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Glen Canyon Dam Overlook, AZ

Guide 32 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.21 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,201 feet
Elevation Gain -82 feet
Accumulated Gain 72 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 15 min
Kokopelli Seeds 0.57
Interest Seasonal Waterfall
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
15  2020-02-15
Page and Zion Road Trip
5  2015-03-06 cw50must
5  2014-06-02 Stoic
56  2013-05-10
Northern Arizona Trek - May 2013
3  2011-04-17 BubbaSue
14  2010-07-10 PaleoRob
3  2010-06-12 amcole6
2  2009-03-18 keepmoving
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
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Sep, Oct → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:32am - 7:32pm
Official Route
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Quick view of Glen Canyon Dam
by PaleoRob

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The Glen Canyon Dam Overlook (sometimes called "The White House" by locals) isn't much of a hike. It's a simple down-and-back to a viewpoint on the rim of Glen Canyon. It certainly isn't a destination hike, and generally doesn't take more than 10 minutes to hike down, look at the river, and hike back.

The view however, is spectacular. At the base of the well-marked trail is a viewing area. Directly upstream from the viewing area lays Glen Canyon Dam, one of the largest dams in the United States, and the reason for Lake Powell's existence. From this vantage point the size of Glen Canyon Dam becomes very obvious. It's a huge concrete wedge spanning the entire width of Glen Canyon, dwarfing its power plant at its base. Depending on the time of your visit, you may see rafts being loaded up on the right hand side of the dam. These are one day float trips that run the remaining 18 miles of Glen Canyon from the dam down to Lee's Ferry, and provide a great way for the day visitor to experience Glen Canyon. Floaters are bussed down to the base of the dam via a 2 mile long tunnel cut through the cliff directly beneath the overlook. Built back in the late 1950s, the tunnel was built to facilitate the movement of heavy equipment from Page to the base of the dam. The tunnel starts near the Maverik gas station, and is guarded to prevent unauthorized access. It is a harrowing ride through the dark, narrow, wet tunnel.

Looking left from the viewpoint, the Colorado River makes a sweeping right hand turn before bending left and disappearing around the corner past The Ropes. Often times fly fishermen can be seen in the shallows, attempting to catch some of the Blue Ribbon Rainbow Trout that are found in the Colorado's clear, cold water. Before Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, the Colorado River ran brown and warm most of the year, though occasionally rafts of ice would float down during the winter and spring melt. With most of the sediment from upriver now trapped in Lake Powell, the water became shockingly clear. The water from Lake Powell is run through turbines in the dam and released at its base, and is drawn from a Lake Level where the sunlight never reaches. The water in the river is now just around 40 degrees year-round, making the river perfect for non-native Rainbow Trout and the algae that they eat. Incidentally, its that very algae that makes the river appear green. Across the canyon from the overlook, you may be able to get a glimpse of a thin arch high on the canyon wall, near the right-hand bend. During a rain storm, a handful of muddy waterfalls make a dramatic plunge off the canyon's rim down to the bottom, spraying everything at the base of the cliffs with muddy water. A very impressive sight.

After taking in the excellent panoramic view, turn around and make the quick hike back to your car.

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2007-08-04 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 $$

    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 Flagstaff, drive north on US89 to Page. Pass the Wal-Mart and the 1st right hand turn for Lake Powell Blvd. Pass the NPS headquarters, and turn left at the Denny's onto Scenic View Drive. If you pass the second exit for Denny's or reach the dam, you've gone too far. Make a right at the sign for the senic view, and park in the parking lot.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated
    help comment issue

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