Sparkling, clear, blue water laps against towering, sheer, red-rock canyon walls and sandy beaches. Power boats and wave runners zip about while houseboats slowly wend their way deep into side canyons.

The second largest man-made lake in the United States is the playground for nearly three million visitors annually.

Lake Powell is 186 miles long and has 1,960 miles of shoreline, which is longer than the entire west coast of the continental United States. There are 96 major canyons to explore though you'll need a water craft for the majority of them since access is limited because there are few roads.

Around early June, the lake's waters begin to warm and stay that way well into October with a clarity unrivaled in other fresh water lakes. While the climate is arid and humidity is generally less than 40 percent, Lake Powell is classified as a "high desert" area due to its 3,700 ft. elevation. Water temperatures cool significantly in the winter then rise into the high 70's in the summer. When it does snow at Lake Powell, the contrast of the white against red-rock cliffs and azure blue waters makes for beautiful photographs and memories.

Glen Canyon Nation Recreation Area, established by Congress in 1972, is the home of Lake Powell. The area is made up of 1.25 million acres with the lake occupying only 13%, or 161,390 acres, of the total area.

Lake Powell is named for Civil War veteran Major John Wesley Powell, who explored the Green and Colorado rivers in 1869 down through Grand Canyon. In August, 1869, Powell and his eight companions passed through the site of present day Glen Canyon Dam. Extending nearly one-third of a mile across from canyon rim to rim, the dam created the reservoir known as Lake Powell.

The lake, which lies partly in Arizona and mostly in Utah, is more than 500 feet deep in places. While Utah has the lion's share of Powell's crystal clear water, Arizona lays claim to the most important part—the dam. It took 17 years, from March 13, 1963 to June 22, 1980, to fill to the planned level of 3,700 feet above sea level. Lake levels fluctuate depending on the spring runoff from the mountains and the releases needed to produce electricity from the dam's eight generators.

Lake Powell's tributaries include the Escalante and San Juan rivers. Both are popular fishing areas. Types of fish found in the lake are striped bass, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish and carp.

[Project Switch] Where we'll go [Bryce Canyon] [Caitlin O'Brien] [Dave Melton] [Grand Canyon] [Lake Powell] [Navajo Nation] [Rainbow Bridge] [Zion Canyon] [Navajo National Monument]

PROJECT SWITCH is made possible by partnerships with Lennar Corporation, Navajo Nation, Founders Academy, Sacred Power Corporation, US Dept. of Agriculture and Caitlin O'Brien.