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Cathedral Wash

Cathedral Wash
Hiker in Cathedral Wash
Rafters on the Colorado river as seen from Cathedral Wash
map: Cathedral Wash


How to Get There
This hike is located in the North East corner of Arizona, North East of the Navajo bridge crossing.

From Flagstaff, take US Highway 89 toward Page, AZ. At Bitter Springs, take HWY-89A towards Marble Canyon. After crossing Navajo Bridge, turn right towards signed Lee’s Ferry. After driving 1.5 miles, you’ll see a parking area on the left, along with a sign on the left for Cathedral Wash and a hiking marker on the right. Park here.
Cathedral Wash
Lees Ferry
Grand Canyon and Marble Canyon area

Hike details

2.20 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
2.2 miles round trip.
2.00 [Hours]
It took us two hours.
Elevation Change
400 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Loss
200 Total Elevation Loss[Feet]
Elevation Details
about 200 ft decent to the river
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back
Special Features


Season Details
Fall or Spring is best. Winter is OK too, but it could be cold.
Date Hike completed
May 15, 2010


Solitude Details
We hiked this during the week and had it all to ourselves.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
30 yr old Recommendation: The narrows are beautiful and the scrambling is challenging fun! This is a Moderate difficulty hike because of the scrambling needed.


Skills Detail


Be Aware of
scrambling with some exposure. Entrance fee required in this area (as of May 2010, it was $15 per car).

Hike through Cathedral Wash near Lees Ferry, Arizona.

This hike is yet another great route to get to the Colorado River in the Marble Canyon area. Although short in distance, it challenges the hiker to scramble around some dry falls. You need to be comfortable scrambling (on occasion with exposure) to do this hike.

From the parking area, follow the hiking sign on the South side of the road into sandy Cathedral Wash. You won’t be trudging through sand for too long before the walls get deeper and you’re in some beautiful narrows. The first fall is the most significant, as it’s about a 25 ft drop. There is a route on your right to get around this fall. Follow the cairns, even though they can be hard to find. The scrambling here is easy, but there is a bit of exposure so be cautious. After this point, there are more falls to navigate around, just keep your eye out for the cairns and you’ll get by them without much trouble (as long as your scrambling skills are up to it). Soon enough you’ll leave the narrows of the canyon and emerge to views of the Colorado River. This is a great spot to rest a moment and enjoy the cool waters rushing by. If you brought your fishing pole (and have a fishing permit) this is an excellent place to try your luck at landing a Colorado River trout.

When ready, return the way you came.


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