We hope this guide to Lake Powell, Glen Canyon and Page, Arizona will a valuable resource for your incredible journey.
Lake Powell is a massive, adventure playground with breathtaking scenery. This is a very busy and popular area. To avoid disappointment, be sure to make reservations well in advance for tours, river rafting, accommodations and houseboating on Lake Powell.
If you are planning water activities on Lake Powell or heading over to Rainbow Bridge check for the changing water levels.
Hidden treasures uncovered by dropping water levels at Lake Powell
New discoveries at Lake Powell are exposed after lake levels fall.
Gregory Arch the second tallest natural bridge in North America appears
Gregory Arch, submerged under water for more than 60 years, is exposed after Lake Powell’s water levels dropped from severe long-term drought experienced over the last 20 years. Read more about the severe drought below.
This huge natural sandstone bridge spans Fifty Mile Canyon and can be reached by taking a 1 1/2 hour powerboat ride from Bullfrog Marina to the junction of the Escalante River and Fifty Mile Creek and then going upstream about one mile.
Watch your fuel gauge when taking a powerboat or houseboat as there is no fuel available in the area.
Stunning Lake Powell is 186 miles/299 kilometers long as it twists and winds through 96 side canyons. It hugs a spectacular, ever-changing, eroded coastline of nearly 2,000 miles/3218 kilometers.
Man-made, Lake Powell formed in Glen Canyon after Glen Canyon dam’s diversion tunnels closed in March, 1963. The lake took 17 years to reach its full capacity. The water in the lake is a reserve to be used when there are times of drought.
It is the second largest water reservoir in the United States.
Lake Powell hits drastically low levels
As of May 3, 2022, the drought has become so bad in the area that the water levels at Lake Powell are the lowest it has been since the 1960s.
Climate change has caused this area and nearby Lake Mead to suffer from severe drought for the last 20 years. Drastic measures are being looked at to release more water into the Lake Powell reservoir to keep it at operational levels.
Disruption to the water and electricity produced here will cause major issues for the people who depend on this important resource. The Glen Canyon Dam is an energy and water source to millions of people in the western United States.
Antelope Canyon is one of the most visited and photographed slot canyons in North America. The canyon is high on the list of the top things to do at Lake Powell. It is a a 30-minute drive from the Lake Powell to Antelope Canyon.
There are two canyons to choose from, Lower Antelope Canyon and Upper Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is more accessible and better for people with any type of mobility issue.
The Lower Canyon has more walking and you will have to be able to go down five flights of stairs and eventually go up another eight. The Canyons are located on Navajo Nations land and you must take a tour to see the canyons.
Here are a few tour companies to check out: Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours, Antelope Canyon Tours – by Carolene Ekis and Ken’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours. We bought our Upper Antelope Canyon tour online with Carolene Ekis Antelope Canyon Tours. The tour was very informative and the guide was friendly.
Don’t miss our quick photo tips for taking pictures with your smart phone (like the one featured below) in Antelope Canyon.
Sacred Rainbow Bridge National Monument in Utah is a spectacular world wonder. It is the tallest natural bridge in North America.
Access this amazing sight by travelling 50 miles/80 kilometers on a two-hour boat ride on Lake Powell and then walking about 1.25 miles/2 kilometers to the bridge. Two tours are offered each day during the busy season. The tours are eight hours long.
Iconic Horseshoe Bend is an extremely busy place. Try to avoid the rush of visitors between 9 am and 6 pm.
Improvements have recently been made to the area. A safe viewing platform with rails has been installed and a new accessible trail created.
The parking area has been expanded and a parking fee has been implemented. A car will cost $10. There is parking for 310 cars and 18 buses. If the parking is full, do not park on highway US 89 or you will be ticketed and towed. The city of Page operates a shuttle occasionally, but there is no shuttle available at this time.
Use extreme caution when viewing the rim from areas where the safety rails have not been installed. Make sure to keep an eye on your children. This can be a very dangerous place, remember that there is a 1,000 feet/305 meter drop to the Colorado River below.
Take an incredible Horseshoe Bend half-day rafting adventure. Explore this fascinating area from a different perspective along the Colorado River.
This rafting experience is available for ages 4 and up. Find out more.
Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam, near Page, is an energy and water source to millions of people in the western United States. Construction of the dam on the Colorado River created Lake Powell as a water storage area.
Glen Canyon Dam is the second highest concrete-arch dam in North America. It rises 710 feet/216 meters. The Hoover Dam, just outside Las Vegas, Nevada, is higher by 16 feet/4.9 meters.
Construction of the dam started in October 1956 and was completed September 13, 1963. The power plant then began its construction with the first generator firing September 4th, 1964. All eight generators were finally in full operation during 1966.
Stop by the Carl B. Hayden Visitor Center. It offers a great view of the dam and bridge. The visitor center is currently closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tours of the power plant and dam are closed until 2023.
Glen Canyon National Recreational Area stretches over 1.25 million acres, all the way from just south of Lees Ferry in Arizona to the top of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. It boasts dramatic landscape features rich in ancient history. It encompasses Lake Powell and shares its border with Grand Canyon National Park, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Canyonlands National Park and Capitol Reef National Park.
Explore sacred Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Utah, near Lake Powell, Arizona. It is the tallest natural bridge in North America. Access this world wonder by taking a two hour boat ride through spectacular scenery of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Houseboating on Lake Powell
Houseboating on Lake Powell is an adventurer’s dream come true. Navigate the clear blue waters of remarkable Lake Powell to discover some of its 96 side canyons and nearly 2,000 miles/3218 kilometres of shoreline. The main houseboat, speed boat and watercraft rentals are offered by Lake Powell Resort at Wahweap Marina in Page. Rentals are offered year-round.
The experience of houseboating is definitely one of top things to do at Lake Powell.
The 2021 season for houseboating sold out fast. Check for reservations rates for the 2022 season.
Houseboating on Lake Powell is one of the top things to do at Lake Powell. It is an unforgettable experience. Houseboats on breathtaking Lake Powell at sunset. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr
Take a half day 15-mile float trip down the gentle Colorado River to some of the most incredible sites in the area. The trip starts at the foot of the Glen Canyon Dam and includes Horseshoe Bend as viewed from the water, historic Lees Ferry and a road trip back passing Vermillion Cliffs.
Fishing on Lake Powell
Lake Powell is one of the most popular spots for fishing in Arizona and considered a world-class fishing destination. Try your hand at fishing for wide-mouth bass, northern pike, crappie, walleye, and catfish. These are just some of the many types of fish available in the clear waters of Lake Powell. Learn about the secrets of how and where to catch fish on Lake Powell.
Camping sites are available in the area and the National Park Service provides a complete listing. Free primitive camping along the shoreline is allowed as long as you have a portable toilet or there is an accessible toilet aboard your boat.
Wendy Nordvik-Carr is a highly regarded travel writer who produces quality, well-researched articles with stunning photography and video.
She seeks out authentic experiences showcasing the people, culture and history that make each destination unique. Her focus is on solo, couple and multigenerational travel through cruising, air and road trip adventures.
Wendy is the editor & writer for LifesIncredibleJourney.com, a travel site that encourages exploration of destinations near & far.
She is a TMAC Director, Chair, National PD Committee and Chair of TMAC's BC & Yukon Chapter, as well as a member of SATW & NATJA.