National Recreation Area
1972: National Recreation Area
About the SiteEstablished on the shores of the Colorado River before it plunges into the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon offers some of the most dramatic shoreline sights in the country. Sheer canyon walls, slick rocks, hundreds of inlets to explore in your boat or to hike, all are available here. Construction on Glen Canyon Dam began in 1956 to harness the power of the mighty Colorado River. The plan was to obtain reliable sources of water and hydroelectric power, and both aims succeeded. A byproduct of this was the creation of Lake Powell.
What You're Going to SeeOkay, fans of the original "Planet of the Apes", remember the landscape where the astronauts crash-landed? That was filmed in Lake Powell. The canyon lands of Utah and the Grand Canyon of Arizona are connected by this scenic and wild wilderness. There are three marinas for your boats, plenty of inlets for camping, and don't forget Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the largest natural arch in the world. There's no road leading to it; you can take a boat up the canyon and a short hike, or hike overland from Arizona. It's so impressive it gets its own stamp as a subset of Glen Canyon NRA.
Personal ObservationsI haven't been to Lake Powell since I was a kid. But even then we discovered signs of ancient indian habitation - hand and footholds carved into the side of a cliff. There were three above the waterline, and at least that many below. The waterskiing was excellent, and at the end of the day we just pulled into a tiny cove and set our tent on a sandy beach.
Getting ThereFrom Flagstaff, go north on Highway 89A to Page. That should be your base of operations; Glen Canyon Dam is only a mile out of town, and Wahweap Marina is very close to that.
Nearby AttractionsOkay ... deep breath ... 100 miles to the south is Wupatki National Monument. 75 miles south southwest is the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, and directly west of that is Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Immediately to the west is Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and about 80 miles to the west is Pipe Springs National Monument. In Utah, 90 miles west northwest is Zion National Park, and a little closer in that direction is Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. About 60 miles to the northwest is Bryce Canyon National Park, and 95 miles northwest is Cedar Breaks National Monument. About 90 miles to the north is the headquarters of Capitol Reef National Park. About 100 miles to the northeast is Canyonlands National Park. About 30 miles as the crow flies to the east northeast is Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and 90 miles in that direction is Natural Bridges National Monument. About 80 miles due east will bring you to Monument Valley. About 50 miles to the east southeast, back in Arizona, is Navajo National Monument. (All distances measured from Glen Canyon Dam)