PAGE, Ariz. — It is almost a summer rite of passage. A trip to Lake Powell — or just “Powell,” as some are wont to call it — features miles of gorgeous lake dotted by kaleidoscopic sandstone cliffs that rise up through the surface like giant ships on the water, just begging visitors to come take a swim.
While it may seem like the ideal Powell vacation to explore Lake Powell’s many side canyons in a spacious houseboat with 30 of your closest friends, or wakeboard across its pristine surface in the morning hours, motorized Lake Powell is not always a feasible option for vacationers.
Not to worry; there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the waters and surrounding areas without fancy boats and power toys. Below, you will find just a few of the ways you can do Lake Powell … un-motorized.
Camp in style
There is camping, there is glamping, and then there is something in between. Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas oversees the Wahweap campground, which offers camping options for everything from large recreational vehicles with hookups to group sites and simple tent camping.
All the sites come equipped with fire rings and picnic tables, and large, clean flush toilets and washing facilities are available in every loop. There are coin-operated showers located just at the campground entrance next to the store and registration area. For $2, you get a nice shower to wash off the sunscreen.
Additionally, registered campers get access to the Lake Powell Resort at Wahweap Marina’s two pools, which offer cool pools, hot tubs and sweeping views of the lake.
Reservations can be made online or by calling 888-896-3829 and start at $26 a night.
Go up the lake with a paddle
Standup paddleboarding is making a big splash in the recreation sports world. From ocean waves to lake shores and outdoor yoga studios, paddleboards are all the rage.
Boards come in all shapes, sizes and materials and can be purchased at stores like the Lifetime store, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI.
If you have never tried a paddleboard, the best way to get the feel is to rent one. Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas offers rentals for kayaks and paddleboards, or you can rent from online supplier Outdoor Rush, which provides you with an inflatable paddleboard, pump, paddle and carrying case, all at a reasonable price.
Outdoor Rush also has LED light packages for night paddling and other fun things to make your lake stay incredible.
The best time to paddle is sunrise at Lake Powell, when boaters are still sleeping and the lake is glassy and clear.
Take the dam tour
Lake Powell, which is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, would not be possible without the Glen Canyon Dam.
Rising 710 feet from the canyon bedrock, Glen Canyon Dam is a critical source of water, power and recreation for thousands of people living in the southwest and beyond.
Visitors are allowed to take a guided tour of the facility, which is operated by the Bureau of Reclamation. The tour begins at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center.
During the tour, you will learn about the dam’s construction and operation as you descend in two elevators – first onto the dam itself and then down through the dam over 500 feet – and witness the inner workings of this hydroelectric power producer.
According to the dam tour guide, Glen Canyon Dam is obligated to release 8.23 million acre-feet of water per year to travel downriver to various points, providing crucial water resources. To put that into perspective, the guide said, imagine an American football field with one foot of water over its surface, and that is one acre-foot.
The dam tour is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children and free for kids 6 and younger. To learn more about the dam’s operating hours, visit the Web page.
Glen Canyon Dam is a federally operated facility, and strict safety protocols are adhered to. Visitors are not allowed to bring weapons, food or drink, or bags of any kind on the tour. Wallets, cameras and clear water bottles are allowed. Visitors will also go through a metal detector before the tour starts.
- Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas | Website | Telephone: 888-896-3829
- Carl Hayden Visitor Center at Glen Canyon Dam | Web page
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area | Website
- Outdoor Rush paddleboard rentals | Website
Driving directions to Wahweap Marina from St. George — 2 hours, 32 minutes; 150 miles
- From St. George Boulevard, take Interstate 15 North to Exit 16, state Route 9 toward Hurricane/Zion National Park, about 7 miles
- Take state Route 9 about 10 miles to 100 East in Hurricane; turn right
- Turn left at first cross street onto state Route 59, follow 22 miles. As you enter Arizona, the road changes to Arizona state Route 389. Continue on Arizona, S.R. 389 for about 36 miles to Fredonia, Arizona
- In Fredonia, turn left onto Highway 89A and continue for 6.8 miles to Kanab, Utah
- In Kanab, turn right on Highway 89 and continue 67 miles to Wahweap Boulevard
- Turn left onto Wahweap Boulevard and follow signs to Lake Powell Resort at Wahweap Marina, Wahweap Beach, Stateline Boat Ramp and the Wahweap Campground
- View driving directions and map here
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