GLEN CANYON, LAKE POWELL

Environmental Graffiti: Glen Canyon is a true paradise for nature lovers from all walks of life; there really is something for everyone. Whether you’re a ecologist, a biologist, an anthropologist or just a regular visitor, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll enjoy the splendor Glen Canyon has to offer. But at this majestic site, it really pays to study rock formations, as they are the region’s true storytellers, recording the environmental changes caused by climate, weather, fires and geological processes throughout the millennia.

When to go: The best part about this place is that you can afford to drop in with out a plan and just roll with it. Though its one of the prettiest places we’ve been too, for some reason it hasn’t been too commercialized which makes it an absolute treat to visit! Though there really aren’t any seasons for visiting this place, things tend to slow down in the winter months. And since we’re talking about a not so commercial place, you might land up not being able to access some places at all due to closed tours if you go in during the low seasons. I’d recommend the best time to go here is fall to avoid the heat and still enjoy the warm waters.

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Where to Stay: In my opinion one of the prettiest and also moderately expensive place to stay would be the Lake Powell resort, be sure to grab a Lake view room. We preferred to camp it out here. The weather is great and quite predictable, no big animals around either which makes it easy to pitch a tent and use it as your base camp to visit the many sites this place has to offer. If you are flying in and don’t want to carry the extra baggage you can rent them from the local tour agencies or even buy a cheap set from the nearby Walmart(pretty much the same cost). Wahweap and Bullfrog would be your best stops to choose for camping grounds, they have good facilities including showers as well and all amenities you would need. The entire stretch of Powell isn’t too wide spread, so you don’t have to think of any long drives to get to the nearest services or tourist spots either. If you are more accustomed to camping and don’t mind the lack of facilites, you can camp anywhere on the shorelines of Lake Powell except in developed marinas.

http://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

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Things to see: Where do I start? This place feels like another planet with formations that are out of this world. Every place you look you’d find gravity defying features that you’d think can only be built unnaturally, but they are not. Be sure to keep a good 3-4 days, not because there are too many things to see, because this place has a pace of its own and it’s best to keep your itinerary well spaced out. Places to drop in to enjoy the sites would be:

– Rainbow Bridge: We missed this, its a 90 mins boat ride that we hadn’t made a reservation for, but is definitely a great place to drop in if you have the time

– Wahweap Bay Kayak: Though you will find fantastic layered patterns at every conner of the canyon, these are an extra treat. We did a kayak tour of Lake Powell and dropped in here, eerie rock surfaces and large sandy walls to climb make it a treat of its own. Most of these features are only visible via water. You might want to try hidden Canyon Kayak as well.

– The Chains: Great overlook area. Day use only.

– Glen Canyon Dam

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– Vermilion cliffs: Though a little far away, this place is unlike any natural formation I’ve seen before.

– Lone Rock: Not one of the highlights of our trip, but you might want to drop in for the sight. Beware of the sand if you don’t have a 4WD.

– Horseshoe bend: A short hike with a breath taking view. So in for the sunset, arrive early for a photographers spot. It tends to get crowded for popularity.

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Things to do: Try to keep all your outdoor activities away from the noon hours to avoid the sun:

– Kayaking and boating the river is a must to soak in the beauty of the place.

– Rent a 4WD and do the terrain

– Hiking the caves and river trails

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Antelop Canyon: I’m making this a separate topic because this will be a highlight of your trip. First, lets cover the usual questions I had in my mind:

Q:When is the best time to go?

A: Anytime of the day, every time gives great views. But you may want to avoid the times when sun is directly above for better shots.

Q: Can I drive there by myself?

A: No, even if you may have a 4 wheeler(which is a must in the vicinity) you will not be allowed to freely roam without a tour guide.

Q: How can I best capture this memorable shots?

A: Don’t use a flash and listen to your guide. A lot of tours also do special photographer tours earlier in the day which you might want to tag along with.

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Q: Can I stay there as long as I want?

A: Yes, you can decide to hang out there and come on another tour bus back, but considering the amount of time they spend there you wouldn’t need to.

Q: Do I need a reservation?

A: Though not necessary, its a good idea to make one, especially because the area is prone to flash floods.

Scenic Drives: The drives are long but beautiful, a bit of rain makes the contrasts reds even more!

– Page to Bryce, Red rock canyon

– Flag staff to Page: though it starts mellow, as you get closer to Page the sights are breathtaking, especially if your hitting page towards the evening.

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Our Itinerary:

WHEN WHAT WHERE
Day 1 – PM Overnight camping @ Wahweap campgrounds. Arrive Lake Powell
Day 2 – AM Half day kayak tour of Glen Canyon Highlights : Hike to Wahweap window and sand mountain accessible only via water.
Day 2 – PM Vista point 15 mins drive to Lone Rock beach.
Day 2 – PM Walking tour Glen Canyon Damn and vistor center
Day 2 – PM Easy hike The Chains
Day 2 – PM Sunset view Horseshoe bend
Day 3 – AM Tour Antelope Canyon
Day 3 – PM Drive to Bryce Canyon Bryce Canyon Nation Park

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