Lake Powell and the town of Page in northern Arizona is a fantastic jumping-off point for visiting the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and some of the most historic and photographed areas of the American southwest. Now, many are discovering that the Lake Powell area is a destination in itself where you can take in vivid sunsets, tour stunning natural formations, and take advantage of a full range of exciting recreational opportunities. Come along and explore six wow things to do at Lake Powell in Page, Arizona.
Explore Lake Powell by Houseboat
Over the years, houseboating on Lake Powell has been a favorite thing to do for a family vacation. As the years have passed, houseboats have become more amenity-rich and exciting. You can reserve everything from a 46-ft economy boat with full kitchen, bedroom, and bath to the amazing 75-ft Excursion with five elegant staterooms, two baths, a huge kitchen, and an outdoor hot tub. This is the type of houseboat where you can tie up at a beach and throw a lavish party inviting others over for the evening.
Once you start plying the waters of this enormous lake you can explore the canyons and formations of Lake Powell and see the famous Rainbow Bridge National Monument, with one of the world’s largest natural bridges.
Lake Powell is one of the best places in the world for water sports. Most bring along a smaller boat with their houseboat so they can go water skiing, wake boarding, and travel into the small canyons to hike.
Fly Over the Sights
Taking a one-hour flightseeing trip from the airport in Page is an ideal way to begin or end your stay at Lake Powell. It wasn’t until I took a sightseeing trip with American Aviation that I was able to put together the pieces of what we had seen in this beautiful area and understand how rivers created canyons, how the various layers of the Colorado Plateau—exposed in many places—were once part of a seascape, and how the Glen Canyon Dam created the multi-fingered huge body of water that is Lake Powell.
Raft the Colorado River
Lake Powell is the reservoir created by damming the Colorado River. And just past the massive Glen Canyon Dam, the river flows on. While I’ve never had the nerve to raft through the Grand Canyon, there are raft trips for people like me who want to see awesome canyon vistas, look into the deep blue waters of a beautiful river, and do it all without a hint of fear.
What I found out was that Wilderness River Adventures offers one of the most spectacular Colorado River rafting tours available anywhere on the beautiful Colorado River. They provide half and full-day smooth water float trips that are perfect for the entire family.
You’ll drift downstream and stop at Petroglyph Beach where you can see 5,000-year-old carved images of bighorn sheep and other ancient canyon dwellers. The float trip then takes you through iconic Horseshoe Bend and on the way, you may see hawks, ospreys, and great blue herons. Be sure to take plenty of sun protection and good water shoes.
Photograph Antelope Canyon
Slot canyons, like Antelope Canyon near Page, are surprising crevasses in rock with walls marked by the passage of water over time, a favorite subject of photographers. Guided jeep and photo tours are available from Page and due to the popularity of the tours, advance reservations are recommended.
We took the Native-owned (Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Nation land) tour with Antelope Canyon Tours at the end of the day. I was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough light in the canyon to get good photographs but I was soon proven wrong. Arden Redshirt, our Navajo guide, not only shared with us the story of the canyon, he made frequent stops as we explored the narrow passageway and taught us how to get spectacular photos using our iPhones.
He then surprised us with a little hike through another close-by side canyon to end our tour just as the sun started setting and the sky glowed with brilliant stripes of yellows and oranges.
Antelope Canyon Tours also offers small-group tours specifically for professional photographers (no iPhones allowed on this one.)
Visit Glen Canyon Dam
The Carl Hayden Visitor Center at the massive Glen Canyon Dam is off Highway 89A. The visitor center offers interactive exhibits, introductory films, a relief map of the Glen Canyon area, a life-size model of a slot canyon, restrooms, and a bookstore.
The Glen Canyon Natural History Association, a non-profit educational organization, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, provides guided tours through Glen Canyon Dam on a year-round basis. Tours are approximately 45 minutes long and the charge is $5 per person. Reservations may be made up to 24 hours in advance and must be reserved and paid for in person at Carl Hayden Visitor Center so it’s ideal to stop by the day before to make sure you can get on one of the 20-person tours.
Play Golf with a View near Lake Powell
The Lake Powell National Golf Course is the place to play golf with a view of immense Lake Powell. In fact, you can see all the way to Glen Canyon Dam and the Vermillion Cliffs. This is an 18-hole championship facility with multiple tee boxes ranging from over 7000 yards to 5000 yards. There is a cozy clubhouse where you can relax with a brew and a burger after you play.
When You Go to Lake Powell
A great place to start learning about Page and the area is the John Wesley Powell Museum on North Lake Powell Blvd. You'll learn about the Native American history and about Major John Wesley Powell, the one-armed Civil War veteran who explored the Glen Canyon area by boat and, ultimately, went on to the Grand Canyon.
You can fly and/or drive to Page-Lake Powell. There are no public buses or passenger trains that go between Flagstaff or Phoenix and Page-Lake Powell. Many visitors, especially the increasing number of international travelers, get to the area on a private bus tour.
The Page Municipal Airport (KPGA) has an Avis Car Rental, and Flagstaff and Phoenix airports have many car rental options. Contour Airlines flies into Page-Lake Powell. Charter services and air tours of the area are provided by American Aviation, Grand Canyon Airlines, and Westwind Aviation. For more information on traveling, dining, and adventuring in Arizona, see these articles by Wander writers.
Note: The author toured as a guest of the Grand Circle Association. As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodations, meals, tours, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.