Waters in the summer must be awesome.
Cons: Rainbow Bridge National Monument boat ride is too long and expensive.
As planned my wife and I made the Lake Powell Glen Canyon National Recreation Area as our last days of a ten/eleven road trip discovering Arizona. This would be a more laid back part of our journey. In some ways it was and others, no.
The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has been built upon a decision to build a dam to hold back the waters of the Colorado River making for better water distribution, cheap clean hydroelectric power and also making for thousands upon thousands of miles of shoreline for water sports and pleasure boats.
Started in 1956 and completed in 1966 it took over a decade to fill up behind the dam creating Lake Powell named after the legendary one armed explorer of the area during the 1800s.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
As tourists with limited time we selected a few things to do and a couple of notable tours and views with hindsight we should have but didn't.
We never did do a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam. My wife just wasn't interested in it, better for her afternoon hours laying down in the pool area of our excellent hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott that overlooks the dam and the bridge that straddles the river and canyon at that point.
I did, however, go to the Dam Visitors Center where I picked my ink stamp of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area along with Rainbow Bridge National Monument' stamp.
We also missed a chance for one of the most beautiful views in the area the Horseshoe Bend. From its trailhead that was just a one mile hike and at no cost! I have read much about it and have since looked at the images. I truly wish we slotted time to do it. Be sure you do.
At the same time we did do a mile and a half hike that was in addition to many hours on a speeding boat and at the cost of $111 each to see Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Not worth it to me.
I will note that water recreation is what this area is all about along with hiking and camping. We opted to do the Lake Powell Tour of the Rainbow Bridge out of the Wahweap Marina, the largest in the area. It really was pretty cool to see the houseboats available for rent and a couple-a-few that looked like lakeside yachts. Unbelievable they were in size and style!!
The boat tour we took to Rainbow Bridge National Monument was much too long taking a total of five and a half hours of, in your hair, (no I don't have a lot) wind blowing, fury. The sites though were amazing. I would opt for a more relaxed shorter tour doing some nearby slotted canyons.
To be on the water was wonderful but the true fun and relaxed time was when we slowed way down and meandered within high canyon walls. Wow, I liked that but it encompassed but a very short part of the tour.
We also got a feel of Lake Powell when we went to dinner at the Point Restaurant at the Antelope Point Marina some five miles upstream from the dam. The golf cart service up and down the long hill was appreciated. Many though, at least during the summer months, just dock their boats and spend some time in the upbeat restaurant/bar.
The restaurant seemed more a hang out than a place for finer dining. We were there at the slower time of year. The two servers only had to hustle to try and keep up. The sunsets from here were beautiful!!
A Side Trip
While staying in Page that overlooks the dam there are shops and stores for every need including the Dam Outlet, the Dam Bar and Grille, and the Dam View Storage. We went to the local Safeway on two mornings that had an excellent bakery and deli.
It was the Antelope Canyon Tour that was the highlight for us when we stayed in Page the largest city in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This was Navajo run. This IS Navajo country and most of the land is part of the the Navajo Tribal holdings with many businesses run by them.
The views and formations that we were privy to see were incredible. Be sure to check them out at http://www.antelopecanyontour.com. I can't say enough of the professionalism and of course the images we were able to take away with us. I did happen to post a review that can be found below.
pops Last Thoughts
The Lake Powell Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has got to be the cooling spot of Arizona come the hot summer months. For us in April much was slow going and most boats still not out on the lake.
My wife and I both enjoyed our stay and play in the area. I can recommend a stay there. I suppose I would love to have a houseboat in the summer months but in April the Courtyard Marriott with a luxurious pool area in Page was perfect. Page is an easy town to get around town with everything you could need and many fine restaurant choices. We hit another on our last night there. Mexican it was.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area was the perfect last stop for our Arizona travels. Recommended.
Arizona Sites and Reviews by popsrocks
Courtyard by Marriott, Page Az
Aramark Lake Powell Tours: Not Recommended! Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge
Courtyard by Marriott, Page Az
Antelope Canyon Tours Upper Canyon, Page
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Monument Valley Az/Utah
Glen Canyon Recreation Area
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Wupatki National Monument
Historic Cameron Trading Post, Cameron Az
Explore Navajo Interactive Museum, Yuba City Az
Monument Valley Az/Utah
The Blessing Way - Tony Hillerman A book that is set in the Navajo lands my wife and I explored last month. It's a perfect companion to such a road trip.