Show Me the Parks - Page 2
|Surreal Waters: Arizona's Lake Powell (PhotoDisc)|
|Rocks of Ages: Bryce National Park (PhotoDisc)|
Day 3-4: Grand Canyon to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area/Lake Powell (140 Miles)
From Grand Canyon Village, follow the Grand Canyon's East Rim Drive out of the park, making the requisite stops at scenic overlooks along the way to burn up your digicam memory. Without stops, it's about three hours' drive to Page, Arizona, providing southerly access to Lake Powell (www.powellguide.com), another manmade reservoir created with the damming of the mighty Colorado River. The Glen Canyon Dam (928.608.6072; www.glencanyonassociation.org) is open for tours, and there are a number of tour operators based in Page offering scenic flights, boat trips, or slot canyon tours. A half-day boat tour on Lake Powell to Rainbow Bridge National Monument(928.608.6404; www.nps.gov/rabr), a 290-foot-high stone arch, is a good way to see a portion of the lake. Another day can easily be spent on the 186-mile-long lake with a speedboat rental, water skis, or jet skis, exploring maze-like inlets leading to secluded sandy beaches. Cliff jumping into deep water, swimming, fishing, even scuba diving may actually convince you that it's worth ditching the rest of the itinerary and passing the week in this high desert recreational oasis.
Page-Lake Powell Campground (928.645.3374; http://campground.page-lakepowell.com), just south of town, offers cable TV hookups, groceries, propane, Internet, laundry, a heated indoor pool, and a hot tub.
Camping around the lake is allowed all year, anywhere along the shore outside the developed areas. The amount of camping is dependent on the lake level—on average, Lake Powell has 1,960 miles of shoreline. Approximately 150 miles of this is campable at any given time. There are no fees, and no facilities. Lone Rock Beach (928.608.6404) is a primitive camping area at the south end of the lake near Wahweap. There are no facilities except for vault toilets. Wahweap Campground (928.645.2433) is a large campground with picnic tables, grills, centrally located bathrooms in each loop, with water available. It takes no reservations.
Day 5: Glen Canyon to Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (150 Miles)
Passing from northern Arizona into Utah and you enter a giant's toy box of spectacular parklands, starting with the striated rockscape of Bryce Canyon National Park (435.834.5322; www.nps.gov/brca). Drive the park's 37-mile round-trip rim trail to get a view of the incredible red, yellow, and pink bands of colorful, slender rock pinnacles and spires that make this place so unusual. Stop at overlooks and hike down into the canyon at will, but go easy, the elevation is over 8,000 feet and, in this case, what goes down must come up—meaning you.
North Campground (877.444.6777; www.nps.gov/brca/camping.html), inside the national park, is open year-round and offers great access to hiking trails as well as horseback riding. An alternative is the private Ruby's Inn (866.866.6616; www.olwm.com/rubysinn), a virtual city situated on the road leading into the park and offering a complete general store, a restaurant, tours, helicopter rides, horseback trips, bike rentals, a rodeo, pools, hot tubs, and auto and RV service.