Colorado River Cable Tram

05435 Grand Canyon Historic- Colorado River Cable Crossing c. 1908
Photo Credit: Grand Canyon NPS

Point A to Point B

The light fixture above the kitchen table is designed with the 1907 Colorado River Cable Tram in mind. To get more tourists to visit the Rust Camp on the South Rim, a cable tram system was constructed across the Colorado River. The tram crossed a 400-foot distance and hung 40 feet above the water. It was located near present-day Black Bridge. Though it’s no longer in existence, the tram was a feat of great ingenuity at the time.

All the materials were brought on wagons to the North Rim from Utah. They then were brought down the very rough trail. One early tourist described riding in the cage on a windy day as “being the clapper in a bell.”

A gasoline engine was installed in 1909, but it broke down often. The cable tram was a key attraction in the canyon, but there was not always an operator stationed there. Most visitors weren’t daring enough to operate it themselves, so instead of visiting Rust Camp, they would return to the South Rim.