Houseboat rental and traveling as far as Escalante Canyou

Ben johnson

Active Member
They also have a Safeway. I think that's about it for groceries. Walmart is closer to the lake. Be sure you have your park pass or receipt as you will have to leave and renter the park. I'd also check with the park service to be sure you don't have an issue with parking a vehicle for more than 2 weeks. I think, not sure, that technically you can only stay in the Park for 14 consecutive days. Then have to leave and resented. You'd think they would care less early in the season. But the lack of traffic may just make your long term parking easier to identify
Later We will contact the Park Service and talk about the issue of 14 days.
 

Dave I.

Well-Known Member
I thought that @Dave I. was talking about selling dry ice.
Personally we don’t plan on purchasing anything other than gas once we leave the house. That and lunch on the way home.
It was an idea I had for the business but never got enough interest in it to warrant setting up for it. If I did think there would be enough interest, I would start looking into it again.
 

Bill Sampson

Well-Known Member
Bill. What experience have you had pumping out the tanks on a house oat. Mu understanding is that these boat have like a 150 gallon ,black and grey tank on these boats. My 5th wheel on Ly has 40 gallon tanks and with just the two of last almost 3-4 weeks. Thanks
Ben, I haven't rented a houseboat since the late 90's, as I have been involved in timeshares. I don't remember tank sizes. Birdsnest is probably your best source for that.
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
Yes, the mouth of the Escalante is at MM68, but I've measured the actual boating distance to Wahweap via the Cut--it's 54 miles if you take straight lines. If the lake is below 3605, add another mile or so to go the long way around Padres Butte since that small shortcut will be closed below that lake level. And the direct route to Bullfrog from the mouth of the Escalante is about 33 miles.

Boating distances to the mouth of various side canyons of the Escalante from the mouth of the Escalante are:
  • Indian Creek – 1.2 miles
  • Clear Creek – 2.1 miles
  • Davis Gulch – 4.5 miles
  • Fifty-Mile Canyon – 5.3 miles
  • Willow Gulch – 7.4 miles
  • Explorer Canyon – 10.0 miles
You won't be able to get as far as Explorer Canyon if the lake is below 3600, and it will be hard even when the lake is slightly higher because of sandbars.

One thing to note about 50-Mile Canyon. When the lake is below 3603, a sandbar across the canyon will stop further boating about 0.8 miles in from the mouth but becomes a nice houseboat camp spot. If you had a very small boat, you could drag it across the sandy beach/bar to the upstream side of this bar and continue for another mile or so, and you'd have this upstream area completely to yourself. When the lake is above 3603, boats can continue farther past that point, anywhere between 2 and 3 miles from the mouth of 50-Mile.

Beaches in the Escalante are rare, but there are good ones, including as noted previously, one right near the mouth on the right as you enter. But there are others too, depending on lake levels...
 
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Pegasus

Well-Known Member
Later We will contact the Park Service and talk about the issue of 14 days.
The regulation from the GCNRA website states: "Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days and no more than 30 days total in the park in any calendar year". I know several people who are lucky enough to be able to exceed these limits regularly. I can't imagine that you will be bothered by NPS while staying on the lake for a month, especially if moving camp a time or two during the month. Personally, I would not proactively ask NPS this question as I'd be afraid of the answer that they, by law, must tell you! Kind of like asking a police officer if it's OK to go 1 mph above the speed limit - they can't tell you yes. This is one regulation that I'd ask forgiveness on rather than permission if I were going to break it. :giggle:
 
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birdsnest

Well-Known Member
I hate leaving the lake once I am there so we always do everything possible to eliminate any travel to resupply or refuel. Which houseboat will you be taking? if you are prepared, I don't see the advantage of driving all the way to Wahweap. It is a mindset game to stay as long as you are talking about and if you mentally prepare I think you can stay on the water longer than most. But do you really want to? If the trip turns into a grind to avoid resupplying then I wouldn't try so hard to do that. A lot of thought needs to go into this. You may actually enjoy a little time midtrip shopping. Some of the houseboats have auxillary fuel tanks and we take a cheap fuel transfer pump to fill our boats, but we have 4 of them so it is more impotant to us to have an easy go of refilling. Are you going to do a Pre-board? You're boat choice is a good starting point and are you positive you can keep the houseboat for as long as you're talking about? Oh yeah, you can't be that close to the SJ without at least fishing the wall of rocks 1/2 mile in on the right. That area has been known to be on fire for smallies.
 
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birdsnest

Well-Known Member
The regulation from the GCNRA website states: "Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days and no more than 30 days total in the park in any calendar year". I know several people who are lucky enough to be able to exceed these limits regularly. I can't imagine that you will be bothered by NPS while staying on the lake for a month, especially if moving camp a time or two during the month. Personally, I would not proactively ask NPS this question as I'd be afraid of the answer that they, by law, must tell you! Kind of like asking a police officer if it's OK to go 1 mph above the speed limit - they can't tell you yes. This is one regulation that I'd ask forgiveness on rather than permission if I were going to break it. :giggle:
I feel the same way about fuel cans on the top deck. I don't ask. I know our level of competence and roll with that.
 

Rivergoer

Well-Known Member
Several years ago we met a mature couple (late 60’s, early 70’s) at Oak Bay camping in their small 8x35 Patio Cruiser houseboat. They said they were a couple of weeks into a 5-6 week trip up/down the lake.

With some preparation, planning and plenty of books it’s easily doable. Good for the soul.
 

bubba

Well-Known Member
14 day limit - that’s funny… I would not waste the time calling NPS, nobody cares, that rule is so they can boot out the squatters who are not paying slip fees and living full time on their boat within rowing distance to a marina. If you are paying for a rental boat or better yet, slip fees, you will be 100% fine. You may technically be required to “move” 1 foot, but again nobody cares. And in a 30 day visit you may want to move once or twice anyway.




EC is hands down the best part of the lake for view and low crowds. April will have light traffic so make sure you can self-rescue if you run into basic trouble. Big trouble will have captor response anywhere on lake.




A month is a commitment but very doable with 1 trip. Do not be spooked by all the chatter on Walmart runs, with proper planning you can stay on lake a LONG time. You may want to consider an extra propane tank as well, especially if freezer is propane. With private boat with solar you could literally spend the entire year on the lake and pump out only when needed - pee in the lake to keep black tank levels lower. In April you can also cool your beverages in the lake in a mesh bag. Absolutely do NOT drink the water from the faucet, just take a bunch of cases of water, 4 cases are plenty for 2 for a month in April, and extra 2 for cooking and brushing teeth.




60 extra gallons of fuel is better than none, but not very much in the big picture, especially for a month at EC. Borrow some tanks and increase that count. Find a safe spot on the big boat to store them. In April you will not need AC so you can run gens in the morning for heat or evenings. Make sure you know how much fuel you need to get back to marina and keep that in the jugs so you can make it home.




Dry ice for a month is a wet dream. Try to figure out how to eat fish, rice, soups and things that are pre made and frozen and stored in the freezer.




I agree, fuel for the tracker will be your primary concern. Keep the RPM low and just wakesless around for massive fuel savings.





Be careful in the SJ, the end of the canyon in high water can be farther away than Wahweap or BF.





Know the weather and do NOT go on fuel runs or putts on windy days. The wind is your #1 enemy in a low boat.




In April the days may still be chilly, the mornings will be cold. Camp in a spot with full day Sun exposure if able. There is a good spot back by 3 roofs on the right for added Sun. The Mouth of EC on the right will be your best bet for full day Sun. You will also get nice sunset fire blooms on the west facing rocks cliffs. Close to the toilet house too.




For me, 4 weeks in 1 spot is too long, especially if I cannot hike. I would consider at least 2 camps, maybe even 3. There are awesome camps near DR. the SJ has camping at the mouth, but not too much on the sides after that. Although the EC is a great destination, and with 4 weeks you will make it there, I have left for EC dozens of times and found the perfect spot along the way, never making it to EC.




Take plenty of fresh water.


Stay off the water in the wind in the little boat.


Anchor tight with 2 lines per side at the strern and 1 line per side on the bow.


I would not do a resupply trip - pack smart with meals so heat and water is all you need.


Bag all items in the freezer to maximize space.


Dry ice will get you by for 10 days, maybe 12 in April. Keep that box closed with blankets on top and refill the freezer 2 weeks in. If you open it everyday the life will be much shorter. Eat a lot of fish and crackers and rice.


Know where the cell phone works, there are many spot in EC but not in the slots. I have been shocked at how many places it pings in that area.

Keep your meds in plastic bags.


Pee in the lake to save the black tank.


Have food and blankets and a plastic tarp in the little boat if you get stuck during a storm. Have a bunch of spare juice or any T1 on board.


Plan it smart with no restocks trips (unless you run out of beer).


Take plenty of snacks


Take a beach chair and a book.





Be safe - water temp is a killer with extended exposure that time of year.


Go for it!
 

Ben johnson

Active Member
Yes, the mouth of the Escalante is at MM68, but I've measured the actual boating distance to Wahweap via the Cut--it's 54 miles if you take straight lines. If the lake is below 3605, add another mile or so to go the long way around Padres Butte since that small shortcut will be closed below that lake level. And the direct route to Bullfrog from the mouth of the Escalante is about 33 miles.

Boating distances to the mouth of various side canyons of the Escalante from the mouth of the Escalante are:
  • Indian Creek – 1.2 miles
  • Clear Creek – 2.1 miles
  • Davis Gulch – 4.5 miles
  • Fifty-Mile Canyon – 5.3 miles
  • Willow Gulch – 7.4 miles
  • Explorer Canyon – 10.0 miles
You won't be able to get as far as Explorer Canyon if the lake is below 3600, and it will be hard even when the lake is slightly higher because of sandbars.

One thing to note about 50-Mile Canyon. When the lake is below 3603, a sandbar across the canyon will stop further boating about 0.8 miles in from the mouth but becomes a nice houseboat camp spot. If you had a very small boat, you could drag it across the sandy beach/bar to the upstream side of this bar and continue for another mile or so, and you'd have this upstream area completely to yourself. When the lake is above 3603, boats can continue farther past that point, anywhere between 2 and 3 miles from the mouth of 50-Mile.

Beaches in the Escalante are rare, but there are good ones, including as noted previously, one right near the mouth on the right as you enter. But there are others too, depending on lake levels...
Thanks lots for the info. This will be very helpful. I will keep it posted throughout our trip.
 

Sawz

New Member
I have been looking into renting a houseboat in 2021, but when I read the specs on the houseboats, the ones I'm looking at have a 100 gallon gas tank for toys and boats
I know for a month that's a little more than 3 gallons a day which isn't much. Are you planning on being out everyday?
 

Ben johnson

Active Member
I hate leaving the lake once I am there so we always do everything possible to eliminate any travel to resupply or refuel. Which houseboat will you be taking? if you are prepared, I don't see the advantage of driving all the way to Wahweap. It is a mindset game to stay as long as you are talking about and if you mentally prepare I think you can stay on the water longer than most. But do you really want to? If the trip turns into a grind to avoid resupplying then I wouldn't try so hard to do that. A lot of thought needs to go into this. You may actually enjoy a little time midtrip shopping. Some of the houseboats have auxillary fuel tanks and we take a cheap fuel transfer pump to fill our boats, but we have 4 of them so it is more impotant to us to have an easy go of refilling. Are you going to do a Pre-board? You're boat choice is a good starting point and are you positive you can keep the houseboat for as long as you're talking about? Oh yeah, you can't be that close to the SJ without at least fishing the wall of rocks 1/2 mile in on the right. That area has been known to be on fire for smallies.
Thanks for the info. We would surly do the SJ. Have done it a few times in the past.
 

Ben johnson

Active Member
14 day limit - that’s funny… I would not waste the time calling NPS, nobody cares, that rule is so they can boot out the squatters who are not paying slip fees and living full time on their boat within rowing distance to a marina. If you are paying for a rental boat or better yet, slip fees, you will be 100% fine. You may technically be required to “move” 1 foot, but again nobody cares. And in a 30 day visit you may want to move once or twice anyway.




EC is hands down the best part of the lake for view and low crowds. April will have light traffic so make sure you can self-rescue if you run into basic trouble. Big trouble will have captor response anywhere on lake.




A month is a commitment but very doable with 1 trip. Do not be spooked by all the chatter on Walmart runs, with proper planning you can stay on lake a LONG time. You may want to consider an extra propane tank as well, especially if freezer is propane. With private boat with solar you could literally spend the entire year on the lake and pump out only when needed - pee in the lake to keep black tank levels lower. In April you can also cool your beverages in the lake in a mesh bag. Absolutely do NOT drink the water from the faucet, just take a bunch of cases of water, 4 cases are plenty for 2 for a month in April, and extra 2 for cooking and brushing teeth.




60 extra gallons of fuel is better than none, but not very much in the big picture, especially for a month at EC. Borrow some tanks and increase that count. Find a safe spot on the big boat to store them. In April you will not need AC so you can run gens in the morning for heat or evenings. Make sure you know how much fuel you need to get back to marina and keep that in the jugs so you can make it home.




Dry ice for a month is a wet dream. Try to figure out how to eat fish, rice, soups and things that are pre made and frozen and stored in the freezer.




I agree, fuel for the tracker will be your primary concern. Keep the RPM low and just wakesless around for massive fuel savings.





Be careful in the SJ, the end of the canyon in high water can be farther away than Wahweap or BF.





Know the weather and do NOT go on fuel runs or putts on windy days. The wind is your #1 enemy in a low boat.




In April the days may still be chilly, the mornings will be cold. Camp in a spot with full day Sun exposure if able. There is a good spot back by 3 roofs on the right for added Sun. The Mouth of EC on the right will be your best bet for full day Sun. You will also get nice sunset fire blooms on the west facing rocks cliffs. Close to the toilet house too.




For me, 4 weeks in 1 spot is too long, especially if I cannot hike. I would consider at least 2 camps, maybe even 3. There are awesome camps near DR. the SJ has camping at the mouth, but not too much on the sides after that. Although the EC is a great destination, and with 4 weeks you will make it there, I have left for EC dozens of times and found the perfect spot along the way, never making it to EC.




Take plenty of fresh water.


Stay off the water in the wind in the little boat.


Anchor tight with 2 lines per side at the strern and 1 line per side on the bow.


I would not do a resupply trip - pack smart with meals so heat and water is all you need.


Bag all items in the freezer to maximize space.


Dry ice will get you by for 10 days, maybe 12 in April. Keep that box closed with blankets on top and refill the freezer 2 weeks in. If you open it everyday the life will be much shorter. Eat a lot of fish and crackers and rice.


Know where the cell phone works, there are many spot in EC but not in the slots. I have been shocked at how many places it pings in that area.

Keep your meds in plastic bags.


Pee in the lake to save the black tank.


Have food and blankets and a plastic tarp in the little boat if you get stuck during a storm. Have a bunch of spare juice or any T1 on board.


Plan it smart with no restocks trips (unless you run out of beer).


Take plenty of snacks


Take a beach chair and a book.





Be safe - water temp is a killer with extended exposure that time of year.


Go for it!
Very good advice. Thanks
 

Ben johnson

Active Member
I have been looking into renting a houseboat in 2021, but when I read the specs on the houseboats, the ones I'm looking at have a 100 gallon gas tank for toys and boats
I know for a month that's a little more than 3 gallons a day which isn't much. Are you planning on being out everyday?
Have been looking at Aramark size of rental boats. At Bullfrog. They list a 46 ft expidition. There are only two of us. Would like to ge a smaller economical self contained boat. But none with just porta potties. You have any ideas.
 
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