Glen Canyon ExperienceGCI stories and canyon history

Explore our photo galleries, films, and story maps and find inspiration for when we are able to get back out and explore the river and canyons.

Click here for the Glen Canyon Experience

Returning Rapids ProjectSee the changes in Cataract and Glen Canyon

Over the last several years, our partners in Moab have been surveying and researching the huge changes happening along the Colorado River through Cataract, Narrow, and now Glen Canyons. Please click below to visit their site and explore the work they have done to understand how the river is evolving as the reservoir recedes.

Returning Rapids



Humans Killed Cataract Canyon. It Brought Itself Back to Life

Sixty years ago, this stretch of river was considered as ferocious — and nearly as beautiful — as the Grand Canyon. Then, in 1963, the Glen Canyon Dam was built to store water for human use, which backed up the Colorado River behind it to create Lake Powell. The rising waters snaked upstream, inundating the main river and dozens of its side canyons. Here, at its farthest reaches in Cataract Canyon, the reservoir flooded rapids and then buried the riverbed, including the boulders that made up those rapids, in thick layers of sediment — a mud plug that built up to be so enormous that it flattened out the steep gradient of the riverbed that had made those rapids so fierce.

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Uncovering the Layered History of Glen Canyon Dam: A Tale of Dispossession and Indigenous Voices

Bsumek’s work delves into the complex history of Glen Canyon Dam, built in the 1950s, revealing it as an extension of these Anglo visions. She argues that the dam is not merely a utilitarian structure but a physical manifestation of Indigenous dispossession. This perspective challenges traditional narratives surrounding the dam, offering a fresh and nuanced understanding of its origins and impact.

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Lake Powell bounces back — but for how long?

Even with the reservoir’s gains last spring, hiking through Glen Canyon’s emerging tributary canyons is like walking through time. Spots that have only been exposed for a year look like muddy sediment wastelands with no vegetation or wildlife. Pressing further into the canyon, to areas exposed for two or three years, invasives like tamarisk and Russian thistle — more commonly known as tumbleweed — are the first to grow. But they don’t last.

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River TalkThe Blog of Glen Canyon Institute

Please find a variety of essays and write-ups pertaining to Glen Canyon and the river by visiting our blog. We cover science, adventure, and current issues that are impacting Glen Canyon. Our blog features both Glen Canyon Institute staff and researchers as well as outside voices.

Our Blog