Lake Powell is a beautiful, man-made reservoir in Glen Canyon recreation area in Utah and Arizona that attracts 2-3 million visitors each year. It’s about 161,000 acres of pure bliss in the middle of the desert. It is highly renowned as one of the premiere boating destinations in the United States and arguably the world.
For a visit to Lake Powell, you need at least three solid days to see all the sites and experience the wonders. This does not include your travel time, so be sure to schedule time before and after for travel. For the ultimate experience, aim for four or five days so you don’t rush.
Aside from boats and other water sports, the Lake Powell area offers some exceptional opportunities for you and your family to enjoy. There are some great scenic-drives and off-roading opportunities, along with air tours, hiking, camping and more! Read on to learn about everything that Lake Powell has to offer!
Planning Your 3-Day Trip to Lake Powell
If you only have three days to spend at Lake Powell, focus on boating and hiking. These are the two activities that will help you get an up-close view to truly appreciate all the area has to offer.
If you’re an avid boater, there’s no better place to spend some time than Lake Powell. There are a variety of launch points and campsites to choose from. Whether you’re bringing your own boat, or you plan to rent one, there is an option for you.
Houseboats are extremely prevalent on Lake Powell. Many families flock here for a few weeks during the summer months to relax, unwind, and enjoy the beautiful scenery on their houseboat. It’s an ideal way to get around and see the lake and spend expended amounts of time in different locations and for your family to tube, water-ski, kayak, or try out other water activities.
Lake Powell has five key marinas from which to choose if you plan on bringing your own boat. It’s a great idea to check out each one individually so you understand what is and isn’t available at each one. It’s also a great idea to check the weather conditions and water level before choosing your marina!
Wahweap is the busiest and most popular marina on Lake Powell. It features a variety of lodging, shopping, restaurants, and other amenities that travelers love. It also has two campgrounds to choose from if you’re planning on camping for some or all of your stay at Lake Powell.
Bullfrog is the second-busiest marina at Lake Powell and is the closest one to Salt Lake City. If you’re planning an additional excursion over to Salt Lake City, this is an ideal marina for you to choose. It offers a wide range of services including a boat ramp, lodging, shopping, restaurants, campgrounds, boat repairs and more.
Antelope Point is quieter and much smaller. There is no lodging or camping available here, but it does offer a boat ramp, slip rental, boat repair and pump-out. It functions as a day-use area, so plan on going somewhere else at the end of the day once you pull your boat out of the water.
Dangling Rope is a marina that is only accessible by water, so you need to put your boat into the lake at one of the other marinas. It features boat repair, fueling, pump-out and emergency communications. It is often used as an in-between stopping point for boaters traveling between various monuments, sites and other marinas.
Halls Crossing is directly across the lake from Bullfrog and features a ferry that can take visitors back and forth between the two marinas. It features two campgrounds, a grocery store, boat repair and pump-out station. It also offers a laundry, showers and a boat ramp.
Boat Rental & Excursions
If you don’t have a boat or don’t want to bring yours, that’s no problem at all! There are tons of boat excursions available. You can also rent boats and other equipment for your time in Lake Powell.
The majority of boat excursions and rentals go in and out of Wahweap Marina. These include trips to the North and South sides of the lake, Antelope Canyon and more. Availability and duration may vary depending on the time of year, so be sure to check out their boating page to learn more.
One of the most popular boat excursions is a trip to Rainbow Bridge National Monument. This monument is the one of the world’s tallest natural bridges and is sacred ground to many Native American tribes. Travelers flock here each year to revel in its beauty and learn about its significance to Native Americans.
Spend a Day Hiking Near Lake Powell
Before we go any further, let’s be clear that this is the desert. Whether it’s summer or winter, you want to bring plenty of water and a few emergency supplies. Hiking is an excellent way to explore Lake Powell and take in the sites, but please be smart about it!
Navajo Canyon is a relatively easy hike that offers beautiful views of the landscape. Although the terrain is pretty easy to manage, the trips can be up to 12 miles long, so plan accordingly. On this hike, you will experience the simple elegance of Choal Falls.
Rainbow Bridge is a beautiful hike to the natural bridge and its counterparts. The trailhead is only accessible by boat, so plan on taking your own boat or jumping on a tour to take you there. Once on land, it’s a pretty easy hike to get there.
Labyrinth Canyon is a really cool experience because it becomes so narrow that you can extend both arms and touch either side of the canyon at the same time. If you’re claustrophobic, this might not be a great option for you. But it is a truly exhilarating experience and at the end of the canyon, there is a beautiful sandy beach perfect for swimming.
Include These Activities on a 4 or 5 Day Trip
If you’re fortunate enough to have four or five days to spend in the area, consider some additional activities for an unforgettable trip. These are less traditional ways to take in the splendor of Lake Powell, but an amazing experience nonetheless.
Scenic Air Tours
If helicopters are more your speed, check out the air tours that are available. You’re sure to see everything from a different perspective when you take to the skies. Be mindful that helicopters are not for the light-hearted, so be ready for a true adventure.
Another great way to take in the beauty of Lake Powell and the surrounding area is on horseback. The tours in Lake Powell often highlight Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, which spans about 1 million acres and is among some of the most remote land in the United States. It features a series of plateaus, cliffs and ravines that are truly a site to be marveled.
If driving the backroads through the desert is more your speed, you don’t want to miss some of the spectacular views in Arizona and Utah. There are tons of winding roads around the area that allow for an exciting trek through the desert without too much effort on your feet, back or hips. The whole family is sure to enjoy a variety of sights and overlooks, along with a stop at one of many scenic spots for a picnic lunch.
To truly enjoy all that Lake Powell has to offer, a 3-day trip is the minimum you should consider. Three days gives you plenty of time to relax and enjoy boating, water skiing, swimming and other water activities. It also allows enough time for day hikes to some of the beautiful surrounding monuments.
If you have the luxury of a five-day trip, try a little bit of everything! Just remember to unplug, relax and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you!