Lake Powell Camping - Hints and Tips

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Camping - Hints and Tips

Prepared by Rob Solomon, Master Camper


Camp Site Selection
  • Try and choose a camp site that will have some protection against wind storms. The wind generally picks up in the afternoon.
  • Choose a camp site that offers some protection from wind and waves when securing boat. Small coves and cuts are good. Avoid dry washes where potential flash floods may occur during a rain storm.
  • When looking for campsites keep in mind Lake Powell is a very large lake and if someone is already in a spot that is nice, look for something more than a voice away... unless a huge storm is brewing don't pull up close to other boats.
  • Unless you're 1000% certain no storms are on the way don't camp on the main channel unless very well protected.
  • Keep music turned down. Music travels a great distance over the water. Be courteous of your neighbors
  • Shut down generators after 10:00 pm out of respect to other campers. Your new quiet generator isn’t that quiet!

Camp Cleanliness

  • Always take along a Porta Potty. You are required to have one while camping in the GCNRA (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area) unless you are camped within 200 yards of a toilet facility and that rarely happens. A small tent or shelter made for Porta potties will provide some privacy.
  • Remove fire rings when done. Do NOT burn bottles and cans. They don’t burn and are left for the next group to pick up.
  • Secure garbage bags out of reach of Ravens and tie opening closed. Secure all food items in plastic storage tubs with lids for the same reason.
  • Pack out what you pack in…… some extra to help clean up a little.
  • Use dryer sheets in and around food storage areas to keep out rats and mice.
  • Try and keep food droppings off the beaches, we really need to keep our camps clean to stop the rapid proliferation of the mice population.
  • No fireworks! Sure they are beautiful, but they dirty the beaches and not everyone appreciates being wakened by the sound and many pets are afraid of them, and they are illegal in GCNRA.
  • Don’t leave anything in the bed of your truck. The Ravens will have a hay day with it and make a mess out of your vehicle in no time.
  • A shovel and rake are nice when you have to clear stickers or weeds off of your beach.
Tents & Canopies (tips on securing)
Several proven methods have been used to secure tents against wind. Here are a few. Pick the one that suits you.

  • Secure corners and ropes with sand bags. Easy to carry, fill and empty when done.
  • Secure corners with 18” pieces of 1” PVC pipe if camping in soft sand. Sledge hammer needed. Do NOT leave stakes in the sand. As water rises they become dangerous to others.
  • Use 18” squares of plywood secured to ropes and bury them in the sand.
  • Pile rocks on all corners and stakes.
  • For shade canopies (car type w/1-1/2” poles); A 5 gallon bucket full of sand tied to each corner works great.
  • If leaving for the day consider collapsing the tent to avoid problems. Make sure tent has enough weight in it.
  • DON'T stake anything to the slick rock--stake it in the sand only. By staking into the sandstone, it breaks the rocks, and it's hard to get the metal stakes back out of the rock. So consequently they're left there for people to trip over and wreck boat hulls on. The Trash Trackers pick many metal stakes out of the rocks each year, hazards to everyone

  • Dry Ice will keep food frozen for up to five days. Try to limit the number of times you get into that cooler and wrap the area between the lid and the cooler with duct tape to keep out air leaks.

  • Always keep a wet towel on your coolers. The evaporating water will help with the cooling.
  • Keep coolers in the shade and follow the shade with them as the day goes on.
  • Pre-freeze your water bottles and milk jugs full of water.
  • Use as much block ice as feasible. It lasts much longer.
  • Take an extra cooler for fish. Fillet them immediately (leave some skin for identification), put them in baggies, get as much air out as possible and layer fish and ice.
  • Pre-making meals is fast and easy. Freeze the meal at home and vacuum pack them for when you’re ready to eat.
  • Vacuum packing hamburger and other meats will keep them fresh longer and avoid contaminating your cooler and ice.
  • If possible, pre-chill all of your drinks and food at home before packing cooler. It will decrease the amount of ice you need to initially cool the food.


  • Carry a container -- without a plastic bag inside -- for dog poop clean up and clean up after your dogs. 1) It's no fun to step in dog poop -- your own dogs' or some rudely left behind because someone stops along the way to let their dog go and then not clean it up or people leaving camp and not cleaning up after their pets.... and 2) It ruins it for those of us who do like to bring
    our dogs and who do clean up after our dogs... already a hiking area in GCNRA has been closed to dogs because of hikers taking them and not cleaning up after them. Do not use plastic bags as they cannot be disposed of in the porta potty dumpouts.
  • Be sure to have plenty of clean fresh water.
  • Have a place for your pet to get out of the sun and cool off. There are cooling mats also available that will help keep them cool.
  • Pets must always be on a leash in the GCNRA.

See link for info from the NPS.

See link for the concessionaire on the lake providing lodging accommodations.

  • Hite
  • Bullfrog campground &RV park
  • Bullfrog north & south primitive camping areas
  • Stanton Creek primitive camping area
  • Halls Crossing campground & RV park
  • Wahweep RV park
  • Lone Rock Beach

Houseboating Tips

See also: Houseboating tips for lots of good information.

  • Securing to beach - another method of anchoring that I've found extremely effective for our timeshare 65' houseboat over the years is to place your anchors just below the water line driving the prongs into the dense sand.
  • Tying directly to big rocks or tamarisk trees is the most effective and simplest anchoring system.
  • Minimum two anchors; most often two per side. Haven't broken loose in over ten years now. Also still set a beach anchor directly in front of the bow so that if something did let loose on the starboard or aft, the boat would just pivot on the bow anchor into the beach.


  • ALWAYS wear foot protection when off of the boat. #1 emergency room visit at Powell is cut feet from broken bottles.
  • Apply and re-apply sunscreen often.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid glass containers at all costs. See above
  • Always carry emergency flares. It is very difficult for emergency personnel to find you, especially at night.
  • Carry a marine radio for emergencies and weather reports.
  • Cell phone coverage is very limited at Lake Powell. This is why your marine radio is sometimes the only link to help.
  • Put down antennas and other high objects when a thunderstorm is near.
  • If camping with a large group, make a designated parking area and account for all children and pets before moving any vehicle. Avoid moving vehicles if at all possible. Children and pets love to play in the shade of vehicles.

Gear List

Here is a general packing list. This is a starter. Customize it as needed.

First Aid Kit​
Emergency FlaresFlashlight/HeadlampSunscreenToolkit
Portable Power Pack
(jump start)
Sand Stakes/SandbagsSledge HammerCooking StoveBarbeque
CoolerWater JugsCooking/EatingUtensilsLighter/MatchesPropane Fuel
Cooking OilFish BatterCoffee PotFillet KnivesGeneral Purpose Knife
Ziplock Bags, largePorta PottyToilet ChemicalsToilet PaperTowels
ToiletriesPaper TowelsGarbage BagsGlovesFirewood
Lighter FluidLanternShovelTableChairs
Carpet for Tent PorchBinocularsGPSLake Powell MapsCamera
Extra BatteriesSunglassesHatWater ShoesSleeping Bags/Blankets
PillowsSleeping Pads/MattressesMattress PumpWater FilterDuct Tape
Rods and ReelsTackle

Anchoring & Mooring

  • Secure boat well at night. If beaching with the bow on the beach use a rope off of the bow eye as well as one off of each side cleat at the stern. Water levels change rapidly most of the year. Be sure ropes are very well secured to shore. Use a sand anchor designed for the purpose or tie off to rocks. You can also bury your anchors in the sand. Take note if the water is rising or falling. If it’s rising you will need to re-set your boat often to match the rising water level. If it is falling don’t run the boat up to far on shore and secure tight, or you will find yourself stuck on the beach in the morning as the water level drops.
You should install some sort of keel protection when beaching a boat. Years of doing this will wear through the gel coat and fiberglass. Also note the large rocks just under the surface of the water. These also hide just under the surface of the sand! Hamby's, Keelshield and Keelguard are a few stick on keel protectors that are available. You can also get a KeelKradle that cradles the boat and keeps it off of the sand. The above products can be found by inquiring on Wayne's Words bulletin board or doing and internet search.

  • If mooring offshore always point bow into wind/waves. Make sure anchor is set properly (back down on anchor) with the correct scope (5:1 at least). Secure stern to shore securely and check often. See Anchoring techniques for more info.
Proper offshore mooring in calm winds. Take note of scope and stern rope. Be sure to back down to secure anchor. Use this technique if mooring near a rocky beach. If winds are expected or for overnight, two anchors at approx. 45 degrees are preferred and two stern lines. Note: if wind shifts more than 20 or 30 degrees it will put tremendous stress on the anchor and stern lines. Boat will "wander" back and forth in a slight breeze so be sure to check for submerged rocks on both sides to the extent of boats swing pattern. Note buoy attached to line further down. This allows you to leave your anchor set when leaving shore. Upon return, grab the buoy and attach anchor rope. Note: only use the buoy technique if your anchor rope SINKS.
  • Anchors – A Danforth style anchor is the preferred anchor at Powell for most conditions. Make sure the anchor is the correct size for your boat.
  • Use dryer sheets in boat to keep rats and mice away.
  • Secure pie tins, foil or other device onto boat to shore ropes to keep mice from climbing onto the boat.


Links with more info on camping and visiting GCNRA.
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