Just minutes from Cliff Dwellers Lodge river trips start covering 279 miles of water through the majestic Grand Canyon dropping 1,700 feet in elevation to Lake Mead.
If American history, pioneer spirit, geology and wildlife are your idea of an ideal vacation, then Cliff Dwellers Lodge is right up your alley … or your river. Before Cliff Dwellers was a vacation destination, travelers came because it was the only place for hundreds of miles on either side where the Colorado could be crossed.
Captivated by the ruby red Vermilion Cliffs and seemingly endless blue skies, it’s no wonder settlers chose to homestead in such an environment. The Arizona Strip, with its isolation and solitude, offered a unique way of life for travelers seeking the mythological freedom of the American West.
Blanche and Bill Russell were the original homesteaders at Cliff Dwellers. They established a small trading post here in
1920 after crossing the river. Their original home still stands at the end of the property. The pair established camp next to Soap Creek where they constructed the unique rock house next to Soap Creek for which the community received its name. The cowboys who drove cattle on the AZ Strip called the Russell homestead “Cliff Dwellers” because of its proximity to the Vermilion Cliffs.The next proprietor of Cliff Dwellers began one of the first river guide operations on the Colorado River. Beginning in 1943, Art Greene Sr. and his family ran trips from Lees Ferry upriver to Navajo Bridge. The early river operations were primitive at best with Greene running the 60 mile trip in a 450 horse power Everglades fan boat. His boat burned 30 gallons of gas per hour, and it took three days to reach the natural
He took every other trip up river solely to stash fuel reserves. The Greene family continued to manage the trading post at the rock house until they expanded their operation and built the original lodge at Cliff Dwellers.
Today, Terry and Wendy Gunn operate Cliff Dwellers Lodge and Lees Ferry Anglers in the same spirit of its forefathers.
The lodge continues to provide really good food and comfortable accommodations for travelers heading to the Kaibab Plateau, while their guided fishing trips take adventure-seekers into the same spectacular reaches of the Colorado in which Art Greene
ran his guide operation. The canyons have since become a destination for families and vacationers alike.
“Stayed here before and after kayaking Glen Canyon. The hotel was perfect and the restaurant has the most amazing food.”