Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Wahweap Overlook & Marina


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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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From the top of Wahweap Overlook, there are panoramic views of Wahweap Bay and the surrounding waters of Lake Powell. There is a signed turnoff on highway 89 about 3 miles North of the dam. Follow the short dirt road, to the parking lot.  There is a shade shelter and a bench.

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We stopped at the overlook on our way to dinner at the marina and were lucky enough to see a thunderstorm descending on the far side of Lake Powell. We stayed for a while, trying to capture photos of the lightning strikes and enjoying to cool breeze.

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Down at the marina, we had dinner on the roof deck of a restaurant on one of the docks. The restaurant itself was nothing special, but the view made it worth the trip. We watched the sun set and saw a rainbow after the storm passed.

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: 100 Lakeshore Drive, Wahweap Marina

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designated or established: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Navajo Bridge

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

The Navajo Bridge in Glen Canyon National Recreation area is off the beaten path. I’d seen photos of it on Instagram when planning this trip, so I knew I had to get it on the itinerary. After having spent a few days seeing the sights around Page, Arizona, we set out for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, with a slight detour to see Navajo Bridge.

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This turned out to be a pretty big detour since part of Highway 89 had washed away during a storm and we had to go around through Navajo territory and then back up to the turn-off to the bridge. And then, when we got there, the Interpretive Center was closed. There hadn’t been any mention of that on the website…we should have called.

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Undeterred, we parked in the lot on the opposite side of the canyon from the visitor center, walked across the pedestrian bridge, took photos and then shopped in the Native American craft market in the parking lot.

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Navajo Bridge is actually two bridges. The original bridge opened in 1929 providing a direct route from Arizona to Utah across the canyon. Previously, motorists had to either drive 800 miles around to cross the Colorado River or take a ferry.

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By the 1990s, the historic bridge was proving inadequate for modern traffic. The historic bridge became a pedestrian bridge and a new bridge was erected across Marble Canyon, slightly downstream from the old one. Though my husband may have been annoyed by the extra drive time, I’m glad we made the trip to see this.

To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: U.S. Hwy 89 A, Marble Canyon, AZ 86036

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/19/2014

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Navajo Bridge is the 9th highest steel arch bridge in the US, at 470 feet above the Colorado River in Marble Canyon.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Hanging Garden Trail

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After touring the Glen Canyon Dam, we asked a ranger in the visitor’s center for a short hike we could fit into the end of our day. He gave us directions to the Hanging Garden hike. The turn-off is 1/4 mile from the opposite side of the Glen Canyon Bridge from Carl Hayden Visitor Center on Highway 89.

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There aren’t great signs for the turn off, so we initially parked at the wrong trail-head.

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Our ‘wrong turn’ was an interesting hike meandering around the cool sandstone formations on the shore of Lake Powell.

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Then we went a little further down the road and found the right turn-off. Trail-head parking is 500 yards off of Highway 89 on a dirt road.

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This short, 1-mile round trip trail was created by the park service and leads to a startling green oasis beneath the rim of a butte. The route is easy to follow with a path marked by rocks along the entire route. There was no shade on this trail, but that was the only difficult part of the hike.

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There is a seep spring hidden beneath the sandstone. This spring captures rainwater and then slowly releases it, causing vegetation to grow vertically on the sheltered wall. It was pretty cool to see this in the midst of the barren landscape.

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: Scenic View Drive and Hwy 89, Page, AZ

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Glen Canyon Dam

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Having taken a morning raft tour of the Colorado River, we chose to explore the Glen Canyon Dam after lunch.
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First, we stopped at the Dam Overlook on the east side of the river. If heading from Page to the Carl Hayden Visitors center, the overlook is before you cross the river, tucked behind the Glen Canyon NPS Headquarters. We walked down the short, steep path and stairs to amazing views of the Dam and the Colorado River.
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Then we crossed the River and signed up for the next Dam tour. We had to pass through security screening and pay a nominal fee. As a federal power plant facility, security measures are in place. While no bags, purses, knives, weapons (duh!) or food are allowed on the tour, wallets, cameras, and clear water bottles are welcome.

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On the tour, we got to walk out on top of the dam with a knowledgeable guide. There are some artifacts on display.

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The tour took us from the top of the dam, and down into it to see the workings of the power plant.

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The Dam was completed in 1966 and forms Lake Powell. Though touted as a vital source of renewable energy and regulated water flow, environmental groups criticized its impact on the Grand Canyon’s ecosystem. Because of the controversy, it was one of the last dams of its size to be built in the USA.

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

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Location: Hwy 89, Page, AZ

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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The water level was pretty low when we visited. Our guide said this was the result of over a decade of severe drought.

Glen Canyon NRA: Colorado River and Petroglyph Walk

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.
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We opted to explore part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Half Day Smooth Water Rafting tour with Colorado River DiscoveryThis was the highlight of our stay in Page.
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We checked in early at the Colorado River Discovery store in Page. Next we rode a bus through a two-mile tunnel in the canyon walls to the docks at the base of the Glen Canyon Dam….this tunnel was created for the workers who built the dam. You have to comply with Homeland Security rules to use the Dam Access Tunnel. CRD provided us with clear plastic bags for our belongings.

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At the docks we boarded a pontoon raft capable of holding up to 24 people…we only had 12 on ours so it was a peaceful ride. Our guide Nate told us a little of the area’s history, pointed out some interesting geologic formations, and various wildlife (we saw a few bighorn sheep.)

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Nate kept it fun while we relaxed and enjoyed the ride. Do bring your camera. There is no splashing on the way to Horseshoe Bend and you can use the plastic bag to protect it on the way back when there is some spray.

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We docked at Boater’s Beach at the foot of Horseshoe Bend. We walked a short path to see some petroglyphs…there was a National Park Ranger answering questions about them. Then we dipped our toes in the frigid 47 degree water…some folks had their swim suits and were brave enough to go all the way in.

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Back on the boat,  we went a little further around the bend to see some interesting rock formations and then we motored back to the Dam access tunnel.

 

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

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Location: 130 6th Ave, Page, AZ

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Lone Rock Beach

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Welcome back to National Parks with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

After spending the morning touring Lower Antelope Canyon, we needed a respite from the heat. We’d originally planned to go to Horseshoe Bend right after Antelope, but switched up the itinerary and drove to Lone Rock Beach on the Utah side of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. What a spectacular setting in which to cool off!
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This beautiful soft sand beach on Lake Powell is maintained by the National Park Service and the view is dominated by the monolithic Lone Rock. It’s about 12 miles north of Page. We paid a $15 entrance fee. There is limited hard-surfaced road, with the majority of access to Lake Powell on sandy roads or beach. We were driving a rental sedan and were warned we could get stuck driving down to the beach so we parked in the lot (which has a restroom) and walked to the water. It’s a long walk, but we’re used to long walks in hot sand to get to the water back home at the Jersey shore.

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The water is warm and a beautiful turquoise color. The beach was not crowded at all, even though there were a lot of RVs in the main area (this is a popular camping site in the Park as you can pull your RV right up to the water’s edge.) We set up our mat a little ways down from them and had that section all to ourselves. This was the perfect way to spend a hot afternoon.DSC06545

 

Lake Powell is actually a man-made reservoir created by the Glen Canyon Dam. It was surprising to see all the motor boats and jet skis speeding around the lake, considering that people have to drink this water. Just sayin…

While Lake Mead (formed by the Hoover Dam) was larger than Lake Powell when they were both created, Lake Powell is now larger by volume due to a more intense drought/ falling water levels at the Nevada end of the Colorado River.

Location: Lone Rock RoadBig Water, UT 84741

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/17/2014

You can see my previous post on Glen Canyon NRA : Horseshoe Bend here.

Glen Canyon NRA: Horseshoe Bend

IMG_5899Location: Page, AZ

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date NPS designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/17/2014

Welcome back to National Parks with T! Please visit the blog and follow.

Horseshoe Bend is a part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It is a horseshoe shaped bend in the Colorado River flowing through the Glen Canyon. It can be viewed from an overlook just south of Page on Highway 89 between mileposts 544 & 545. Look for the signs pointing to the right to turn off to the lot. Due to the increasing popularity of the overlook, the NPS began construction on improvements at the site last year including a saftey railing at the rim, shade areas and benches and a trail that is more in keeping with preserving the environment.

When we were there, there were no railings which was pretty terrifying, but I was able to sit/lay at the edge and get some awesome unobstructed shots. I’m sure these shots will still be possible with a few adjustments from behind the railing and maybe fewer people will take the risk of climbing just below the rim as a slip or crumbling rock would mean certain death.

The path from the parking lot was a sandy uphill trudge in the blazing desert sun. We didn’t bring enough water…we underestimated the climb because it was only half a mile. When we got to the rim, my daughter had to sit in the shade of a big boulder because she was so affected.

But the view was absolutely breathtaking. And while there were a lot of tourists, it wasn’t as crowded as the Grand Canyon a little later in that same week.IMG_5953