Lake Powell Hite Marina
Horse and Wagon Days
Cass Hite lived in Glen Canyon as long as anyone except the Ancestral Puebloans ("Anasazi"). Cass, who had been prospecting in the Navajo Mountain country, arrived in Glen Canyon in September, 1883. Cass was looking for gold, and he found it in the sands and gravels along the Colorado River. His discovery set off the Glen Canyon gold rush.
Cass Hite had reached the Colorado River by way of White Canyon, and near its mouth, he'd found a good place to cross the river. He named it "Dandy Crossing." Indeed, it was the best crossing of the Colorado River above Lees Ferry. The many prehistoric sites in the area suggest that this river crossing was well known to early inhabitants as well as to the Navajo.
Hopeful prospectors soon headed for Glen Canyon and the town they named "Hite City." But the gold the miners found was all fine gold dust, difficult to recover, and mining operations soon petered out. Cass Hite built the first structure in the townsite named after him. It was a cabin of notched logs salvaged from the river. A post office was established in 1889. Mail was brought by horseback from the railhead at Green River, 100 miles away. Cass and his brothers operated a small store in conjunction with the post office, services much appreciated by the miners and others passing through. Cass died at his ranch in Ticaboo Canyon in 1914.
All was quiet in Glen Canyon after World War I, but the onset of the Great Depression brought a revival in gold prospecting. Arthur L. Chaffin, who had prospected around the turn of the century, returned during the depression, bought up properties at Hite, and began to develop them, hoping to open Glen Canyon to the general public.
It wasn't until 1946 that a fair dirt road was completed between Hanksville and Blanding, Utah. Regular ferry service across the Colorado River began at Hite on September 17, 1946. (Before that time, one had to cross the river as well as one could--swimming the horses and mules or trying to find a boat!) The ferry operated until June 5, 1964, when it was taken out of service as Lake Powell filled the canyon and bridges were built.
In 1949, the Vanadium Corporation of America and the Atomic Energy Commission built an experimental mill for the reduction of uranium ore. This mill stimulated uranium prospecting in Glen Canyon, and a small boom camp was built in White Canyon. A post office was established, and a one-room schoolhouse was built. But the mill shut down in 1954, and the camp became a ghost town.
Lake Powell has brought new life to Hite. Today, visitors launch power boats from the launch ramp, explore the lake and river canyons, and camp along the shores. A modern highway now crosses the Colorado and Dirty Devil Rivers on steel-girded bridges.
Cass Hite's log cabin, the store, and the post office are gone-- submerged beneath the waters of Lake Powell. New structures have been built, however, providing services and information to the visitor and bringing new life to the once-thriving community of Hite.
Hite offers limited services and access to Lake Powell.
- A general store sells limited groceries, supplies, and fishing licenses. Gasoline, dump station, and public phones are available.
- The ranger station, located across from the store, is open intermittently. Information, maps, and books are available.
- Hite has one launch ramp. At the marina are boat rentals, a store with limited supplies and groceries, fuel dock, and boat pump-out.
- There is no lodge or restaurant at Hite, although there are five rental housekeeping units.
- Primitive camping is available at the parking area near the Hite launch ramp. (Restrooms and water are available at the top of the launch ramp.) Even more primitive camping (pit toilets, no water) is available at Farley Canyon (4.4 miles south on Hwy. 95 from the Hite junction) and along the Dirty Devil River (on Hwy. 95, approx. 4 miles north of Hite). There is a fee charged at both of these primitive camping areas.
- Camping is allowed almost anywhere at Hite, but vehicles must remain on established roads. Be sure to haul out all your trash. Utilize pit toilets or portable toilets. Dump gray water and sewage at the Hite dump station. Pets must be leashed. Firearms (except when legally hunting) and fireworks are illegal.
- The closest town to Hite is Hanksville, which has some lodging, restaurants, and a small store. Medical services are available in Bullfrog and in Blanding, Utah.
- Access to the Orange Cliffs, as well as the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, can be made from the Waterhole Flat Road near Hite.
- For information on boat rentals and lodging: ARAMARK (435)684-2278
- For general Information: Hite Ranger Station (435)684-2457
- Emergencies only: 1-800-582-4351
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