(Editor’s Note – This original post from February 2012 has been updated to reflect current Grand Canyon vacation details.)
Lake Powell, in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, stretches for over 185 miles in an area once known as Lee’s Ferry, situated north of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and west of Bryce National Park in Utah.
This man made reservoir on the Colorado River borders Arizona and Utah and is named after John Wesley Powell, a one armed American Civil War veteran who explored the Colorado River in a posse of three wooden boats.
Today, Lake Powell is the Reservoir on the Colorado River that acts as a water basin to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. Enjoy a Lake Powell boat tour as part of Caravan’s all inclusive Grand Canyon tour.
Lake Powell Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam helps to form the second largest man made reservoir in the United States.
Back in 1963 the building of the dam, and flooding of the Glen Canyon, was highly controversial. The reservoir was originally planned for what is now Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado. However, activists lobbied to protect the area and the plans were moved over to Lee’s Ferry, which was situated between Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon.
The waters now flood Glen Canyon, which was reported to once be rich in extraordinary attributes such as 80 foot plus canyon walls, sandstone streams, and numerous Native American heritage sites. Natural landscapes such as arches and natural bridges were also compromised in the flooding.
On September 13, 1963 the Glen Canyon Dam project was officially completed. It took an additional 17 full years for Lake Powell to reach its high water mark. Water levels fluctuate to this day with seasonal changes.
Lake Powell Boat Cruise
A scenic cruise or boat ride along Lake Powell will open a visitor’s eyes to many of the above-mentioned natural landscapes that are still visible today despite the flooding of Glen Canyon.
The waters that fill Glen Canyon create nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline thanks to Lake Powell’s intricate rock formations. This is longer than the entire west coast of the continental US! These shorelines allow visitors to access 96 major canyons that are only accessible via watercraft.
As many would imagine, the vantage point from the boat on a Lake Powell cruise provides countless photo opportunities of a skyline undisturbed by modern civilization.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
One of the most popular landmarks to behold in the Lake Powell area is Rainbow Bridge, labeled the world’s highest natural bridge.
This rock formation was originally recorded in 1974 to be 275 feet; later in 2007 a more accurate laser measurement recorded the formation at 234 feet. The peak of the bridge is 42 feet thick and 33 feet wide.
Rainbow Bridge is easily accessed by a two-hour Lake Powell boat ride and a short mile-long hike from the wharf up the canyon. For more active vacationers, Rainbow Bridge can also be accessed by foot. This several-hour hike from the trail head requires a special permit from the Navajo Nation but is well worth it.
The sacred and religious meaning of Rainbow Bridge is held dear to many local Native American groups. They express concern about visitors walking underneath the bridge and National Park Services request that all tourists be respectful of the people who have historically visited the monument. However, it is not illegal to walk under the bridge or approach the bridge, and there is a well-worn path under the bridge that gives proof of thousands of visitors exploring the natural wonder.
Antelope Canyon Lake Powell National Park
The well-visited Antelope Canyon along Lake Powell got its Navajo name from the herds of pronghorn antelope who roamed the area.
Navajos pictured the canyon as a very spiritual place such as a cathedral. Traditionally, Navajos would take a short pause before entering the region in order to prepare the people for protection and to gather a deep attitude of respect. Trekking through the area was viewed as a very spiritual experience that would connect them with what Mother Nature had to offer and to promote living in harmony.
Today, Antelope Canyon is divided into two sections:
- Upper Antelope Canyon features water running through rocks (which is the meaning of the Navajo name for the area). The upper area is situated about 4,000 feet above sea level and the canyon walls rise up about 120 feet above the streambed.
- Lower Antelope Canyon features famous spiral rock arches.
Visitors require a guide for visiting both the Upper and Lower regions of Antelope Canyon.
Lake Powell Reviews
Visit Caravan’s Grand Canyon tour reviews page to read what other vacationers have to say about their Lake Powell Resort experience. Here are just a few reviews from Caravan Tour guests:
The sightseeing and activities were very good. Plenty to see and absorb. To me, it was the right amount to see. Lake Powell was great! The motor coach was nice. It was clean, new and comfortable. I was concerned about this before the tour, but that soon went away! It was an absolutely great coach tour. I am recommending it back home. I will do it again ‘somewhere’ next year. Please let us know if our tour director moves to another tour. We would like to take one with her again! Thanks for a great vacation!”
Mr. & Mrs. M.S., Elkton, Florida
The sightseeing and activities such as visits to the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion cannot be anything but breathtaking; and, the intervening stops at Lake Powell and Monument Valley were well chosen. Overall, it was a superb vacation that we enjoyed greatly from start to finish. I don’t know how it could be improved.”
Mr. & Mrs. S.W., Wilmington, North Carolina
My favorite part of the tour was traveling to three states, visiting various locations and me not doing any of the driving. The Lake Powell Resort hotel was a very nice facility and the dining and breakfast were outstanding. The tour was excellent, there were many options of sightseeing and activities that were more than I expected. Another favorite part of the tour was Bryce Canyon and Zion Park, the beauty was breathtaking. My wife wanted to know when we were moving out there, I told her we must go back as I only took 577 photographs.”
Mr. & Mrs. D.M., York, Pennsylvania
Caravan’s Grand Canyon Vacations Include A Lake Powel Cruise
Lake Powell and many of these famous Arizona landmarks are included as part of Caravan’s all inclusive Grand Canyon vacations.
These 8-day, fully escorted Grand Canyon vacations are affordably priced and all inclusive, which means that all itinerary meals, land travel, hotel accommodations, scheduled activities, and even gratuities are included. Other famous locations included in Caravan’s Grand Canyon Tour include Phoenix, Oak Creek Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.