Introducing Glen Canyon National Recreation Area & Lake Powell
In the 1960s the construction of a massive dam flooded Glen Canyon, forming Lake Powell, a recreational playground. Almost 50 years later this is still an environmental hot-button topic, but generations of Western families have grown up boating here. Water laps against stunning, multihued cliffs that rise hundreds of feet; narrow channels and tributary canyons twist off in every direction.
Lake Powell stretches for more than 185 miles, surrounded by millions of acres of desert incorporated into the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Most of the watery way lies within Utah. However, Glen Canyon Dam itself, the main Glen Canyon National Recreation Area visitor center, the largest and most developed marina (Wahweap) and the biggest town on the lake (Page) are all in Arizona.
In Utah, primary access is 70 miles south of Hanksville; check in at the Bullfrog Visitor Center for general info. At the end of the road, Bullfrog Marina rents out boats – 19ft runabouts ($400) and personal watercraft ($360) – by the day, but houseboats ($600) are its big business. You can rent a 46ft boat that sleeps 12 by the day or week. Invest in the waterproof Lake Powell Photomap ($12) so you can pilot your craft to some great canyon hikes.
Landlubbers can spend the night at the marina's waterfront Defiance House Lodge and eat at Anasazi Restaurant. The restaurant serves pretty standard all-American fare, but it does try to use local produce and sustainable practices. Also on site: a small convenience store, marine fuel and trailer parking. The 24-space Bullfrog RV Park & Campground is lakeside, with full hookups, showers and grills.
Inland, 12 miles or so from the marina, are a couple of marine-service/gas-station/convenience-store/deli complexes. Ticaboo Lodge is a sleeping alternative with a three-meal-a-day restaurant and bar attached.
To continue south along Hwy 276 you have to take the ferry to Hall's Crossing. At the time of research, service was suspended for repairs. Usually the 30-minute trip has four crossings daily between 9am and 4pm, June to August; only two boats run between 9am and 2pm, March through May and between 10am and 3pm September through November. The Hall's Crossing marina has a store, boat launch, campground and a great playground for kids.
At the time of writing Hite Marina remained closed due to low water levels.