Historically low Lake Powell water levels cause closures of some launch ramps, other changes

Antelope Point Public Launch Ramp on Lake Powell, Arizona, circa 2021 | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is advising visitors to be aware of changes to water access points and boat launch areas on Lake Powell this year due to declining water levels through the summer.

Water levels at the boat launch ramp for Antelope Marina at Lake Powell, Arizona, April 11, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Susan Kjvj, St. George News

The Bureau of Reclamation forecasts for 2021 and 2022, Lake Powell water levels will continue to drop, according to a press release issued by the National Park Service. Due to this, boaters should check the status of their preferred launch destinations before heading to the lake. The latest information on current boat launch and marina facilities can be found online.

The park regularly makes adjustments to infrastructure such as launch ramps, floating docks and walkways to accommodate fluctuating lake levels and to maintain visitor access to the maximum extent possible.

Currently, the Bullfrog Main Launch Ramp, Antelope Point Public Launch Ramp, Hite Launch Ramp, Stateline Launch Ramp and Castle Rock Cut are closed, according to the release. Bullfrog North Launch Ramp, Wahweap Main Launch Ramp and the Halls Crossing Launch Ramp remain open. Stateline Launch Ramp at Wahweap will reopen April 26 for the season.

These boat ramps will remain open as long as conditions allow. Due to a steep drop-off and predictions for low lake levels this summer, the Antelope Point Public Launch Ramp will likely remain closed to motorized vessels this season; however, human powered vessels may launch there (kayaks, canoes, paddleboards).

The Stateline boat ramp at Lake Powell, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

Boaters should be aware that typical recreational access may be impacted by low water and should check the park website frequently while planning to visit. Longer lines and limited parking may occur, and visitors are advised to exercise caution due to a higher concentration of boaters in the same area. Boaters should be aware that as water levels drop, channels may narrow leading to increased boat congestion, the release states.

Due to the 20-year historic drought, including the last 10 years of extreme drought reflecting the effects of a changing climate in the Colorado River basin, projections from the Bureau of Reclamation indicate Lake Powell’s water level may drop as low as 3,540 feet of elevation above sea level. This would be the lowest water level experienced at Lake Powell since 1968.

Current lake level information is available online.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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