Lake Powell is located near the border of Arizona and Utah and is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The lake is the second largest artificial lake in the US. The lake was formed in the 1960s when the Glen Canyon Dam was built, which caused water from the Colorado River to flood Glen Canyon.
The building of the dam was — and still is — a controversial topic. The flooded land was sacred to Native Americans, and environmentalists also say that it destroyed the natural environment of the area. These issues don’t stop thousands from visiting every year — beautiful scenery and a wide variety of water sports make it a popular tourist spot.
How to get there
The closest major city to Lake Powell is Page, Arizona. If you’re arriving from afar, you can fly into Page Municipal Airport (PGA) and rent a car to explore the recreation area. Detailed driving instructions can be found on the National Park Services website. To get out on the lake, you can either book a boat tour or rent your own watercraft. Either of these options can be done from the Wahweap Marina.
What you should consider
- There are many boat tour operators with many different itineraries. Do your research to find which one is right for you.
- If you are renting your own watercraft, you will need a vehicle that can tow it to the lake launch ramps.
- To get to the popular swimming hole known as the ‘toilet bowl’, you will need your own watercraft, as tours do not go there.
- The ‘toilet bowl’ swimming hole only exists when water levels are just right. If they are too low, it is unsafe to swim in, as the walls are too steep to climb out of. If the water is too high, the hole just becomes a bay. Check local advice before heading out.
- Houseboating is also popular. If you plan to spend a few nights, definitely consider spending them on the water in a houseboat.
- Lake Powell can be visited year-round. The water may be too cold to swim in during the winter, but the lake is much calmer and less crowded.
- Edward Abbey’s The Monkeywrench Gang is a fictional novel which details some of the strong opposition to the Glen Canyon Dam, and is an entertaining way to learn more about this area.