About Lake Powell
Lake Powell was formed after the construction of Glen Canyon Dam was completed and the flooding of Glen Canyon began. The process of filling the lake started on March 13, 1963, and continued for a staggering 17 years, with the lake finally reaching full capacity on June 22nd, 1980. At its fullest, the water depth near the dam was 583 feet (177.6 meters) deep, with an average depth of 132 feet (40.2 meters) and a total water volume of over 27,000,000 acre-feet, which is equivalent to flooding an entire midwest state with a foot of water. Lake Powell is not your typical American lake, resembling a flooded Grand Canyon more than anything else. The lake is vast, not only in water capacity but also in area, spanning two states (Utah and Arizona) and two time zones (Mountain Standard Time and Arizona Time).
Following the 17-year fill, Lake Powell boasts well over 2,000 miles (3218.6 kilometers) of shoreline, making it longer than the entire west coast of the USA. With 96 side canyons, the lake has a seemingly endless number of harbors, isolated coves, and sandy beaches to explore and relax on. Each of the canyons is unique and incredible, with the most popular ones being Rainbow Bridge Canyon, Forgotten Canyon, West Canyon, Labyrinth Canyon, Navajo Canyon (the largest side canyon, which is 16 miles or 25.7 kilometers long), and Antelope Canyon (arguably the most famous). Many of these canyons offer incredible views and slot canyon hikes and camping opportunities that are unparalleled.
In addition to its natural beauty, Lake Powell is home to its own National Monument, Rainbow Bridge National Monument. This monument features the largest natural bridge on earth and was made more accessible by the filling of Lake Powell, allowing visitors to reach it in just a few hours by boat or on a tour with a small hike of about a mile each way.
The creation of Lake Powell also brought significant economic benefits to the area, both on and off the lake. The lake has three main marinas, Wahweap Marina and Antelope Marina located on the southern end, and Bullfrog Marina located on the northern end in Utah. The lake also transformed the small town of Page, Arizona into a thriving tourist destination, with plenty of things to do, grocery options, unique dining experiences, a golf course, and rental and tour options, with each industry thriving from the benefits of being adjacent to Lake Powell.
While Lake Powell is a popular destination that over three million people visit and enjoy each year, it is still possible to find some alone time in one of its many bays, coves, or side canyons. The main channels can get choppy due to boat traffic and the massive canyon walls that deflect and send the waves back and forth, so visitors should exercise caution and try to get into a side canyon or open bay as soon as possible. Quality glassy water can usually be found somewhere close by that reflects the canyon walls like a giant mirror, with this effect being especially noticeable in the morning. Late afternoons on the lake, especially in late summer, typically bring some wind and occasional lightning storms.
Lake Powell is stunning during the day, but at night, it is miraculous. The area is well known for its low light pollution, making it a dream destination for stargazing. The seemingly unlimited camping areas on the lake make it an excellent place to camp, and visitors can camp anywhere they can put a tent.
Finally, Lake Powell's greatest benefit is its provision of water to the Colorado River basin, which, in turn, provides water to over 40 million people. Come enjoy the Lake, enjoy its views, and enjoy what it has to offer!