Lake Powell for day kayaking?

Hi - we would love to kayak on Lake Powell and particularly in the slot canyons. Do you know if we can do this as a day trip? I know we can rent kayaks, but not sure if it would be too far from the marinas to get to the canyons. We have never been there. Any advice appreciated!

Thanks, Sue

Here are some options…
I visited Lake Powell last July and paddled Antelope Canyon a couple of times prior to going on a houseboat trip. Antelope Canyon is an easy paddle (~5 miles round trip) from the put-in at Antelope Point marina. However, there is a lot of boat traffic around the south side of Antelope Island. I think the best time to paddle Antelope Canyon in the summer is very early in the morning when it’s cooler and less boat traffic. I was on the water at 5:30am and loved the sunrise from Antelope Canyon. You can also paddle longer distances from the put-in to Navajo Canyon.

Another option is to go with a kayak day tour operator. There are several to choose from.

Finally, if you are really interested in day paddling some of the more remote canyons/slots, a houseboat trip is your best bet. The houseboat makes an excellent base with full accommodations and if your budget is tight you can organize the trip with friends/family to share costs.

Here is a link to a map of Lake Powell, so you can see where Antelope Canyon is relative to the put-in at Antelope Point:

Have Fun,


Bob - thanks for your answer. Very helpful. If you rent a houseboat, do you also rent kayaks to take on the houseboat? And - is it easy and safe to guide yourself on Lake Powell? Thanks again, Sue

Yes, you can take rentals if you don’t bring you own kayaks. I think you can arrange for the rentals to be delivered/picked up at the houseboat. You can also arrange for groceries to be delivered at the houseboat too.

The houseboats are easy to operate and safe on Lake Powell. They all have VHF marine radios with all the weather channels and carbon monoxide detectors. Basically, you take the houseboat where you’d like to spend the night and “park” it on a sandy beach. Then moor it with a couple of anchors in the sand. In the late afternoon it can get windy if there is thunderstorm activity, so it’s best to setup for the night by 4-5pm. You also need to use common sense and watch for shallow water and rocks near the surface if you are not in the main channel deep water. Navigation isn’t difficult since Lake Powell has mileage marker buoys and the houseboat has a map on the wall. For fun, we also used my GPS to confirm our location and measure speed and distance traveled.


Not a great destination for day trips
Even in a nondrought situation, the relative lack of road put-ins and other logistical factors make doing day trips unattractive.

We went in October 2002 on a reconnaissance trip there. We had hoped to make day trips out of two base camps, one at Hite and another at or near Bullfrog. Viewed from a distance, I was horrified to see that the water at Hite was a bright putrid antifreeze green: major eutrophication. Hite has since been closed to water access because there IS no water there.

So instead we went on to a place near Bullfrog. While we did make day trips, we paddled the same stretches several times just to get out to the fingers/arms. If we had wanted to go down any long arms (or a bunch of shorter ones), we would have had some very high-mileage days. Since it was just an initial look-at-what’s-there trip, the repeated sections didn’t bother us much. But next time, we will skip the daytripping in favor of a multi-day self-supported kayak camping trip.

You can rent either houseboats or motorboats to transport kayaks, if using motorized water transportation doesn’t bother you.

Maybe if you start in Wahweap there are better day trip opportunities, but I have heard that area is loaded with powerboaters and jetskiiers.

Scoop from recent visit
Some friends of mine who have gone there for years said that with the lowering lake conditions its not that great, lots of places are covered with silt and sediment and its pretty ugly and depressing.

Lake Powell
Search the net for a Stan Jones map. They go for around $6.00 with a write on all of the 96 canyons to explore. Hite is closed, Bullfrog and Halls Crossing is open making this a long paddle to Hite. Wahweap is open but plan for alot of boat traffic. Go to the NPS web site and see if Antelope is open they are in the process of building new facilities there. Even though the lake is down its showing features not seen in 30 years. Below is another site with information on Lake Powell.

I saw that on the news the other day
Lake conditions are very poor and the water is very low. some power boaters and marinas were expressing concern about “whats next” because the lake will continue to drop no matter what because it is not a recreationl lake. even the fish are becoming very concentrated and you know what that means…anglers consider this a boon, like fish in a barrel.

Backpacker magaizine has a recent
article on Lake Powell due to the lowering water levels, and gives it a very favorable review as a travel destination as a result, stating many of the “lost canyons” of Glen Canyon are now exposed. Here is a link to the online article:,3772,6905,00.html

I second the vote to houseboat. I haven’t kayaked on Lake Powell, but I have houseboated on the lake two different times (in my pre yak days)I used to live in the area, and camped near Antelope Island before it was developed. I have been to both Antelope and Navajo Canyon. It a beautiful area to explore, but do be careful when venturing into slot canyons during the monsoon season (summer), and make sure you are anchored safely before afternoon winds, and thunderstorms roll through. The summer sky during storms in this area, is truly one of the most beautiful and mving things I have ever witnessed. I try to return every 1-2 years to take enjoy the storms and sky.
Just returned from Page. Took the boat cruise to Rainbow Bridge but wish I kayaked instead. The canyons look nice to explore on a kayak.

Anyway, there’s a kayak outfit in town called Twin Fins, which does both diving and kayaking. They have sit-on-tops and sit-inside kayaks for rent. Typical destination is to Antelope Canyon for DIY day trippers.

Warning from the locals: come Memorial day, the lake will be crowded with power boaters. Antelope Canyon is quite popular with all boats, so solitude will be about the same level as in midtown Manhattan!

There’re at least two guided tour outfit that will haul you and your kayak to some remote canyon and let you paddle to your heart’s content. Cost around $100/day.