grand canyon ROAD TRIP FROM LAKE POWELL

Lake Powell to Grand Canyon Travel Guide

Lake Powell to Grand Canyon Road Trip 

Lake Powell is located within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in both Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. This area has a ton of activities and attractions and is only a couple hours from Grand Canyon destinations, making it a great one day or overnight road trip. The only city on or near Lake Powell is Page, AZ, which has all amenities visitors need. Lake Powell was made due to the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, which began filling in 1963 and did not fill completely until 1980.  Lake Powell makes up 13 percent of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area which was created for both recreation and the preservation of Glen Canyon. For people who love to go boating, swimming or kayaking Lake Powell is definitely a mecca. If you're traveling to the Grand Canyon, including a visit to Lake Powell is a great addition to your trip. Read the guide below to learn more.

Travel Information, Tours and Lodging

Driving Distance from Lake Powell to Grand Canyon

  • Lake Powell to Grand Canyon North Rim is 124 miles, a 2 hour 20-minute drive.
  • Lake Powell to Grand Canyon East Rim is 40 miles, a 45-minute drive.
  • Lake Powell to Grand Canyon South Rim is 154 miles, a 2 hour 50-minute drive.
  • Lake Powell to Grand Canyon West Rim is 352 miles, a 5-hour 45-minute drive.

Lake Powell Tours and Attractions

There is no shortage of activities at Lake Powell and Glen Canyon NRA.  For boating enthusiasts there’s water skiing, wake boarding, houseboats and just plain boating.  There is also human powered boating in the form of kayaks, which can be a one-day trip or a multi-day adventure.  Fishing is also popular on Lake Powell for large striped bass, while the Lee’s Ferry area below the Glen Canyon Dam offers great trout fishing.  Land based activities include hiking, mountain biking, canyoneering and scenic drives.  Check out our recommended tours and attractions below or learn more about Grand Canyon Tour Guides at Grand Canyon National Park.

Best Lake Powell Hotels and Lodging

Even on Lake Powell itself there are accommodations in the form of houseboats that are readily available for rentals at one of the several Lake Powell Marinas.  Aside from the houseboats, hotel rooms in Glen Canyon NRA are available at Wahweap and Bullfrog marinas.  Bullfrog, Wahweap, and Halls Crossing also have RV parks and campgrounds. Outside of the NRA the town of Page, AZ has many lodging options as well as RV parks and campgrounds.  You can see a list of popular hotels below. Dispersed camping along the shores of Lake Powell and the NRA is free.  Glen Canyon NRA also has three developed campgrounds with small nightly fees. Lake Powell is a great place to spend a night or two before traveling to your Grand Canyon hotel.

Area Car Rental Options

Lake Powell Car Rentals: There are several car rental agencies in Page Arizona, or you can pick up a rental car at any major airport you fly into.

Lake Powell Shuttles: There are a few companies that offer shuttles to Powell, but if you want to check out all the parks in the area your best bet is to have your own car.

Closest Airports to Lake Powell

The city of Page has a small municipal airport with flights to Denver and Phoenix, as well several companies that run scenic flights.  The closest major airports are Phoenix and Las Vegas International Airports, both of which are about 5 hours away.  Flagstaff Arizona has a small airport with daily flights and a drive time of about 2.5 hours from Page.  St George Utah also has daily flights and is a little over 3 hours away.

Best Restaurants and Dining Options

The Lake Powell Marinas and hotels have basic shopping and restaurants. If you need to do any serious shopping Page is your best bet and has a major grocery store and a Walmart.

Weather and Climate

Like most high desert areas summers are hot at Lake Powell, but if you’re into boating, swimming or kayaking this is the time to be here.  Spring weather is unpredictable, but can offer some great weather if the winds don't pick-up. Winter is fairly mild with highs in the 40’s to 50’s and lows around freezing. Fall offers the best overall travel window, especially for hiking the many trails and canyons in Glen Canyon NRA and the surrounding areas.

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Recommended Tours near Lake Powell

Lake Powell & Horseshoe Bend 30–Minute Air Flight

Duration: 30 minutes
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
from $124 on Get your guide

Book Now

Self Drive: Lower Antelope Canyon Ticket from Page

Duration: 1-2 hours
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
from $57 on Viator

Book Now

Monument Valley, Zion, Bryce, South Rim, Antelope

Duration: 3 days
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
from $695 on Get your guide

Book Now

Monument Valley, Antelope & Horseshoe Bend

Duration: 3 days
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
from $540 on Get your guide

Book Now

Popular hotels near Lake Powell

Learn More About Lake Powell

If you’re coming to Lake Powell to rent a houseboat, swim, wakeboard, or waterski Mid-May to Mid-September is your best bet and the time when Lake Powell receives most of its 3 million annual visitors.  Hiking and other activities that don’t involve getting in the water are most enjoyable in the late spring and fall just like Grand Canyon hiking.  Entry Fees for Glen Canyon/Lake Powell are $15 per vehicle.  Fees for private boats for 1-7 days are $16 for the first motorized vehicle and $8 for each additional motorized vehicle.  You can also get an annual pass for $30.  Camping in designated campgrounds varies in cost, but backcountry campsites are free.  The general cost of goods and services in the Page/Lake Powell area are fairly high.

Environment: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is 1.2 million acres, 13% of which is Lake Powell.  Located at 3,700 feet in elevation Lake Powell is a large man-made Lake in a desert environment.   Lake Powell and Glen Canyon NRA are in Canyon Country, and canyons dominate the landscape both above and below the Lake.  Geologically speaking Glen Canyon is a very diverse area with sedimentary rock ranging from the Kaibab Limestone to the Straight Cliffs Formation.  The Navajo Sandstone is a dominant layer along Lake Powell and forms many of the canyons, arches and buttes you see from the shore. The biggest danger at Lake Powell is boating accidents, be sure to be safe when you on the water.  Summers at Lake Powell are hot so drink plenty of fluids and remember your sunblock.  If you are hiking any canyons in the park be aware of local conditions and storms as flash floods do occur.

Plants and Animals: Like most of the Colorado Plateau Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon NRA are home to an ecosystem with great diversity of plants and animals.  Glen Canyon is home to 850 species of plants, several of which are listed as federally threatened, and 11% of which are invasive species.  The animal life at Glen Canyon is also diverse with a multitude of mammals, birds, reptile, amphibians and fish.  Due to the Lake, there is nearly 300 species of birds, many of which are migratory and aquatic species not found in this area before the construction of the dam.  Many new fish species like striped bass and brown trout have been introduced to the area, that along with changes in water temperatures and sediment levels have decimated native fish populations.

Lake Powell Culture and History: The history of Glen Canyon starts long before Lake Powell.  People have inhabited this area for nearly 12,000 years starting with the Paleoindians, but it was the Ancestral Puebloans that left the most notable mark on the land with large Cliff Dwellings and other evidence of their agrarian settlements.  Mormon Pioneers, miners and other Native American tribes like the Navajo also settled this area, and some of them still leave near Lake Powell today.

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