The second largest man-made lake in the United States, Lake Powell is one of the Southwest’s favorite playgrounds and perhaps the entire continent’s most scenic lakes.
A two-hour drive from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, a visit to Lake Powell is the perfect way to complete a memorable outdoor adventure.
With a generous 2,000 miles (3219 km) of shoreline, Lake Powell is the perfect place to rent a houseboat and spend a few days lazily floating by canyons and gorging on perfect natural scenery.
Places to Explore at Lake Powell
Offering up expansive views of three major canyons (Wiregrass, Lone Rock, and Ice Cream), Wahweap Bay is one of the most convenient areas to explore given its proximity to outstanding views.
Given its space capacity, this area is also great for waterskiing, wake boarding, paddling, and kayaking. Home to the main marina, Wahweap Bay also happens to be the best-equipped of the options.
The largest bay on Lake Powell, Padre Bay offers expansive views of monumental buttes, including the Tower Butte, Cookie Jar Butte, Domingues Butte, and Boundary Butte.
Given the size of the bay, water activities such as powerboating and kayaking are especially popular in this area.
With Kane Wash Canyon as background, Padre Bay is one of the best places to combine your lake adventure with some day hiking and camping. The area actually encourages this combination by providing designated areas to park houseboats.
The West Canyon offers a more intimate experience with the landscape as well as a perfect opportunity for slot-canyon hiking. Characterized by narrow nooks and towering stone columns, it is best explored by simple watercraft like kayaks or powerboats.
The exploration gets even more intimate once you park your boat and set out on foot. Splashing through the water, exploring the West Canyon by foot means hiking in somewhat strenuous conditions; never fear, the views from here are completely amazing and finding some hidden slot-canyons to explore is more than worth it.
A more beach-like part of the canyon, Gunsight Canyon is the perfect place to chill. Featuring a clean shore line with white sand, it is the perfect place to park your watercraft and lay out to enjoy the scene.
Named after its resemblance to a huge firearm, Gunsight Canyon is one of the shadiest places to cool down in the summer because its main butte casts a huge shadow over the shore.
Warm Creek Bay and Face Canyon
Located less than half an hour from the main marina (and amenities), Warm Creek Bay is one of the most isolated areas on Lake Powell, offering a more remote experience.
A great place to enjoy wake boarding or kayaking, Warm Creek Bay is one of the best places to do some solo exploration along some interesting side canyons.
Face Canyon is another isolated area to explore, hidden by tall canyon walls and offering just enough challenge to discourage crowds and attract individual explorers. Unlike Warm Creek Bay however, Face Canyon is about three hours from the main marina, so accessing snacks or gas will be more of a challenge.
The most popular arch on Lake Powell, LaGorce Arch is one of the region’s main attractions, if only for its photogenic beauty. If you happen to visit Lake Powell when the water is high, make sure to have a boat row you out as close as you can get- this is the best time to get close to the lake’s monumental geologic beauty.