Thinking about visiting Lake Powell? Then hopefully this article will provide some helpful information and help you prepare for an amazing trip.
Photo by Gavin Van Wagoner on Unsplash
How big is Lake Powell?
Lake Powell is a huge man-made reservoir on the Colorado River in Southwestern Utah and Northwestern Arizona. When full, the lake has a 2,000 mile shoreline, which is longer than the shoreline of every U.S. state on the Pacific Coast combined. It also has a volume of 27,000,000 acre-feet, making it the second biggest reservoir in the country. Why is it so big? Because of the landscape. Glen Canyon is actually a series of canyons that break into smaller canyons and ravines that fill as the water rises in the spring.
What is the best time of year to visit Lake Powell?
Lake Powell relies on the snowpack in northern Utah and Colorado to provide its massive amount of water. This means that although it exists in the winter, it is much smaller than it is in the summer months. Waiting until at least May to visit will ensure that the lake has started to fill. Boat ramps and other important amenities may only be accessible once the lake has risen, and there is so much more to do and see when the canyons are full of sparkling blue water. The water level then starts to fall as the season turns to autumn, so Labor Day weekend is usually one of the last busy times at Lake Powell.
Another reason to visit in the summer is the heat. Whether boating or swimming, most people at the lake spend a majority of their time in the water. The water temperature at Lake Powell rises dramatically in the summer months, as does the outside temperature. As it gets hotter, it makes the water much more refreshing and fun, rather than just being cold. For example, the water temperature rises from 54 in April to 79 in August. This is consistent with outdoor temperatures which rise from the 60s to the 80s in May, and then get into the 90s from June through August. This means spending your day in the water is most comfortable during the hottest part of the year.
Is it worth visiting lake Powell when it’s not summer?
If fishing or hiking is more your thing, then spring or fall may be when you want to visit. The water level isn’t quite as high which makes it easier to access more remote fishing spots and hiking areas. Not only that, but there also aren’t nearly as many visitors, leading to a calmer lake and more access to the fishing spot of your choice.
What is there to do at Lake Powell?
When visiting in the summer, the list of activities at Lake Powell is almost endless. Camping, fishing, boating, and even kayaking are all popular. Many people rent a houseboat from the Lake Powell marina and use that as a homebase. This allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the marinas while still having modern conveniences such as a bed, kitchen, and bathroom. You can dock your houseboat anywhere along the shoreline—just make sure to anchor it well. From your houseboat base you can fish, swim, boat, and relax on the shore. Depending on your location, you may also be able to hike through the cliffs that haven’t been flooded.
Fishing is another popular activity at Lake Powell, especially because it can be done year round. Anglers from both the shore and on the water can catch a variety of fish, including bass, walleye, and bluegill.
And if visiting more touristy spots is more up your alley, there are tours that take you to the more popular places in and around the lake. Horseshoe Bend, Rainbow Bridge, and the Glen Canyon dam are some of the more popular places to visit while at Lake Powell.
Where can I camp at Lake Powell?
The nights don’t get too cold in the summer, so many people enjoy camping on the shore. Lake Powell beach camping happens all along the thousands of miles of shoreline. However, if scoping out and finding your own camping site is daunting, you might want to consider setting up your tent on Lone Rock Beach. The campsite is easy to access, and you can park on the beach or set up your camper. The white sand beaches offer a beautiful view of the brilliant blue lake and sheer cliffs. It is also close to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Island, two stunning natural formations that are popular with visitors.
Because it’s so family-friendly and accessible, the beach is very popular and busy. If you are looking for something more remote where your family can bond only with each other, Lone Rock probably isn’t the best place for you. Luckily, Lake Powell’s endless beaches offer plenty of other places to camp away from others.
Where is the Lake Powell Resort?
Due to the sheer size of Lake Powell, there are two main marinas that visitors can use to launch or rent boats, find lodging, and even get a meal. The more northern point is known as Bullfrog, and the southern is known as the Wahweep Marina. Wahweep is home to the Lake Powell Resort, which is located right next to the marina. Lake Powell Resort is a great place to stay the night with your family. The Lake Powell Resort offers air-conditioned rooms, pools, restaurants, a fitness center, and even fire pits. It is a wonderful place to wind down at night after a long day on the lake.
Although Wahweep is technically located in Arizona, it is just over the Utah-Arizona border and popular with Utahns. Most of the lake is located in Utah, so many people who enter the lake at Wahweep actually spend most of their time on the lake back in Utah.
What is there to do at the marina and resort?
The marinas are great bases for just about anything you want to do while at Lake Powell. You can rent houseboats, ski boats and boat toys, buy fishing supplies, and even take a boat tour. If looking to rent a houseboat or boat, be sure to make your reservation in advance. Over three million people visit Lake Powell every year, and they stay almost five days, so you will need to plan ahead to ensure your family can have the experience you want.
Because Lake Powell is so huge, taking a guided boat tour is a great way to see some of its more beautiful places. Just be sure to know the length of the tour and plan accordingly since some can be four or more hours long.
After a long day of water activities, no one wants to cook dinner. Luckily, the Lake Powell Resort at Wahweep offers plenty of dining opportunities for the whole family. The five different restaurants offer everything from steak and fresh fish to burgers, pizza, and pub fare. You can even take a dinner cruise and enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Powell from an air-conditioned boat while you eat.
Visit Lake Powell
Photo by Zetong Li on Unsplash
Taking a trip to Lake Powell takes some careful planning. The first time you go, it’s often best to accompany someone who knows the lay of the land and has experience. If you plan well and do your research beforehand, visiting Lake Powell will be an enjoyable experience. The views are spectacular, and the memories will last a lifetime.