Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon NRA offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation and study. The recreation area stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah, encompassing scenic vistas, geologic wonders, and a vast panorama of human history.
Page Area Geology
The Page area rocks represent geologic periods more recent
than those exposed in the rocks of Marble Canyon and Grand Canyon. We’ll discuss what was going on at the time and the ramifications for today’s life and landscapes.
Geology is the stage upon which everything else, including human affairs, has evolved. Students will learn the geologic context of the Glen Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs area where exposed Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rock layers offer a clear view to understanding the geologic history and consequently, the cultural history, of the Colorado Plateau.
Slot Canyon This geological marvel clearly illustrates how water shapes the land—the dynamics of slot canyons and flash floods.
93 million years ago the Glen Canyon NRA area was covered by a vast, shallow sea. Today, the area yields many exciting fossil finds, including the plesiosaurus, an enormous top ocean predator. The theme at the visitor center at Big Water is paleontology of the region. The shape of the building is derived from an ammonite and the rockwork mimics the layers found in the sandstone cliffs nearby; it also offers a spectacular mural depicting the late Cretaceous period and many dinosaur fossils.
The presence and management of Glen Canyon Dam and its reservoir, Lake Powell, evoke a myriad of emotional and intellectual responses about the relative values of development and preservation. Lake Powell began to fill behind Glen Canyon Dam in 1963 as part of the Colorado River Storage Project. Glen Canyon was once a comely, little-known canyon as deserving of protection as Grand Canyon. But it was flooded with a lake. The result: a place of wonder and beauty and some sadness. Much was lost of Glen Canyon, however much remains beyond the reservoir's reach and provides the ultimate classroom for inquiring students.
Lake Powell Activities
Houseboating, kayak instruction, physical skills, hiking and playful time. Class instruction in the field in geology, archaeology, ethnobotany (students will “go shopping” for groceries the way the ancient inhabitants of the region did), Leave No Trace and wilderness skills instruction
Rainbow Bridge is the world's largest known natural bridge. Spanning an isolated canyon at the base of Navajo Mountain, Rainbow Bridge has been known for centuries by the local Native Americans who hold the bridge sacred.
Colorado River Ecosystem Below Glen Canyon Dam
The presence and management of Glen Canyon Dam and its reservoir, Lake Powell, evoke a myriad of emotional and intellectual responses about the relative values of development and preservation. On this half-day smooth water raft trip, float the last existing 16 miles of beautiful Glen Canyon from the base of the dam back to Lees Ferry. GCFS and Glen Canyon NRA instructors will point out rock art, wildlife, and will provide a comprehensive background on river ecosystem management issues--particularly those resulting from the presence and operation of Glen Canyon Dam.
Study the intriguing aquatic inhabitants of the Colorado River at Lees Ferry with aquatic biologists and learn about the impact of the Glen Canyon dam on the ecology of the river and its threatened native species.
Lees Ferry: Geology of a River Crossing
Consider the geologic context of the Lees Ferry area through fundamental geologic concepts during a strenuous day hike in Cathedral Wash or Spencer’s Trail.
Students become familiar with the local rock layers and what they tell us about environmental conditions existing tens of millions of years ago, and examine and discuss the uplift and erosional history of this region.
Lonely Dell Ranch, near the mouth of the Paria River, was built in the 1870s as the home of the controversial Mormon ferryman John D. Lee, and it served all the residents of the area for many years. Lees Ferry was so isolated that the families working there needed to be self-sufficient, growing food for themselves and their animals.