The National Park Service provides public boat ramps, campgrounds, and ranger offices at most of the marinas. Rangers can advise on current boating and back-road conditions, primitive camping areas, and good places to explore.
Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas (800/528-6154, www.lakepowell.com) operates marina services, boat rentals, boat tours, accommodations, RV parks, and restaurants; contact them for information and reservations (strongly recommended in summer). All the marinas stay open year-round; avoid crowds and peak prices by coming in autumn, winter, or spring.
Private or chartered aircraft can fly to Page Airport, San Juan County Airport near Bullfrog, or an airstrip near Halls Crossing.
The name means "bitter water" in the Ute language. Wahweap Lodge and Marina, Lake Powell's biggest, offers complete boaters' services and rentals, guided tours, deluxe accommodations, an RV park, and a restaurant. Wahweap is seven miles northwest of Page, five miles beyond the visitor center. Lake Powell Resort (800/528-6154, www.lakepowell.com, $149 and up) is a very large complex of motel rooms, restaurants, and public areas run by the Aramark Corporation. Different kinds of rooms are available, and the resort does a big business with bus tours.
Wahweap Campground is operated on a first-come, first-served basis by Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas; tent sites ($23) have drinking water but no showers or hookups. Campers may use the pay showers and laundry facilities at the RV park. The RV park ($38), campground, and a picnic area are between Wahweap Lodge and Stateline.
Primitive camping (no water or fee) is available at Lone Rock in Utah, six miles northwest of Wahweap off U.S. 89; cars need to be very careful not to stray into loose sand areas. Boaters may also camp along the lakeshore, but not within one mile of developed areas. Public boat ramps are adjacent to the lodge and at Stateline, 1.3 miles northwest of the lodge and just into Utah.
During summer (June-Sept.), you can also obtain recreation information from the Wahweap Ranger Station near the picnic area; at other times, see the staff at Carl Hayden Visitor Center.
The marina offers lake tours, ranging from a short cruise around scenic Antelope Canyon ($32) to trips to Rainbow Bridge, 50 miles away ($100). The marina also offers a full range of watercraft rentals, including houseboats. For information on tours, call 928/645-1070.
Antelope Point Marina
Antelope Point Marina (800/255-5561, www.antelopepointlakepowell.com) is just north of Page and has complete boating facilities, including houseboat rentals, plus a swimming beach.
Dangling Rope Marina
This floating marina lies 42 miles uplake from Glen Canyon Dam. The only access is by boat. Services include a ranger station, a store, minor boat repairs, a gas dock, and a sanitary pump-out station. A dangling rope left behind in a nearby canyon, perhaps by uranium prospectors, prompted the name. The dock for Rainbow Bridge is seven miles farther uplake in Bridge Canyon, a tributary of Forbidding Canyon.
Boats can be hand-launched at Clay Hills Crossing at the upper end of the San Juan arm. An unpaved road branches 11 miles southwest from Highway 276 (road to Halls Crossing) to the lake; don't attempt the road after rains. River-runners on the San Juan often take out here (no facilities).
In 1880, Charles Hall built the ferry used by the Hole-in-the-Rock pioneers, who crossed the river to begin settlement in southeast Utah. The approach roads were so bad, however, that he moved the ferry 35 miles upstream to present-day Halls Crossing in the following year. Business continued to be slow, and Hall quit running the ferry in 1884.
Arriving at Halls Crossing by road, you'll first reach a small store offering three-bedroom units in trailer houses and an RV park. Continue for 0.5 mile on the main road to the boat ramp and Halls Crossing Marina (435/684-2261). The marina has a larger store (groceries and fishing and boating supplies), tours to Rainbow Bridge, a boat-rental office (fishing, ski, and houseboat), a gas dock, slips, and storage. The ranger station is nearby, although rangers are usually out on patrol; look for their vehicle in the area if the office is closed.
On the western side of the lake, Bullfrog Marina (435/684-2233) is more like a small town, with a visitor center (435/684-2243), a clinic, stores, a service station, and a handsome hotel and restaurant. In addition to daily car ferries across to Halls Crossing, the marina offers tours to sights along Lake Powell, including Rainbow Bridge, April 15-October 31. It also offers boat rentals.
Defiance House Lodge (435/684-3000 or 800/528-6154, www.lakepowell.com) offers comfortable lake-view accommodations and the Anasazi Restaurant (breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily in summer). Rooms begin at $150 in summer (Apr. 1-Oct. 31) and $136 in winter. The front desk at the lodge also handles housekeeping units (trailers) and an RV park. Showers, a laundry room, a convenience store, and a post office are at Trailer Village. Ask the visitor center staff or rangers for directions to primitive camping areas with vehicle access elsewhere along Bullfrog Bay.
Bullfrog Marina can be reached from the north via paved Highway 276. It's 40 miles between Bullfrog and the junction with Highway 95. At Ticaboo, 20 miles north of Bullfrog, is another good lodging option. The Ticaboo Lodge (435/788-2110 or 800/842-2267, $111 and up) is a hotel, restaurant, and service-station complex that pretty much constitutes all of Ticaboo.
In 1883, Cass Hite came to Glen Canyon in search of gold. He found some at a place later named Hite City and set off a small gold rush. Cass and a few of his relatives operated a small store and post office, which were the only services for many miles. Travelers wishing to cross the Colorado River here had the difficult task of swimming their animals across.
Arthur Chaffin, a later resident, put through the first road and opened a ferry service in 1946. The Chaffin Ferry served uranium prospectors and adventurous motorists until the lake backed up to the spot in 1964. A steel bridge now spans the Colorado River upstream from Hite Marina. Cass Hite's store and the ferry site are underwater about five miles down-lake from Hite Marina.
Beyond Hite, on the tiny neck of land between the Colorado River bridge and the Dirty Devil bridge, an unmarked dirt road turns north. Called Hite Road, or Orange Cliffs Road, this long and rugged road eventually links up with backcountry routes—including the Flint Trail—in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park.
The uppermost marina on Lake Powell, Hite lies 141 lake miles from Glen Canyon Dam. It is hard hit when water levels drop in Lake Powell. When water is available, boats can continue up-lake to the mouth of Dark Canyon in Cataract Canyon at low water or into Canyonlands National Park at high water. During times of low water, the boat ramp is often high above the lake.
Hite tends to be quieter than the other marinas and is favored by some anglers and families. Facilities include a small store with gas, three-bedroom housekeeping units in trailer houses, and a primitive campground (no drinking water, free). Primitive camping is also available nearby off Highway 95 at Dirty Devil, Farley Canyon, White Canyon, Blue Notch, and other locations.
A ranger station (435/684-2457) is occasionally open; look for the rangers' vehicle at other times. Contact Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas (888/896-3829, www.lakepowell.com) for accommodation and boat-rental reservations. Reach Hite Marina directly by calling 435/684-2278.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition