Bullfrog area houseboat advice

Stew

New Member
First time houseboat renter looking for advice. My wife grew up at the lake but we haven't been for a few years. Relatively short trip so would rather not spend tons of time driving long distances in houseboat. First question, is Halls Creek Bay accessible in a houseboat? Second, are there typically decent sites in Hansen Creek or Crystal Springs? I've tent camped in each but again it's been several years. Rental company said Halls creek is too narrow but satellite images seems no more narrow than Hansen but that's why i'm asking.

Any other general advice would be welcome. Heading down 7/30.

Thanks
 

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
Getting into Halls can be a bit narrow, but it definitely widens significantly. Be prepared for lots of activity in the Halls Bay area. There are a number of little nooks and coves in the Bullfrog/Halls area where you can park, and a few on the way uptake. In my experience Hansens has limited sites, and as always all are subject to fluctuating water levels and crowds. Heading North provides more canyons with more options within 10 miles than does heading south
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
Hansen Canyon is one of those that greatly benefits from higher lake levels. When it’s near full, there are lots of beaches; when it’s near 3600, there are very few. At low levels, the only really reliable beach is in a cove on the left as you enter, perhaps 0.5 miles from the main channel. At 3590, it’s a big 500-foot long beach, perhaps 120 feet from lake to canyon wall. But it shrinks steadily as the lake rises, finally disappearing at about 3620 or higher. Substantial options open up about 2 miles into the canyon, but only once the lake reaches 3630 or higher. At this level and above, several coves and small bays present themselves, and at the very end of the navigable lake, there are sometimes longer stretches of beach along the narrowing channel, especially on the left side as you head upstream.

Steep-walled Crystal Springs reluctantly gives up beach locations at any lake level. When it does, they tend to be small, rocky and less than ideal, with very little shore area. There are slightly more (but still limited) options at lake levels below 3610, as small Kayenta beaches can sometimes be exposed. Perhaps the best spots are near the end, a little over 2 miles in, where there are more extensive although still somewhat rocky beaches in and around a beautiful alcove, with the softest sand and best shade closest to the alcove, which is on the south (or right) side headed upstream. This beach area can sometimes extend several hundred feet, and since it’s really the only really high quality houseboat spot in the entire canyon, it is unlikely you will achieve privacy here, but it is a beautiful site nonetheless. There tends to be slightly more beach area in this alcove at lower lake levels, as more sand is exposed. Kelsey warns that this alcove site has historically been so overused and popular with boaters that one end of this site used to be known as “Toilet Paper Alley”, with a smell to match.
 

Stew

New Member
Getting into Halls can be a bit narrow, but it definitely widens significantly. Be prepared for lots of activity in the Halls Bay area. There are a number of little nooks and coves in the Bullfrog/Halls area where you can park, and a few on the way uptake. In my experience Hansens has limited sites, and as always all are subject to fluctuating water levels and crowds. Heading North provides more canyons with more options within 10 miles than does heading south
Thank you!
 

Stew

New Member
Hansen Canyon is one of those that greatly benefits from higher lake levels. When it’s near full, there are lots of beaches; when it’s near 3600, there are very few. At low levels, the only really reliable beach is in a cove on the left as you enter, perhaps 0.5 miles from the main channel. At 3590, it’s a big 500-foot long beach, perhaps 120 feet from lake to canyon wall. But it shrinks steadily as the lake rises, finally disappearing at about 3620 or higher. Substantial options open up about 2 miles into the canyon, but only once the lake reaches 3630 or higher. At this level and above, several coves and small bays present themselves, and at the very end of the navigable lake, there are sometimes longer stretches of beach along the narrowing channel, especially on the left side as you head upstream.

Steep-walled Crystal Springs reluctantly gives up beach locations at any lake level. When it does, they tend to be small, rocky and less than ideal, with very little shore area. There are slightly more (but still limited) options at lake levels below 3610, as small Kayenta beaches can sometimes be exposed. Perhaps the best spots are near the end, a little over 2 miles in, where there are more extensive although still somewhat rocky beaches in and around a beautiful alcove, with the softest sand and best shade closest to the alcove, which is on the south (or right) side headed upstream. This beach area can sometimes extend several hundred feet, and since it’s really the only really high quality houseboat spot in the entire canyon, it is unlikely you will achieve privacy here, but it is a beautiful site nonetheless. There tends to be slightly more beach area in this alcove at lower lake levels, as more sand is exposed. Kelsey warns that this alcove site has historically been so overused and popular with boaters that one end of this site used to be known as “Toilet Paper Alley”, with a smell to match.
Wow - thank you for this very detailed reply. Looks like lake level is about 3610 maybe starting to drop. I do recall tent / boat camping at that large alcove now that you mention it. Do you think options improve in general further north of Hansen and Crystal?
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
Forgotten and Knowles Canyon each have a series of pretty reliable spots, but these are popular places to go... after that, you're looking at Good Hope Bay for reliable spots. If you're lucky, you might squeeze out a nice spot in Cedar, or there are sometimes one or two very small landing sites in Warm Springs, Smith Fork or Seven Mile, but depends a lot on lake levels, and not sure at 3610. It helps to scout ahead in a small boat...
 

nzaugg

Member
Forgotten and Knowles Canyon each have a series of pretty reliable spots, but these are popular places to go... after that, you're looking at Good Hope Bay for reliable spots. If you're lucky, you might squeeze out a nice spot in Cedar, or there are sometimes one or two very small landing sites in Warm Springs, Smith Fork or Seven Mile, but depends a lot on lake levels, and not sure at 3610. It helps to scout ahead in a small boat...
At 3610 there are two excellent spots in Warm Springs in isolated coves if you can get them. Cedar has branches with a bunch of spots, but you wind up with a lot of traffic due to boats in the back of the canyon. Seven Mile has a handful of spots toward the back of the canyon and excellent shade/wind protection, but if it is a hot week, you wind up with way too much protection from the wind. If you are looking closer, we have a bunch in our boat that love Moki, though I haven't been up that way in a long time. Halls Creek is definitely navigable though, but as noted there is a lot of traffic getting in.
 

davew

Well-Known Member
or anchor like me -- nudge the boat up to a large rock -- tie off to other rocks --- search my posts for pictures and advise.
There is a huge rock slide that is perfect for this about 3/4 the way into Crystal -- on right hand side going in --- I have stayed in that spot many many times -- shade all afternoon -- deep clear water off the back of boat, no neighbors --- that spot also has a very nice sandy beach at the top of the rock fall -- you need to hike up to it, but it is fully shaded and a great spot to play horse shoes or toss the Frisbie. You have a very nice bay off the back of the boat, in my eyes a ideal camp location
 

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
or anchor like me -- nudge the boat up to a large rock -- tie off to other rocks --- search my posts for pictures and advise.
There is a huge rock slide that is perfect for this about 3/4 the way into Crystal -- on right hand side going in --- I have stayed in that spot many many times -- shade all afternoon -- deep clear water off the back of boat, no neighbors --- that spot also has a very nice sandy beach at the top of the rock fall -- you need to hike up to it, but it is fully shaded and a great spot to play horse shoes or toss the Frisbie. You have a very nice bay off the back of the boat, in my eyes a ideal camp location
I looked back on a couple of your posts on anchoring. Very Interesting...tempted to try it. Will have to look into ratchet straps.
 

Richard

Well-Known Member
Dave W - when nudging up to a large rock and tying off to the other rocks -- don't you find that even small waves can cause you to bounce and hit bottom ? I found this to be a bigger problem depending on where you are in relation to the main channel of a canyon and boat traffic (especially wake boats)

I have a steel hull so I'm really leery to have the bow into anything other than sand

I have not-- but will look back at your old posts as PB did and take a look
 

davew

Well-Known Member
Richard -- The 1st time I did this, I ran into the problem you refer to -- drove me crazy -- I learned from that --
Now, I pick a really BIG rock ( size of a big car or bigger) that is part in the water and part on shore -- the main thing is that the top of the rock needs to be higher than the railing of your house boat-- I put large bumpers on the railing in front of my boat -- when I nudge against the rock, the bumpers protect the front of the house boat. I then use large 2 or 3 inch ratchet straps to strap the front of the boat to the large rock I am nudged against----The ratchet straps allow me to get it very tight--- I then tie the back of the boat in several places at 45degree angles just like most do ( I tie to rocks in this case)
Because the large rock I am tied to on the front of the boat is part in the water, and I am tied to the front of the houseboat, I no longer need to worry about the bottom of the houseboat hitting rocks -- there is generally several feet of water under it. The only place the houseboat is touching rock is the very front and it is protected by the bumpers.
a very crude drawing is attached -- I am not a artist!!!

I have been anchoring this way for many years-- it has served me very well. It opens up areas that most boaters won't use, generally has cleaner water, is always neighbor free, and lets me get into places that have less boat traffic.

give it a try sometime-- you might never go back
 

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davew

Well-Known Member
powellbride-- My last boat we used ratchet straps for all anchoring -- the only rope used was to tie around the rocks, I would then hook the straps to the rope tied around the rock, and ratchet it tight -- always with the ratchet on shore ---
Best part was that there was no stretch -- when it was tight, it was tight.
Current boat we only use them to strap the front of the boat. Current already had anchor ropes -- if they ever need replaced, I would defiantly go with ratchet straps
 

Richard

Well-Known Member
Dave,

Very interesting as you say the main benefit (as long as you don't have kids who want access to a beach) is that you are able to to secure yourself in an area where most boaters wouldn't try. So it would be apparent that you could not use your gangway to access land as it would be blocked by the rock

Thanks for the time to explain and your picture -- Now to find that perfect boulder !

Have a great 4th !
 

Boudreaux

Well-Known Member
First time houseboat renter looking for advice. My wife grew up at the lake but we haven't been for a few years. Relatively short trip so would rather not spend tons of time driving long distances in houseboat. First question, is Halls Creek Bay accessible in a houseboat?
I was a first time houseboat renter in May and had some of the same questions. Decided to keep it simple and went to Halls Creek Bay. Bonus: used less than $100 in gas. We left out of Bullfrog May 27, pretty close to the low water nadir, and had no problem entering Halls Creek Bay. Entry from the main channel is kind of easy to miss due to a huge whale/island at the mouth, but stay left of it and hug the left cliff wall thru the narrow-ish first part and it’s super deep. Once in Halls Creek Bay, there are lots of possibilities for placement. Probably partly why it’s so popular. My thoughts were, it will not be a “wilderness experience” there, but on the other hand “keep it simple, stupid” for our first trip was the right choice. We scouted with a runabout on a previous trip and found options A,B and C. Found a nice slick rock cove (option B) with beach on the north side. One issue: a sudden wind event taught us to add rope to reach enough sand to bury our anchors deep enough to work. That side is mostly slick rock without much sand or big rocks to anchor to. On the other hand, the left (SW) side of the bay has more beaches and is said to have better wind protection generally, but be aware the upper left area towards the end of the bay with beautiful looking beaches is super shallow on approach!! (like 1foot, 20 feet out) It was a no-go. Also, watch for whales and gravel islands all over the bay. Having a lookout up top and going s-l-o-w is helpful if you can’t scout with depth finder beforehand. Our houseboat didn’t have it.
 

powellobsessed

Well-Known Member
I’ve camped in halls creek for years and there are good beaches every where. There are like others have mentioned out croppings and gravel beds slightly under the water You have to be mind full of. Most times they have a milk carton tied to them but wouldn’t rely on them to be marked well. Get yourself a good Pair of polarized sun glasses so you can see the shallower parts early and steer clear. Hope you can find a good spot . Have fun and good luck !
 

Stew

New Member
Forgotten and Knowles Canyon each have a series of pretty reliable spots, but these are popular places to go... after that, you're looking at Good Hope Bay for reliable spots. If you're lucky, you might squeeze out a nice spot in Cedar, or there are sometimes one or two very small landing sites in Warm Springs, Smith Fork or Seven Mile, but depends a lot on lake levels, and not sure at 3610. It helps to scout ahead in a small boat...
Someone else mentioned Moki - do you have any thoughts on that canyon for houseboat camping? I worry about Hansen being full and having to go further and further north to find a spot with a relatively short trip (four nights) and only 65 gal fuel tank on our ski/surf boat. Thanks
 

BartsPlace

Moderator
Staff member
Someone else mentioned Moki - do you have any thoughts on that canyon for houseboat camping? I worry about Hansen being full and having to go further and further north to find a spot with a relatively short trip (four nights) and only 65 gal fuel tank on our ski/surf boat. Thanks
Moki is quite spectacular and has a handful of great spots. I generally skip telling people to try Moki because you can almost NEVER get one of those coveted spots. Moki is the closest "full-featured Lake Powell experience" to both Bullfrog and Halls Crossing marinas. Just about everyone would love to be in one of those spots. If you have a scout vessel, send someone in to ask people when they are leaving and then make a decision. Good luck!
 

TR.

Well-Known Member
My only issue with camping in popular canyons are the wakeboats that feel the same way. If you are going into one of those try really hard to get some kind of break in front of the boat or camp around an outcrop. Sucks holding on to your fishing boat tied to the houseboat nonstop.

TR
 

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
if you want to stay close, you might check the wall across from the Bullfrog ramp as it runs toward Halls Marina. We frequently see houseboats along the shore line- mostly closer to the Halls end. Also along the south wall of the main channel from the Halls buoy field headed toward Moki. No canyons, but coves of varying size.
 
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