With over 1,960 miles of shoreline at Lake Powell and 96 major canyons to explore there is no end to the places you can explore. Read on to learn more about the many features and canyons to explore on the Lake.
To really get the full Lake Powell experience you will need several days on the Lake. The top destination is, of course, Rainbow Bridge. The best boat to rent for Rainbow Bridge is without a doubt one of Renegade Rentals pontoon boats. Our Manitou pontoon boats are the best boats for Lake Powell because they are fast (40 plus MPH) on the water, with a safe smooth luxurious ride in choppy water, and easy to drive and maneuver.
The traditional towboats other companies rent at Lake Powell are undersized for a large lake, ride rough in choppy water, and have small gas tanks. Renting an ultra modern, luxrious, and powerful pontoon boat will give you the freedom to see Rainbow Bridge and many other canyons and landmarks on the lake in a single day unlike other types of boats with much more limited range.
We have listed our favorite spots and canyons in order from closest to the Wahweap Marina to furthest away.
Lone Rock and Lone Rock Beach
Lone Rock is a solitary large rock feature several miles west of Wahweap Marina in Wahweap Bay. The massive rock sits right on the Utah/Arizona border just a mile west of Stateline Boat Ramp. It can be accessed through a park entrance 2 miles south of Big Water, Utah or 12 miles north of Page, AZ.
Lone Rock beach is a popular spot for camping with a family friendly atmosphere and amazing views of Lake Powell at all times. Even though many people like to camp here, there’s plenty of room for everyone. If you want to, it’s also a decent spot for riding ATVs and UTVs around the beach area.
When the water level permits we love to visit the Sand King. Though it’s basically a huge pile of sand that extends from the top of a cliff all the way down to the water, it’s an endless source of fun. The short hike to the top is a little strenuous, but then you can roll, jump, dive, or otherwise make your way down this gigantic and steep pillow of fine white sand right into the water!
Conveniently, the Sand King is located directly across Wahweap Bay at south Lake Powell, from the Wahweap Marina. It is one canyon to the west of Ice Cream Canyon. There is a superb sandy beach at the mouth of the canyon where you can park your houseboat, and from there you can either walk or drive a smaller boat back into the small canyon with the dune. Be careful, and have fun!
The Glen Canyon Dam
We love to go see the Glen Canyon Dam from the water side. The dam is located about 2 miles south of Wahweap Marina at mile marker zero because that’s where all the mile markers on the lake originate from. You can also see the Dam bridge and Dam visitor center with all the Dam tourists from the lake. (HA HA)
We love the Dam because it created the happiest place on earth :). The Glen Canyon Dam was finished in 1966 and the lake was finally finished filling in 1980. It is 710 ft tall and 1,560 ft wide. You can visit the Dam Visitors center and get the tour to learn more about the Dam and its history.
Antelope Canyon is located to the left of the Antelope Point Marina launch ramp. It is approximately 0.5 miles to the entrance of the canyon. (Ideal for Seadoos and kayaks, still cool for boats).
Navajo Canyon is located up lake from Antelope Point Marina just past mile maker 9 on the right-hand side or east side of the channel. To get there from Wahweap Marina you will need to turn right and head towards the Glen Canyon Dam and drive by Antelope Point Marina, and then keep heading up the lake for about 3 miles.
Navajo is a long narrow canyon with steep canyon walls that winds its way for about 10 miles to the end (total distance will depend on the lake level). If the water is high enough you can hike to some ruins at the end of the canyon located on the left-hand side while going up at the end. The ruins are up in the cliffs. You will need to be careful and watch for rocks along the way especially at the end. About 8 miles up there is a big sandy beach with a small sand mountain where many houseboats like to park.
Warm Creek Bay
Warm Creek Bay is a popular place for skiers, wakeboarders, and wake surfers. Many people who are day tripping from a hotel or houseboat at the marinas go to Warm Creek Bay to play. To get there from Wahweap you can head north east about 1.5 miles to the Castle Rock Cut. The Castle Rock Cut is wakeless because it is narrow but once you’re through the cut you are in Warm Creek Bay. Depending on lake level there may be rocks so be careful and make sure you’re always looking for underwater hazards.
Labyrinth Canyon is located at mile marker 18 up lake. The start of the canyon is in a bay to the east or right-hand side if you are headed up lake. The canyon is wakeless so go slow; it is popular place for visitors in kayaks. The canyon has steep walls and hairpin turns. Watch out for stray rocks here and there and keep a close watch out so you don’t ruin your day by hitting your prop.
The Toilet Bowl
The Toilet Bowl is located on the west side of Padre Bay up by Cookie Jar. It is in the canyon south of Cookie Jar (Cookie Jar is the most northern canyon) and is on the south entrance of the canyon. The Toilet Bowl is a feature that is a hole in the rock and, depending on water level, looks like a toilet bowl. If the water level is high then you may be able to drive your boat into the bowl. If it’s low then you can climb up to a cliff where you can look down into it and even jump in if you dare! You may need ropes to get out. The bowl may be a little stinky if there hasn’t been enough fresh water getting into it, so be prepared.
West Canyon is one of our favorites because there is a slot canyon at the end. The entrance is located between 28 and 29 mile markers on the right side of the channel if you are headed up lake or the east side. Once you turn and head east from mile marker 28 you can drive straight east into West Canyon. Drive as far as you can to the end then anchor your boat and start hiking.
Depending on lake level it could be a long hike. Bring plenty of water for the trip. You will encounter some slots that you will have to swim in. The water is cold and may be stagnant (stinky). Keep going and you will be rewarded with a wide slot. This hike will take several hours so be prepared. Don’t go into the slot if it looks like it may rain. That could be very dangerous with floods and unstable conditions.
Dancing Cave Rock Creek
Rock Creek is a side canyon on the left side going up lake at mile marker 36. You will see a floating toilet but keep going a bit further and turn left or to the west. Head up the canyon about a mile and look left and you’re there. We call it the dancing cave because when we pull into the cave and turn up the stereo our family can’t help but to dance. The acoustics are amazing!
Rock Creek Cenote
Straight across the channel to the north from the Dancing Cave there is a cenote or cave depending on lake level. There is a big rock by itself in the water and the cave is just behind the rock. Depending on water level you can swim under the arch into the rock bowl or jump into the bowl if the water is high. We always like to go check it out to see what fun we can make there.
Dangling Rope Marina
Dangling Rope Marina is a stand-alone marina you can only get to from the Lake located at mile marker 42. Everything there is taken there by a barge. You can get fuel, dump your waste or stock up on a limited selection of groceries if needed. We love to visit Dangling Rope because they have soft-serve ice cream or slushees at the snack shop called “Marker 42”. Of course, sometimes we need to fuel up and get some supplies, but we love to stop for the ice cream. There is also a ranger station there if you need assistance on the Lake.
Mountain Sheep Cliff Jumping
Mountain Sheep Canyon is on the right side of the channel at mile marker 44. At the mouth of Mountain Sheep canyon there is a cliff that is perfect for cliff jumping. It is on the left side of the canyon. Depending on water level the cliff can be very high so be careful and wear your life jackets. If you want to keep going in the canyon there is another slot canyon at the end of Mountain Sheep. Make sure you look up at the rocks and cliffs around Mountain Sheep Canyon. It’s named that for a reason. There are desert big horn sheep up this canyon.
Cathedral Canyon is one canyon up lake on the right from Mountain Sheep Canyon. Cathedral Canyon is another favorite slot canyon with steep walls. There are some narrow spots so you may have to swim a bit to get to the slot and it is a good idea to go wakeless.
From Wahweap, Antelope Point, and Dangling Rope, travel north. From Bullfrog and Halls Crossing, travel south. Proceed to the mouth of Forbidding Canyon (buoy 49), where a floating sign on the right marks the canyon entrance. Follow the canyon about 2 miles (4 km) to another sign that points the way left through a narrow passage. Proceed with caution! Beyond the wakeless buoys, go slowly so that no wakes, or waves, are made. A courtesy dock is available for short-term docking while people make the 2 mile (3.2km) walk to the bridge. Click to read more about Rainbow Bridge.
Hole in the Rock
Hole in the Rock bay is located at mile marker 66 and is on your left as you are headed up lake. Hole in the Rock is a historical site where Mormon pioneers crossed the Colorado River to settle the San Juan area.
About 250 people with 83 wagons and about 1,000 head of livestock dropped down the only crossing area for the Colorado River which was a very steep ravine. Not one person lost their life during the crossing. The men had to blast part of the rock and used ropes and pulleys to drop the wagons, animals and people down sometimes a much as 40 ft drops!
Now there is a strenuous hike to the top of this trail which you can climb to and get some great views of the lake and experience to a very small degree what the pioneers experienced. Make sure you bring plenty of water; even through this is a short hike it is very strenuous. We love to hike this trail and it is certainly a test for even avid hikers.
The entrance for the Escalante River is just past mile maker 68 on the left side of the channel heading up lake. The Escalante River is one of the most beautiful areas of the lake with less traffic because it is in between Wahweap and Antelope Point Marina and Halls Crossing and Bullfrog Marina. With steep canyons and winding side canyons there is much to explore. Be careful of floating debris because there are prop killers in abundance.
One of our favorite side canyons is Davis Gulch. The Bement Arch is in Davis Gulch along with some great camping spots that will be shaded the entire day. Other canyons worth exploring are Fiftymile Creek, Clear Canyon, and Indian Creek Canyon. There are some Indian ruins called Three Roof Ruins just south-west of Explorer canyon on a high cliff you can hike to depending on lake level.
There are many great side canyons to explore on the Escalante River so if you decide to go make sure you pack a lunch, plenty of snacks and lots of water. If you rent one of Renegade Boat Rental’s dual motor pontoon boats you can make this trip and back in a single day with a few stops along the way. To really see this area of the lake you need to plan on several days and either rent a houseboat or plan on camping on the lake. The Escalante River area has great camping spots that are shaded for most of the day.