double clickLava Falls - Unique Grand Canyon Lava Flows
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Grand Canyon
6 or 7 Day Rafting Vacation

Mile 179 - Lava Falls

Between 800,000 and 100,000 years ago, eruptions from the Uinkaret Lava Field spilled volcanic material into the canyon subsequently forming at least 13 distinct dams at different times and locations from River Mile 178 to River Mile 254. The dams ranged in height from 800 to 1400 feet high. The river backed up forming lakes behind these lava plugs, but eventually carved pathways around them. Lava Flows that cascaded into the canyon before solidifying are distinctly visible beginning in the approach to Lava Falls, and then continuing downstream for several miles.

Fame of Lava Falls »

Arguably the most famous rapid in all of Grand Canyon, no matter the river’s flow; Lava Falls is always a formidable obstacle. Looking at the cataract from the scouting point above, it’s hard to appreciate it’s speed and drop. When approaching the rapid by boat, the river demonstrates a pronounced “horizon line” leading to a precipitous drop. The rapid produces a combination of speed and power, rarely rivaled by any other in the canyon. Debris flows from Prospect Canyon on the left, and lava talus falling into the river on the right, have created Lava Falls.

Lower Gorge Grand Canyon

Lower Grand Canyon Mile by Mile »

The lower Grand Canyon, as traveled by Western's 3 or 4 day expedition begins at Whitmore Wash (mile 188) and finishes at Lake Mead (mile 277).

See Lower Grand Canyon

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