Little Colorado River
Geographic Location and Tributaries
The Little Colorado River originates in the White Mountains of Arizona in two main tributories, the West Fork arising on the north flank of Mount Baldy and the East Fork, which join near the town of Greer, Arizona. The Little Colorado then flows into River Reservoir and passes just to the north of Springerville/Eager. Continuing northward, the Little Colorado is further impounded in the Lyman Lake Reservoir. Below the Lyman Dam, the river water is diverted into an irrigation system. The small amount of remaining water flows down the natural channel, past St. Johns, the County Seat of Apache County, and on towards the northwest. In the Hunt Valley the River is joined by the Zuni River and then near Holbrook, the County Seat of Navajo County, the River is further augmented by the Silver Creek and Puerco River.
The Little Colorado River continues northwest across a portion of the Navajo Nation and then finally enters a deep canyon near Cameron, Arizona. The River eventually empties into the Colorado River at the eastern end of the Grand Canyon, north of Cameron, Arizona.
On old maps, the Little Colorado River is referred to as the Flax River. The southern portions of the river were known as the Zuni River and the upper or northern branches were called the Rio Puerco of the West.
Development Along the River
The headwaters of the Little Colorado River are in the White Mountains, near the community of Greer, Arizona.
Dams and Power Generation
Lyman Dam was constructed 17 miles north of Springerville, Arizona.
Colorado Water Litigation
Impact on Settlement of the Western United States
Impact on Settlement of Arizona
- Little Colorado River Rio Colorado of the West / explored by 1st. Lieut. Joseph C. Ives, Topl. Engrs. under the direction of the Office of Explorations and Surveys, A. A. Humphreys, Capt. Topl. Engrs. in charge, by order of the Hon. John B. Floyd, Secretary of War ; drawn by Frhr. F. W. v. Egloffstein, topographer to the expedition. At the Library of Congress.