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Glen Canyon Dam, AZ

Guide 150 Triplogs  0 Topics
  2.8 of 5 
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,811 feet
Elevation Gain 5 feet
Accumulated Gain 5 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.75 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 0.53
Interest Historic
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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24  2018-06-11
Lake Powell 4 Day Paddle
217  2014-05-31
Utah/Arizona Strip Trek - May/June 2014
25  2014-02-22 Uncharted
5  2012-07-13 PaleoRob
8  2012-05-12 squatpuke
8  2011-05-07 squatpuke
5  2011-04-26 PaleoRob
3  2011-04-17 BubbaSue
Page 1,  2
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 225
Photos 5,981
Trips 1,093 map ( 2,433 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Aug, Sep → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:26am - 7:38pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

Take a trip below the waves
by PaleoRob

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In 1956, President Dwight David Eisenhower triggered, by telegraph, an explosion on the rim of Glen Canyon, a remote and wild stretch of desert canyon carved by the Colorado River. Over the next ten years, construction would continue what would become Glen Canyon Dam and the associated structures that helped make the dam possible; Glen Canyon Bridge, the power house where the generators were housed, 100 miles of road snaking into Utah and Arizona, and the town of Page. In 1966 the last generator was installed into the power house, and Ladybird Johnson, wife of Lyndon B. Johnson, dedicated the dam. Glen Canyon Dam backed water up 186 miles when it finally reached full pool in 1980, covering one of the least known and hardest-to-reach stretches of canyon in the country. In its place rose an otherworldly reservoir; Lake Powell. While many people decry the lake, and others applaud it, there can be no denying that Glen Canyon Dam is an amazing achievement of human engineering and ingenuity. You can explore this massive, 10,000,000 ton structure firsthand, if you wish, by joining a guided walking tour at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, perched just above the dam.

After going through a security checkpoint (remember to leave pocket knives, bags, purses, etc., in your car), sign up for a guided tour at the tour desk. Pay the fee (listed below). While waiting for your tour to start, look around the Visitor's Center at the enormous carved relief map in the center of the rotunda, out the windows at the dam, at the endangered Colorado River fish aquarium, or any of the interesting displays located within the Visitor Center.

When your tour is called, you will follow your guide to a set of elevators that will take you to the level of the dam. After walking through a tunnel blasted out of the Navajo Sandstone, you'll find yourself on the crest of the dam. Your guide will talk about some of the dam's features and how it was constructed before walking across to a very large elevator shaft - over 500' deep; the second-longest public elevator shaft west of the Mississippi River. It will take your group down to the bottom of the dam, where the temperature is between 55-58 degrees F, year-round, due to the enormous thermal mass of the concrete on either side of you. Your guide will talk a bit more about the dam's construction before leading you outside to a breezeway between the dam and the power house. Looking up from the bottom, it is a lot easier to appreciate the size of the dam! Soon after that, you enter the powerhouse, where you can see the 8 generators in action across the powerhouse floor. From there, your guide will tell you a little bit more about how the dam functions and then will lead you back to the Visitor's Center via the route you came.

Despite being almost entirely flat, guided, and punctuated by two elevator rides, the tour of Glen Canyon Dam is still fascinating and measures out at about half a mile; an informative "hike" that you can take the family on without having to worry about sand or challenging climbs. Check it out next time you're in the Page area!

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2009-04-30 PaleoRob
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$
    Special Use

    Fees as of 2009 are $5/adults, $4/military/seniors (62+), $2.50/child 7-18, and $0/child 6 and under.

    Glen Canyon NRA National Park
    Glen Canyon Entrance Fee - 1-7 Day Vehicle Pass - $25

    Boat fees additional, follow provided NPS link above.

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Page, drive north on US89. Cross Glen Canyon Bridge and turn right into the signed Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Visit the tour desk to sign up for a tour of the dam.
    page created by PaleoRob on Apr 30 2009 9:02 pm
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