Mile 61.5 - Little Colorado River & Sipapu
The Little Colorado River or LCR begins in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona and flows 107 miles before joining the main Colorado within the steep walls of Grand Canyon. When not muddied by runoff, the waters of the LCR shine baby-blue. This incredible baby-blue color comes from dissolved calcium carbonate in the river water, which also creates a material called tufa. The tufa forms as a thin, spongy, and porous surface, while coating the river bed. A harder evaporite material called travertine (nature’s cement), has solidified along the sides of the river and has also coated rocks and boulders in the channel. Several springs located 10-13 miles from the confluence provide most of the water that reaches the main Colorado. The most significant of these, Blue Spring, has the largest flow of any of its kind in Grand Canyon. The humpback chub, bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, and speckled dace, all native fishes endemic to the Colorado River system, thrive in the warm waters of the LCR. When the LCR is not muddied by rains, river runners often walk a short distance up the drainage for a swim.