LAKE POWELL GUIDE
Lake Powell is an amazing one of a kind destination for visitors from all around the world. It is the second-largest man-made reservoir in America with over 1960 miles of shoreline, more than the entire Pacific Coastline combined. Lake Powell was formed after the controversial Glen Canyon Dam was completed on the Colorado River in 1963. Lake Powell is over 400 feet deep in many spots and boasts an amazing 96 major canyons to explore. Lake Powell is part of the Glen Canyon National Park. In 2017 Glen Canyon National Park had over 4.6 million visitors and that number grows every year.
Lake Powell is a very unique and beautiful place to boat, sightsee, camp and enjoy your favorite water sports. We want our clients to enjoy their time on the water so we have compiled a list of suggestions and some basic information to help you plan your trip to Lake Powell. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the lake or a seasoned boater we hope you find our tips helpful in planning your stay. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
I want to visit Rainbow Bridge, what can I expect?
Rainbow Bridge is the most popular destination on Lake Powell. It is the world’s largest natural bridge at 290 feet/88 meters tall and 270 feet/83 meters across. You can only access Rainbow Bridge by boat, on foot, or by horseback. It is located 50 miles/24 kilometers northeast of Wahweap Marina by boat. To access it by boat from Wahweap marina you are looking at a two-hour boat ride, one way. The only other way to access the Rainbow Bridge is to pull permits from the Navajo Nation and hike 13 miles to the location.
Rainbow Bridge is a beautiful destination on the lake. If you are planning on visiting Rainbow Bridge while renting from us there are a few things to keep in mind. It is a 2 hour one way trip to the Rainbow Bridge. So it’s best to get started earlier in the morning to give yourself plenty of time.
Rainbow Bridge is located in Forbidden Canyon and there are signs at the head of the canyon to aid in navigation. Once you arrive at Rainbow Bridge there is a courtesy dock inside of the no-wake zone that you can tie your boat off to and it is a short mile-long hike to the Bridge. The hiking trail is fairly easy and wide, but in the warmer summer months it can be very hot and we suggest always taking water with you on your hike to the Bridge. There are bathroom facilities at the base of the trail to Rainbow Bridge. Most of our clients spend about 1 to 1.5 hours after arriving at the Bridge before their departure.
If you have adequate time and fuel on your way back we also highly suggest Cathedral Canyon and Mountain Sheep Canyon.
We always recommend topping off your gas tank at Dangling Rope Marina on your way back from Rainbow Bridge. Dangling Rope is located at buoy #42. Dangling Rope has fuel, a convenience store, bathroom facilities, and a small snack bar that also serves ice cream. So it’s a fun stop for kids and adults alike. Many of our clients do visit Rainbow Bridge but due to its distance and hike, it is important to plan accordingly so that you ensure a safe trip and return on time for pickup or return of the rental boat. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 928-645-0208.
I am not wanting to go to Rainbow Bridge, what can I plan on seeing and doing on the lake in one day?
There are many amazing things to see on Lake Powell other than Rainbow Bridge. We have many unique canyons to explore and large open bays for water sports. For one day rentals that want to sightsee and also participate in watersports, we suggest the following bays and canyons:
Wahweap Bay- This is the first open Bay you will see if you use the Wahweap or State Line Launch Ramps. It has some amazing rock formations, Sand King Hill, the iconic Lone Rock and a few small canyons to explore.
Padre Bay- A large open bay and a great place to sightsee, play on a beach and participate in water sports. You can see the famous Gunsight Butte, featured in the popular photos from Alstrom Point. There are many majestic buttes in and around Padre Bay, such as Cookie Jar Butte, Boundary Butte and also Elephant Butte off in the distance. Expect a few places in and around Padre Bay that can have rocks surface and shallow areas where you least expect it so it is important to pay close attention when you are navigating throughout the lake.
Antelope Canyon- This is a no-wake canyon (5mph speed limit) and it’s clearly posted at the head of the canyon. It is one of the more popular canyons on the lake, well worth seeing. Just keep in mind that it is typically a busier canyon with a tour boat, kayakers and paddleboarders using the canyon.
Navajo Canyon- This is a very long canyon with ever-changing scenery which makes it an excellent choice. It has high canyon walls to rolling rock hills. It is a very wide canyon so when water conditions permit you can participate in water sports in this canyon.
Labyrinth Canyon- This is a no-wake canyon (5mph speed limit), also clearly posted at the head of the canyon. This canyon is one of our personal favorites. It has plenty of bends and curves with low rolling rock formations and great views of Boundary Butte and Tower Butte. This canyon can get very narrow near the end and can change based on the water levels so be very careful where you choose to turn around.
Face Canyon- Another amazing canyon to explore! It is more open at the mouth of the canyon and then gradually gets much narrower as it goes. There are some spots toward the mouth of the canyon for a campsite or houseboat parking but that also depends on the current water levels.
West Canyon- Beautiful canyon, wide open in spots, narrow and winding in others. There are some locations to camp or park a houseboat nearer the mouth of the canyon and these camping spots always change depending on water levels.
Each one of these Canyons is very beautiful and unique in their own way and worth exploring. Side canyons offer some protection from the wind and often have the best conditions for skiing.
BEWARE… because side canyons can become very narrow. There may also be submerged obstacles in bays and canyons. The park service tries to mark obstacles in popular areas on the lake, but the water level can change rapidly and so it is impossible to mark all of them, all of the time. Boaters need to take responsibility for avoiding obstacles and use caution when navigating these canyons and bays.