The geography of Lake Powell is often thought of as being made up of three slightly different regions: the southern, middle, and northern. The southern, accessed via Page, AZ, is more open and rife for powerboats. The middle section is thought to be the most stunning, as it has more narrow slot canyons near the Escalante River that shoot off from the lake. The northern end, near Bullfrog Marina, offers the best hiking potential with numerous options accessed via boat or kayak.
From Bullfrog Marina, the highest concentration of hikes you’ll encounter are to the north. These include Moqui Canyon, Crystal Springs Canyon, Forgotten Canyon, and Knowles Canyon, to name some of the more popular spots. Most of these canyons also offer beaches, where you can camp or dock your boat for more exploration.
Indeed, a trip to Lake Powell is more than just boating. It is about exploring the abundant options for adventure that the network of canyons provides.
What Makes it Great
Take your boat of choice north from Bullfrog Marina for a day (or days) filled with adventuring and hiking. Many of the easily-accessible canyons are marked by noting the buoy numbers—it’s advised to purchase a waterproof guidebook to have full details of each canyon, along with a topographic map.
The first canyon you’ll come to is Moqui Canyon (Buoy 99). The northern arm of this canyon is ideal for hiking. Otherwise, the most abundant hiking options are in Knowles and Forgotten Canyons. Forgotten Canyon is home to Defiance House Ruins, which is located on the left side of the right fork, and is well marked.
Across from Forgotten Canyon is Smith Fork, which is one of the best and most popular slot canyons on the lake. This jaunt will take you through a slot and then to the top of Tapestry Wall, where, from this vantage point, you can see the lake several hundred feet below. Plan about two to three hours for this hike. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
Please note, there are tons and tons of other options for hiking in addition to the ones mentioned, so explore to your heart’s content.
What You’ll Remember
How thankful you are to have waterproof maps; the feeling of sunkissed skin and being surrounded by canyon walls; the joy of working to get to your hike; bragging about all the sports you packed into one day on Lake Powell.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone who’s ever read an Edward Abbey book; people who prefer solitude over houseboat parades and parties; hikers of all kinds.
GPS Coordinates, Parking and Regulations
GPS Coordinates for Bullfrog Marina: (37.528612, -110.719072)
Parking will depend on your activity of choice. There are several ramps for rentals, personal boats, houseboats, and the private docks. For rentals, travel down the designated road and park about 100 yards from the dock, as noted by signage.
Travelers generally come to Lake Powell during the warmer months of the year, April through October. The water temperature will be most mild during the summer, but be forewarned that temperatures can peak over triple digits. To access Bullfrog Marina, you must pay the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area park entrance fee of $15 for a vehicle, good up to seven days. Fees vary depending on stay or if purchasing for an individual. America the Beautiful passes are accepted here.
Always check the weather before heading out, especially if by kayak or self-powered watercraft, as it will take substantially longer to return should hazardous weather present itself.
The National Park Service at Bullfrog Marina can be reached at 435-684-7400, and the number for the park concessionaire, ARAMARK, is 435-684-3000.
Difficulty: 1 - 2 (depending on the trips you might take)