Lees Ferry at Sunrise. Until 1927 when the Navajo Bridge was completed, this was the only Colorado River crossing for nearly 200 miles in either direction. The "ferry" began operations in 1872 when Brigham Young sent John D. Lee here. The ferry was operated by the Mormon church for a number of years, later by the State of Arizona. It was a very dangerous crossing during high water prior to the construction of Glen Canyon Dam, and many lost their lives trying to cross under dangerous conditions with poor equipment.