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Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon, AZ

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Guide 42 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > Jacob Lake N
4.5 of 5 by 20
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,150 feet
Elevation Gain 1,500 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 - 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.5
Backpack No
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3  2017-11-11 friendofThunderg
8  2017-09-02
Spencer Dominguez Pass Fail
6  2017-09-01 JuanJaimeiii
1  2017-05-18 Appalachia
5  2016-10-15 friendofThunderg
12  2016-04-06 azbackpackr
32  2014-09-27 quadman
7  2014-05-29 JuanJaimeiii
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author Ben
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 0
Photos 20
Trips 3 map ( 30 miles )
Age 77 Male Gender
Location Glendale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:25pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Climb Echo Cliff
by Ben

This hike involves following the signs as one walks upstream. The trail divides as one path leads along the north side of the Colorado River, while the left branch heads up the Spencer Trail. After a hundred yards of slight incline, the next mile is continual switchback climbing. During this climb, one can view the Echo Peaks to the south of the Colorado where John Dellenbaugh fired his pistol in 1872 in an attempt to use echo to determine distance from the peak to the river. The thousands of returning echoes lead him to just estimate elevation and name the 70 mile long cliff system the Echo Cliffs. Also, the Vermilion Cliffs with Powell's Monument on top are in full display. If an early morning hike is involved, the morning sun delivers the namesake colors. Also, the muddy waters of the Paria River can be seen entering the emerald green water of the Colorado. Below the painted desert colors of the Chinle Formation is also visible. After considerable climb, Lee's Backbone, the early ferry road up the southern bank of the river, can be seen.

Once the switchback end and the hiker reaches the top of the cliff, views of Page, Lake Powell, the Kaiparowits Plateau, The narrowing of Paria Canyon, and Navajo Mountain are available. After continuing another couple hundred yards, one can look 1,000 feet straight down into Glen Canyon. Walking along the Glen Canyon western rim is possible from downstream near Finger Arch and upstream to Death Pockets. If time permits, a hiker can continue north to Domingues Pass through the Echo Cliff. This is where the Spanish Fathers, Dominguez and Escalante crossed in their return to trip south to the Hopi Mesas and eventually New Mexico.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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2005-01-15 Ben
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    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 19 deeper Triplog Reviews
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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Maybe the most scenic trail I have ever done. I thought it was challenging but not too bad of a hike, although in some areas it is rough and you have to jump or climb up in sections. Some parts near the top of the trail were sandy which I thought was pretty cool, water was clearly present here at some point all the way up there which is pretty fascinating. When I first arrived their was a large gathering of FLDS members which kind of gave me a culture shock within Arizona. Given the history though of Lee's Ferry it makes sense though. I think the drive in on the 89A to Lee's Ferry Road is one of the most scenic drives in the state of Arizona. I realized I was driving 35 in a 65 at some point along the 89A and usually I tend to speed.
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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We made a half-hearted attempt at Dominguez Pass, but turned around after the communication tower where it starts to get pretty rugged. We had limited water and started late, with three dogs, it seemed more wise to turn back. I was also a little worried about the unknown, finding the Mule Ears and getting us all down safely without any issues. Also the hiking description was not really matching the route I had downloaded, so that was a little bit worrisome. Our route to the communication tower was good however, but Route Scout went crazy and its really no good to post. Nice views though!
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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This ended up being a very cool final stop and hike of our eight days on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The hike got pretty good reviews from the quick research I did at Jacob's Lake and even though I knew it would be a little warm for the pups, we went for it, as it was a short one, we would have the benefit of a little shade and we had a nice river to cool down in after.

The trail is listed as rugged and not maintained, but I thought there were several signs of some great trail condition and actually found it to be in pretty good shape for its route up the sheer cliff face. The views from the top make the hike worth it, as do the views of the Colorado towards Lee's Ferry, as one climbs. Jackie was a little winded going up, but the dogs and myself did just fine. After some pictures on the top, we headed back down at a more brisk pace to get the pups to water faster. They thoroughly enjoyed their dip in the Colorado and even I partook, having not showered in over a week. I am a little intrigued by this area and think there could definitely be some opportunities for further exploration during the cooler months.
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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As everyone already knows we made a stop on the Spencer Trail on our way to Nankoweap. It was a hot and sunny day by the time we got started. We made steady progress up the trail. The views are magnificent as you ascend up. Once on top, BobP led us to an overlook with even better views of the Colorado and Page. After a break all of us returned to the trailhead and that was that.

This is a fun trail and is worth doing if you combine it with another hike in the area. The Paria River looks very tantalizing! It's going on the list. :D
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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I've wanted to do this trail for sometime and I'm glad I did. Months/years ago I was invited a couple of times by PageRob and/or azbackpacker for the loop, but couldn't make it. Glad I got this leg in as our group of 6 was headed to Nankoweap that evening!

Trail is straight forward and easy to follow. Steep and hot like the other dudes in my group have mentioned.

Saw a couple of HUGE, FAT lizards but was unable to snap any photos in time.

Exceptional views from BobP's special "great spot for a beer" area.
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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So this is a beautiful destination hike. But on a hot afternoon, the hike itself is an oven. The west-facing slopes just bake in the afternoon sun and make the 1500-foot climb up an exposed rock and scree slope a little less pleasant than I would have preferred.

Once up top, the views are beautiful. If we weren't on a schedule, I would have enjoyed venturing farther out to the Lee East Base marker or even hang out and wait for the sunset light, but we needed to get back on the road. Definitely a good workout and a worthwhile trip if you're ever at Lees Ferry.
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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With the AZT done we got a great nights sleep under the stars and shadows of the red cliffs.Swe-et.Joe said he had a nice hike to hit on the way home.I did the little river trail years back and don't remember the 15.00 fee. :o .We told them we were with Nick and all was cool. :) This hike is a good workout but the views make you forget all about it.(almost)Very cool area.Kodos to Joe for picking this one.Great way to finish the weekend! :D
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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our last hike was this waste of time...not! what a frickin' awesome hike. holy pumpkin :y:

awesome ascent up. fabulous views up top. we then went and found an even better spot to take in the river and get some outstanding photos.

blazed it down as my crunched pinky toe didn't like the sharp descent too much but held up surprisingly well overall throughout the trip : rambo :
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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One last beautiful hike with the crew before heading home. For Nick and I, this was the end of a 4-day hiking spree that had included hiking from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon straight through to the Utah border.

The start of the hike is a bit historical, seeing some old buildings and the boilder from a century ago that was used to help in the operation of trying to find gold at Lee's Ferry.

We hiked to the top and then went a bit beyond that. There is a very weak/sparsely cairned trail on top toward Horseshoe Mesa; I had a track for it (on the HAZ site called "Spencer Trail to the Steps"), and we followed it partway out to another lookout spot to get some shots of another horseshoe.

The rock layers are so fragile up there that it was easy to crack and break them by walking on them. Some of the rock overhangs that we took photos from we were careful with as well, for fear that they would just break off entirely.

Nick and I blazed down, ahead of everyone else, and then hung out at a dock on the edge of the Colorado River...water was nice and cool :)

By the way, if you go, be prepared for a $15/car fee coming in...
Spencer Trail - Marble Canyon
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After a restful night sleep with an AZT completed, we decided to hit up this little gem. At a little over 5 miles round trip, how tough could it be? Heck we just completed an 800 plus mile trail and a 40 mile weekend.

This one gets you heart pumpin' climbing more than 1500' in 1.5 miles. The views get better the higher you get until you get to the top. Once on top we took a NW track to a high point to check out the 360 views and catch my breath.

We sent Bird Dog Denny out to the North to try and find a good view of a horseshoe bend in the Colorado. Methodically he worked his way down the slope, howling like a beagle, he did not disappoint.

The place we found has a 2 or 3 foot cairn wrapped around a survey marker and a 4' tall stick. If you find this spot and make your way towards the ledge to get the FULL view, make sure not to make your way out to the last rock. Nick noticed that this was a 6" thick slab that jutted out over the edge. :o Not real safe and 1400' almost straight down.

We all took our pictures, soaked in the INCREDIBLE views and made our way back to the car.

Joe really thought that he might run into Serina with all the rafting going on, but even with his frequent calls out, there was no response. (Smart Girl, if she was there)

A short Video from the top

This hikes quickly moved into my top 5! Joe put it best

World Class!

Permit $$

Glen Canyon Recreation Area National Park
Glen Canyon Entrance Fee - 1-7 Day Vehicle Pass - $25

Boat fees additional, follow provided NPS link above.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Drive north on 89A across the Marble Canyon Bridge to the Lee's Ferry turn to the right. Drive to the end of the road and park near Lee's Historic Fort.

Directions to the Trail: Follow 89A north to Lee's Ferry Road just after crossing the Marble Canyon Bridge. Drive to the end of the road parking lot near Lee's historic fort and the Grand Canyon Float launching area. Follow signs to the trailhead at the base of Echo Cliffs.
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