The Southwest Ferry Project

The Southwest Ferry Project seeks to locate, describe, and interpret the historic river ferry crossings that operated in the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.

Welcome to the Southwest Ferry Project!

The Southwest Ferry Project was established to locate, describe and interpret the historic river ferry crossings that operated either on a commercial basis or that were set up by the military in the Four Corners states and to present that information to academia and to an interested public in a form that will contribute to the collected knowledge of the history of the great Southwest. 

Ferries were critical bottlenecks of commerce and travel across the major rivers of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah from the frontier period through the 1960s. Although the Southwest is an arid region, over 50 commercial ferry crossings are known to have existed on rivers such as the Colorado, Rio Grande, Arkansas, and others. Changing economic priorities and the construction of modern highway and railroad bridges eventually eliminated the need for them. Only one ferry remains in use today, operated by the Utah Department of Transportation, at historic Hall’s Crossing on Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

It is our hope this project will stir interest in the people of the Southwest to research and document ferries and ferry operations in their locales. Work with the Southwest Ferry Project or your local historical associations to document and catalog previously unknown ferry crossings. Ultimately, perhaps, you can persuade your state government to erect historic markers at these sites.

Join our Facebook group and be a bit more interactive with us and the growing group of people that do believe in ferries. Check us out on Facebook here.

In the meantime, enjoy our site, stay in touch and always remember to believe in ferries.

Ferry Photo Gallery
View our photo gallery
Ferry Map
Map of all the ferry locations we have discovered so far
Buy Stuff
A collection of Southwest Ferry Project products!

Facebook Posts

The Palace of the Governors Photo Archives posted this image called "Rio Grande Crossing at Paso del Norte, Mexico" this morning on their FB page. While technically out of our area of research, El Paso is so close we will call it inside the line. I'll post some info I have discovered about this location. ... See MoreSee Less

"Rio Grande Crossing at Paso del Norte, Mexico" Photographer: Ben Wittick Date: 1880-1890? Negative Number 015666

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Just purchased this albumen print:

"The Ferry Line"
Creator Jackson, William Henry
Date [between 1880 and 1890?]
Summary: View of a ferry and ferry line (Green River Ferry; also known as Blake's Ferry) across the Green River between Grand County and Emery County, Utah. Trees are on the shore, the Book Cliffs is in the distance.
Part Of W. H. Jackson sample album. Colorado Book IX.
... See MoreSee Less

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