The monsoon season is over, the crowds have gone, and the daytime temperatures are ideal — perfect conditions for a fall trip to Lake Powell. The lake, which boasts more than 1,800 miles of shoreline, lies within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, on the border of Arizona and Utah. The lake was created when the Glen Canyon Dam was built. Although the dam was, and still is, a controversial topic for many, the lake it created has become an outdoor person’s paradise.
Lake Powell is full of sandy beaches, Navajo sandstone formations and monoliths, and dozens of side canyons to explore by boat or on foot. It is also a popular fishing area, especially for largemouth and striped bass. In late October, average daily high temperatures are in the mid-70s.
There are many ways to get out on the lake, including renting a house boat or taking a guided boat tour. House boat rentals are extremely popular. You can rent houseboats that range in size from 46 to 75 feet, depending on your needs. The boats sleep six to 12 people, and it’s like renting a floating condominium, with furnishings and appliances ranging from basic to extremely luxurious. Two sources for boat rentals are Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas, at 888-896-3829 or lakepowell.com, and Antelope Point Marina, at 928-645-5900 or antelopepointlakepowell.com.
Many of the most popular guided day trips embark from Wahweap Marina, just east of Page, Ariz. There are a variety of tours, including one to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and other cruises up the waters within the narrow Navajo sandstone walls of Antelope and Navajo canyons.
To reach Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the boat ride takes about six or seven hours roundtrip, depending on the current lake level. The boat brings you about 50 miles up the lake to the courtesy dock near Rainbow Canyon where you disembark. From there, you walk less than three-quarters of a mile to Rainbow Bridge. The bridge is the world’s largest known natural stone bridge and is about 290 feet tall and 275 feet wide.
The Antelope Canyon tour is a 1 1/2-hour roundtrip and takes you up the narrow canyon about 4 miles. There is also a 2 1/2-hour tour that heads up Antelope and Navajo canyons. The tours from Wahweap Marina run daily through October. From November through the winter months, tours are still offered as long as they have at least 15 passengers booked. Always call ahead. Wahweap Marina can be reached at 800-528-6154, or visit lakepowell.com.
If you are short on time but still want to get out on Lake Powell, I recommend driving just west of Page, Ariz., onto the Navajo Reservation and down to Antelope Point Marina. A tour leaving from this dock will take you to Antelope Canyon more quickly than the one from Wahweap. This pontoon-boat cruise is only one hour long. Call 928-608-4477.
On your drive to the marina, you will see stations offering guided slot canyon tours in Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon. There is no water in these parts of the canyon, unless after a rain, when no tours will take place because of flash flooding. The upper slot can be walked easily, but in the lower canyon, there are stairs you will need to negotiate. These are some of the most stunning narrow slot canyons in the world, and if you have an extra hour or two to spend in the area, entering them will be well worth your time. For more information on these tours, call 928-645-9496.
There are many places to camp in the area, including the Wahweap RV Park and Campground, located only a quarter-mile from the lake. For lodging, there is the Lake Powell Resort at the marina, which offers rooms and suites, restaurants and gift and coffee shops. A variety of other lodging can also be found in Page, Ariz.
From Las Vegas, take Interstate 15 north about 125 miles to Utah state Route 9 (Hurricane — Zion National Park). Drive 9 miles and go right onto Utah state Route 59 east. This 61-mile paved road turns into state Route 389 when you enter Arizona, and then into U.S. Highway 89A north when turning left in Fredonia, Ariz., just a few miles south of Kanab, Utah. From Kanab, drive east on U.S. Highway 89 for about 70 miles to Lake Powell and Page, Ariz.
Deborah Wall is the author of “Great Hikes, A Cerca Country Guide” and “Base Camp Las Vegas: Hiking the Southwestern States,” published by Stephens Press. She can be reached at email@example.com.