|Lake Powell is the second largest man-made lake in the US and without doubt the most scenic, stretching 186 miles across the red rock desert from Page, Arizona to Hite, Utah. It began filling in 1963 following the completion of a dam across the Colorado River near the south end of Glen Canyon, and was not completely full until 1980. In 1972 Lake Powell and the surrounding countryside was incorporated into Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and since then visitation has increased steadily.
What makes the lake so memorable is the contrast between the deep clear blue waters and the surrounding landscape - stark red sandstone rocks with little or no vegetation, the innumerable steep remote side canyons, and the spires, ridges and buttes that once stood high above the Colorado, but now form cliffs at the lakeside or are semi-submerged as small islands. Lake Powell has become a major center for many leisure activities, principally fishing, water sports, hiking and houseboating.
Access to Lake Powell and Glen Canyon by road is very limited. Activities are concentrated at the western edge, near Page, where various beaches, resorts, marinas and campsites are found along the shoreline, with every necessary facility available in town. At the far northeast end of the lake there are basic services and a few tracks leading to the water at Hite, though decreasing water levels in recent years have left this village quite far from the shoreline. The only other paved approach roads are to the Bullfrog and Halls Crossing marinas two thirds of the way up the lake, which are opposite each other and linked by a car ferry.
Apart from these four locations, various long dirt tracks lead to places along the lakeshore but these are generally only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles, although normal cars can drive along the Smoky Mountain Road, north of Lake Powell near the western end. This allows access to some beaches, before the road turns north towards Escalante.
Glen Canyon Hiking
There are very few maintained paths in the 1.25 million acres of Glen Canyon NRA; otherwise, hiking is off-trail, visiting narrow canyons, overlooks of the lake, hoodoos and other eroded formations.
0.5 miles, 150 feet
Horseshoe Bend, one of the most photographed places in Arizona, is a deeply entrenched meander of the Colorado River, part of the short section of Glen Canyon that remains intact
2.1 miles, 1600 feet
Relatively short but steep path that climbs the red Kayenta and Navajo sandstone cliffs forming the lower end of Glen Canyon, just north of Lees Ferry
Blue Pool Wash★★★★★
1.2 miles, 80 feet
Minor drainage with a short narrows section through light colored Entrada sandstone, interrupted by several chokestones and dryfalls
Bullfrog Bay Canyon★★★★★
0.5 miles, 50 feet
Short, shallow, pebble-floored canyon leading to Bullfrog Bay on the north side of Lake Powell
1.5 miles, 300 feet
Short, curving tributary; photogenic passageways through potmarked, multilayered rocks
2.7 miles, 400 feet
Testing narrows with many chokestones and tight sections requiring downclimbing - at the upper end of a canyon that becomes much wider and deeper
Ferry Swale Canyon★★★★★
4.6 miles, 500 feet
Red-walled, west-side tributary of the intact section of Glen Canyon (below the dam); forms a short narrows section at the lower end, and gives a fine view of the Colorado River
6 miles, 650 feet
Beautiful, secluded canyon that starts beneath the red cliffs of Fiftymile Point and meets Lake Powell, forming nice, slot-like passageways in the upper part, and a wider gorge lower down
4.6 miles, 1100 feet
Long slot canyon, requiring ropes to explore fully, but ending at the more accessible 'Golden Cathedral', a beautiful natural amphitheater formed by overhanging cliffs streaked with desert varnish, containing a triple natural bridge
5 miles, 300 feet
Fairly short, north-side tributary of the Colorado River/upper Lake Powell; a good deep slot giving way to shallower, less enclosed narrows, before a high dryfall
7.5 miles, 500 feet
Good narrows through Navajo sandstone, in a secluded, rarely visited drainage leading to Lake Powell
2 miles, 300 feet
Short, shallow but quite photogenic and easily explored slot canyon, reached by a short walk from US 89, and ending at Lake Powell
Stud Horse Point★★★★★
5 miles, 600 feet
Cliff-lined mesa overlooking the west end of Lake Powell, with hoodoos and other eroded rock formations along the rim, and short slot canyons at the base
7.4 miles, 800 feet
The southernmost Trachyte Creek tributary; a long drainage that forms shallow narrows in the upper section, giving way to a deeper gorge lower down
There are many other narrow canyons close to the NRA, including those near Page, North Wash, Trachyte Creek, White Canyon and the Escalante River.
Lake Powell Hotels
Check rates at the Holiday Inn Express Page-Lake Powell
|Page is the only town anywhere near Lake Powell with accommodation. One of the top rated hotels is the Holiday Inn Express Page-Lake Powell, located towards the east side of town at 751 S Navajo Drive - close to Page Municipal Airport, and 3 miles from Glen Canyon Dam at the edge of Lake Powell. The hotel is within walking distance of the center of Page, for shopping and dining, while on site facilities include an outdoor pool, newsstand and continental breakfast bar.
More Hotels in Page - hotel descriptions, reservations and map.
||Spectacular reservoir (Lake Powell) extending 186 miles along the Colorado River, bordered by red rock cliffs and sandy beaches, with innumerable narrow tributaries. Very popular both for developed recreation and off-trail exploration
|Nearest city with hotels:
||36.935, -111.483 (Glen Canyon Dam)
||All year, though summers are very hot
Glen Canyon - Locations
The most visited slot canyon in the Southwest, located on the Navajo Reservation just outside the NRA
Marina, campground and other facilities serving the northeast side of Lake Powell; planty of shoreline access points
The dam that created Lake Powell in 1963; viewable on free guided tours. Also location of the main NRA visitor center
Remote marina 100 miles from Page, linked to the north shore by a ferry. Surrounded by vast areas of red slickrock
Hite is a tiny village at the far east end of the lake, surrounded by magnificent rocky landscapes
Next to Glen Canyon Dam, Page is the main base for visitors to Lake Powell and has many recreational facilities in town or nearby
Park Map - map of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell
Scenic, unpaved road giving access to parts of the north shore of Lake Powell, and to much remote desert country beyond