PS Charles H Spencer

One of the only known shipwrecks if not the only known shipwreck in the state of Arizona.
by Matthew Anderson

Year Built


Year Sank



3 ft (0.9 m)

Difficulty Level


PS Charles H Spencer

Wreck Location

The remains of the Chales H Spencer lie a few hundred feet east/upstream from the Lee's Ferry Boat Ramp on the Colorado River in Coconino County, Arizona. River rafting tours down the Colorado starting near Page, Arizona take you down the river to the site of the Charles H Spencer. The remains are also visible from the Spencer Trail. The water is only two or three feet deep, making the wreck easy to spot from the surface.

~ GPS Shipwreck Location ~
Latitude:   36° 51' 56.0268" N      Longitude:   -111° 34' 49.5732" W


The Charles H. Spencer was built by the Robertson-Schultz Company in San Francisco, California in 1911 for the American Placer Corporation. The steamboat was disassembled and transported by railroad and ox cart to Arizona. In Warm Creek, Arizona, the steamboat was rebuilt and operated up the Colorado River, carrying loads of coal to the Charles Spencer gold mining operation at Lee's Ferry. Eventually, Spencer's operation ended and the Charles H. Spencer being abandoned at Lee's Ferry sank at her mooring in 1921. The superstructure of the steamboat was removed and the precious lumber salvaged.

The Charles H Spencer remains are few. Only portions of the wooden hull and collapsing marine boiler remain. The hull is visible underwater and the boiler is the most prominent feature, which appears above water.


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