There are lakes in the west and then there are Lakes. The type of lakes that define history, breathe life into cities, store water for irrigation, and fill deep red rock canyons. It would be impossible to talk about the West without naming a few of these behemoths. The Great Salt Lake, Lake Powell, Yellowstone Lake, and Lake Mead are just a few. Boating, fishing, hiking, canyoneering, scuba diving, and soaking up the skyline are all activities these lakes offer up. But there is a price. The price of canyons being filled to never again see the light of day. Yes the West is an amazing spot, but with growth comes death, and constructed natural beauty.
There is no doubt in some peoples mind that Glen Canyon Dam will one day be blown up by an eco terrorist wishing to unlock Glenn Canyon from the grips of Lake Powell. Until that happens though Lake Powell is a force to be reckoned with. Filled with decades of Colorado River water, the lake stretches over 180 miles long and averages a depth of over 100 feet. On September 13, 1963 the Colorado was officially blocked and started filling up the lake. Today visitors can boat, water ski, hike, backpack, and climb around the lake. One of the most popular activities it to rent a houseboat and float around the lake exploring the small tributaries and side canyons. Due to a recent series of droughts the lake has dropped considerable and may now never be full again.
To the northwest of Lake Powell is The Great Salt Lake just northwest of Salt Lake City. The lake is the remnant of Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric lake that covered a wide swath of what is now the Western United States. It is not uncommon to find people sailing around the lake while people also sunbath on the shores white beaches. True to its name the lake is extremely salty and a large portion of that salt evaporates into the surrounding salt flats. Small islands provide plenty of exploration opportunities and a spider web of trails give hikers access to many areas of the lake’s banks.
North of Colorado inside Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Lake is beautiful body of water stretching up to 15 miles wide and 20 miles long. The lake is the largest lake above 7,000 feet in America and is a constant place for fisherman to fish for wild cutthroat. Boaters also flock to the lake to enjoy the over 100 square miles of water. Amazingly it is not uncommon for the lake to freeze over each winter.