Historic Lees Ferry & Lonely Dell Ranch

Grand Canyon Region

Lees Ferry was the site of the region's original ferry crossing, and of Charles Spencer’s 1910 effort to extract gold from the surrounding hills. Today it's the launching area for rafting trips down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. Nearby, Lonely Dell Ranch provided for families who worked at the crossing in the 1880s and ’90s. The log cabins and a pioneer cemetery remain, as well as an idyllic orchard where visitors are welcome to pick (and eat) the fruit.

Though the main ranch buildings lie only about 700ft up a dirt road from the parking area, a walking tour of the entire ranch is a 1-mile round-trip. Look for the shared grave of the Johnson boys. As the story goes, a passing family didn’t have money to pay for the ferry, so Johnson granted them passage in exchange for the clothes of the travelers’ dead child. Within weeks, the five Johnson boys were dead, infected with fever from the clothes.

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