Glen Canyon Dam (completed in 1963) and its operations are very important to river runners of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Just 15 miles upstream of where Grand Canyon Whitewater raft trips are launched sits the dam. At over 700 feet high, Glen Canyon Dam obstructs the natural flow of the Colorado River and creates Lake Powell, a lake which at full-pool is the second largest man-made reservoir in the nation.
The release of water from Lake Powell via the Glen Canyon Dam is largely tied to energy needs. The Glen Canyon Dam’s hydro-electric generating station is a major power resource for the surrounding areas including Phoenix, AZ. When it is hot in Phoenix, you can bet that the Glen Canyon Dam will be releasing more water to generate electricity to power those air conditioners. Unlike many naturally-regulated rivers where spring-time runoffs yield the highest water, Grand Canyon actually (typically) sees the highest water levels in our hottest months – June, July and August. And good news! – GCW offers plenty of rafting trips in that time frame.