Glen Canyon Dam (June 28, 2005)

Our visit to Glen Canyon Dam started as a pure convenience roadside stop, but ended as one of the highlights of our cross-country trip. The Carl Hayden Visitor Center is on the direct path between Grand Canyon National Park and Paria Canyon- Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness (managed by BLM). Glen Canyon Dam is not near any big city, and unlike us, folks who visited really intended to do it. We arrived at Glen Canyon Dam in the middle of the afternoon after leisurely taking our time departing Grand Canyon . This dam is the second tallest concrete-arch dam in the US (second to Hoover Dam that we later visited). We signed up for the free dam tour and waited for 45 minutes for our turn. While waiting, we walked around the visitor center to learn the history of the dam and even took a quiz about the facts of the dam. When the turn of our tour group came, we held our hats to keep them from getting blown away by high winds and walked to the middle of the dam. There, we took an elevator down some 700 feet to the bottom to observe the operation of gigantic turbines producing electricity and water for several Southwestern states.

Although unplanned, we really enjoyed this visit. Glen Canyon was our favorite in comparison with Hoover Dam. First, its advantage of being far from major cities allows for a stress-free drive to get there, and once there, we did not have to deal with a large crowd or tour operator. The environment was professional and reasonably relaxed. The view from the Visitor Center was fabulous - both of Lake Powell as well as of Glen Canyon Bridge . We left Glen Canyon Dam feeling amazed about the engineering marvel of the time. But we did not have much time to think about it long, since we had to worry about where we would spend the night. We then made the decision of driving on to Paria to find a campsite instead of staying in Page.

Some facts about Glen Canyon Dam:

In case you're curious about where the name "Glen" came from, it came from one of the many features associated with the region - Glen has the meaning of " secluded and narrow valley ". Major John Powell said in 1869 " We have a curious ensemble of wonderful features - carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds, and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon ."

Height: 710 feet above the bed rock. This makes it the second tallest concrete-arch dam in the US . It took from 1963 to 1980 to fill Lake Powell .

Glen Canyon Bridge is the second highest steel-arch bridge in the US .

For more facts about Glen Canyon Dam than you can remember, go to . And if that does not satisfy you, go to the Bureau of Reclamation site for more: .

For information on Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, visit . It was quite windy on the day we were there (Late June). I'm not sure whether that was the norm, but keep that in mind if you're into boating.