Don’t miss the top things to do at Lake Powell. These unforgettable adventures at Lake Powell will not leave you disappointed.
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, accommodations and houseboating on Lake Powell.
National Parks officials announced July 24, 2020 that Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is now open with gradually increasing services.
Visitors to the area should protect their health, as well as the health of others by following social distancing protocols, wearing face masks and avoiding peak times.
Be responsible. Keep healthy and safe. Read more guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Check for the latest information on COVID-19 closures and openings at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area here.
Top things to do at Lake Powell
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.
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.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
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.
Hiking to Rainbow Bridge is possible, but the trail is about 18 miles/30 kilometers. A permit is required to explore the back-county.
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.
View photo gallery for Horseshoe Bend.
Find our more about planning a trip to Horseshoe Bend.
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.
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.
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.
Take a float trip
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.
- Lake Powell is the second largest man-made lake in the United States.
- Lake Powell took 17 years to be filled to its full capacity.
- Glen Canyon Dam is the second highest concrete-arch dam in North America.
- Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed slot canyons in the North America.
- Australian landscape photographer Peter Lik sold his Antelope Canyon photograph of “Ghost“, for a record $6.5 million.
Getting to Lake Powell
Most people rent a car and drive 4.5 hours to Lake Powell after flying into Las Vegas, Nevada or Phoenix, Arizona. You can also fly into Page from one of these two cities, and then rent a car.
We stayed at Lake Powell Resort at the Wahweap Marina in building number 8. It had wonderful, sweeping lake views. For more than 20 years, staying at this resort had been on my bucket list. Signing up for their web specials helped us save on usual hotel rate. It was also a convenient location, because the boat tour to Rainbow Bridge leaves from the marina.
Other area accommodation can be found in nearby Page, Arizona through the official Arizona Tourism website.
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.
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