Lake Powell

We’re going to paddle Lake Powell this fall and rent a houseboat as that seems the best way to get to the best places in a fairly limited amount of time.

I’d like some information about the best place to rent a houseboat, best way to store 4 kayaks on the houseboat, good places to paddle on the lake, and anything else we should know. (We’ll be launching from Bullfrog evidently)

While searching the archives I found that santacruzmidwife has experience in this subject but has no email link. If you’re out there santacruzmidwife could you help me out?

Search the authors
section for santa. Find something she has written and click on the envelope. That is an e-mail link and she has one.

no email link
She doesn’t post an email link (no envelope), I checked all of her previous posts.

Lake Powell water level
is at it lowest level since 1980 and only at 34% of normal pool. Still plenty of water in the main channel but many access points are closed. Call ahead.

uh let’s try this post then

Maybe you have pop up blockers on or something but the link is there for me.

Anybody else?

Might want to adjust the security setting for*

I’ll e-mail her your post; all the best; I’m gone.


Hi, I have houseboated on Powell

– Last Updated: Feb-07-05 9:05 AM EST –

twice, but never kayaked. It was in my pre-paddling days.

For information to your questions, I would call the marinas and ask about the floor plans of the boats, to figure out kayak stowage options (shouldn't be a problem) They will also give you info on gas mileage, so that you can plan a route of travel. I would recommend you get a copy of Stan Jones's map and "The Boater's Guide to Lake Powell." Just make sure you find out from the marinas about any precautions or changes you should note prior to departure, due to low water levers. You will still have miles of beautiful shoreline to paddle, and some previously buried caves/sights may now be accessible due to low water levels.

As my husband is an avid sailor, and I was new to boating, my responsibilities were mainly housekeeping chores and picture taking:) We launched from Wahwheep, but had no trouble getting away from the crowds, even in the summer. We were on the water for 5-6 days both times. We went up to the Escalante arm the first trip, and up part of the San Juan arm the second trip. I would love to go back and paddle!

I just got in from a paddle myself (one that left me a little sea sick:( but can post more later if you let me know what info you would like. I know I have some links bookmarked. I also have some beautiful pictures. My husband may remember details about the boating aspect that I don't recall. Let me know if you want me to ask him anything. I am not particularly religious, but I feel certain this part of the country must be "God's" country. Wish I was coming!


Ditto what hawkeye below said about Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon. That is where all the Colorado River rafters start their trip, and all of the Glen Canyon float trip rafters end theirs. That is absolutely my favorite place on the planet.

We did not paddle but houseboated, left from Wahweep near Page. We went up Navaho canyon- pretty. We had the smallest houseboat and got further up than most. We did see a canoe heading upstream. Be aware you are required to pack out all human waste within a 1/4 mile or more from the edge of the lake. They have floating outhouses where one can pitstop or pump out your houseboat holding tank. That canoe we saw was carrying a porta potty. They do patrol and check. Colorado has had more rain and snow lately, maybe the lake has come up a little.

while in the Page area, check out a slot canyon like Antelope Canyon. Just google “antelope canyon”. We went to upper Antelope and took photos like what you see on the web sites with just a decent point and shot (i am no great photographer but you will feel like one when your photos come back- film will show more vivid colors than what your eyes see). Kick up a little dust before snapping photos where sunbeams come in.

also, take a short hike to Horseshoe bend overlook just outside Page-not developed at all. A wide angle or fish eye lens would be great.

Finally, if time and your agenda allows, take a side trip to Navaho Bridge- there are often California condor in the area. Hopefully, one will soar close. Incredible birds. There were 6 there when we stopped, but stayed down in the canyon. The old Navaho bridge is now used for foot traffic, so you can get a great look of the area. There is often a naturalist there keeping track of the condor. They are all numbered. They built a newer one in the same style adjacent to the old one. we also hiked the south Kibab trail in the Grand Canyon and had 2 condor soar over, not much more than 20 -30 feet away in the air. They made a turkey vulture who also flew near by look like a sparrow.

Have a great trip.

online water levels

Its down well over 100 feet from the levels it was at when I was there in 1990 and 1998. I think the ramps are way out of the water at this current level.

Escalante Arm
The Escalante Arm of Lake Powell has more side canyons than you probably can explore on your trip. The San Juan Arm isn’t to far away. I climbed to the top of the canyon when I was there and saw that you can find more campsites near the San Juan than the Escalante. It’s hard to find good landings for houseboats on Powell. That, more than good kayaking, is important when deciding where to go. Just about everything you need to know can be found on the web.

All good information…

I’ve got the book Boating on Lake Powell coming as well as the Stan Jones map. I’ll make sure that we have plenty to explore in one area so we don’t use a few hundred gallons of gas.

Pahsimeroi mentioned it being hard to find good landings for the houseboat. Couldn’t we just anchor the houseboat and paddle from there or can you only anchor in specific places? More research is required I see.

Better check on water levels
As someone else mentioned, Powell is waaaay down.

We paddled from Hall’s Crossing, up and down the Escalante Arm, and a bit farther south before returning to Hall’s, in October 2004. We had no trouble finding campsites, but we didn’t have a giant boat to anchor.

If the Escalante’s water levels were any indication, San Juan arm might not go far before you have to stop. Some smaller arms were completely dry.

The houseboat rental companies would probably be the best for having the latest information related to where those can safely go.

You can anchor your boat

– Last Updated: Feb-14-05 10:10 PM EST –

anywhere it's safe. We didn't find it problematic on our trips, although it may be harder now with water levels lower in side canyons. I bet you will still have plenty of options:)Call the marinas and they will give you the info you need, and they will also let you know what adjustments you need to make in your maps/boating guide.

Anchoring is best done by coming up close to shore in a protected beach or cove and placing your two anchors securely on the land. You won't be able to drop anchor in the water in most places, at least not safely.

Found a great report
This guy paddled up the lake and back in 28 days:

I’m thinking of heading there in Oct.

That’s some report
I’ve got to get out there again sometime …not enough vacation time.

Well maybe if Pfizer buys my company and lays everyone off …

Powell is very deep with steep shorelines. Finding an anchorage can be a problem. The book you bought should be a help. I read it. It can get very windy there also. Keep that in mind.

Lake Powell Paddling
There is a article about Lake Powell in the latest (I got mine Saturday) Nat Geo Adventure. I’m in New England, but this is really interesting reading.

For the reasons you mention, it’s best
to bring your houseboat up onto a protected beach, and put the two anchors somewhere on the beach, sometime in the early afternoon before the winds pick up.

All this talk of Powell…I am going to plan a paddling trip out there!

Nat Geo Adv
Must be the March issue? Still have yet to get confirmation from the friends we plan to paddle with so we may wind up paddling and camping alone instead of renting a houseboat. Certainly would be cheaper!

Lake Powell
My sister-in-law and I paddled Powell last Fall. We left Bullfrog and paddled to Wahweep (sp?) without support. Having a houseboat would be great!

Actually, we were at Bullfrog a couple of weeks ago taking inventory on my brother’s houseboat, of course the kayaks came along. The trip was very short but we got in our kayaks a couple of times.

Storage shouldn’t be much of a problem. Usually there is room on the upper deck, you just should have a way to get them up there. Many houseboats have some sort of winch for storing jetskis on the roof. For short stretches you could store them on the front or rear decks. The houseboats usually tow the jetskis and power boats as they move from one site to another. You could try that I guess but the roof seems like a better option to me.

The lake just south of Bullfrog has fairly steep walls and the places you could camp are limited. There are a lot more beaches the closer you get to the dam.

I used a plastic map that I bought there after my nice laminated one dropped into the lake at Dangling Rope, but I actually liked it better than the laminated one. There’s a map for the north half of the lake and one for the south half.

There is book called “Boater’s guide to Lake Powell” by Michael R. Kelsey that is a great resource for exploring. You could get that on the web pretty easy and most of the stores on the lake have them. I got one at the library just yesterday.

Exploring the Escalante looks like it would be fun, don’t miss Cathedral in the Desert. We didn’t get much of a chance to explore much, maybe next time :wink: Let me know if there are any questions I can answer.