Lake Powell - Attractions
The Impressive Canyons running from Arizona to Utah are by themselves a natural breathtaking attraction for visiting. However, Lake Powel has its own particular and outstanding points of interest, many of them considered genuine natural wonders of the world, from geological formations.
One of those major attractions are the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, often described as "Higher than the nation's capitol and nearly as long as a football field.” In fact, this ancient rock formation is the largest natural bridge in the United States and the whole world, with a length of 270 feet (83 m) across and 290 feet (88 m) height.
Rainbow Bridge was formed by thousands of years of erosion on sandstone by water flowing continuously from the Navajo Mountain towards the Colorado River. This bridge is still considered sacred by the Navajo Nation as a symbol of deities responsible for the life of the desert, creating clouds, rainbows and rain.
"Nonnoshoshi," as the Navajo people calls the bridge, is literally what the word means, a "rainbow turned to stone" spanning majestically across Lake Powell. Although the bridge was noted in journals from the 19th century, it is considered as officially discovered by the Douglas-Cummings surveyor party exploring the region in 1909.
Originally, Rainbow Bridge was one of the most inaccessible and remote regions in the United States, situated several miles up Bridge Canyon from the shores of the Colorado River. The construction of Glen Canyon Dam flooded the part of that region known as Lake Powel, bringing this natural attraction to its base for the enjoyment of boaters.
A complementary attraction to Rainbow Bridge is the Rainbow Bridge Trail, a 28-mile semi-circle scenic hiking trail through the Navajo Mountain, ahead Rainbow Bridge. The trail has a sacred center point situated at 10,400 feet high on the Mountain, offering a unique combination of lakeshore, desert, canyon and mountain environments on the Rainbow Plateau, a great camping site.
The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is another attraction that you should not miss, offering all the imaginable water-related activities and backcountry recreation that visitors expect. This recreation area stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry, Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah.
This is the largest park of Lake Powell encompassing geological wonders, breathtaking views and ancient history with recreational opportunities such as swimming, boating, fishing, hiking and even exploring the region on a four-wheel drive excursion. Camping and boat camping offer numerous lake-side canyons, some of them only accessible by boat, all of them with amenities such as gas and hookups.
On the Arizona side, Wahweap Marina is the largest marina on Lake Powell, near Page. "Wahweap" is a Paiute word meaning bitter or alkali water. This is a traditional place where cowboys running cattle stopped by for camping in the 1800s. The city of Page and the 5.5 miles Wahweap Marina are part of the attraction located within the Glen Canyon dam area.
Other featured marinas in the Lake Powell region are Bullfrog Marina, Halls Crossing Marina, Hite Marina, and the Dangling Rope Marina, all of them with campground and diverse recreational activities including sailing, boating, house-boating, fishing, swimming and diving, many providing launch ramps to access Lake Powell.
Away from the marina settings, the Escalante Sub-district is the favorite destination for backcountry hiking and camping within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, besides the historic setting of the area encompassing the Escalante River, named in 1872 by A.H. Thompson, one of the members of Major John Wesley Powell exploration.
Powell's mapping expedition passed through the upper basin area and named the region to honor the historic Domínguez-Escalante expedition of 1776. In 1875, a group of Mormon pioneers established a settlement in the area that was also named Escalante town.
Escalante Sub-district was scenic of several national parks and monuments until they were integrated into the actual 12-miles region, that can be reached by boat from the main channel of Lake Powell, situated in the lower section of the Escalante River, approximately 12 miles, can be reached by boat.
Lees Ferry Sub-district is another natural corridor between Utah and Arizona situated 15.3 miles down the river from Glen Canyon. This is a great spot for RV parking since it is the only place within the regions where visitors can view the Colorado River across over 700 miles of canyons in Lake Powell.
In addition, Lee Ferry Sub-district is home to the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center, showcasing the history of the bridge's construction in 1928, replacing a difficult and dangerous ferryboat that crossed 5-miles upstream. The old bridge is open to the public as another one of the many Lake Powell's attractions.
There are several other attractions with historic background, on the Colorado River, which existed long before the creation of Lake Powell that you can rediscover today.