Thursday, September 27, 2012

9/26 Lake Powell & Rainbow Bridge

When I was here three weeks ago, daytime temps were around 95, so I did not take this long boat tour to Rainbow Bridge because the boat was not air conditioned and there was a 1.5 mile hike at the end to actually get to the bridge.  The temperatures have dropped to the lower 80s, and I knew I had to drive past Lake Powell on my way from Bryce Canyon to Flagstaff, so I decided to spend another night here at Wahweap and signed up for the tour.

It is a five-and-a-half hour boat tour, leaving from the nearby hotel.  I chose the noon tour because it would allow me to drive the 140 miles from Bryce.  Got here in enough time to hook up and leave the AC on in my RV.  There is a shuttle to the hotel, so I got a ride so I did not have to hike the half mile down the road. 

Here is the boat going through the channel from the marina.  When we came here with the kids in 1980 and rented a small boat, the water level in this area was about 75 feet higher than it is today. All of this land you see on the sides of this channel and in the distance, except for the cliff, were covered by water, so I remember the lake as being much bigger:

Apparently, they had to blast this 13' deep channel.  When the water goes even lower, they will not blast again, so the boats will have to take a longer route, making it a 7 hour trip instead of 5.5! 

Here is one photo going down the lake:

It is a 49 mile boat ride, and these photos show us entering the narrow canyon.  Can you see the "bathtub ring"?  That shows the mineral deposits left when the lake was higher, but not quite at its highest.

The bridge is sacred to the Native Americans, so this is as close as you can get.  It hard to determine scale, but the top is at least 30' in diameter:
Here is a photo from our trip in 1980 showing water under the bridge.  Then you could take a boat almost up to it, without the long walk, but the water level was damaging.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful trip. That sure is an interesting rock formation.

  2. great perspective shot. good planning. you can see the bank on the right is much more eroded, too.