.......... .. .. ........... "Once In A While You Get Shown The Light In The Strangest Of Places If You Look At It Right" :Robert Hunter

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lake Powell

I have touched on Lake Powell before but just a brief post about a trip to Rainbow Bridge. But Lake Powell is so much more than that. Lake Powell is a very large man made lake in a fantastic canyon called Glen Canyon. The lake was formed when Glen Canyon Dam was built in 1963 backing up the Colorado River into Glen Canyon. The dam is 710 feet tall and a tour of the dam is available to visitors. The area of Lake Powell is made up of Glen Canyon and fantastic system of side canyons creating a wonderland of slots and narrow channels. You can easily get confused on this lake without good navigational skills and maps.
And sticking up out above the lake are amazing sandstone cliffs, buttes, and monoliths of all shapes and sizes and that alone is worth the visit. Because most can only be seen from the water the best way to see Lake Powell is of course by boat. Lake Powell has over 2,000 miles of shoreline which is more than the combined states on the Pacific Coast of the United States. This makes finding a secluded camp location and having a cove all to yourself pretty easy. The lake is 400 feet deep in some places and is 186 miles long and has a water storage capacity of 27,000,000 acre feet of water. This makes for plenty of room to water ski in the most surreal environment you can imagine. There are only a few areas where the lake can be accessed by road so a boat is needed to see most parts of the lake. Once on the lake you can enjoy swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, camping, and hiking including trips to spectacular Rainbow Bridge. Lake Powell is in the middle of a vast high desert area with very little population. The lake straddles the Arizona-Utah border approximately a five hour drive from both Phoenix and Las Vegas. Flagstaff Arizona is about 130 miles south on US 89. The largest city near Lake Powell is Page Arizona with a population of about 10,000 residents located just a few miles from the Southwest end of the lake. Page is where most visitors access the lake and it has the biggest marina (Wahweep Marina)and offers a variety of boat and jet ski rentals, houseboat rentals, guided tours and much more. Even just taking a swim in the lake near Page can be enjoyable if you are limited for time. Page is where I have gone to rent a boat because it's the shortest drive to get to, and have often stopped while on my way to other destinations as well. The city of Page has all the supplies you will need and has a variety of hotels to stay in as well as the Lodge at the waters edge in Wahweep Marina. There is also some fun slickrock mountain bike riding to do in the Page area. And near Page are some great slot canyons Antalope, and Waterholes Canyons)as well as some other geat hiking destinations such as the Coyote Buttes. For me though I have found camping out on the lake to be the best way to see it because of the huge size of the lake. Because the lake is so big it takes a very long time to get out to the best parts of the lake. And if you camp overnight you get to be out on the lake for the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. And calling these sunsets and sunrises spectacular is quite an understatement to say the least!
This also will give you some time to get off the water and hike and see some of the impressive side canyons and channels. Also camping on the lake lets you take time to view the stars and the night time sky on this lake is fantastic due to the remote areas with no man made light sources and the incredibly dry air. It's quite a treat to set up camp in a remote cove and swim in the crystal clear water and have it all to yourself. At the very northeast end of the lake is Hite Marina it is very small, remote and very isolated. Hite is known for floating driftwood that can damage a boat and put and end to the adventure, and offers very little services. There is no lodge, and no RV park, only primitive camping. There is a marina store at Hite. Hite is approximately 90 miles from Blanding, Utah (take Highway 95 straight to the marina). From Hanksville, take Highway 95 straight to Hite Marina. Hite is 148 miles by boat from the other end of the lake. In the middle of the Lake is Bullfrog and Halls Crossing Marinas. Bullfrog Marina is the second largest marina on Lake Powell, Bullfrog is located approximately 70 land miles from Hanksville, Utah and 95 lake miles from Glen Canyon Dam. It is also located across the lake from Hall's Crossing Marina. Both marinas are connected via the John Atlantic Burr Ferry, an extension of Highway 276. You can take your car, trailer or RV on the ferry, the cost is more per foot for trailers and RV's. The ferry operates on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is recommended you arrive 30 minutes before schedule departure (your vehicle will wait in line). If you MUST get across using the ferry, or if you are taking the last scheduled service across, be there earlier. The trip takes 20 to 30 minutes. When visiting Bullfrog, I recommend staying at Ticaboo Lodge, just 12 miles from the marina or at Defiance House Lodge at the marina. This area is remote, the nearest town is Hanksville, Utah, which offers few services and amenities so you better pack all that you need. Make plans well in advance because it is not unusual for all accommodations at both Bullfrog and Hall's to be completely sold out months in advance. Bullfrog Marina operates on Utah time. To reach Bullfrog from Hanksville, go south on I-95 to highway 276. This highway will take you into Bullfrog Marina. The roads are well posted. Please note that on highway 12 and highway 24 to Hanksville, you are likely to encounter livestock, deer, rabbits, coyotes, etc. Go slow! Although there are a number of graded dirt roads that SEEM to be a shortcut, these are not recommended if you are towing a boat, driving an RV or if there have been recent rains. Stick to the main highway. Generally, these dirt roads are not shortcuts as your speed will be greatly reduced. Always carry plenty of water and supplies as there are few services between small towns.
Half way between Bullfrog Marina and Page is Dangling Rope Marina it is located approximately 40 lake miles from Glen Canyon Dam and 55 lake miles from Hall's and Bullfrog Marinas. It is a stop along the way to Rainbow Bridge. There is no land access to Dangling Rope and you cannot rent houseboats, powerboats, etc. from this marina. There is no launch ramp. The marina is basically a fuel stop for boaters on their way up lake or down lake. In additional to fuel, there is a small marina store offering the best soft serve ice cream around (it's the only around), in addition to basic supplies. When boating on Lake Powell, never pass this marina without topping off your fuel tanks

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