Lake Powell is a reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona (most of it, along with Rainbow Bridge, is in Utah). It is a major vacation spot that around 2 million people visit every year. It is the second largest man-made reservoir by maximum water capacity in the United States behind Lake Mead, storing 24,322,000 acre feet (3.0001×1010 m3) of water when full. Due to high water withdrawals for human and agricultural consumption, and because of subsequent droughts in the area, Lake Powell is currently the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of capacity of water currently held, depth and surface area. Lake Powell was created by the flooding of Glen Canyon by the Glen Canyon Dam, which also led to the creation of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a popular summer destination. The reservoir is named for explorer John Wesley Powell, a one-armed American Civil War veteran who explored the river via three wooden boats in 1869.
In 1972, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area was established. It is public land managed by the National Park Service, and available to the public for recreational purposes. It lies in parts of Garfield, Kane, and San Juan counties in southern Utah, and Coconino County in northern Arizona. The northern limits of the lake extend at least as far as the Hite Crossing Bridge. A map centered at the confluence of the Escalante River 37°17′22″N 110°52′20″W with the Colorado River gives a good view of the extent of the lake.
Lake Powell is a water storage facility for the Upper Basin states of the Colorado River Compact (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico). The Compact specifies that the Upper Basin states are to provide a minimum annual flow of 7,500,000 acre feet (9.3 km3) to the Lower Basin states (Arizona, Nevada, and California).
Glen Canyon Dam, the dam that keeps Lake Powell the way it is today. (location: Lake Powell’s Arizona part)
Rainbow Bridge, one of the world’s largest natural bridges. (location: Lake Powell’s Utah part)
Hite Crossing Bridge, the only bridge spanning Lake Powell. Although the bridge informally marks the upstream limit of the lake, when the lake is at its normal high water elevation, backwater can stretch up to 30 miles (48 km) upstream into Cataract Canyon
Lake Powell has been a shooting location for 45 television series and films, including:
John Carter (2012)
Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut and The Wedding of River Song (2011)
Planet of the Apes (both 1968 and 2001 versions)
Walking with Monsters, the BBC prequel to Walking with dinosaurs as a stand-in for inland Devonian
The lake’s main body stretches up Glen Canyon, but has also filled many (over 90) side canyons. The lake also stretches up the Escalante River and San Juan River where they merge into the main Colorado River. This provides access to many natural geographic points of interest as well as some remnants of the Anasazi culture.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Defiance House ruin (Anasazi)
Cathedral in the Desert
San Juan goosenecks
Antelope Island lies mostly in Arizona just north of Page in the southwest part of Lake Powell.