Lake Powell – a Desert Delight
By Dixie Brunner
A lake in the middle of the desert? Wait, what? The immediate geography leading to Lake Powell has the mysterious look of moonscape. Large, wind-hewn mountains, scattered boulders and deep crevices mark every turn. Explore the astounding maze of carved canyons that lead to Lake Powell. Take in the scenic beauty of the buttes and mesas surrounding it. You round a corner and you first glimpse it – the bright aqua colored, enormous body of water … is it a mirage?
Lake Powell straddles the Utah/Arizona border, and it is one of the most beautiful in the world. Located in the center of the Colorado Plateau, it is one of the largest man-made lakes in North America. Its geographic setting amid the arid, desert landscape makes it the “ocean” of the western states.
Lake Powell was named after explorer John Wesley Powell, who was one of the first to navigate the Colorado River. The lake possesses more shoreline than the Pacific Coast of the United States.
The lake, with a dramatic backdrop of Navajo Mountain, was created when the Glen Canyon Dam was built. A power plant was constructed to harness the awesome energy of the Colorado River as it begins its impressive journey through the Grand Canyon. While the dam project (completed in 1963) was controversial, in recent years the lake’s recreational popularity has grown and is now in the league of Lake Mead and Lake Tahoe.
It offers everything from stunning vistas, boating, fishing, hiking and quiet family vacations, to fine amenities, extreme sports and a great party atmosphere.
Lake Powell is probably first and foremost a boater’s paradise. Most people will tell you the only way to really “experience” the lake is by boat. Aquatic access can offer you the opportunity to view such natural wonders as Hole-in-the-Rock and Rainbow Bridge (the largest natural stone span in the world). You may choose to rent a houseboat to explore the myriad of secret coves and canyons, where 200 to 300 foot rock walls tower above you.
Lone Rock is the first Lake Powell stop travelers should make when coming from Kanab. Lone Rock is named for the large mountain of rock rising out of the large expanse of aqua water. Showers and restrooms are available.
Nearby, the full service Wahweap Marina offers all the amenities a traveler needs to fully enjoy Lake Powell. If you’re planning to boat on Lake Powell, seek the advice of local experts to direct you on the best sights to see.