Museums National Parks/Monuments

Glen Canyon Dam

(Last Updated On: May 9, 2019)

Glen Canyon Dam at the south end of Lake Powell has its own Visitor Center and offers tours. The Visitor Center is called the Carl Hayden Visitor Center and offers a Junior Ranger program in the small museum.

Tickets

There are beautiful views of Lake Powell on the tour.

Make sure you get a tour when you visit Glen Canyon Dam. Tours are forty-five minutes long and happen every hour. You must go through security to tour the dam, so don’t take weapons, bags, or other restricted items. Tickets can also be tricky to get. You can pick them up in person up to one day in advance. All tours are limited to 20 people, and when they are full, they are full. We arrived early in the morning and the first few tours were already sold out, so plan accordingly. There is also a small charge for the tour (our family cost $15).

Tour

Taking a tour of the dam is a must.

The tour was really amazing. We walked out on the dam, which stands over 500 feet above the Colorado River. To one side we could see the tiny river far below. On the other, Lake Powell stretched into the distance. We saw the massive turbines that generate power for many homes. Our favorite fact about the dam was that there is enough cement in the dam to build a highway from Phoenix to Chicago.

Glen Canyon Dam is wider than Hoover Dam, but Hoover Dam is taller.
This is one of the concrete mixers used to make the dam.
One of the old turbines is perched on top of the dam.
You are allowed to get close and touch the old equipment.

We took an elevator descending five hundred feet to the base of the dam. Four of the eight turbines were running, and we watched a short video on how they are maintained. We saw the lawn at the base of the dam, which is mowed once per week and helps cushion the dam.

Standing at the bottom of the dam was awesome.
This sign let us know that we were right in the wall of the dam.
It was neat to think that one side was Lake Powell, and the other side was open air.
The turbines were running while we watched.

Our guide was really knowledgeable. He answered all of our questions (except the forbidden ones about security and threats to the dam). He was a lifelong resident of Page, which was actually created in 1957 for the sole purpose of building Glen Canyon Dam. Learning the history of the dam was fascinating.

The tour was one of our favorite parts of our entire vacation.

Walk the Bridge

The bridge that spans the Colorado River is similar to Navajo Bridge.

After the tour, we walked across the bridge which is even higher than the dam. This bridge carries traffic 700 feet above the Colorado River. From this dizzying height, you can barely see ducks swimming in the water below. You get a beautiful view of the face of the dam, though. There are sidewalks on both sides of the bridge for pedestrians.

The drop is huge, but we felt very safe behind the fence.
The views of the Colorado river and Glen Canyon Dam are worth the walk on the bridge.

Visitor Center

We really enjoyed the Carl Hayden Visitor Center.

The Visitor Center isn’t large, but it has some great exhibits. Our boys especially loved the Junior Ranger corner with activities geared toward kids, including a boat to pretend to drive. There are other hands-on activities and beautiful views of the dam and Lake Powell from the large windows. Make sure to check out the dinosaur tracks displayed outside the Visitor Center. And also participate in the Junior Ranger program. We printed ours beforehand and had it done when we arrived, but you can also ask at the desk for a booklet.

The dinosaur tracks are outside, so make sure to visit them.
Junior Ranger Corner has lots of fun for kids.
The whole visitor center is very hands-on and informative.

If you love Lake Powell, and you’d like to see the dam that made it possible, visit Glen Canyon Dam. Did you know that it took 18 years to fill up the lake after the dam was completed? There is so much to learn with a stop at Glen Canyon Dam.

A view of Glen Canyon Dam from the bridge.

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