Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon
Photo by: Chmehi, Creative Commons

Glen Canyon Dam is the second largest dam on the Colorado River, situated in Page, Arizona. It was built with the primary purpose of generating electrical power, securing water supply for the dry southwestern portion of the United States, and housing water recreation destinations and activities. The dam caused the nearby Glen Canyon to its north to become flooded, creating a large reservoir now known as Lake Powell.


The construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, as part of the Colorado River Storage Project, began in early October 1956. However, it was not without controversy, as many environmentalist groups openly expressed opposition to the original plan of constructing the dam farther upstream, which would flood a portion of the Dinosaur National Monument. When the plans shifted the location to Glen Canyon, a major environmentalist group opposing the construction dropped their objection. Creation of the Glen Canyon Dam and the Lake Powell reservoir eventually led to the establishment of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a popular summer tourist destination.

Touring the Glen Canyon Dam

While many would think that visiting a dam is something boring or not so interesting, many actually find it fun and delightfully out of the ordinary. The Glen Canyon Dam provides a spectacular view of beautiful surrounding red canyons and the sparkling waters of the Lake Powell on the other side of the dam. For those who are interested in learning about the massive dam and the man-made lake nearby, it’s a must to tour the place and see everything with their own eyes.

A non-profit educational organization called Glen Canyon Natural History Association, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, offers guided tours through the dam. The tour takes about 45 minutes, and is limited to 20 persons. A party with more than 10 persons requires group tour reservation, and should be made in advance.

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