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    Lake Powell what to see: attractions, tours and excursions

    Who I am
    Lluis Enric Mayans
    @lluisenricmayans
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    The wonderful Lake Powell, included in the vast region of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area between Utah and Arizona, it is undoubtedly one of the natural beauties - or almost, since it is an artificial reservoir, the second largest in the country - that you cannot avoid visiting if you are traveling in the Southwest territories. Coming from Kanab after Bryce Canyon or Zion National Park, it is encountered before landing in Page, reference point for the visit: if you can stop for a few days in the area, this vast body of water (it stretches for almost 300 km) will be a perfect strategic point for a series of beautiful excursions.



    If you're wondering what to see in Lake Powell and how to get there don't miss these tips.

    Index

    • Map of Lake Powell
    • Wahweap Marina
      • How to reach us 
      • To see
      • Observation points on the bay
    • Other attractions around the lake
      • Glen Canyon Dam
      • Wahweap Overlook
      • The Chains
      • Lone rock
      • Reflection Canyon
      • Bullfrog Marina and other ports in Utah
    • Lake Powell on a cruise
      • Antelope Canyon Tour: What to Expect
      • Tour in barca verso Rainbow Bridge National Monument
    • Flight tour over Lake Powell and the surrounding area
      • Classic tours
      • Sightseeing tours with Horseshoe Bend
      • Tour panoramici con Horseshoe Bend + Antelope Canyon
    • Where to sleep in Page

    Map of Lake Powell

    Wahweap Marina

    Among the main things to see at Lake Powell is the Wahweap Bay, which covers a large tract of the southern part of the lake, the most visited by tourists. The port of the same name Wahweap Marina is the most interesting and renowned tourist and sporting point of reference in the area, both for panoramic cruises and for the most reckless and exciting aquatic disciplines, such as waterskiing and wakeboarding.



    Wahweap Bay: a curiosity Wahweap Creek is the name of a dried-up river that ran through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument before flowing into the Colorado River. Near Big Water, a small town west of the lake, you can start a long path that follows the river bed and leads to Wahweap Hoodoos, an area full of pinnacles, the most famous of which is the White Ghost Hoodoos.

    How to reach us 

    Both main entrances (North Access e South Access) to the Wahweap Marina area are on US-89. The North Access is the first one encountered coming from the west (Kanab), the South Access it is just 5.4 km further south, very close to the dam, more convenient for those coming from Page. In both cases, you will be asked to show your parks card or, if you don't have one, to pay the entrance ticket.

    To see

    Some of the most beautiful attractions that South Lake Powell can offer are not far from the port of Wahweap: in addition to the navigable part of Antelope Canyon and Rainbow Bridge National Monument which I will talk about shortly, there are less known "goodies" such as l’Ice Cream Canyon and a whole series of bays, canyons and butte that are further north, all unreachable by land, but only by renting a boat: Face Canyon, Gunsight Canyon, Navajo Canyon, Warm Creek Bay...

    Among others I point out the Father Bay, the largest bay on the lake, where you can enjoy a truly suggestive panorama. This bay is also visible thanks to the tourist cruises which I will talk about shortly.


    Observation points on the bay

    If you are more inclined to contemplation from the mainland, wandering around the Lake Powell Resort a Wahweap Marina however, it will be possible to observe a fascinating natural picture of crystalline waters, in contrast with the white and red rock formations that surround them. Furthermore, in the short stretch of road that you will have to travel between South Access and the marina, you can stop at two well-marked observation points on the right: Navajo Mountain Viewpoint e Wahweap Viewpoint.


    Other attractions around the lake

    The more substantial urban center near the southern part of Lake Powell certainly is Page, which can be reached via the US-89. Around Page there are a myriad of beauties not to be missed: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are the most famous, but certainly not the only ones. To find out more, read our article what to see on Page.

    Glen Canyon Dam

    A few kilometers from Page is the beautiful dam called Glen Canyon DamAlong the way, you will be able to walk along an impressive series of overhangs that plunge into the Colorado River. Near the bridge, you will find the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, which organizes guided tours inside the dam (we talked about it in our in-depth study on the Glen Canyon Dam) and gives information on how to visit the entire area of ​​the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, which Lake Powell is part of.


    Let's go back to Lake Powell: in addition to the Wahweap Marina, there are other very beautiful places from which to admire the lake and its meanders. Some are easy to reach and are suitable for those who have little time for a visit; others, decidedly more remote, remain shrouded in an aura of mystery and are within the reach of a few people.

    Wahweap Overlook

    Pit stop recommended for those short on time and on a budget but still want to enjoy a beautiful view of the lake without reaching the port and venturing into the bay. Access to this elevated point with ample parking is free and easily accessible by deviating from US-89. Coming from Page, turn right after a little over 5km from Glen Canyon Dam.


    The Chains

    This is another interesting place around Marina: thanks to the presence of sandstone slabs, it is possible to reach the water level at a point where the lake is very close to the dam. Since it is possible to reach it by car, The Chains it is a quick and comfortable way to see a meander of the lake and the dam from a different perspective. Also, here you can put on the costume and take a swim in the lake.

    To get to The Chains from Page or Glen Canyon Dam, turn here following the signs for sentiero Hanging Garden. Arriving at the trailhead by car, you will find yourself at a crossroads. Turn left and continue driving for a few minutes. You will find two adjacent parking areas that give access to different points: I recommend that you reach the very end of the road, because going down the beautiful striated rock slabs you reach a small natural pool. Here are the coordinates of the parking lot and those of the swimming pool.

    Antelope Island Marina Not far from Page, at the bottom of the Indian Route 222 (leading to Lower Antelope Canyon) is another tourist port very popular with locals: Antelope Island Marina, so called because it overlooks Antelope Island and because the navigable part of the famous Antelope Canyon begins right there.

    However, unless you want to rent a boat or have found a river tour there, it is not worth reaching for it because the views of the lake are much less scenic than in Wahweap, being a point where the lake narrows a lot.

    Lone rock

    Finding yourself on the road west of Marina, you will be able to make a small detour to visit the Lone rock. This imposing red rock massif near the lake shore is easily accessible as soon as you exit the main road Hwy 89: a couple of km and you will find yourself on a beautiful lake beach where you can swim or camp (for a fee) just a short distance away. impressive red rock. Take advantage of it if you want some quiet: it is a less known area of ​​the lake.

    Reflection Canyon

    Many of you ask us: how to reach the panoramic point portrayed in the photo? Where is this place so scenic that it has become one of the most famous views of the lake? The photo shows the Reflection Canyon, a narrow meander of the river further north of Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Well, bad news: unfortunately this canyon can only be reached by renting a boat from Bullfrog Marina (Huh? Bullfrog Marina? And where is it? Read next point).

    No cruise departing from any port of Lake Powell allows you to see it, and even reach it on foot it is very difficult and not recommended for those who do not have time, adequate technical preparation and a very strong sense of orientation, given that the long path is located in an extremely remote area of ​​the lake. The start of this path is reached via a long and bumpy road full of natural beauty, which can only be traveled with a 4 × 4. the infamous Hole in the Rock Road di Escalante. Yes, the one on UT-12 in Utah, somewhere else than Page! If you are still curious to know what the exact point of the lake is where this canyon is located, click here.

    Bullfrog Marina and other ports in Utah

    As you will have understood by reading our descriptions, the Lake Powell it is boundless and for the most part difficult to visit except by river. Indeed, in addition to Wahweap and Antelope Island Marina, scattered along the surface of the lake a north of the Arizona borders there are 3 other ports, all in Utah and a long way from Page. From these ports it is possible to rent a boat or take water tours to more remote areas of the northern part of the lake. Here they are in detail:

    • Dangling Rope Marina
    • Halls Crossing Marina
    • Bullfrog Marina

    Dangling Rope is a port that cannot be reached by car, while the other two (Bullfrog e Halls Crossing) are on opposite shores of the lake but both along the UT-276, a road that cuts through the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. For those who travel by car in these parts it is still possible to use the Charles Hall Ferry, which will take the car from one side of the lake to the other in 25 minutes (more info here).

    Lake Powell on a cruise

    As anticipated, from the Wahweap Marina it is possible to do some Boat tours who venture into the most hidden corners of Lake Powell. At the link below it is possible to book a cruise lasting 90 minutes or a longer one, which lasts from 2.30 to 3 hours (the price does not include the entrance to the park, however included in the parks card). You will notice that in both cases, between the stops of the cruise, theAntelope Canyon; this is because, after having brought you in front of the formations Navajo Sandstone and the Glen Canyon Dam, the boat sails for a few miles inside the famous canyon, before it shrinks. The boat then goes back, but you can book the Antelope Canyon walking tour departing from Page, which will take you right into the heart of the canyon.

    Book the Lake Powell Scenic Cruise

    In the next point you will find some more information on theAntelope Canyon Tour da 90 minuti, the shortest, cheapest and most popular among the various proposals.

    Antelope Canyon Tour: What to Expect

    The first stop after leaving the pier is there Glen Canyon Dam, which is close enough to see it in all its grandeur. From here the ferry heads towards theAntelope Canyon. Insinuating itself between the narrow and twisted walls of the gully that is gradually narrowing, you can almost touch the streaked rocks of a thousand colors. It is certainly not as impressive as walking in the dry part of Antelope Canyon, but also navigating this flooded area has its own charm. The boat arrives at this point, before turning on itself to return to the starting point.

    Choosing the 90-minute cruise make no mistake about visiting all of Lake Powell. This boat tour allows you to see only a small part of it, although it is still very interesting. The strength of the cruise is the guide on board, who tells the story of the lake, the canyons that compose it and numerous anecdotes about this part of Utah and Arizona. In fact, this large and jagged artificial lake has many secrets and curiosities to discover. You can read one below.

    Navajo Generating Station Did you know that nearly 25 million families rely on this gigantic water supply to survive? Phoenix, San Diego e Los Angeles these are just some of the cities that depend on the basin: water supply is in fact the main function of the lake.

    From the boat you will also clearly see the cooling towers of the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired power station which imposes itself on the landscape of Page, disfiguring it a little. This power plant, which closed in November 2019, thanks to the Kayenta mine, produced more electricity than Glen Canyon Dam and Hoover Dam combined for many years, using water from Lake Powell for cooling. UPDATE: On December 18, the plant was demolished.

    Tips for enjoying the tour

    First of all, arrive on time: the appointment is 30 minutes before departure and boarding is scheduled 15 minutes before. Arriving late you risk being left on the ground. The meeting point is in the hall del Lake Powell Resort, where you will soon see a queue of people waiting for the tour manager, who will accompany you all together to the ferry. Try to be first in line: the boats are very large and some seats (especially the outdoor ones) are better than others for taking photos and videos on the way. Since first come first stay, if you want to bring home great photographic memories, choosing a place is important!

    Book the Lake Powell Scenic Cruise

    Tour in barca verso Rainbow Bridge National Monument

    Moving the focus a little further north on the lake, there is an excursion that is certainly worth doing: the one towards the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the largest "natural bridges" in the world. Unless you want to hike over 30 miles (round trip) or have a hired private boat, you can only reach the bridge with a boat sailing from Wahweap Marina or from other ports in the area. It will be spectacular to enter the Forbidding Canyon  and navigation between the rocky walls, until you arrive, after a couple of miles, near the bridge. When you arrive, enjoy the show, but be respectful, as this place has great spiritual value for Indian tribes.

    Book your cruise to Rainbow Bridge National Monument

    Flight tour over Lake Powell and the surrounding area

     

    If it is true that the lake is often visited by boat, it is equally true that there is no lack of it other types of tours just as fascinating, especially those in helicopter ed plane, which can offer a totally new perspective on the views of Lake Powell. Many of these, moreover, allow you to fly over the beautiful surroundings of the lake, offering a unique point of view on a wonder like Horseshoe Bend. Others still include access to Antelope Canyon in the price.

    Classic tours

    The 2 tours that follow only fly over the Lake Powell area, but each one has a particularity that makes it unique.

    1) Tour Over the Rainbow

    Besides the cruise, the most spectacular way to enjoy the Rainbow Bridge National Monument is to fly over it by plane thanks to the tour Over the Rainbow, which starts from the nearby town of Page offering incredible views. This tour takes place all in flight.

    • Flight duration: 30-35 minutes

    More info on this tour

    2) Tour with landing on Tower Butte

    For those looking for a photographic tour, we recommend the tour sul Tower Butte, an exceptional rock formation 5.000 feet above sea level, with a breathtaking 360 degree panoramic view. A helicopter will transport you to the suggestive mesa where you can photograph incredible landscapes from a unique position.

    • Flight duration: 15 20-minute

    Tour not available at the moment

    Sightseeing tours with Horseshoe Bend

    Horseshoe Bend

    Below I would like to point out 3 Papillon air tours that also include the flight on Horseshoe Bend. This is a novelty of 2019 that many were waiting for: this particular glimpse of the Colorado River can now be seen and immortalized from a truly enviable position.

    1) Fly to Horseshoe Bend and land on Tower Butte

    This tour does involve landing on the Tower Butte viewpoint but - unlike the one illustrated above - the helicopter does not just fly over Lake Powell, but also offers a elevated perspective of Horseshoe Bend. Moreover, the price difference is minimal (about 10 $), so if you want to get a bargain I recommend this solution.

    • Flight duration: 25-30 minutes

    More info on the tour

    2) Full panoramic helicopter tour

    This is one of the most advantageous combinations from an economic point of view for those who are not interested in going down on Tower Butte but want to see from above is Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend and the Glen Canyon. The scenic flight lasts from 10 to 12 minutes: arm yourself with your camera and immortalize the show!

    • Flight duration: 10-12 minutes

    More info on the tour

    3) Complete panoramic tour by plane

    If you prefer the plane to the helicopter, this is the tour for you. The perspective is different for the type of aircraft, but the tour has a longer duration and costs a little less. Also in this case there is no intermediate landing but the simple overflight of Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend and Glen Canyon (dam included).

    • Flight duration: 30 approximately minutes

    More info on the tour

    Tour panoramici con Horseshoe Bend + Antelope Canyon

    If you want the ultimate experience of what the very lucky Page has to offer, you can also purchase one of the following cumulative packages, which include both the flight (with or without Tower Butte) and the entrance to Antelope Canyon.

    1) Air tour e Antelope Canyon (elicottero)

    This package is the most complete: In addition to the scenic flight with Horseshoe Bend and the entrance with guided tour to Antelope Canyon also includes the landing and exploration of Tower Butte, just like the previous solutions.

    • Flight duration: 20-25 minutes

    More info on the tour

    2) Air tour e Antelope Canyon (aereo)

    This tour costs less and lasts a little less than the previous one, because it does not involve landing on Tower Butte (too little space for planes!). On the other hand, as usual the flight lasts longer. Do not miss the entrance to Antelope Canyon, as the title suggests.

    • Flight duration: 30 minutes

    More info on the tour

    Where to sleep in Page

    If you want to sleep right on the lake we recommend the Lake Powell Resort (100 Lake Shore Drive), which is located near the Wahweap Marina: you will have already guessed that this is a very charming location, which offers lake view rooms and camping pitches, if you really don't want to give up direct contact with nature even when you sleep!

    Lake Powell Resort: Information and Prices

    Lake Powell Resort does not necessarily mean you will find availability. In any case, given the proximity, it will not be difficult for you to find accommodation in Page or in the immediate vicinity, as there is certainly no shortage of the most common and reliable American motels and even some superior quality structures. Book in advance: Page accommodation is in high demand! Below you will find our tips for finding accommodation in the city.

    Accommodation tips in Page

     

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