My recent trip to Navajo Lake, UT (pics)

On August 8, I loaded the crappy Pelican (lolz) and my gear onto my Malone Ecolight trailer for my first multiday kayaking/hiking/camping trip. It was the first trip with the trailer to anyplace other than the local water hole (Lake Mead). The destination was Navajo Lake in southern Utah. August 8 turned out to be the last nice day before the monsoon moved in…

I got through the Utah watercraft inspection with no problem, by simply self-certifying that my boat and gear had dried for at least 7 days since last being in infected waters (i.e., Lake Mead, where I usually paddle). Note the required drying time is longer during the cooler seasons:

After reaching the Navajo Lake area, I quickly found and claimed a dispersed campsite north of Highway 14 and the lake, as I don’t do campgrounds. I sleep in the back of my 4Runner, but I set up a tent to mark my site as taken. Currently, showers and coin laundry are available to the public at Pinewoods Resort near Duck Creek Village. (No, you don’t have to drive down to Cedar City as many people told me!)

As noted, the monsoon had arrived so the weather became rather unstable and unpredictable, with varying amounts of rain and thunderstorms each day. I was up there from August 8 through 17, but only got out on the lake three times. I filled the rest of the time with a bunch of short hikes, interspersed with some general sight-seeing, occasional chilling at the camp site, and sometimes simply sheltering in the 4Runner while it rained (or hailed).

The worst weather was on Saturday August 12, when it started raining in the late morning and, with only short breaks, rained throughout the rest of the day, sometimes rather heavily.

The lake was quite full, so the dike was well underwater (but visible from the boat while above it, and from the lake overlook on Highway 14). Cascade Falls, the main outlet of the lake, was also flowing. Hiking out to it was one of my diversions during the trip.

I did find it difficult to get near the water’s edge with the rig (4Runner + trailer). All three times, I launched from what is usually the road to the Navajo Lodge picnic area (currently submerged). A kayak cart will be part of my kit by my next trip! Navajo Lodge near the west end of the lake seemed to be the best launching option. They allow anyone to launch paddlecraft there, you don’t need to be a guest or even pay.

Otherwise, there is a gravel ramp at the east end of Navajo Lake Campground, but parking would have been problematic with the trailer (would be okay if car-topping). Then, there’s a ramp east of the dike, near the east end of the lake, but it would have required me to back up a ways, something I’m not yet skilled at, lol. Parking with the trailer would have again been a problem, but this launch option would also be okay if car-topping.

Without further ado, here are pics. All the pics taken on the water were during my paddle on my last full day up there (August 16). I was able to spend nearly four hours paddling around before hauling out due to cloud build-up (there was thunder as I was loading up). After those are other pics taken at various times, including one showing Cascade Falls.


Nice report! Thanks for posting it.

Yeah, UT imposes a verbose and detailed set of regulations about AIS. After we moved to the Four Corners area, I was looking forward to paddling at Lake Powell, which was now maybe a 3-hr drive to a good launch area.

Then I read their rules about how long the kayak had to have remained dry since last use anywhere outside of UT. Because summer is the exact season I would NOT want to be at Lake Powell (motorhead mayhem), the drying period was much longer than my time between paddles.

There’s a different Navajo Lake also, straddling the NM/CO border. It’s huge.

EDIT: I just read the revised and much-shortened rules you linked. They’re much better than the pages of verbiage published before 2017. Now I see that since my boat had not been in any contaminated waters at all, let alone in the previous 30 days, I could have checked NO and just paddled. Heck, the first questionable water it would have entered would’ve been Lake Powell!

And now, their water level is so low, no thanks.

That must be near Brian’s Head (snowboarding)
I like St George.

You should check out Telephone Cove at Lake Mohave.

The Malone trailer you have could easily be unhitched and moved by hand. Just a thought

I was thinking that going TO Lake Powell shouldn’t be a problem since it’s already infested with the mussels. Going anywhere AFTER Lake Powell, Lake Mead, etc. is when there’s a concern.

The water level at Powell, as at Lake Mead, is up this year. In fact, Lake Powell is currently almost 60 feet higher than it’s low point in April.

True, to an extent. It can be a bit tricky for me to move it on rough and/or sloping ground, especially when it’s loaded. As I found when trying to push it around my campsite, lol.

A kayak cart is much lighter, plus can be used in other scenarios where I can’t get near the launch point even with the detached trailer.

Yeah, not far from Brian Head, or from Cedar Breaks NM, which was one of the places I visited (again) during my trip.

I plan to explore downstream from Hoover Dam, once it cools off a bit!

Hey we own a house out there and are wondering if the storm has arrived to southern NV yet?

I saw it was only 83 F today!

My phone said it was only 69 when I got up this morning.

Is your house in town, or where? As far as the Las Vegas metro area goes, it hasn’t been much of a storm. We’ve had rain, but nothing epic. The Spring Mountains got more rain and there have been flooding issues up there.

SoCal is another story. Numerous road closures this morning in the desert and mountain areas.

Out by Lake Mohave, Catherine’s Landing area.

Friends in San Diego were asking me what we got at the desert and I see Palm Springs flooded.