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Although Glen Canyon in Arizona was a popular recreational spot for decades prior, it wasn’t officially established as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area until 1972. The designation protects the history, scientific value, and scenery for generations to come. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is overshadowed by Lake Powell, a scenic reservoir upon which many people enjoy boating and swimming. It nestles in between high orange-red canyon walls, which contrasts brilliantly with the turquoise water of the manmade lake.
The closest town to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is Page, which sits just southeast of the Lake Powell Dam. Most businesses in the town are centered on the recreational industry and there are several outdoor-related rental companies, guiding groups, and clothing stores. The closest hospital is also found in Page. Jumpstart your RV camping adventure and book an RV in Coconino County, AZ.
Over 1.25 million acres of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area surrounds the scenic Lake Powell, which follows the canyon curves in elegant serpentines. Five marinas and several boat launches allow for easy access to the glistening water. Most of the marinas also have a variety of boats available for rent, including houseboats, jet skis, kayaks, and powerboats. A couple of these marinas also rent out fishing gear for intrepid anglers who might lack the necessary equipment to cast a fly into the lake.
Hop into a motorboat and challenge another boater to a good-natured race. Zip up and down the length of Lake Powell to an invisible finish line. Or take the boat into one of the many inlets for a quiet day of swimming and fishing. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of bass among other fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass and striped bass.
Although many adventurers flock to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to gain access to Lake Powell, its other features should not be ignored. In addition to around 20 miles of hiking trails, which are generally poorly maintained, hikers can strike out into the backcountry in search of the most scenic landscape to photograph or to spot elusive wildlife.
At first glance, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area might seem like a barren wasteland. On the contrary, it’s anything but. This arid, scorched region teems with life - at night. Most animals have adapted to a nocturnal lifestyle and emerge once the heat of the day has dissipated. A shortlist of creatures sharp-eyed visitors might spot include the desert bighorn sheep, bobcats, mountain lions, and a small herd of genetically-pure bison.
Renting an Airstream and hitting one of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area RV campgrounds is a smart decision. Instead of enduring a long pre-dawn drive from a hotel, one needs to merely step out of their front door to enjoy the stunning landscape as the rising sun illuminates it. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has four campgrounds, two of which are utterly primitive. There are no toilets, dump stations, or anything other than a clearing for RVs.
The other two options may be good candidates to consider. One could RV camp south of Page, AZ, at the Lee Ferry Campground, which has 51 sites. Although there are no hookups, there is a dump station and vault toilets for visitors to use. Each site is accompanied by grills or fire rings. Located on a slight rise, there are views of Lake Powell from most sites.
Lone Rock Beach Primitive Camping may be an option, too. Although it’s also primitive, it differs in that it has both flush and vault toilets. Campers can also make use of its sole shower, which is outdoor, and there is running water available on a seasonal basis. Those camping can also make use of the dump station if needed.
In this remote, far-flung corner of Arizona, towns are few and far between. After touring Page, hit the road in a motorhome rental and search for the best Mexican and barbecue restaurants that line the main streets of the small towns.
Kanab, UT, sits at the southern entrance of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and though it’s a gorgeous region to explore, the town itself has its charms and quirks. In addition to several historic buildings and homes, Kanab is also known for its longtime mainstay, Best Friends Animal Society, which has operated in the area since the 1980s. Although adoption is its main goal, the shelter is open to visitors for tours of both the facilities and Angel Canyon and volunteering.
At the end of a long day of traveling from town to town or adventuring in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, kick up your heels outside a camper rental and look skyward. This region has one of the darkest skies in North America, and several astronomical bodies can be seen with the naked eye.