Glen Canyon Dam – Page, Arizona

We arrived in Page sometime after dark which makes locating a camp site an interesting affair. It was pretty windy out and we really wanted to find a campground that had some trees for protection. We drove through Wahweap RV park where there were a few scrawny trees but nothing large enough to protect the roof top tent. It didn’t matter since there were not any open camp sites. We ended up staying at Lone Rock Beach along Lake Powell.

No protection from the wind anywhere here!
No protection from the wind anywhere here!

The location was beautiful but the night was miserable with all of the noise from our rainfly rattling from the wind. This is our only complaint about this tent’s design is that there is no way to keep the rainfly taught so on windy nights we hear it hitting the tent all night.

Beautiful views at our campsite.
Beautiful views at our campsite.
Early morning kayaker near our campsite.
Early morning kayaker near our campsite.

The next morning we awoke to wind and rain. Once the rain stopped we made it over to Horseshoe Bend on the way into Page, AZ. Horseshoe Bend is a very popular place for tourists and a photographer’s dream.IMG_0862

The hike is an easy 3/4 miles long making it an easy stop on your way to or from Page. The views from this lookout which is 1,000 feet above the Colorado River are magnificent! It was still really windy making it hard to keep your eyes open with all of the sand whipping around in the air. This is one place where you want to keep your eyes open to make sure you see where you’re next step will take you! The wind gusts were so strong that most people were lying down at the cliff’s edge to get their photo.

Darryl reaching over the cliff's edge to get the shot.
Darryl reaching over the cliff’s edge to get the shot.

We spent the rest of the day catching up with our family and scheduling a tour company to take us to Upper Antelope Canyon the next day. We drove around the area and then eventually ended up finding a hotel for the evening given the weather. It was nice to be warm and out of the wind for the evening!

The next day was much nicer. We had breakfast again at the Ranch House Grill. This place was packed both days that we went there and it was for good reason. Our tour of Antelope Canyon wasn’t until the afternoon which left us enough time to go see the Glen Canyon Dam. We went to the visitor center and took our time going through their exhibits on the Dam. There was a tour of the dam for $5 each. Although we were pretty disappointed with the tour at the Hoover Dam which was $15 each, I am a sucker for going on tours and giving them a chance. My experience has been that price doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality so I was eager to give this tour a chance and we were very happy with the decision.

This is Curtis, our awesome tour guide at Glen Canyon Dam. He's standing in front of a turbine from one of the generators.
This is Curtis, our awesome tour guide at Glen Canyon Dam. He’s standing in front of an original turbine runner installed in 1965 and decommissioned in 2008.

Curtis was so enthusiastic about the dam and sharing his knowledge with us. He was able to answer specific questions that we had and made this tour probably one of the best tours we’ve been on yet during our travels!

Generators inside Glen Canyon Dam. You can see one that is disassembled for maintenance work.
Generators inside Glen Canyon Dam. You can see one that is disassembled for maintenance work.
Lake Powell is the man-made lake created by Glen Canyon Dam. At the time that we visited it was only at 40% capacity, or 3,500 feet If it falls to below 3,490 feet then the power plant cannot operate. Although the area is in a drought, it’s interesting to see that they don’t seem too concerned about water conservation given this message on one of their displays.DSC01057
We were also surprised to see what looked to be a putting green behind the dam! When the power plant was first put into operation, they realized that something needed to be done to control the vibrations in the penstocks caused from the water dropping 400-500 feet through them. Their solution was to cover them with dirt but they had to prevent the dirt from blowing away so they planted the grass. Pretty clever!
DEW Dam greens




DEW landscapeAfter our dam tour we had to catch our next tour to Upper Antelope Canyon. This is a slot canyon on the Navajo Nation that is famous for it’s beautiful red navajo sandstone cliffs that have been shaped by water and sand. The slot canyon is extremely narrow and maybe about 100 yards long. The place is beautiful but extremely crowded! We knew this going into the tour after reading the reviews on Tripadvisor. We still wanted to see the slots and have a chance to experience the beauty ourselves along with all of the distractions that come along with this tour. I’m not going to recommend our tour company and I won’t complain either since our experience shows that all of the tour guides did the same annoying things. The guides would take our cameras to shoot their pre-formulated photos of “Lincoln” or “king kong” or any number of figures that one might be able to stretch your imagination to see in the slots. You aren’t allowed much time within the slot and they are constantly coaxing you through the canyon. You take the good with the bad. In my opinion, the good outweighed the bad. IMG_0931









We spent a little more time in Page enjoying the scenery.DSC01211

DEW landscape 2

Coal power plant operating on Navajo land just a few miles from Glen Canyon Dam.

DSC01198One last hike to see the hanging gardens and then we said good-bye to Page, AZ, Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.DSC01206




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