Need Lake Powell Info

The wife and I are going paddling in Lake Powell the middle of Sept. We’ll probably be out for 3-4 nights. We’re driving down and bringing our own equipment. Anybody have any suggestions as to where to go etc? What’s the latest on the lake levels? Thanks

Hmmm, Lake Powell. Well if you
don’t mind dodging motorboats, it’s a great place to paddle. I stopped there this March on my way to the Green River and did some paddling. The motorboat traffic wasn’t too bad then, but you still had to be careful. We thought that we’d stop to do an extended paddle after the Green at the end of April.

So after a wonderful ten days on the Green we went again to Bullfrog. We camped at Stanton close to Bullfrog. We planned on paddling a couple canyons including the Forgotten Canyon which has the Defiance House ruins. We had our 18ft kevlar Champlain loaded with all our camping gear and two dogs.

It was an easy paddle to Crystal Spring Canyon without too much boat traffic and very scenic. We were really concerned crossing the lake to get to the canyon since all the boat traffic was really moving. It seems like all motorboats made only have idle or full trottle. Another thing that bothered us was that the canyon had sheer vertical walls - no place to land in an emergency. If you dumped because of a motorboat wake you were in serious trouble. It was still early in the year and the water was very cold.

We made it safely across the lake without any problem and paddled up the canyon looking for a campsite. We paddled to the end of the canyon but still didn’t find any campsite. At the end of the canyon we landed our canoe on a narrow beach and hiked up the canyon looking for Indian ruins. We did find some campsites while hiking that weren’t accessable now because of the low water. We hiked some, but thought we’d return later after we found a campsite.

We proceeded to head back up the canyon with our canoe to explore its many nooks and crannies looking for a campsite. Boy were we in for a suprise when we started getting heavy motorboat traffic. One after another motorboat would varoom down the narrow canyon. The waves would reflect off the cliff walls and hit us from all directions. We had to find a place to hide since it was too dangerous paddling. There was no option to land the canoe so we found a spot out of the traffic and sat in our canoe for several hours until the traffic died down.

Later we found a great campsite. We settled in for a beautiful evening. Anyway, that’s what we thought until a houseboat in the canyon started its generator. No crickets or howling cayotes, only the sound of a generator echoing in the canyon.

The next day we figured we had enough of Lake Powell and started the harrowing trip back to Bullfrog. We got an early start and only had to deal with the fishermen varooming to their fishing holes.

We crossed the lake without a problem and figured we’d be back early in the afternoon. Then the wind picked up so we headed down another canyon to find a landing spot to wait out the wind storm. It went all afternoon and didn’t look like it was going to stop anytime soon. We found a place to camp and would try again the next day. We got settled in and soon afterwards a houseboat that was anchored in the canyon started its generator.

I would suspect by now the hundreds of houseboats that where stored on shore are in the water with their generators ready to go. I doubt if there is anyplace you can camp that you won’t hear them. It must be crazy on the lake now with hundreds of motorboat and houseboats varooming up and down the lake. We couldn’t wait to get off the lake in April.

It probably won’t be as bad in September as the summer, but only marginally so. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with Lake Powell. If you want to paddle go to the Green River. I only seen one powerboat during the ten days I spent on the river. Hiking would be fine in Glenn Canyon since most people are too lazy to walk for any distance so you can quickly get away from the maddening crowd.

It a wonderful place Lake Powell, but I’ll never go there again for a paddle.

lake Powell
I have done numerous mutiday trips on Lake Powell and found it a nice place to paddle. Yaknot is right in the fact that you cannot get away from the power boats though. You just have to deal with them. I think Lake powell is best suited fro Kayaks rather than canoes because it is big water and few places to land in some spots. I would suggest that you put in at Bullfrog and head up Lake as there are some nice canyons not two far from the Marina. Lake levels are still way down from full pool but it does not really affect the paddling experience. I found the best camping is on the main channel because the water is cleaner and you will get that sun longer in the day which is important in September. Check the small indentations along the shore fior good places to camp. The water will be warm and is great for swiming that time of year. Get a good map at the marina and the guide book by michael kelsey called Boaters guide to Lake powell and do some exploring. I never bring water with me just a good water Filter. Watch out when the wind blows as it can really stir up the Lake. Have fun Paul

Yes, I agree that Lake Powell
is more suited for the kayaks because of the motorboat traffic and the complex waves produced by their reflections off the cliffs. You can’t really self rescue in a loaded tripping canoe so an upset is bad news in the canyons; although, we paddled in some areas that were fine and had plenty of landing places. Probably paddling very early will help with the motorboat traffic. Another possiblity is to put-in further away from the marinas. Especially now with high gas prices that might keep many boats closer to were they launched. They seemed to come out in droves in the early afternoon. As far as the house boat serenade at night, you just have to put up with the noise.

Perhaps you should consider renting a houseboat and use it as a base for paddling. Alot of houseboats did that sort of thing, but mostly they had skidos.

Fall is the time
The fall and early spring are nice on Lake Powell. I was down there a few years back in March and we saw very little boat traffic, maybe 4 or 5 a day. Had the lake to ourselves. Really a great paddling experience. Check out They have done a couple trips to Lake Powell and have lots of pictures posted.

Lake Foul discussion
there was a fairly long discussion of

paddling lake foul a few months ago.

Glen Canyon
Will calling it Lake Foul bring Glen Canyon back?

Isn’t it better to let people enjoy it for what it is rather than constantly regret want it isn’t anymore. I’d love to see the canyon but I never want to make people feel guilty about enjoying the reservoir.

Lake Foul
Lake Foul is a playground for people who can afford to rent or buy expensive boats and have no moral problems with polluting the water there.

In fact only a few years ago it was legal to dump holding tanks in the reservoir. If part of the reservoir was closed to motorized traffic it would be a very nice place to paddle. As it is now, it is a disgrace. When I paddled there, it felt like the landscape was being raped.

This has nothing to do with restoring Glen Canyon.

I agree that’s how I felt. Such a
wonderful place ruined. I don’t think I’ll ever go back unless something changes drastically. As of now, I feel it’s a place for the “river dorks”.

Hey pugetpaddler…
Do not let the negative types scare you off. Go there and find out for yourself. I think you will find it a interesting place to paddle even though you have to share it with the power boaters. They are not all bad. More than once I have been given a ice cold beer by a houseboater after I have been out ther for days with nothing realy cold to drink. I have meet many power boaters who realy care about the Lake and are working to keep it clean. And quite frankly I think the place is pretty clean for as many people use it in a years time. If you want solitude plan on doing some hiking and you will find some of the realy cool places that make Lake Powell a great place to explore.

Why give up?
Staying away and letting NPS think their only customers are drunken powerboaters and jetskiiers is not the solution.

Occasionally there are public comment periods asking for input on restrictions in such areas. Yeah, there are more powerboaters than paddlers. But to give up and not even bother to vote with your letters is just plain lazy.

You can also go “off season” and enjoy a fairly peaceful trip at Lake Powell, including much better weather than during the peak summer season.

It’s all about money. It would take
hundreds of paddlers to spend the money that a few powerboaters spend. Are you going to rent a houseboat, eat in an expensive meal, stay in an expensive campground, etc, etc. A dry camping site at Bullfrog cost around $15 – I think more like $17. The simple answer is not only no, but HELL NO. The cost of drydocking ONE large houseboat, which there are many – perhaps over a hundred – would generate more income than dozens of paddlers. Did you ever go tent camping in a luxury RV park – even if they would let you in? Well, that’s how it feels. To think that there could be a change in the Lake Powell policy because paddlers spend a few dollars is not at all realistic. A person who believes that is the type that you’d want to deal with if you were trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge. A sad tale, but a true tale. Go to Glenn Canyon and find out for yourself, or go someplace you’ll enjoy on your vacation.

I have been there three times

– Last Updated: Aug-22-06 7:30 PM EST –

Two were paddling trips, including a 9-day kayak-camping trip. I know there are more powerboaters throwing around money than there are paddlers. So what?

Staying away and crying "I give up" is a loser attitude. We have the same rights to use the NRA as the powerboaters do. If you personally cannot stomach their presence, then you may choose to stay away and that is also your right. But telling other people that it's "Lake Foul" is not only a lie, it's propaganda worse than selling a bridge. Lake Powell can be very beautiful, as many will atttest. Even WITH powerboaters around.

As for your "expensive" $15 campsite, I've done enough of those (when not doing the backcountry thing) to know that the average cost of a campsite with flush toilets now is $15 to $20 in the western US. Figure $10 to $15 for those with pit toilets. $20 to $35 for private RV parks, and yes, many of them do let non-RV campers stay there. I just returned from a trip on which the universal answer to "Can we camp there without an RV?" was a solid yes.

Not every paddler at Lake Powell is free-camping on every visit there. More than a few do rent houseboats or powerboats as support vessels, and others do day trips from car campgrounds with fees, and they eat meals in the restaurants. You make it sound like every paddler is a cheapskate on every visit.

It would definitely be nicer if there were NO motorized users at Lake Powell. But guess what--if that were the case, then the "river dorks" and the "backpacker dorks" would bear more weight with their push to make it a river canyon again.

Lake Foul
In my mind, the reservoir officially took the name Lake Foul a few years ago when it was not advised to swim in it because of the high bacteria levels from people dumping sewage in the water.

Visiting the area surrounding foul is great. The paddling is a let down. I’ve been in the area

many times (since I live near by). Absolutely worth visiting, just not too paddle. Too many other great things to see near by, that are not annoying.

The only chance the reservoir has to be worth paddling is to have some part of it closed to motorized - this is almost impossible. Too much already invested there for motorized recreation. The area has been sacrificed. I’ve been involved in other non-motorized closures - these are

very difficult battles even in the best cases.

That means all the oceans are Foul also

– Last Updated: Aug-23-06 1:51 PM EST –

Plenty of water bodies have periodic shutdowns (swimming) due to high bacterial count. So do you never paddle in the oceans because of those occurrences?

I won't go in those areas when the alert is on but to never go at all severely limits paddling opportunities. I guess you could buy your own little pond that nobody else is allowed to visit, but you'd better tell all the wildlife not to shit nearby, either.

Don't get me wrong--I detest sewage dumping and overcrowding (esp. motorized overcrowding). If you and YakNot never visit there...well, that's your choice. Obviously, thousands of other people, including paddlers, think it is a beautiful place.

Oh--to set the record straight on CURRENT practices, dumping is not allowed at all. Hasn't been for years. All boaters must pack out all waste. That includes paddlers, who must carry AND USE boomboxes.

Boston Harbor used to be horribly polluted, too. Things can change. I'm really glad there are people with vision and commitment in this world instead of all negative lazies.

Most paddlers and backpackers
seek a different outdoor experience than the powerboat and the RV crowd. By the nature of what we do dictates how much money we spend – it has nothing to do with being cheap. Have you priced motorboats, ATVs or RVs lately? I was gone for six weeks on the Utah trip so I had to watch my daily spending. I’m retired so I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on luxuries; especially now that the price of gas is so high. I went to Lake Powell to get away from the maddening crowd not to rub elbows with it. If you don’t mind noise and dealing with powerboats then Lake Powell is a good choice. If you enjoy the feeling of solitude then the Green River is a much better choice than Lake Powell.

I went to Utah to paddle the Green and spent ten wonderful days on the river. Seven of the nights were without other campers. On the other two nights the other people respected the reason for being on the trip: a feeling of solitude and peace. I didn’t have that experience on Lake Powell – I just wanted to leave. You go to Lake Powell with all its noise and varooming powerboats, while I’ll seek my solitude elsewhere. However, if a paddler asks me about my opinion about paddling on Lake Powell, I won’t lie and say I had a great time; rather, sadly I’ll have to say, it’s paradise lost.

My trips were all peaceful
While I know that Powell in summer would be bad for paddling, my fall visits were quiet and uneventful. The water was still warm, the weather perfect other than some windy days, campsites easy to find, and motorized users few and polite.

You can keep repeating your negative anti-reservoir agenda, but I will continue to restate my excellent experiences there when visiting at the right times. You apparently have a drain-Powell agenda that is perfectly legitimate. But masquerading it as “advice” for a trip that somebody wants to do amounts to propaganda.

Different stroke for different folks.
It’s interesting to read about what SOME people think of Lake Powel. Some love it, others fear it, still some can’t get away from it fast enough!

The last time I was there, I didn’t have my yak with me. But I WILL make a trip with boats some day in the future.

For some of us, waves are actually FUN! Not to be feared. The scenery is what I would be mostly after. Solitude? That’s more doubtful. It’s got too many motor boats. Camping to me, is mostly about spending the night so that I’ll be fresh to paddle again the next day. So sorry, I’m not quite as much a stickler as YakNot.

But I bet the “fear factor” of being in an open boat add a lot to the unpleasent experience he had in a large open lake with motor boats. A kayaker with adequate skill will have one less issue with Lake Powel and can contrentrate on enjoying the scenary instead of worrying about one’s life! And I suspect that’s why Pikabike has such a vastly different experience.

When one seeks advice, one must take into account the background of the person giving the advice to judge how applicable the advice is to one’s own situation. So to the original poster, you need to judge which advice will be more useful to YOU. If you’re a kayaker, maybe Pikabike’s experience is closer to what you’ll find. But if you’re a canoeist, you should give YakNot’s advice a lot of thought.

Most paddlers and backpackers seek a different outdoor experience than the powerboat and the RV crowd. By the nature of what we do dictates how much money we spend – it has nothing to do with being cheap. Have you priced motorboats, ATVs or RVs lately?<

I don’t know where YakNot got this idea he represents backpacker and paddlers. Many of them do have RV’s! (but then even the weirdest guy I met thought everyone is just like him!)

PikeBike is right on. Not all backpackers are cheap. To borrow YakNot’s phrases: Have you priced touring kayaks lately? ;o)

Reading 101.
Pikabike needs to take a reading comprehension

course. For example, just because someone says Lake Foul is a crappy place to paddle, this does not mean they would like to see it drained. I say it’s a crappy place to paddle - as far a draining goes, I could care less. In any case it is too late for that. There are many other good places

to go, why bother with foul. Wait a minute, Pika is right - paddle Foul, and don’t forget to ski Vail while you are at it.