Thursday, June 1, 2017

Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell

Location: Page Lake Powell Campground (el. 4,300 ft); Page, Arizona

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone

Route from Mansfield, LA to Page, AZ

Glen Canyon Dam is upstream of Hoover Dam and smaller by 6 feet. They rank number 1 and 2 in terms of the largest concrete arch dams in the country. Construction of the Glen Canyon dam began in the year I was born, 1956. The first blasting of the rock faces was on October 15, 1956 and the blast was set off by President Eisenhower in Washington D.C. when he pressed a telegraph key. Setting off an explosive charge from several thousand miles away must have been very impressive for its time. Probably a way of showing American abilities during the Cold War. 
Glen Canyon Dam. The bridge in the
front of it had to be built to move
construction equipment and materials
from one side of the canyon to the other. 
Once concrete began to be poured, it continued around the clock for more than 3 years. As with most of the dams built during the early to mid part of the 1900's, Glen Canyon was a hydroelectric dam. The first full electrical load was produced in 1966, a full 10 years after construction began. The electricity produced is used in 7 states with two being as far away as Wyoming and Nebraska. As I've said many time before, hydro power is being underutilized in the country (just my humble opinion).
Glen Canyon Dam with Lake Powell 

Lake Powell

The lake impounded by the dam is named Lake Powell. It took 17 years for it to fill up and did so in 1980. It is the second largest man made reservoir in the U.S., again, behind Lake Mead which was created by the Hoover Dam. Lake Powell is one of the prettiest lakes I've ever seen. The water is a pretty blue and it meanders up every little canyon along the way. At maximum pool stage it covers an area of about 161,000 acres with a max depth of 532 feet. The lake provides water for Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. These are considered the Upper Colorado States in terms of water. The dam releases the necessary amount of water to be retained by the Hoover Dam for use by the Lower Colorado River states of California, Nevada and Arizona. These two dams provide most of the power and water for most of the southwest. 

There are lots of very large houseboats/yachts on the lake. They are so large that they have to be built near the lake because the roads into the area are too narrow to handle them. Once on the lake, they basically stay there unless they need repairs. The repairs places are also near the lake. It would be a great time to have one of those boats to explore every canyon for a hundred miles upstream. That would be nice. 

I guess I've rambled on enough. The old Civil Engineer in me leaks out every now and then. The rest of the post will be pictures of the area and some of the trip between Flagstaff and Page. Some may not have captions since I can only use "wow" or "nice" every now and then. If you can think of some other captions for the pictures, post them in the comments section. 
This is approaching Flagstaff from the
east. That mountain is very near

This is after turning north at Flagstaff

It's pretty country

A mini Devils Tower?

It seems I've traveled a lot of long, lonesome highways.

Very good mountain roads.

I got lucky in that I got stopped in a construction zone as I was coming down the hill into the Page area. I was able to get a couple nice pictures.

Another one from the construction zone.

My campsite. Water/electric only. I tried to extend my stay but they are fully booked over this weekend. 
A Navajo Taco. It has the normal taco stuff placed on Indian Fry Bread. The best description I had for the fry bread is like a "sopapilla". It was good, but I still prefer Taco Bell. By the way, Page is a 2 Taco Bell Town.  

I climbed down to a scenic overlook in town. Going down was easy but I had to stop a few times going up to catch my breath, wait, take more pictures.

This is the reward for climbing down. It technically isn't a bench, but I'm counting it as one. That is the dam between the columns.

This is looking downsteam from that scenic view spot. The canyons are the beginning of the Grand Canyon further downsteam.

A little bigger Devils Tower, but still smaller than the real one. This one is called Tower Butte and is on the Navajo Nation. 
The Lake stretches out for a hundred miles or more
A panoramic picture. My cell phone does these pretty good.

That is one of the Marinas on the lake.
Big boats.

Looky Here,,, I did find a bench overlooking the lake with one of the monster boats. Notice in the far distance on the upper right and you will see the 3 smokestacks from the Navajo coal-fired power plant. The plant and coal mine are located on the Navajo Nation. 

Same bench but looking at the dam on the right and the Navajo power plant in the top left. Two different types of power plants. The Navajo plant is only viable because of the water impounded by the dam. It is due to close in 2019 which will put thousands of Navajo's out of a job. Look for a lot of political pressure to be put on D.C. to help subsidize the plant.

It sure is a pretty lake.
Tomorrow is moving day. I'll be moving a little over 200 miles to the northeast to the town of Monticello, Utah. I'll be there for three days before heading east. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


  1. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I enjoyed my visits in that area tremendously.

    1. You're welcome Barney. Be safe while having fun.

  2. Visited the area last year. I enjoyed it and look forward to going back some day. Thanks for the pictures

  3. I must be the only guy on the Internet that didn't realize you were back on the road. Ever since I've been boondocked in my daughter's yard I've been spending most of my time with the family and very little time on the computer. But last night I finally checked your site and realized I was way behind with what was going on. But I'm caught up now and glad to hear you're back on the road again.

    I know what you mean by that reassuring click when the truck and trailer are finally securely hitched together. I have a hitch that sometimes has a mind of its own and doesn't always want to leave at the same time I do. But after two or three tries it always puts a smile on my face to hear that solid click.


    1. Hello Tom, I'm glad you're enjoying your family. Have fun, be safe.

  4. Wonderful photos. This area always has a special place in my heart. When I was in Jr High we lived in Kanab and my Dad worked on the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge. I was hoping the water in the Lake would be a little higher than the last time we were there but it doesn't look like it.

    1. Hello Barb. I thought the water would be higher due to the large snowfall I had heard about over this last winter but it didn't appear that way. I didn't know you were raised as a Construction Brat like me. :)