There is NO summer adventure location better than a trip to Lake Powell, Utah. There is a lot of planning and preparation needed to make this a successful trip as a lot of this requires long distances of travel. Luckily for you, I have you covered for everything you need to know for planning the perfect trip to Lake Powell.
Lake Powell, Utah is not your traditional lake and that is because it’s actually a dammed reservoir located deep in the Utah desert. The main channel and bays resemble a traditional wide lake but there are tons of vein-like water systems which will feed you directly into narrow and tall slot canyons.
The majority of the lake is in Utah but one of the main marinas, Antelope Marina, is located right in neighboring Page, Arizona. Page is a great place to start your trip as there are tons of hotels and accommodations. You can do day trips and visit some of the closer areas to the marina. There is also a fun and super short hike to Horse Shoe Bend which is a must visit destination.
Renting a houseboat, boats, jet skis, or anything you will need on the water can be done from Page and the Marina. There are tons of independent stores and owners who will rent you boats and jet skis but houseboats need to be rented directly from the Marina or from a private owner renting it out.
IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT LAKE POWELL
If you are trying to find those epic slot canyons then you need to know this is not an easy trip. A lot of planning and knowledge is needed before and during the trip. There is limited cell service and taking out a boat, and more importantly, a house boat, isn't an easy task. The canyons will look very similar and you can easily find yourself getting lost. The water level drops a lot (and even more in recent years) which can create shallow depths in the slot canyons or even cause you to run your propeller into an unmarked obstacle. Additionally, docking a house boat without a marina is very difficult. Please use caution when planning a trip of this magnitude. However, if you plan and read what I wrote, this will absolutely be one of the best adventure trips you will ever take.
BEST TIME TO GO TO LAKE POWELL
The best time to visit and enjoy the lake is in the summer. End of summer, August/September is best because the water will be the warmest and the summer monsoons will be less frequent. Summer is HOT. May and June will have warm temperatures but the water will still be colder from the winter water run off. Late summer and September is best as crowds will lessen as school begins but water levels will certainly drop.
If you aren’t planning to do a lot of water activities, the spring or fall seasons are best for sightseeing with cooler temperatures which are perfect for longer hikes. Many houseboats also come equipped with Hot Tubs! But best of all, the prices will be more favorable when not in peak summer season.
GETTING TO LAKE POWELL
The lake is pretty much in the middle of no where. The city of Page, Arizona is large with many hotels and food options but there isn't much once you leave. You will most likely be driving a long ways to get here but it is absolutely worth it. If you are coming from California/Nevada there are many great places to incorporate on your road trip such as The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Horse Shoe bend to name a few. Be sure to plan and enjoy some of the great South West on the front or back end of your trip! The closest airport would most likely be Las Vegas which is still over 5 hours!
BEST THINGS TO DO ON LAKE POWELL
Houseboat - reserve a house boat early and plan an amazing and extended trip. This is the best way to see Lake Powell as the trip can be very long and you will want to spend time overnight exploring all the different canyons.
Wake boat - one of the best things to do on the lake is wakeboarding, wake surfing, water skiing, tubing, or just taking a boat ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery. This is also the fastest way to explore the area.
Jet Skis - don’t forget to rent or bring jet skis to cruise around the lake and more importantly to be able to go deeper into the canyons when the boat won’t fit. Some of the best views and canyon experiences can't be accessed by larger power boats.
Paddle Boards, Kayaks, Rafts - These are all great toys to play on in the water. Best conditions are in the canyons and in the morning when the water conditions are the glassiest.
Hiking - there are tons of rocks to climb and adventures to be had. Many canyons will eventually get too narrow for even a jet ski. Hop off your kayak, boat, or jet ski and continue on to the land and keep exploring!
BEST PLACES TO SEE IN LAKE POWELL
There are way to many places to see and enjoy but here is a map of a few of my favorite locations to visit
Western Side of Lake Powell
The first few canyons are areas that can be accessed in a single day trip. To maximize time and seeing the most you will want a boat or jet ski. You can kayak to some of these but it will take long and can not be done in a single trip.
Labyrinth Slot Canyon
Gunsight Bay & Canyon
Padre Bay (Be sure to check out Hole in the Roof)
Eastern Side of Lake Powell
This is arguably the best part of Lake Powell where you will see the narrow and steep slot canyons. This is also the furthest away from the main marinas so you will need full supplies and gas after passing “Last Chance Bay”. You should plan to houseboat or camp for spending time at these locations.
West Canyon (Be sure to check out the West Canyon Slot Canyon Hike)
Rock Creek Bay (Be sure to check out the Toilet bowl and caves)
Rainbow Bridge National Monument - Full blog HERE
The Escalante River
Cathedral in the Desert
La Gorce Arch
Take a Jetski and cruise in to Cathedral Canyon and enjoy the views like from my viral video:
Get up early and get out to Reflection Canyon to enjoy the amazing glassy conditions and reflections of the beautiful rocks and canyons
Go to the end of West Canyon and hike all the way to the end to find some magical slot canyons.
Get to Rainbow Bridge national monument early and take the easy hike through the beautiful views to see the amazing arch structure
Get out early and enjoy the glassy water conditions with the wake boat
What to bring
Water Shoes or Hiking Sandals for adventuring https://amzn.to/33yoyH3
Sun Hats https://amzn.to/3iC9VJ5
GoPro waterproof camera https://amzn.to/3mjOWgu
Other Essentials: sun screen, lip balm, lotion, bio degradable shampoo and soap (bath in the lake)