Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona

By | December 6, 2022

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (NRA) covers an area of ​​5,076 km² around Lake Powell in the US states of Utah and Arizona. The region is a recreational area with picturesque views, geological wonders and a vast panorama of human history. The possibilities for activities, adventure and relaxation on the water are almost endless.

It is home to some of the tallest dams in the United States – including Glen Canyon Dam, which turns the Colorado River into a giant reservoir. Not only is electricity generated here for a large number of households and industrial areas along the US West Coast, but a huge water reservoir is also being built. The region today offers a wide range of leisure activities such as fishing, boating and skiing.

According to Topschoolsoflaw, the Glen Canyon NRA is part of the Colorado Plateau Geographical and Ecological Region. During different climatic conditions over a period of 300 million years, layers of sediment were deposited, which mainly became sandstone and mudstone. About 5 million years ago this region was raised and formed the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado and its tributaries carved through the strata of the plateau and formed Glen Canyon.

Lake Powell
The reservoir accounts for 13% of the Glen Canyon NRA Recreation Area. Lake Powell is the second largest man-made lake in North America. At maximum height, it is 300 km long and stretches from Page, Arizona to Hite, Utah. Lake Powell has 3,161 km of shoreline and includes over 90 side canyons. Maximum depth (at Glen Canyon Dam) is 171 m. The lake’s backfill began in 1963 immediately after the completion of Glen Canyon Dam and took 17 years to complete. The total storage volume is 32 million cubic meters. In 1972, the lake and surrounding land were designated Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Recreational activities are mostly centered at the Wahweap Resort, just a few miles north of the causeway.

In den 1950er Jahren entstand Page zunächst als eine Stadt für tausende von Bauarbeitern des Glen Canyon Dam. Seit der Fertigstellung entwickelte sich Page aber auch zu einem Touristenzentrum, das jedes Jahr mehrere Millionen Besucher anzieht. Elektrizität ist ein wichtiger Wirtschaftsfaktor der Region, die sowohl vom Damm als auch von der Navajo Generation Station produziert wird. Der Glen Canyon Dam wurde zwischen 1957 und 1963 quer durch einen tiefen, rotwandigen Canyon gebaut, der nach dem Damm in südlicher Richtung nach Lees Ferry führt. Der Highway US 89 überquert den Fluss auf einer massiven Stahlträgerbrücke, von der aus man eine fantastische Aussicht auf den Damm und den tiefen Canyon hat.

Antelope Canyon
The two Antelope Canyons – they are among the most exciting slot canyons in the USA – are located near Page/Arizona. Most of the time they are dry and walkable. During the rainy season, entering the two gorges is not permitted due to the risk of flash flooding.

Upper Antelope Canyon is considered an insider tip for amateur and professional photographers. Interesting shapes have formed here due to erosion in the sandstone. The blaze of color is particularly impressive during lunchtime.

Lower Antelope Canyon is becoming a popular meeting place for photographers and visitors from all over the world . The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon means “spiral rock arches.” Many years ago herds of antelope roamed the gorge. The canyon was slowly chiseled out of the sandstone over thousands of years by water pressure and wind, giving it the shape it has today. The views in Lower Antelope Canyon are constantly changing. The ever-changing light of the sun glides along the narrow gorge walls, creating a spectacular play of colours, lights and shadows.

Horseshoe Bend
The Colorado River’s horseshoe-shaped meander, Horseshoe Bend, is located near Page. It is located 8.5 km (5 miles) downstream from Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, approximately 6 km southwest of Page. From a steep cliff there is a breathtaking view of Horseshoe Bend. The lookout is 305 meters above the Colorado River. The lookout is a 1.2 km hike from US Route 89.

Glen Canyon information

Location and size
The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area covers a total area of ​​over 5,000 km² – from Lees Ferry in Arizona to Orange Cliffs in southern Utah.

by Air
Page (PGA) is served by commercial airlines.

by car
Wahweap, AZ : Five kilometers north of Page, AZ on Highway 89 is the south entrance, 13 km south of Big Water, Utah is the north entrance of the Wahweap portion of the Glen Canyon NRA. Wahweap offers a valet shuttle service.

by boat
Powell: The only means of transportation between the ports and the hinterland of Lake Powell is by boat.

Getting There Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is located approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) east of Page on Highway 98.
The GPS coordinates are: N 36° 54’9″ W 111° 24′ 39″ (There is no physical address as the canyon is in the desert).
Take Hwy-98 toward Kaibeto to the Upper Antelope Canyon entrance. Lower Antelope Canyon is across the street. Turn left onto Navajo Route N22B (Antelope Point Road) and drive approximately 0.5 km (1/4 mile). The entrance sign is on the left.

Getting There Horseshoe Bend
The Arizona Department of Transportation has opened new paved temporary US Route 89 (US 89T). US 89 was closed 40 km (25 miles) south of Page after a landslide. The new road runs parallel to US 89 (from The Gap to LeChee) and is accessible from US 89 approximately 27 km (17 miles) north of the intersection with US 160 (Tuba City exit). The detour usually requires less driving time than the original road. When driving on US-89T, be aware of your surroundings and that animals such as horses, goats, cows and dogs frequently cross the road!

Opening Hours and Seasons
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is open year-round. Most visitors come in the summer season. The Charles Hall Ferry, which operates between Halls Crossing and Bullfrog, varies widely throughout the year.

Carl Hayden Visitor Center , Page, is open June through August daily from 8am to 6pm; from November to February from 08:30 to 16:30, the rest of the year every day from 08:00 to 17:00; it is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Entrance fees
USD 30 for a private vehicle and all passengers, valid up to 7 days. Children under 15 are free.
USD 25 for accompanied motorcyclists, valid for 7 days.
USD 15 for hikers or cyclists, valid up to 7 days. Children under 16 are free.

America the Beautiful Annual Pass
The annual pass costs $80 and entitles you to visit over 2,000 US federal recreation areas and national parks for one year from the date of purchase. The entrance fee applies to the driver and all passengers of a private, non-commercial vehicle (or up to a maximum of 4 adults in total if per-person entrance fees are charged). Children under 16 are free. If you visit more than 4 national parks, it is usually worth buying the America the Beautiful Annual Pass.
The pass can be purchased at many stores across the US and is also available in advance from various tour operators.

Paid camping is offered at Wahweap. Tent pitches are allocated according to the “first come, first serve” principle. RV sites with supplies and disposal can be reserved by calling +1 928-645-1059. Wild camping is available at Lone Rock Beach off Highway 89 near the Arizona-Utah state line. An additional fee will be charged for this. Wild backcountry camping along the shores of Lake Powell is complimentary. It should be noted that portable toilets are required for backcountry shore camping. You also need a boat to access these areas.

Climate and Weather
Glen Canyon National Recreation has a desert climate. The summers are very hot – with hardly any shade. Winters are cold with lows falling below freezing. Spring weather is highly variable and unpredictable, often with prolonged windy periods. The weather in autumn is usually nice and mild. This is a particularly good time with pleasant temperatures and few guests.

Average temperatures in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in °C
Month Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max 6 11 14 20 27 33 36 34 29 22 13 8
Min -4 -1 2 6 12 17 21 19 14 8 2 -3


In Glen Canyon, extreme weather conditions prevail throughout the year. In summer, temperatures can rise to over 38°C. It is important to ensure that you drink enough water. Taking electrolytes with you is advised, as is staying in the shade. Caution: Alcoholic beverages and sodas dehydrate the body. It is imperative to protect the skin with light-colored clothing, sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen. In winter, temperatures can drop to freezing point and a boat trip can quickly lead to hypothermia. Warm clothing is essential.


Lake Powell offers great recreational opportunities: boating, swimming, fishing, backcountry wild camping and hiking.

Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is located 11 km (7 miles) from downtown Page. It is operated by Navajo Parks and Recreation. Visiting with your own car is not allowed and only possible with a licensed local tour operator.

Glen Canyon is almost entirely a remote wilderness. But there are some delightful day hikes.


Dam Overlook: Located behind the park headquarters on Scenic View Road, the overlook offers a magnificent panoramic view of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River.

Hanging Garden: There is a car park across the bridge from the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Leave your car there and follow the trail markers to an enchantingly beautiful hanging garden, a verdant oasis of ferns, plants and water in the desert’s orange sandstone.

Horseshoe Bend: The Horseshoe Bend Trail begins five miles south of the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Park your car in the dirt lot, walk up the slope and then down towards the cliff face to admire the spectacular Colorado Loop.

Backcountry: There are no established hiking trails in Glen Canyon’s backcountry, but you can of course explore the surrounding area by boat from your port of call and campsite. Always carry drinking water with you when hiking in the desert and wear appropriate footwear.

Boat Tours depart
from Lake Powell Resort Lodge at Wahweap. Boat tours come in a variety of lengths, from short trips around Wahweap Bay to day trips to Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

River Cruises Take a river cruise down the calm waters of the Colorado River from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry with Colorado River Discovery.

Roads and
Trails Most of Glen Canyon is 505,868 hectares of wilderness with no roads or trails. There are no roads along the lakefront, but there are a few access points: Lakeshore Drive takes you to Wahweap. Indian Route 22B, which branches off Highway 98, leads to Antelope Point. These roads are paved. Be careful on unpaved roads.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona