Navajo Mountain and Lake Powell

November 22, 2021


Photographer: Thomas McGuire

Summary Author: Thomas McGuire

Navajo Mountain, on the Utah-Arizona border, rises to an elevation of 10,348 ft (3,154 m) and is the highest point on the Navajo Nation. A laccolith mountain, it has a distinctive rounded shape that can be seen from as much as 100 miles away (160 km); reminding you that you are on or near Navajo lands. The Navajo Nation reservation is a semi-autonomous territory larger than the state of West Virginia. Although subject to the laws of the United States, the Navajo Nation has its own internal regulations and law enforcement agencies.


This image was taken in 2007 on my 50-mile (80 km) canoe trip on Lake Powell to Rainbow Bridge. There is no road access. Transport by small boat is not a recommended way to get there due to the wake of motor boats, notoriously strong winds, and sudden storms that sweep up the 100 mile length (160 km) of Lake Powell. But large tour boats visit Rainbow Bridge daily.


Due to the limited 2019-2020 snow pack in the Rocky Mountains and the continuing drought in the Southwest, Lake Powell and Lake Mead each dropped this past summer to below 30-35% of capacity; a historic low. This low lake level is nationally significant because the largest cities of the American Southwest depend on these Colorado River reservoirs for water.

View Larger Map