Lake Powell or ????

The water hereabouts is going to be stiff in a month or so and we’re looking for warmer destinations not too far from the northeast corner of Washington. We’ll be on the Colorado river the end of January and off the coast of Washington state in April or May. How about Lake Powell as a destination for December, February or March for a few days kayak camping?

What are some good places to park and launch for a few days of exploration, canyons to explore, etc.?

I searched the archives and there seems to be a disagreement whether the lowered water levels make conditions better or worse.

Also, in the Places2Paddle area I read a wonderful journal by someone who paddled from Hoover Dam to Yuma. If you’re out there, Dave, I’d like to hear more about the trip as we are contemplating the same.


Although cold is relative, weatherman
predicts 39 for a high today with a 20 for a low. Warmer than a lot of places, but it’s not Florida. The winter weather surprises many people not used to the area. The good thing is that during those months, motorized traffic will drop dramatically. I have a hard time coping with that traffic during summer/early fall periods. Six of one, half-dozen of the other as far as the low water level goes in my opinion. Not many launch points.

Powell still OK…
I was in Page, AZ (where Glen Canyon Dam is located) this past summer, and even with the low water level it appeared to be a great place to launch and explore. The lower levels have even revealed some interesting sights. You may want to check with the BOR for further information about camping. This time of year the hotels in Page are quite reasonable, and they have a fair restaraunt selection for a smaller town. Lake Mead near Las Vegas may also be an option, the water levels there are also low, but still extremely nice for paddling. I know there is a kayak adventure company that operates on Mead, but their name escapes me. Do some research, as they would probably be a great resource.


Powell lowered water levels
Water levels dropped another 3 ft last week when they intentionally released a scouring “flood.” I don’t know what the current levels are.

We did a 9-day trip there in October and could still find good camping spots. Your choices in winter might be fewer due to ice in some places. The main channel is very deep but many small arms have dried up or shrunk/gotten shallow.

Hite Marina was closed long ago. We launched from Bullfrog.

Powell is known for strong spring winds. If you go in winter, be prepared for snowstorms.

I seem to recall from a thread in the archives that you kayaked around Topock (they call it the Baby Grand I think), too. That is another place we’re considering. There’s a place to camp somewhere around there isn’t there?

Snow is okay. We paddle all year up here except when even the river is frozen over, which happens for anywhere from 0 to 30 days a year. We have suitable gear.

That wasn’t me who posted the trip report. And I thought Topock Gorge was part of Lake Mead, not Lake Powell.

No, not the trip report. The Topock subject was just in a thread I found while searching the archives about places to paddle.

It’s an area we’re considering in addition to Lake Powell.

Santacruz Midwife -Topcock gorge
May have a thread here or at Sit On top Kayaking … the lower Colorado near the Pichaco State Recreation Area (California State Park) is a good place to paddle in the winter. Look on the Internet and you’ll find several trip reports.

It can get very cold
In the late 70s I was hiking in the area around Christmas time, it got down to 8 F at night. We found a lost hiker obviously confused and hypothermic who was not prepared for cold temperatures. Usually it will be in the 20s at night in the winter.

Topock is part of Lake Havasu. Camp Moabi on the Ca side is just above Topock. There are several outfitters for shuttles or boats in the area. There are plenty of boat in camp sites, BLM and AZ on Havasu but they do have fees. There is the Windsor Beach campground at Havasu as well as a campground at the indian casino on the CA side. There is an rv park at Parker Dam and some state campgrounds below the dam as well as several boatins above the dam. Temps right now are dropping into the 40’s at night and usually in the 60’s in the day. We have just had a cold spell in the 50’s for the past couple of days. It is possible to go from Hoover Dam to Yuma if you portage the dams.

The Snowbirds are in Lake Havasu City in force but the lake is not that busy. The RV parks may be crowded but you can usually get into the state parks where there are no full hookups.

Lake Powell is beautiful.

– Last Updated: Dec-02-04 2:35 AM EST –

I have houseboated there several times, and would love to go back and paddle. I lived in the area for a year, working for the USPHS. Page is at 5,000 feet so be prepared for the possibility of snow. It varies, depending on the year, but I would expect freezing or below feezing temps at night in Dec/Jan.

Those folks who are steering you towards the lower Coloradu for warmer paddling weather, are probably pointing you in the right direction.

I haven't started a thread as I am still trying to decide what sort of winter paddling I would like to do this year, and what my schedule for paddling is, but I would love to explore the lower Colorado beyond Topock, and camp from my boat this year, if time allows. If I head south for this trip, I am likely to go late Feb.early/March.

Powell and Mead paddling
excellent, incredably scenic…very very cold at times when its not very very hot. I would definately paddle if its on the way to warmer climates or only available. Just be prepared.