North Lake Powell
Closest Marinas: Bullfrog, Halls Crossing, Hite
Lake Powell is the second largest man-made reservoir in the United States. It is part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Lake Powell was created when the newly constructed Glen Canyon Dam blocked the Colorado River in 1963. It took 17 years to for the lake to fill. The north end of Lake Powell, located in southern Utah, offers our guests an endless amount of things to do and see. Here is a short list to get you started!
Once you’ve rented your houseboat, you’re already in Bullfrog Bay. So while you’re still in the middle of “civilization,” with all its amenities (such as dining, fuel, and ice), you’re only 30 minutes, by powerboat or personal watercraft, from all the north lake has to offer. Bullfrog Bay has sandy beaches, so it’s easy to anchor your houseboat, and get right down to the business of playing. Bullfrog Bay offers plenty of space for waterskiing and wakeboarding, complemented by numerous finger canyons for kayaks and paddleboards. It also boasts great fishing and migratory bird watching, making it a perfect all-around bay.
Located about 23 miles south of Bullfrog Marina, on the Escalante Arm of Lake Powell, Cathedral in The Desert is a favorite destination for boaters on Lake Powell. While what you see varies greatly by water level, it is surely not to be missed when coming to Lake Powell. Water levels above 3620' will allow boaters to glide through calm waters back to a place where a small powerboat can tie off. A short walk up and over some ledges will lead you into a chamber where sandstone walls tower 1000' over your head.
Cathedral Canyon delivers the ultimate “wow” factor. This narrow slot canyon—only 12 feet wide in some places—features sandstone walls that soar upward hundreds of feet, and that you can reach out and touch as you explore by kayak, paddleboard, powerboat or personal watercraft. Bring your camera and try and capture its inspiring majesty. (And be sure to shut off your engine and listen to its awesome silence.) Right across the bay from Cathedral Canyon, you’ll discover the vestiges of gold mines dating back to the 1880s. You can still see, and climb, the steps carved into the side of the wall, not for the miners, but for their donkeys. Their quest for gold didn’t pan out—but your quest for adventure certainly will.
As you boat around the final bend of this chasm, you’ll find yourself inside the awe-inspiring Cathedral In The Desert, with its hole in the roof admitting sunlight—or a waterfall, depending on the weather. Enjoy hiking and fishing, too. Expect a five-hour houseboat trip or a two-hour powerboat trip, coming from Bullfrog Marina and slightly less if coming from Halls Crossing.
This is kayak paradise. Part of the Escalante River Arm of Lake Powell, this long, narrow canyon is also ideal for personal watercraft and small boats, with some 15 different offshoot canyons to explore. The sights are spectacular: there are sheer walls and amphitheaters; you can even pull up alongside the natural stone arch at Davis Gulch; it’s an easy hike from the edge. Fishing is rewarding at the Escalante, too, from the mouth of the canyon all the way in; this is where record-breaking fish have been caught. It’s about a three-hour houseboat cruise from Bullfrog Marina—but in summer, you have 12 hours of daylight—and well worth the excursion.
Beach your boat in beautiful Forgotten Canyon, and in just 20 minutes, you can hike to Defiance House: ruins dating back 700 years—and discovered in the 1950s bedecked with mural-like paintings, containing bowls with original scraps of food! Don’t miss this moving encounter with the past. It will take approximately one and a half hours by houseboat and 30 minutes by powerboat from Bullfrog Marina and Halls Crossing.
Good Hope Bay is Lake Powell’s best-kept secret for waterskiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. Why? It’s angled in a different direction from most of the lake’s bays, reducing its winds, and keeping the water glassy smooth across its entire expanse, which stretches for over ten miles. Good Hope Bay is also great for camping, with nice beaches and wildlife (see if you can spot the bighorn sheep up on the rocks on the Ticaboo Canyon side). And if that weren’t enough, it offers numerous finger canyons for exploring, and great fishing for all kinds of bass, walleye, and even northern pike. The bay is about 32 miles from your houseboat pickup point, so fill your toy-tank before you go, but it’s well worth the trip.
An easy 35 minutes by houseboat from Bullfrog Marina, Halls Creek Bay boasts sandy beaches, great fishing, and rewarding hiking in spring and fall. The views of the Henry Mountains are beautiful. The water in the bay tends to be a little calmer here, making it ideal for waterskiing. Yet it’s just ten minutes, by powerboat or personal watercraft, from fuel, ice, and the largest marina store on the north lake. Halls Creek Bay has plenty of coves that can shelter your houseboat from wind and sun, so you can use your water toys to explore its numerous canyons, dotted with water pockets and home to wildlife such as coyotes, deer, and migratory birds.
Back around 1880, a group of Mormon pioneers sought a route south from Escalante to Montezuma, Utah. To help the 233 men, women, and children (plus 83 horses) get through, they spent 45 days blasting through a rock wall to make a path wide enough for their wagons. That path—the Hole In The Rock Trail—is still there today. It’s a good 90-minute hike, with thousand-foot cliffs on either side, and it rewards you at its summit with spectacular views of Lake Powell, the Henry Mountains, and a plaque honoring the hard work and sacrifice of the hearty pioneers who carved out this piece of history.
This canyon - one of our personal favorites - is like its own pristine world, with six chasms decked with deep oranges and lush greenery, fantastic fishing (you can land bass and walleye), a natural dam, and Anasazi ruins you can hike to on the ledges above. From Bullfrog Marina, it will take you approximately three hours by houseboat and one hour by powerboat to get to Iceberg Canyon. If you are coming from Halls Crossing, it will take about two hours by houseboat and just under an hour by powerboat.
LaGorce Arch in Davis Gulch off the Escalante River is an absolute must-see. When the lake water level is high, you can pilot a small houseboat up to the arch. One hundred feet high, the sunlight shafts through it at daybreak and sunset, and you can see the river on either side when you hike the area. This is a prime spot for both camping and fishing. LaGorce Arch is one of the most photographed arches on Lake Powell and is approximately six hours by houseboat and two hours by powerboat from Bullfrog Marina. If you are coming from Halls Crossing, expect a six hour houseboat trip and about an hour powerboat trip.
Coast quietly into Lost Eden Canyon around sunrise or sunset, and you’ll feel like you’re boating on glass as you marvel as its soaring amphitheaters, perfectly reflecting their tapestry-like coloring on the smooth unbroken water. And the fishing is as good as the scenery. Lost Eden Canyon is approximately an hour drive, by houseboat or a 20-minute drive, by powerboat from Bullfrog Marina and Halls Crossing.
Narrow, steep, and spectacular, Moki Canyon—about eight miles, or 45 minutes by houseboat, from Bullfrog Marina—is your destination for incredible kayaking. Explore the same caves and canyons where Native Americans lived centuries ago. Discover ancient Anasazi ruins and petroglyphs. You’ll paddle between stonewalls that soar up to 400 feet above you; there’s also a beach with a sandy hill where you can take your houseboat. The canyon splits into three fingers at the end, each providing its own distinct adventure for exploring and sightseeing. You’ll find great fishing at the mouth of the canyon, with striped bass biting all year round. And you’re only about five miles from the amenities of Halls Crossing Marina, making Moki Canyon an ideal place to enjoy the beauty of Lake Powell.
The mile-wide main channel of the horseshoe-shaped Rincon is great for waterskiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. Inside its curved arms, the character changes, making it better suited to personal watercraft and kayaks, with no shortage of fascinating places to explore and hike: Discover petrified wood; spot the herd of wild donkeys roaming near the San Juan River; marvel at Wilson Mesa, towering over 1,200 feet above the water level. There are even beaches you can pull into and camp on. The Rincon boasts good fishing for crappies and large- and small-mouth bass. It’s about 2.5 hours from the marina by houseboat.