Top 10 Camping Sites Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek

Top 10 Camping Sites Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek

River Rafting trips are an excellent way to bond and unwind. The thrill of taming rowdy waters and battling treacherous waves with teammates is nothing short of exciting. One of the best places to take rafting is the Colorado River, which flows through the Grand Canyon National Park.

It is common for rafters who plan a trip on the Colorado River to begin at Lee's Ferry and end up at Diamond Creek. The trip covers an average of 225 river miles and passes through breathtaking sites. It is possible to choose between rafting and hiking trips. 

A typical trip can last as long as 18 days. Due to the length of such trips, rafters will have to use camping sites along the way. Rafting trips can be challenging to organize, and there are many factors to consider before a trip can be successful. 

You have to cross many things off your checklists to be fully ready. Fortunately, this article will show you the best camping sites, so you have one less thing to worry about.

Camping Trip Checklist for River Rafting Trip

Camping Trip Checklist for River Rafting Trip

River Rafting trips can be a huge source of fun, but without adequate preparation, they could quickly descend into a form of nightmare. Creating checklists and marking items off them is a way of being thoroughly prepared. Below are some things to put on your checklist:

Travel Insurance and Trip Protection Forms

Travel Insurance is a form of regulated product that shields you from losses during your journey. Travel insurance policies can cover flight delays, rental damages, and even loss of luggage. 

The most important reason to get to guide yourself against any emergency that might come up during the trip. Whitewater Rafting is a very adventurous activity, and a little bit of extra protection wouldn't hurt.

Reserve Flights, Shuttles, and Lodgings

Always confirm your flight arrangements, shuttles, and lodgings to and from your departure and return cities. When embarking on a river rafting journey, it is advisable to book a book for the night before your trip. Also, reserve lodging for the night after you return from the river.

Don't forget to book on time as lodgings may become harder during peak vacation periods.

Whitewater Rafting Orientation

Part of the thrills of rafting is overcoming the risks associated with the activity. But you can reduce the risk with proper orientation. Ensure to watch a whitewater rafting orientation video before the journey.

Physical Needs

Ensure you are adequately fit, as rafting trips can get quite physically demanding. Ensure that you get adequate exercise in the weeks preceding the trip. This is because most of the routes along the little Colorado river are physically challenging.

Good Camping Gear

Good Camping Gear

These are the things you would need during the expedition. You need to make sure you bring along some items you will physically need. Here are some of them:

Good River Shoes

Flip flops and slip-on may be acceptable on a raft, but they would not cut it when climbing wet and slippery river rocks. When embarking on rafting trips, sturdy shoes with good treads are the best option. If you want to explore lake mead, glen canyon, or the marble canyon, don't take sturdy shoes for granted.

Good Lotion

Rafting trips that happen in the summer when the sun is hottest. Rafts do little to shade the skin from sunburn, but a good lotion protects your skin from the sun's harsh rays.

Plastic Bags

Rowing all day in a raft bashed in rowdy waters is not a dry activity. You will undoubtedly get wet along the way. Bring plastic bags along to store wet clothes. The wet bags would protect your dry clothes from getting moist.

Immune Booster

Rafting trips are fun but also strenuous. All the rowing, hiking, and sleeping in camp tents can be tasking for your immune system. An immune Booster like Emergen-C will work wonders.

Ground Blankets 

Ground or Camping Blankets serve multiple purposes on rafting trips. You can place wet clothes on them when changing, they can serve as a barricade on camp doors, or you can stretch out on them.


Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, tweezers, and other toiletries are crucial. You would likely be unable to purchase them during the trip, so it's best to come prepared.

First Aid Kit

It would be best to consider including a simple first aid kit containing the various items needed to treat slight cuts and bruises. Also include ibuprofen, antibiotics, and anti-diuretics to help combat pains and possible infections.

Thermal Flasks and Mugs

Keep your favorite beverages and other fluids at a stable temperature while you row or hike about the plain. Never underestimate the importance of a cool drink in hot weather.

Complete Camp Gear

Do not forget the complete camp gears such as camp-tents, camp bags, river guide books, headlamps or flashlights, sleeping bags, and thermal clothes. Cross off the items off your list as they might come in handy.

Board Games

Take a few games to keep you entertained while not rowing or hiking. Some hiking trails might take you through places without a weak mobile signal; board games can come in handy through this period.

Note: this is not a standard or comprehensive list for camping or river rafting. Ensure to do proper research and be thoroughly prepared before each camping session.

Best Campsites to Explore On Your Colorado River Rafting Trip

Lee's Ferry is a popular destination for river rafters, and it isn't hard to see why. The place is the only place within the National Recreation Area where you can move up the river.

The Colorado River consists of two parts- the high and low sides. By passing through Lee's Ferry, you can spend most of the time rowing, fishing, and hiking. The river is surrounded by an astonishing view of the North Canyon.

The entire encompass from Lee's Ferry to Diamond Creek has about 54 designated campsites, all promising. However, a few of them are pretty intriguing. Here are the top ten sites along the Colorado River that you must visit.

Lees Ferry Historic Site

Lees Ferry Historic Site

Lees Ferry is named after John D. Lee, who ran a ferry boat to take people across the river. The Ferry carried price across the river from 1872 to 1928 when the government built a bridge.

It remains the only place within Glen Canyon where visitors can drive to the Colorado River. And that's one of the things that made the glen canyon so popular among rafters.

Pioneers, miners, tourists, and Indians regularly ferried across the river. It was a former spot for gold miners, and some of Lees Ferry's infrastructure was built by prospective gold seekers.

The site has a rich history, and many see it as a merge between the old and the new. Even today, you can see at least two historic buildings around the Lees Ferry Site.

The Lees Ferry junction and park entrance lie west of the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center. A five-mile-long paved road leads to the Lees Ferry Area.

The site is considered comfortable and beautiful. It offers services like a dump station, gas station, public ramp launch, and a National Park Service campground. 

Additionally, you can easily launch your rafts down the canyon from this point. It also has good hikers trails surrounded by the magnificent Paria canyon through the wilderness. You can also enjoy world-class trout fishing if you launch from this point. The possibilities are simply endless.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

The glen canyon stretches from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of Southern Utah. Its unique geology offers abundant water-based or backcountry recreation opportunities, and it features beautiful panoramic views.

One of the unique features of this area is its access to several other prehistoric sites and park services. They share a border with several parks systems, such as the National Park and the Canyonland National Parks. These parks offer National Park services starting from the park entrance.

You can also see outstanding monuments such as the Capitol Reef and the Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Federal lands with idyllic scenes like the Paria-Canyon Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness are also accessible.

Rafters that choose the Glen Canyon Recreation Area find they can do a host of outdoor activities from boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking to hiking. The area is home to diverse bird species, which is also ideal for birdwatchers. 

If you have a four-wheeler, a drive into the canyon will offer geological wonders and scenic vistas. Several touring companies also offer Biking and mountain tours. A good thing about the site is that it has something for everyone to enjoy.

The campgrounds in the area have full, partial, or no hookups for RVs. They also offer boat launch ramps for those who intend on river rafting and fish cleaning services for fishers. Other items include picnic tables, potable water, fire grills, and laundry.

Lake Powell

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is an artificial water reservoir that straddles the Utah and Arizona border. But most of the lake is located in Utah. It is the second largest artificial reservoir by water capacity in the United States. The reservoir is named after American Civil War Veteran Wesley Powell.

The lake was created by the flooding of the Glen Canyon Dam. The flooding process began in 1969 and would take eleven years to make the lake what it is today. Incidentally, this same flooding also led to the creation of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Unlike Lake Mead, about two million people visit the lake each year, making it a significant vacation spot.

Lake Powell offers several attractions for vacationers and river rafters. Boating is a prevalent activity with excellent fishing spots and hiking spots. About 90 visually stunning canyons surround the lake. Many of these attractions can only be accessed by foot or by boat. Boating seems to be the most popular form of accessing the attraction sites because the view from the lake is breathtaking.

One of the most popular sites of Lake Powell is the Tribal Park-Antelope Canyon. Years of assault from rain and wind carved out this canyon on red sandstone. The canyon has a narrow passageway that leads several hundred feet away from the mouth. 

Many who have visited the Tribal Park-Antelope Canyon have described the experience as indescribable. One thing is that the walk through this canyon is bound to thrill you beyond words.

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a stunning geological monument between the Kaibab National Forest and the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. It contains the Vermilion cliffs, Pariah Plateau, Paria Canyons, and the Coyote Buttes.

The Canyons and Cliffs are a product of many years of wind and water erosion. They are one of the most visible landforms on the Arizona Strip and are famous for housing several endangered species. 

The cliffs are isolated from human activities and require a lot of planning and effort to access. But those who do try to access it often comment on the great solitude and the stunning scenery.

If you must camp here, however, prepare for desert conditions. Carry your water and food and suitable clothing. Wear a sturdy pair of boots too.

Spencer's Trail

Spencer's Trail

Despite being a mile out-and-back trail, Spencer trail is a popular spot with hikers but has since acquired a reputation for being strenuous. The trail is about 2.1 miles long and elevates to about 1600 feet. Trips usually take about 2-3 hours around and within the Spencer Trail. But sometimes, wet weather may influence how long the trip will take.

However, those who persevere receive a tremendous reward. The trail offers fantastic views of the southern Colorado River and the City of Page across the northeast.

The trail begins at the North end of Lee's Ferry Access Road and is about 5.8 miles from the boat launch. Its closeness means you can access parking lots, dump stations, and the national park service.

The best time for hiking the trail is usually in the evenings or the spring or fall when the weather is cooler. If you are looking for a popular destination for evening camping along the Lees Ferry Area, consider exploring the Spencer Trail.

Remember to carry enough water with you when hiking Spencer's Trail. It is a hike that will indeed taste but reward you with the most exciting experience. Perhaps, hoping to get water at a nay park entrance might not be the best option.

Westwater Canyon


Westwater Canyon is the first whitewater stretch that lies on the Colorado River. It is known for many things, including its intense rapids and terrific geological scenery. It is located between the Colorado/Utah state line and Cisco, Utah.

The entire rapid is 17-18 miles long and is often called an overnight stretch, and can take as long as 1-2 days to pass through. Because of the vicious nature of the river, most people on a river trip are advised only to pass the Westwater Canyon in the presence of a skilled oarsman. This is something mentioned very often by the people in charge of the Grand Canyon National Park Service.

One of the highlights of the canyon includes passing through the Vishnu Schist; many believe the rock is as old as a billion years. The canyon is only one of two pathways that expose Precambrian rocks.

The campsites along the way offer moderate services, and you will mainly use tents. Also, it's encouraged to pace yourself during the passage of the canyon.

Lava Falls

Lava Falls

Lava Falls is one of the most famous and most formidable rapids on the Grand Canyon, a prospect that should have the hardest of river rafters salivating. Its steep falls and highly technical rapid layout makes it a worthy challenge. It is rated a class 10 rapid, which is the highest in the Grand Canyon ranking.

Lava Falls is located at the river mile 179 in the Lower Grand Canyon. Its unique geology makes it hard to access directly except by rafting down the Colorado River or hiking the Lava Falls trail. Both rafting and hiking are considered part of the adventure.

The Lava Fall trail begins in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and is a mere 1.5-mile distance from the river.

But although it is the shortest rim to river route, it is still one of the most treacherous. Only the most seasoned hikers attempt the trail.

Rafting the Colorado River is the best way to experience Lava Falls. However, that part of the Colorado River is known for its powerful rapids. Both experienced and amateur rafters are encouraged to scout the rapids beforehand to guarantee a safe trip. Similarly, rafting through the marble canyon requires that you explore the terrain first.

To experience the whole Lava Falls experience, you may need to book a complete Grand Canyon trip. The trip typically starts at Lees Ferry and ends at The Creek. Use a reliable booking company like Advantage Grand Canyon to ensure all arrangements proceed smoothly.

NankoWeap Canyon

NankoWeap Canyon

NankoWeap Canyon has three parts-Little NankoWeap, Middle NankoWeap, and Upper NankoWeap. The difference between them is their elevation. Nankoweap is the first significant side canyon found as the marble canyon begins to open up into the Grand Canyon. The term 'Nankoweap' comes from the Paiute word meaning 'singing or echo' canyon.

NankoWeap offers many beautiful sites and experiences, and its most prominent feature is the NankoWeap Trail. The trail is one of the popular hiking trails on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The only challenge with the trail is that it is unmaintained and descends about 6000 feet in 14 miles. Hikers have to carry their water since there is none in the 11 miles between the trailhead and the NankoWeap creek.

Many have described NankoWeap as the most arduous trail in the Grand Canyon, so proper planning must be made before embarking on it.

You must submit a permit to the Back office of the National Canyon National Park, and the office will assign you hiking dates and access to lodging.

Nevertheless, the trail and the creek contain one of the most spectacular views of the Grand Canyon and are usually worth the difficulty.

Deer Creek Falls

Deer Creek Falls

Deer Creek Falls is one of the most popular stopping points for river trips for visitors to the Grand Canyon. The fall is found at the end of Deer Creek, a Colorado River tributary. 

Several natural springs combine to form Deer Creek. During periods of heavy rains, the creek tends to have flash floods. At the last mile of the creek, it flows through a narrow slot canyon before plunging 180 feet to form the Deer Creek Falls.

You can access the Creek and the Falls by rafting and hiking (also called backpacking). Before you begin your journey, get a backcountry permit from Park Services. Backpackers access the creek from a point in the North Rim called Bill Hall Trail. A typical hiking journey, under the supervision of an experienced guide, can take 5-6 days.

To access the fall via rafting, you use Deer creek and move up to the Falls, where most commercial and private trips stop.

One of Deer Creek Falls' significant attractions is its sandy beach. The beach lies between Deer Creek falls and the canyon; the views are amazing.

Havasu Canyon

Havasu Canyon

Havasu Canyon is located just 35 miles west of the Grand Canyon Village. It is often associated with Havasupai, which means 'people of the blue-green water .'The name is fitting because the canyon consists of striking blue waterfalls.

The canyon is popular among visitors, especially rafters because it contains many attractions. There is Havasu Creek, the second largest Colorado River tributary. It also contains the Havasu stream, the Havasu springs, and roughly six waterfalls, including the famous Navajo falls.

The hiking trail of Havasu Canyon is also one of the most beautiful hiking trails; it is also one of the hardest to access. Visitors have to drive a long time to get to Hualapai Hilltop. The trail from Hualapai Hilltop to the Havasu Valley is about 8 miles long.

Hikers must obtain a backcountry permit before entering the canyon to avoid overcrowding. Permits also help the National Park Services manage the availability of hotels and campgrounds. The hotels and campgrounds are located near the hiking trail to cater to visitors' needs.


Rafting trips are fun and adventurous. There is usually nothing to compare with battling rowdy waves and hiking over the most majestic scenes. The breathtaking scenery of Lees Ferry is a perfect example. Interestingly, this is similar to what you'll experience with the grand canyon national park service.

However, a trip is only as enjoyable as the amount of time and attention you put into it. A checklist of things you will need on your trip is crucial. Planning to see the best campsites will guarantee you get the best from your trip.

The article has shown the ten best sites you should visit while on a river rafting trip along Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek.