Sunday, May 31, 2009

North, Part 5 - Page and Lake Powell

Back at the junction of 89A and U.S. 89, we took a left towards the North Rim. But wait, we really wanted to visit Lake Powell instead. So let's backtrack and go the other way. U.S. 89A is the original highway, but in the 1960's access was needed to reach Page where the new Glen Canyon Dam was being constructed. Thus U.S. 89 was born. Today the highway is the major conduit from Flagstaff for travelers headed to the lake, the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Bryce, Zion, and into Utah in general.

The town of Page was built specifically to house the workers building the dam, but today it is the gateway to all the different recreation the region offers. Take a quick drive through town and see the neat and orderly way the area was laid out - odd considering it's a government town!

Glen Canyon Dam

Crossing over the Colorado River one last time, the road passes over the now drowned Glen Canyon at the damsite. Operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, the dam is an amazing example of man's efforts to wrest control over the environment from nature. I highly recommend a tour of the structure if time permits - departures are available several times a day from the Carl Hayden Visitor Center on the west side of the dam.

Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

The enormous body of water impounded by Glen Canyon dam is called Lake Powell, and the entirety of the lake and much of the surrounding area are managed as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Offering over 1300 miles of shoreline, there are countless bays, coves and channels to explore. The more remote upper end of the lake offers solitude and backcountry experiences for those willing to leave the water. The lake is served by several marinas: Wahweap, the largest is located just 4 miles northwest of Page, and offers boat rentals, lake tours, lodging, camping, and just about anything else you'll need to enjoy your time here.

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