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Paddle the Colorado On Your Own
You’ve got at best a 9 percent chance of winning the weighted lottery for a permit to run the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Or you can take the sure thing: the forgotten 15-mile stretch between the Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry, the launch point for Grand Canyon rafters—a run that requires no paperwork or Class V certification. Kayak Powell’s new self-guided two-day trips on this flatwater haven take paddlers through canyons that meld the height of the Grand with Glen’s skyscraper-steep walls and sinewy caves ($119; And thanks to the dam’s filtration, it’s home to the Southwest’s cleanest waters (and tons of trout). Choose a boat at Kayak Powell’s shop in Page, head to Lees Ferry, and meet tour-and-shuttle operator Colorado River Discovery, which will ferry you 15 miles upstream to Glen Canyon. A piece of advice: Take your time. At the dam, the vertical cliffs rise to about 700 feet; halfway through the trip, they rocket to 1,700. Camp on one of six designated swaths of sand, then watch slivers of stars emerge between narrow canyon walls.

Next: Name the Grand’s Brand-New Falls

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