The Best Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Guide

LAST UPDATED: 5/1/23 – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Guide

There is nowhere else on Earth that is quite like the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Imagine a large, beautiful blue lake in the middle of a gorgeous red sandstone landscape. 

The rock formations along the lake, and even sticking out of the lake in some places, are absolutely breathtaking.  The contrast between those orange and red rock formations and the crystal blue water of Lake Powell is mesmerizing.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream land.  In the summer months it is a mecca for boaters from all over the country and the world.  Some people spend months camped out along-side the shores of the lake.  There is no shortage of things to do in the area, so there is never a dull moment.

In this Glen Canyon National Recreation Area guide, I am going to give you some tips on how to get to Glen Canyon, the best time to visit the area, some valuable resources to help plan your trip, and review some of my favorite places within Glen Canyon.

Top Things to See and Do

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area sits in some of the most beautiful land in the United States, and there is no shortage of beautiful sights to see and fun things to do.  Below is a list of some of the top things I would recommend doing in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

If you haven’t read my visitor’s guide for Horseshoe Bend, I would strongly suggest you check it out.  Horseshoe Bend is an amazing and beautiful place that is worth checking out.  Just make sure you be careful when you visit, please!

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is another beautiful place in the area that I have written about in the past.  If you haven’t checked out my visitor’s guide for Antelope Canyon, this is a must read.  Antelope Canyon is quickly becoming one of the biggest tourism draws in the Southwest United States.  It is an incredibly beautiful place.

Alstrom Point

Alstrom Point Viewpoint

One of the best places to view Lake Powell and get some really fantastic pictures is from Alstrom Point.  This viewpoint offers some of the most breathtaking views of Lake Powell.  However, getting to the viewpoint isn’t for the faint of heart.

It involves driving nearly 25-miles down a very rough, unimproved road. Believe me, if you have the high clearance 4WD vehicle to get you there, the time and effort is worth it. For more information on the Alstrom Point viewpoint and how to get there, please see my Alstrom Point guide below.

Hole-in-the-Rock Area

Hole-in-the-Rock Road
Hole-in-the-Rock Road

If you have read some of my visitor guides for attractions within the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, you are probably familiar with the Hole-in-the-Rock.  The Hole-in-the-Rock road stretches from Escalante, Utah in the north down to the shore of Lake Powell inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The name Hole-in-the-Rock was given to the large rock formation that guards access to the Lake Powell area but is accessible via a hole (more like a gap) in the rock (shown in the picture above).  The Hole-in-the-Rock trail used to be used by settlers of the Western United States and the Hole-in-the-Rock provided safe passage through an otherwise difficult terrain.

Today, the Hole-in-the-Rock road is one of the most popular tourist roads\trails in the American Southwest.  Along this road you can see a ton of really cool geological rock formations, slot canyons, and partake in a number of really fun hikes.  Be aware that this road is a gravel, not paved, road and can be really tough in some locations (especially if it rains).

Hole in the Rock Area Map
Hole in the Rock Area Map

Lone Rock Beach

Lone Rock Beach in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Lone Rock Beach is one of my favorite spots in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  if you are looking for a great beach to chill out, do some paddle boarding or kayaking, or to do some beach camping, then this beach is for you.  The price for entrance is $25 per car and it will cost you $14\night to camp out there, but it is a gorgeous location.

To get to Lone Rock Beach, take highway 89 North from Page, Arizona until you get to Lone Rock Road.  Take a right onto Lone Rock Road and the beach will be at the end of the roadway.  There aren’t any marked campsites, but you are able to camp out right down on the beach.  There are toilets (both vault and microflush) by the beach.

When driving down on the beach, make sure you steer clear of areas with really soft sand.  It is very easy to get your vehicle stuck on the beach if you aren’t careful.  I typically try and stay where I have seen that others have driven so that I know the ground isn’t too soft.

Lone Rock Beach map
Lone Rock Beach map

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Glen Canyon Dam Overlook

Glen Canyon Dam

Gorgeous Lake Powell was created by the Glen Canyon Dam that sits in Page, Arizona.  It is a really cool dam that is worth checking out if you are in the area.  You can drive over the dam to get a better view, and a walking path that you can use to really get up-close-and-personal with the dam.

If you decide to stop at the dam, the Carl Hayden Visitor Center is really neat.  There are a lot of educational displays that explain how the dam was made and how it works.  If you are looking for some hiking in the area, the Hanging Garden trail is a really popular one.  If you are looking for some more extreme adventure, the Ropes Trail is a steep (emphasis on steep) trail down the canyon walls into Glen Canyon.

Glen Canyon Dam Map
Glen Canyon Dam Map

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

The Rainbow Bridge National Monument is an absolutely fantastic natural rock bridge that sits within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Like Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, if you are in the area, this is an absolute must see.  It is the world’s largest natural rock bridge and is truly a beautiful sight to behold.

Rainbow Bridge is fairly difficult to get to, as there are no roads that will take you anywhere near the national monument.  The best way to get to Rainbow Bridge is by boat on Lake Powell.  If you don’t have your own boat, you can purchase a boat tour of the Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

If you aren’t interested in taking a boat ride, you can access the Rainbow Bridge National Monument on foot.  Keep in mind, it is a long 14-mile hike thru the desert, so make sure you are up for the hike before you undertake it.  The hike is rated as moderately strenuous to strenuous, so it isn’t a hike designed for beginners. If you decide you would like to take this hike, please not that you will have to get a permit to cross the Navajo land before undertaking it.

Rainbow Bridge Area Map
Rainbow Bridge Area Map

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Lake Powell Kayaking and Paddle Boarding

Lake Powell Kayaking

One of the best things to do in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is get out on the waters of Lake Powell.  This beautiful lake has some of the best boating in the American Southwest.

While it can get a bit crowded in the summer months, it is a lot of fun.  If you don’t have your own motorboat to use, and you would like to get out on the water and get a bit of exercise, then kayaks or paddle boats might be right up your alley.  I have listed a number of resources below for renting kayaks and paddle boats in Glen Canyon.

How to Get to Glen Canyon

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a very large area.  The conservation area stretches from the border of Canyonlands National Park in the Eastern half of Southern Utah all the way down to Page, Arizona.  In addition to being in close proximity to Canyonlands National Park, it is also close to Capitol Reef National Park, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

Glen Canyon Area Map
Glen Canyon Area Map

If you would like to visit Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to get out on Lake Powell, your best bet is to Page, Arizona. This is the location of the Wahweap Marina, which is the largest marina on Lake Powell. In addition to being able to rent or launch your own boat, it is also where many of the Lake Powell tours depart from.

The other major marina in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is located at Bull Frog. This is another spot to book tours of Lake Powell and its attractions. If you are in the Moab, Utah area visiting Canyonlands or Arches National Park and would like to take a tour of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell, I would check for tours out of this marine first as it is much closer.

Best Time to Visit Glen Canyon

Because the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is such a large area, the weather varies some from location-to-location.  Below I have listed the average temperatures and precipitation levels for the Page, Arizona area to give you some guidance on what to expect at different times of the year.  While this may vary somewhat throughout the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, it will be somewhat similar.

During the summer months, Glen Canyon and Lake Powell can get pretty congested with summer vacationers and boaters.  The weather can be quite hot in the area during the summer, so getting out on the lake is a great way to beat the heat.  It is an absolutely stunning lake and a great place to spend the day boating.

In the winter months the crowds really thin out as the temperatures can get quite cool at times.  If you aren’t looking to get out on the lake and would like to avoid the summer crowds, then this can be a great time to visit.

Average Temperature (°F)

For more information on the average temperatures in Page, Arizona throughout the year, I have included a chart for you to review in my Glen Canyon National Recreational Area guide below.

Average Precipitation (Inches)

For those who are starting to plan their trip to see the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and would like to maximize their chances of having nice weather while there, I have included a chart that outlines the average amount of precipitation in the Page, Arizona area for you to review below.

Where to Stay

Southern Utah Camping

If you are visiting the Page, Arizona area to see the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, then one of the most important decisions that you will need to make when planning your trip is where you will stay. If you love to camp, you will be thrilled to know that there are many places to camp in the recreation area.

Otherwise, there are plenty of wonderful hotel options at different price points available in nearby Page, Arizona if you would prefer to stay in a hotel. In order to help you prepare for your visit, I have provided you with the information and recommendations you will need for either camping or a hotel stay below.

Camping in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Here are the general guidelines for camping in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This website includes a list of campgrounds in the area. The general guidelines that you will want to follow are as follows:

  • Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days and no more than 30 days total in the park in any calendar year).
  • In campground with designated sites: Maximum of 8 people per individual designated site; maximum of 2 tents per site. Designated Group sites accommodate more.
  • Food, pet food, garbage, and other related camp supplies must be stored in containers highly resistant and impervious to entry by birds and other wildlife.
  • Quiet hours are 10 pm to 6 am, unless otherwise posted.
  • There is no camping allowed in Rainbow Bridge National Monument or within/on archeological sites.
  • Campfires are allowed in NPS-provided receptacles (fire rings and grills) and along Lake Powell’s shoreline below high-water level (3,700 feet), except within developed areas. Do not leave trash in fire rings. Fireworks are illegal. Check the Superintendent’s Compendium for specifics.
Hotel in Page, Arizona

If camping is not your speed, you need not worry as there are a variety of good hotels for you to choose from in the area as well.  In fact, the city of Page, Arizona has a wealth of reasonably priced hotel options for you to choose from.

If you are in the process of planning your trip to Page to see the Glen Canyon and Lake Powell, then you are in luck. I have included a map and list of recommended hotels at different price points for you to review in my Glen Canyon National Recreation Area guide below.

Page, Arizona Hotels Map
Page, Arizona Hotels Map

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Glen Canyon Resources

There is so much to see and do in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  To assist you with your planning, I have provided a number of different planning resources for you to refer to in my Glen Canyon National Recreation Area guide below.

Activities in the Area

Waterhole Canyon Guide - Lake Powell Boat Tours

There are a lot of beautiful and amazing things to see in the Page, Arizona area, but there are also a lot of really fun activities that you can do during your visit as well. If you are starting to plan your trip and are looking for some fun activities to enjoy while you are in the area, I have included some suggestions for you to review in my guide below.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a vacationer’s paradise.  If you would like to see some additional pictures that I took while visiting this beautiful place, I have included a photo gallery for you to review in my Glen Canyon National Recreation Area guide below.

If you would like to view some more of my top photos from this trip, as well as photos from some of my many other travel adventures, make sure you are following me on Instagram as well!


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Categories: Mountain Park Guides, Mountain Parks, National Recreation Area, North America, North America Travel Guides, Travel, Travel Guides, United States, UtahTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Is there anywhere to rent Kayaks right on the lake so you don’t have to transport?

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