Gorge Conditions
An otherworldly turquoise river runs perennially through the lower 20 miles of the gorge during extended periods of dry weather. The river is fed by a constant stream of groundwater, and flows briskly even during the hottest days of summer.
The Gorge Under Flow
When water pours in from the plateaus above, the Little Colorado loses its pristine blue waters. Significant flows course through the gorge a few times each year, carrying thick loads of silt and sediment. In high waters, many places in the gorge can become an absolute deathtrap.
Every few decades, monumental floods tear through the narrow walls with enough violence to carve rock and alter the landscape. It is a staggeringly beautiful place, but also one that must be explored with considerable caution and planning.
A few time each millenia, massive storms inundate the vast plateau that drain into the Little Colorado gorge. Waters of biblical proportions surge down the gorge, even more voluminous than the Colorado itself. The river level can raise overnight by one hundred feet or more, inundating the narrow canyons in a ferociously powerful surge from wall-to-wall.
|Map of the Little Colorado||Simple and accurate overview of Little Colorado canyons, prominent trailheads and geographic features||americansouthwest.net|
|Little Colorado Gorge Overlooks||Regional map, practical knowledge and wide assortment of digital maps of the area for download||thewave.info|
|Little Colorado Scientific Projects||Excellent information about the Little Colorado's twice-yearly "residents" and their research programs||gcdamp.com|
|Humpback Chub Information||The LCR is the largest remaining holdout for an endangered fish, the Humpback Chub.||gcdamp.com|
|Harvey Butchart Archive||Harvey Butchat's legendary canyon writings and exploration photographs (Northern Arizona University digital archive)||nau.edu|
|Kayaying a Flooded LCR||Incredible story of one of the earliest (1978) and craziest of rare kayak runs down the Little Colorado||ryanlouiscooper.com|
|Basic River-Running Information||A few details about the logistics of running watercraft down the Little Colorado River||americanwhitewater.org|
|Save the Confluence||Powerful Navajo-lead coalition to oppose exploitative and greedy outside development in the Grand Canyon and Little Colorado gorge||savetheconfluence.com|
|Video: The Confluence||This short documentary explores how the physical landscapes of the Grand Canyon shape the cultural, emotional and spiritual landscapes of the Navajo people who inhabit it||vimeo.com|
|How to Cross Rivers Safely||Practical tips and advice for crossing swift currents and streams - a vital skill for travel along the bottom of the gorge||backpacker.com|
|Beamer & Tanner Trails||The two essential trails needed for shortest hiking route from the National Park to the confluence||trimbleoutdoors.com|
|2012 Trip Report - Hopi Salt Trail||Good 2012 Salt Trail hiking description, photos and terrain map||bobbordasch.com|
|2018 Trip Report - Hopi Salt Trail||Blog article and a few very good photos of March 2018 trip down Salt Canyon||backobeyond.blog|
|Walter Powell Route||Firsthand account of the difficult, dangerous route down to the confluence||sierradescents.com|
|Salt Trail Canyon to LCR Gorge||Details of the Hopi Salt Trail hike and discussion, photos and GPS trip logs||hikearizona.com|
|Canyons Group Discussion||2011 archive of excellent discussion and advice about Little Colorado gorge hiking and trip-planning||canyoncollective.com|
|Ecology & Mormon Settlement in NE Arizona||History of some of the earliest white settlements in the region||drabruzzi.com|
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