Beyond the Grand Canyon: Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell
October 13, 2010
Filed under Destinations
After you visit the Grand Canyon, head upstream to see another part of the Colorado River: Lake Powell. This massive reservoir took 17 years to fill after Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963. Here you’ll find fantastic boating, fishing, camping and hiking amidst gorgeous desert scenery.
The lake takes its name from Civil War veteran Maj. John Wesley Powell, whose expeditions down the Colorado River from 1869 to 1872 charted most of the area. Lake Powell is 186 miles long and has almost 2,000 miles of shoreline — longer than the entire West Coast of the U.S.!
Boating is the best way to see the lake’s picturesque red canyon walls against the brilliant turquoise water. My family brought our ski boat when we visited a few years ago, opting to trailer it each night after a long day of activities. If you don’t have a boat of your own, you can rent a houseboat for cruising at your own pace. Boat tours and dinner cruises are also available for a closer look at the dramatic natural elements of the canyons.
Guide your boat through the West Canyon and just when you think you see the canyon’s end, the walls open up around the bend to draw you in. Some of the 96 major canyons are 15 to 20 miles in length so it’s easy to forget how far you’ve traveled. Be mindful of how much fuel you’ve got left for the trip back to the marina, or you’ll end up running out of gas within sight of the docks like we did. Lucky for us, a passing boat towed us in!
Don’t miss Rainbow Bridge National Monument during your trip to Lake Powell. This awe-inspiring natural bridge is an easy 1.5-mile hike from the boat dock and is worth the trip.
After a full day of fun on the lake, you’ll need a place to rest your weary head. Whether you’re a tent camper or have your own travel
trailer or motorhome, you’ll find a Lake Powell campsite to suit your needs. Wahweap RV Park & Campground offers a swimming
pool and coin-operated laundry facilities, while the Bullfrog and Halls Crossing campgrounds both welcome leashed pets. Wherever you choose to stay, you won’t have to compromise on the views — the magnificent scenery of Lake Powell surrounds all three campgrounds.
The town of Page, Ariz., is a good starting point for your trip. Here you can stock up on camping supplies and tour the Glen Canyon Dam. For a western-themed dining experience (lunch or dinner), stop by the Dam Bar & Grille. It’s right in the middle of town in The Dam Plaza. Their Dam Big Burger really is as big as it sounds! The bbq sauce and bacon on top was delicious but with 1 lb. of beef I only managed to eat half of mine. After dinner you can walk off your meal by looking around the Dam Outlet and the Shirt Shack for western-themed souvenirs, postcards and apparel.
For more information to start planning your Lake Powell adventure, visit www.lakepowell.com.