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Securing Arizona's Water Future

Geographic Features of the Little Colorado River Plateau Basin

The Little Colorado River Plateau Basin, at 26,700 square miles in area, is the largest groundwater basin in the state.  Geographic features and principal communities are shown on Figure 2.1-1.  Located at the southern end of the Colorado Plateau, it is characterized by relatively high elevation, semi-arid mesas and several high elevation mountain ranges.  Elevations generally increase from north to south.  Vegetation types are primarily Great Basin conifer woodland, plains and Great Basin grasslands and Great Basin desertscrub. At higher elevations vegetation types include subalpine grassland, Rocky Mountain subalpine conifer forest and Rocky Mountain and madrean montane conifer forests (see Figure 2.0-11 and Section 2.0.4 Environmental Conditions Overview).  Riparian vegetation is found along streams including: conifer oak, wet meadow, mixed broadleaf, Russian olive and wet meadow along Tsalie Creek, Kinlechee Creek and Canyon de Chelly; tamarisk on Chinle and Silver Creeks; and mixed broadleaf, wet meadow and conifer oak on the Little Colorado River east of Springerville. For more information on the geography of the Little Colorado River Plateau Basin see Section 2.0.2-Geography Overview.

Principal geographic features shown on Figure 2.1-1 are:

  • Monument Valley north of Kayenta
  • Kaibito Plateau south of Page    
  • Painted Desert, located between Gray Mountain and Winslow
  • Defiance Plateau, running north/south near Window Rock
  • Black Mesa in the vicinity of Chilchinbito
  • Canyon de Chelly, near Chinle
  • First, Second and Third Mesas on the Hopi Reservation
  • Petrified Forest located between Holbrook and Navajo
  • Mogollon Plateau or Mogollon Rim stretching 200 miles from Flagstaff to the White Mountains
  • Lukachukai and Chuska Mountains near Lukachukai
  • The Little Colorado River, which flows to the Colorado River from the headwaters near Greer, and exits the basin at Cameron.
  • The San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff with Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet.
  • The White Mountains along the southeastern boundary of the basin, that rise to over 11,000 feet at Mt. Baldy.
  • Navajo Mountain, an isolated peak that straddles the Arizona-Utah border east of Page. Rising to over 10,400 feet it is a prominent visual feature of the basin.
  • The lowest point at 1,300 feet where the Little Colorado River exits the basin.

Click for geographic features map

Click to view Figure 2.1-1 Little Colorado River Plateau Geographic Features

 

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