In 1964, the Colorado River’s roaring waters needed to be harnessed, so the towering 710-foot-tall (216 meter) Glen Canyon Dam was built. The resulting 186-mile-long (299 kilometer) Lake Powell, the second largest man-made lake in the US, took 17 years to fill to capacity. Today, the dam provides hydroelectric power to the American West.
The Glen Canyon Dam is located within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, where some 3 million tourists visit each year for outdoor fun. Guided tours of the dam give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the engineering marvel, while the Carl Hayden Visitor Center offers interactive exhibits and a relief map of the Glen Canyon region.
Combine your visit to the dam with a rafting trip along the Colorado River or a tour of Antelope Canyon.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Glen Canyon Dam is a must-see for history buffs and those with an interest in engineering.
- Day trips to the dam and other area attractions from Sedona, Flagstaff, or the Grand Canyon can last several hours.
- Bags and purses are not permitted on tours of the dam.
How to Get There
Tours of the dam depart from the Carl Hayden Visitor Center off Highway 89 in the town of Page, Arizona. The easiest way to get there is to drive or join a guided tour from Page, Sedona, Flagstaff, or the Grand Canyon.
When to Get There
The best time to explore the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and enjoy the waters of Lake Powell is during the fall season, when weather is mild and crowds are thin. Dam tours take place throughout the year and are a good option to escape the heat on a summer afternoon or during the odd monsoon shower.
Other Attractions in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Glen Canyon Dam isn’t the only point of interest within this national park. Visitors can go boating on Lake Powell, learn about Mormon pioneer life at Lees Ferry Historic District, or visit Rainbow Bridge, one of the world’s largest natural bridges. Those craving a wilderness adventure can opt to explore Escalante or the Orange Cliffs.