Lower Cathedral Wash to the Colorado River

Many of the best places we visit come from recommendations of people we meet while on the road. The Lower Cathedral Wash in Lee’s Ferry, Arizona is a perfect example of an astounding hike we would not have found on our own.

This adventure had no major technical challenges, but scrambling and careful decision making was critical. We had to maneuver our way over numerous ledges and rocky drops to safely arrive at the shore of the beautiful Colorado River.

This hike was our type of fun!

The canyon walls rose higher and more dramatic as the path meandered through the rocky terrain. We carefully made our way by following cairns that were stacked by people who had been there before us.

The further we traveled down the mostly dry wash, the more challenging it was.

As we progressed, the contours of the rocks gave us multiple paths to follow. Most of time, there was high, medium or lower routes we could take as we walked the wash. We often stopped to study rock formations and discussed which passage was best for us to take.

Most often, our choices made sense and worked out – other times, they were comical.

The Lower Cathedral Wash offers many ways to maneuver though – some of them comical!

The Colorado River

Just under 3-miles from the trailhead, we began to hear the sound of rushing water. We knew we were close the Colorado River and picked up our pace a bit in anticipation.

Our first view of the Colorado River at Lower Cathedral Wash

Then it happened!

We got our first view of the river. Walking to the water’s edge we soaked in the grandness of the river. We were excited to be there but didn’t talk much at first. It was a happy moment for us. Instintively, we held hands breifly and looked at each other with a excited smile.

“What do you want to do now?”

“Let’s get our feet wet!”

For a while, we had the river to ourselves which made us feel lucky to be there. We found the perfect rock to sit on to enjoy the fast moving river.

Soon, we were dipping our tired feet into the cool clear water and basking in the morning sun.

It was the perfect way to refresh our bodies and spirits.

After playing in the water for about 30-minutes we decided to start our return trip back through the canyon to our van.

You might also enjoy our story on: A Tranquil Morning on the Custer State Park Cathedral Trail.


Lower Cathedral Wash is an adventure we recommend to our readers. Every moment of this hiking adventure was enjoyable. The hike was challenging but not crazy. Anyone in reasonable physical condition can get through this rocky canyon trouble-free. Additionally, this hike is not a high traffic trail which is always nice.

Completing the Lower Cathedral Wash trail reminded us why we purchased our van Alice – Adventure and connection!

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