Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Taking in more than a million acres, Glen Canyon National recreation area, can provide you with opportunities for both water based as well as wild country fun in the outdoors.

The area itself stretches for several hundred miles,from the Lee’s Ferry area of Arizona, to the Orange Cliffs of Utah, taking in amazing scenery, geology that is unparalleled and a wide array of history, both human and earth based.

There are multiple ways to enjoy the area, from a kayak trip on Lake Powell, to white water rafting, to hiking the Orange Cliffs.
Bear in mind that you will be in two different states, in various recreational areas and that each one will likely have its own rules and things that they require you to do. Check into that prior to camping or hiking in any area.

This is premium hiking country, so taking your trip on foot is of course the recommended mode of travel, however if you can’t pursue the adventure in that way, there are also several accessible areas for those who require them.

Camping too is permitted on Lake Powell for as long as a fourteen day period. There are no camping fees and you don’t require a permit, however if you aren’t with a party, it will be a good idea to let someone know where you are and what you’re going to be doing.
There are a few minor requirements:

  • If you are going to be camping more than 200 yards from an approved waste facility/developed area,  you must carry an approved human waste containment system, such as a portable toilet or enzyme-based waste bag system.
  • If you don’t have one, and how many of us do, you can rent one from the Wahweap Marina.
  • Failure to procure and use an approved system could result in a citation and/or fines.
  • no carving in the sandstone, trees of any natural item
  • Pack it in and pack it out.Trash bags or another waste receptacle are necessary. Trashing the camping area isn’t just illegal… it’s rude.

Orange Cliffs is a great place to hike, to camp and to just kick back and enjoy the wilderness, however it does present some challenges of its own.

The Orange Cliffs part of the Glen Canyon National site, which is bordered by the Canyonlands National Park, is going to be one of the most amazing for you so far as scenery is concerned.
It is very dry country, desert in fact and the annual precipitation is just about five inches, and the temperatures here can range from an easy 110 fahrenheit in the summer to twenty below zero in the winter time.
The elevations here are going to vary between about 4000 and 7000 feet, so its a changeable climate that you should certainly be prepared for.
Orange Cliffs does have some regulations, which are offered here, taken from the National Parks Service pages.


  • * All overnight backcountry use requires a permit AND a camping reservation. Reservation requests are handled only by Canyonlands National Park.
  •  Requests will be accepted ONLY by mail or fax. For further information, call (435)-259-7164 or 4351. Maximum stay is 14 nights. Vehicles campers must camp in designated sites.
  • Backpackers must camp in designated zones. The only exception to this is the section south of Clearwater Canyon.
  • * Groups size limits are 5 people for backpacking and 9 people/3 vehicles for vehicle campsites. There is one group site at Flint Seep which can accommodate up to 16 people and 5 vehicles.
  • All vehicles must stay on designated roadways. Mountain bikes are considered vehicles and are subject to all vehicle regulations including camping restrictions.  ATV’s are not permitted.
  • * Wood fires are prohibited. No wood cutting or collecting is allowed.
  • * Pets are NOT allowed in Canyonlands or the Orange Cliffs unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
  • * Loaded firearms, bows and arrows and similar devices, weapons, and fireworks are not allowed.
  •  Hunting is permitted in Glen Canyon, during hunting season, with proper license only.
  • * Collecting artifacts, touching rock art, and disturbing or defacing archeological sites in any way is prohibited.

Aside from these regulations, there are a few others that we recommend you pay close attention to to keep yourself and your party safe.

Bear in mind that Orange Cliffs is the desert.. the desert is… well, its hot and dry.

Don’t feed animals that you may see there. You may not be doing them any favors by offering them a treat, and you may not be doing any favors for the next person to come in contact with them.

Pay close attention to your children and don’t let them wander. Poisonous snakes are part of the desert environment.

NEVER leave your child or an animal in a car in this environment.

While you are in the Maze Overlook Trail there are some areas that are steep drop offs. Keep your children close, by the hand if you can, and make sure that you have at least 20 feet of rope, 30 feet is better, with you when you are  hiking these and other trails.

If you take water from any natural source, purify it, don’t assume its okay to drink. In many cases, its not.

The Orange Cliffs and the Glens Canyon Region are full of incredible artifacts and history.

Among the things you’re going to see and do are ruins, Native American paintings,  evidence of other cultures from centuries past. Learn from them and enjoy them, but please don’t try to take a piece of them with you.

Your trip through the Glens Canyon National Recreation Area will offer up the ruins of the Anasazi, sitting on the hillside, looking for all the world as if expecting the cliff dwellers to return to them any moment. You’ll see evidence of their art, their pottery skills and so much more. The area is literally rife with history and with breathtaking beauty.

Contrary to what it appears to be like at first glance, the desert is literally teeming with life.

Some of the things that you’re going to see are collared lizards, whose antics will delight you and your children. Additionally there are some of the larger mammals and if you’re quiet and careful you will see beaver, mule deer and coyotes once in a while.

There is also a small herd of desert big horn sheep that live in the canyons, in the more rugged areas, as well as traversing the  slickrock mesas that lie east of the river.These aren’t often seen but if you’re fortunate you may get a glimpse or even a photo.

As mentioned before while you won’t see them often, the desert is a reasonable place to expect to see a rattlesnake and a scorpion or two. The wise hiker or camper isn’t going to put his hand into a spot that he or she can’t see to the bottom of, in order to avoid an unpleasant end to your trip.

Check your boots and your pack each day prior to putting them on  and if you can do so, wear taller leather boots for your hikes in the desert.

If you are a nature photographer, the canyons and some of the higher elevations are going to give you the opportunity to photograph some flowers and plants that aren’t seen a great deal in other places.

Y0u will see the  pinyon-juniper woodlands offering you up some cottonwoods and willow trees, to the breath taking “hanging gardens” which are plants such as flowers and the maidenhair ferns that will cling to and grow in the sandstone here.

Springtime in the desert is a wonderful time to hike and photograph the more hard to find species of  wildflowers such as the  claret cup, cliffrose, shooting-stars, scarlet gilia and the always prolific cactus.

Glen Canyon National recreation area is several hundred miles of diverse lands, plants, animals and climate. It can provide some of the most unique opportunities in the world for hiking, camping, boating and even hunting.

Take the time for a wilderness experience in Glen Canyon.

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