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 the former town of Salado, then north past and through 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 on west to where the Little Colorado River is joined by the Silver Creek at Woodruff, the on to near Holbrook, the County Seat of Navajo County.
The River is further augmented by the Puerco River. The Puerco River in northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona flows through arid terrain including the Painted Desert. The main tributary of the Little Colorado River, it drains an area of about 2,654 square miles (6,870 km2) and is 167 miles (269 km) long. Together with the Little Colorado River, the Puerco River drains an area of about 26,500 square miles (69,000 km2) in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. As a tributary of the major Colorado River, the Little Colorado/Puerco River is over 315 miles (507 km) long, but being a transient desert river, its average discharge is typically less than 400 cubic feet per second (11 m3/s), and can vary greatly throughout the year. 
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 the Navajo Indian Reservation.
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
- Cultural Water Demand in the Little Colorado River Plateau Basin
- Western Water, Expansion of the West, Flood, Hydroelectric Power, and Conflicting Values
Dams and Power GenerationLyman Dam was constructed 17 miles north of Springerville, Arizona. There were additional dams built at Joseph City formerly Saint Joseph, originally in Yavapai County, then Apache County, now in Navajo County.
Colorado Water Litigation
See the ongoing Little Colorado River Adjudication
Impact on Settlement of the Western United States
Impact on Settlement of Arizona
- Wikipeida:Little Colorado River
- 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.