Published: April 2006

Online Extra

San Juan Lake Powell

Great Explorations

Travel tips for the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

By Rebecca Rivas
Photograph by Michael Melford

Early last spring, when it was still chilly, John Louviere, program administrator of Utah State University's Outdoor Recreation Center, led a group of students down the Colorado River through Glen Canyon. Their final destination was Lake Powell. Louviere was astounded by what they found. "With the lake receding so much from five years of drought, it was spectacular to see what was hidden beneath the water," he says. "I was impressed by the canyon system reemerging after being hidden for so long."

Lake Powell, one of the nation's most widely visited lakes, lies amid multicolored desert canyons. Together with ancient rock arches and other formations, it makes up Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The most common Glen Canyon vacation tale often consists of lounging in a houseboat for a week on Lake Powell. Yet the lake itself makes up only 13 percent of the park, which rests on the Utah-Arizona border. Beyond its shores, some of the country's most prized hiking trails weave through canyons that date back some ten million years, attracting adventure seekers intent on exploring. Visitors are also drawn to Glen Canyon's historic monuments, which reveal the stories of early native tribes in the Southwestern desert. Whether you have only a couple hours, or days or weeks, the park's treasures offer experiences that can fit into various trip schedules.

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