Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Canyon Country : Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Glen Canyon is an mind-bogglingly vast canyon in deep red rock country, which has been filled with North America's largest man made lake, Lake Powell. Surrounded by nothing but red slick rock, the crystal blue lake is strikingly out of place and looks like it belongs on Mars. Lake Powell would be totally deserted were it not for its popularity with house-boat owners, who sail around this dead and beautiful expanse. The desert surrounding the lake is mostly uninhabited except for grazing long horn steer, jackrabbits, and lizards.
Flora and fauna
Getting into Lake Powell pretty much requires a boat launched from a local marina, as the lake is surrounded by steep sandstone cliffs—that is, unless you are very ambitious.
By guided tour or Boat Rental
A number of companies provide guided tours of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell that include transportation from the surrounding areas. Some companies will provide bus travel from nearby towns while others begin in the Glen Canyon/Lake Powell Area. Some will provide just a brief tour with small stops, while others may take you on a hike, and arrange all your meals. Another option includes renting boats or houseboats at or near the lake and charting your own excursion. Because many companies provide rentals you can find a variety of boats and price levels.
Rainbow Room, Lake Powell Resort, 100 Lakeshore Drive, Page, AZ 86040. With a stunning 180 degree view of Wahweap Bay, this fine dining establishment is open March 15 - October 31 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Glen Canyon is definitely BYOB territory and you had better bring gallons of water for your trip.
Most all lodgings on or near Glen Canyon are located in Page, which is two miles away from the lake on top of the butte.
Lake Powell is abundant with camping opportunities, whether you seek developed campsites with RV pads, putting a tent up on a secluded beach or anchoring your boat for the night in a quiet cove. Beach camping is the most common form of camping at Lake Powell and only requires you pay the entrance fee to the Park. Each marina operated by Aramark - the park's concessionaire, has a developed campground that can be used for a nightly fee. The National Park Service also manages a few primitive campgrounds on Lake Powell that have a small fee per car entering the campground.
The Park Service requires that you register before camping in the backcountry, mostly just so that they know who is where when in case of an emergency. But while it is in your best interest to do so, registering is pretty much optional as the area is very lightly patrolled and pretty much anywhere is a campsite.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has a severe desert climate and it is very dangerous to head out into this wild expanse without proper preparations and gallons of water. If you are the least bit unsure as to what constitutes "proper preparations," visit a National Park Service visitor center before heading into the backcountry.
If driving in the area, carry extra gas and plan your route to take into account the very long distances between gas stations. If driving on dirt roads, be aware of your limits (and your car's), and prepare for the possibility that either the road could wash out in the case of a storm, or that your car could break down dozens of miles from civilization, with no cell phone service, in the unforgiving desert climate.
As with most of Canyon Country, flash floods are a sporadic, but ever-present danger. Be sure to avoid parking in a wash and never head into a canyon before checking the current weather report—far-off rainstorms will flood canyons even if they are miles away from the downpour.