Lateral ﬂow separation occurs in rivers where banks exhibit strong curvature. In canyon-boundrivers, lateral recirculation zones are the principal storage of ﬁne-sediment deposits. A parallelized,three-dimensional, turbulence-resolving model was developed to study the ﬂow structures along lateralseparation zones located in two pools along the Colorado River in Marble Canyon. The model employs thedetached eddy simulation (DES) technique, which resolves turbulence structures larger than the grid spacingin the interior of the ﬂow. The DES-3D model is validated using Acoustic Doppler Current Proﬁler ﬂowmeasurements taken during the 2008 controlled ﬂood release from Glen Canyon Dam. A point-to-pointvalidation using a number of skill metrics, often employed in hydrological research, is proposed here forﬂuvial modeling. The validation results show predictive capabilities of the DES model. The model reproducesthe pattern and magnitude of the velocity in the lateral recirculation zone, including the size and position ofthe primary and secondary eddy cells, and return current. The lateral recirculation zone is open, havingcontinuous import of ﬂuid upstream of the point of reattachment and export by the recirculation returncurrent downstream of the point of separation. Differences in magnitude and direction of near-bed andnear-surface velocity vectors are found, resulting in an inward vertical spiral. Interaction between therecirculation return current and the main ﬂow is dynamic, with large temporal changes in ﬂow direction andmagnitude. Turbulence structures with a predominately vertical axis of vorticity are observed in the shearlayer becoming three-dimensional without preferred orientation downstream.