Lake Powell, which straddles the border between Utah and Arizona, is the second largest man-made reservoir in the world. If you were to straighten all the nooks, crannies and canyons of its winding shoreline, you would find nearly 2000 miles laid at your feet…longer than the coastline of Oregon, Washington and California combined. Sandy beaches and a high desert climate complete an ideal boating destination.
If you are planning on using your own boat or renting one, you need to get a large, waterproof map of the entire lake. It is best to do this even before you begin to plan a trip. The map must show the buoys one sees while boating the lake. The buoys not only indicate where deeper water is, but those with numbers indicate the number of miles up lake from Glen Canyon Dam. There is no difference in boating regulations when you cross the state line between Arizona and Utah.
There are six marinas on the lake—Bullfrog, Dangling Rope, Halls Crossing, Hite, Stateline and Wahweap. All of the marinas with the exception of Dangling Rope offer year round lodging and boating services. Dangling Rope can only be reached by boat. Another boat launch, Lee’s Ferry, is located on the Colorado River 15 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam.
For a unique family vacation, consider renting a houseboat at Wahweap, Bullfrog, or Antelope Crossing Marinas. Houseboats range in size from 44 feet to 75 feet, and come complete with bedding packages and housewares. “Meals on Board”, an optional program offered by Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas, gives vacationers the opportunity to pre-order the meals for their entire trip.
For maximum flexibility, consider renting a power boat or personal watercraft in addition to your floating home. That way you can anchor the houseboat on in a secluded cove, and take the other boat up the lake to explore smaller canyons and visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
One of the lake's most beautiful side canyons canyons is West Canyon, and Cathedral Canyon is one of the most easily navigable. Both are edged by towering sandstone walls, some as much as 1000 feet high.
Much has been made of the many Anasazi sites that were flooded under the lake when the Glen Canyon Dam was built. However, there are still ancient ruins and rock art in many canyons. Two of the most impressive are Three Roof Ruin on the Escalante arm of the lake and Defiance House Ruin in Forgotten Canyon, up lake from Bullfrog. Not far from Rainbow Bridge are the Moqui (or Anasazi Indian) steps, narrow stone insets that reached from the top to the bottom of the canyon. All ruins and steps are marked on good boating maps, as well as rock art sites.
Lake Powell has been a popular Hollywood filming location. Among the best known movies set here were The Greatest Story Ever Told, both Planet of the Apes epics, Maverick, and The Outlaw Josey Wales.
Arrangements for boat tours of Lake Powell can be made at Wahweap Lodge and Marina, including guided trips to Rainbow Bridge. In addition to public launching ramps, camping and boat and automobile fuel are also provided.