Want to plan the best trip possible.

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Regal95

Active Member
Hi all,

I've been a long time lurker on these boards, but have yet to post, until now. First off, "Thanks!!" for all the great information I have gleaned from reading all the posts the last couple of years. This board is amazing.

We have been to Powell 3 times since 2006, which is NOT a lot. I'd like start upping the average and go 2 times this summer. Coming from PHX, we typically launch at Wahweap. We have never ventured further north(east?) than Rainbow Bridge. We have a 24' deck boat and we camp. Typically in Rock Creek Bay. However, I would really like to camp in different spots and make our way much further up the lake. I'd really like to hit Reflection Canyon and maybe up into the Escalante River Arm. Maybe hit Hall's for gas and make our way back. I always see great photos of arches, "sunroofs"?, ruins and all sorts of amazing stuff, but never know quite where to find them or what coves they are in. I'd love to take the kids to see a lot of this stuff.

I'd like to ask if you could suggest to me where your favorite spots for sightseeing these types of things are, and where some decent smaller beaches might be North of Rock Creek. I'm hoping to put together a really cool couple of trips for the wife and kids.

Thanks in advance!!!

Chris
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
Oak Canyon is a great "jump" from Rock Creek and puts you in range for more northern adventures. Usually full of beaches, particularly on the west side with awesome views of the fins on the northern flank of Navajo Mt.. A wonderful "cave" is just north of Oak on the north side of the lake that you can drive a boat into about 100' if the lake is the right level. Eye Arch is almost across from Oak and gorgeous. A sweet alcove is at the mouth of Last Chance on the west side if you didn't already know. A great slot canyon is just before the turn-off to Forbidden canyon at about mile marker 47 or 48 on the north side worth exploring and almost claustrophobic. It reminds me of a Disney ride cause it just doesn't seem like it can be real. And of course the San Juan arm which is magical. Hole in the Wall, Escalante and on and on. My friends from the north can help you beyond because this lifetime has been "limited" to the southern portion of the lake. Enjoy!
 

Dale

Well-Known Member
Depending on water level, there are some good beaches on the San Juan side in Confluence Cove, and just up the Colorado fork is a huge beach on the left side. If the water is high enough, Cottonwood also has good campsites.
 

Regal95

Active Member
Speaking of water level, I think every time I've been there, the level has been around 3610. I hear this year it may hit 3640 or 50. I'm looking forward to that as that should make some of the side canyons go much further back. I'm excited to see the lake at a much different level.
 

Dale

Well-Known Member
We have seen every level from 3700 full pool to 3550 in the disaster dry year of 2005 in our 12 years of 4 time a year Powell outings. In 2005, we camped in Confluence Cove, on the San Juan side. It looked like there were beaches all the way up to full pool. Get out early and head uplake, by late morning you will find beaches recently vacated by houseboats heading down, and ahead of the next wave of houseboat scouts coming up.

Don't know what your range on fuel is, but you might want to carry a couple of 5 gallon cans, and refuel at Dangling Rope when going uplake. It is a long way to Halls. The Escalante has some awesome canyons. Our Sea Ray Sundancer could make it the whole trip without refueling, but our other boats required stops at every marina we saw.
I hope you have a great adventure! Wish we were young enough to repeat it.
 

Regal95

Active Member
Thanks Dale. You raise some other excellent points. I'm assuming that most Houseboat rentals are Saturday to Saturday? It seems like we have seen many take off early Saturday mornings vacating some pretty nice spots in the past. If that's the case, I was planning on launching Saturday morning and beating them up there.

I'm not sure of our range either, but I'm quite confident that we will hit Dangling Rope going both ways. It's not worth risking it, and the kids typically love stopping there for ice cream. ;-)
 

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
Chris,

On the north end, there is a pretty long stretch from Annie's Canyon (mm83) to Halls (mm93) where there is little or no opportunity for camping. Halls Creek bay and Bullfrog Bay offer lots of sandy beaches for camping, it do get crowded due to their proximity to the marinas.

We have friends who often camp near the mouth of the Escalante, and as previously mentioned Oak Creek, Cottonwood and Confluence Cove are good options.

As birdsnest said, the San Juan is magical, it's our go to choice; fishing is awesome and since it's so far form any marina it's fairly quiet. If you decide to explore the San Juan, the south side of Cha has some camping options. Before you go up the SJ, know that sandy beaches are somewhat rare (in my opinion). Home base at Confluence cove and explore the SJ in your boat is probly best as you get comfortable with the range of your boat and the new area of the lake
 

Chet Garling

Well-Known Member
Pick up a Stan Jones map that will show you ruins, arches and other points of interest, as stated above little to no camping from around Annies until Halls Creek.
 

Randy Helzer

Well-Known Member
At the levels you will see there should be some good "beach" spots in the Rincon, then the Halls/Bullfrog area is an easy one day trip from there. We love Iceberg but it has limited beach spots for the amount of traffic it gets. PowellBride has a good point about the 10 to 15 miles down from Halls having very limited spots. It gets pretty busy anywhere north of Escalante so search for spots early with a scout boat. Also, you may be limited by fuel if you go very far up the San Jaun and Escalante. Remember the "thirds rule" for fuel in a boat. A third for out, a third for return, and a third for insurance.
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
If you are not renting a houseboat, there is no reason you can't leave before the sun is up and beat most everyone. The Castle Rock cut will be easy to navigate on the Wahweap Bay side where there we're many shallow spots. The lake level will be in your favor there which is the only dicey spot at day break. This will get you to Oak or San Juan or even cottonwood by mid afternoon at latest assuming your deck boat will go 25 mph at cruise. Never pass a marina without fueling , particularly D.R.. If you fill at D.R. and have a couple fuel cans for reserve you should have plenty of fuel for exploring. Wish I was there!!! Typically houseboats rentals will not leave until after 8 a.m. because of instruction and equipment check. The people who really know what they are doing will pay for a pre-board and make sure that the instruction and equipment check is done in the late afternoon the day before departure allowing them to leave at daybreak. Very few people do this so you should not be in a "race" with the rental bunch. I also think a Stan Jones map would be a must.
 

Goblin

Well-Known Member
... A great slot canyon is just before the turn-off to Forbidden canyon at about mile marker 47 or 48 on the north side worth exploring and almost claustrophobic. It reminds me of a Disney ride cause it just doesn't seem like it can be real...
Is this Cascade? If not, do you have lat/longs or a closer position? Thanks

Goblin
 

Regal95

Active Member
Once again, thanks for all the suggestions! Stan Jones map just ordered on Amazon. : ) Feel free to keep the suggestions coming. This is great!!
 

Goblin

Well-Known Member
Always liked Cascade.

Here are a few other points that we like as IBT (I Been There) Squares:
  1. Cathedral Canyon across from Cascade is also a spectacular E-Ticket ride (for those that remember an E-Ticket at Disneyland.) You'll need to go slow and have a helper or two watch the sides and push off if necessary but, you can get a long ways and some places it is very hard to even see the sky. At this level I turned a 27.5' Sea Ray around at the very end of the main canyon. Just don't make the 90 degree left turn at the end of the main canyon with a normal boat or you will be backing up pretty soon. At most levels you will be reluctant to make that turn anyway so it is kind of self correcting... i.e., When your rear end starts eating your underwear, stop and turn around.:cool:
  2. Anasazi has a cool double arch part way back but goes underwater at about 3610'-3615'. At the back of Anasazi there is a waterfall (top is at about 3640'.) If you can be creative and anchor there...we dropped anchor off the stern (sandy bottom) then swam a line to rocks at the fall. It worked well with the additional aid of several large rubber fenders against the rock wall. Why did we do that? .... Well there is a very nice albeit short slot area with sand and a very chilly swimming hole. The walls serpentine going up so you cannot see the sky and feel like you are in a cave.
  3. The right forks of Mountain Sheep are nice. Particularly on a jet ski or kayak(for those sporting a 'Millennial Mullet' aka 'Man-bun'.) just kidding...calm down folkso_O
  4. Wetherill is good:
    • Left fork is short and ends with a huge boulder (egg rock) that has fallen and trapped between the walls. The rock touches the water at about 3640' so below that it is suspended up in midair.
    • The right fork goes for more than a mile and much of it is barely wide enough for a PWC or kayak.
  5. The Skycave (proper name unk) in Rock Creek featured on the cover of Lake Powell Magazine:
    • At about 3596' the entrance becomes visible and navigable a few feet lower.
    • The open ceiling goes awash at about 3628'
    • Once awash it is of little interest unless you have scuba gear.
  6. Across from the Skycave the huge water cave in Rock Creek is always navigable and certainly an IBT Square.
  7. On the Escalante among other things:
    • Cathedral in the Desert is fully accessible.
    • La Gorce Arch (both sides) are fully accessible at this level.
    • Entering Davis Gulch for La Gorce on the right side there is a nice smaller pretty arch @ 3635'. I think Wayne calls this Pelvic Arch or something like that.
    • If at La Gorce you might as well go to Doug's Finger (proper name unk) across from Davis Gulch and see the 2 huge alcoves (some call them caves but that might be a bit generous.) Whatever the proper terminology, there are lovely hanging gardens there.
That's enough for now. Anybody need lat/longs or topo map image or GE image or actual photos/video of some of these places at various water levels....let me know and I can post them....otherwise,

Check 6,
Goblin
 
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Regal95

Active Member
I am beyond impressed with the knowledge, and eagerness to share that knowledge, that you guys (and gal) have given here. Thanks for helping our summer kick butt!! : )
 

Waterbaby

Moderator
Staff member
Actually camping and seeing the lake in a boat vs houseboat has a lot of advantages. We houseboated for years, then most friends had babies, etc., and we started going it alone first in our deck boat and then our tritoon. We loved the San Juan so always spent a couple of days up there - usually around
Nesaki - further up back in the high water days.

As a general rule our trip [we went for ten days] was launch first light at Stateline, head to West Canyon, spend a day and night in West Canyon [one of our favorite canyons], next day Dangling Rope for fuel, ice, etc... and head to the San Juan.... spend two - three days up San Juan and then head toward Halls Crossing to pump out our portable toilet [we actually changed out the drivers seats for the flip-flop type seat with toilet built in and the pump on the side so we could pump out like houseboats instead of having to mess with taking in and out of the boat and the nasty dump station for porta-potties], after taking care of business at Halls usually headed back toward Rincon area - there is a lot of spots houseboats don't tuck in that it is easy to tuck a 24-foot boat in - some with nice beaches - we usually stayed in one spot across from the opening to Iceberg - too irritating to boat-camp in Iceberg with all the traffic and constant wakes/waves - the spot across from Iceberg had nice beaches, kept our dogs contained and boats normally went right on past us heading downlake... if it was early enough in the day we usually continuned on to the Rincon - very nice beaches there, though very irritating if the wind blows - our boat when brand new was covered with red sand after one such wind event .

We would leave Rincon early in the day and head to the Escalante - go as far up as the water level allowed, check out 50-mile and Davis Gulch, usually stopped and had lunch in the shade of the big caves in Davis across from La Gorce Arch, and then go on over to Cathedral in the Desert and after CID usually headed out to find a camp site - again with a boat easier to find a spot later in the day than in a houseboat which needs more space.

There is some spots right across from the entrance to the Escalante - sort of a horseshoe-shaped bay across from the floating porta-potty station..... also on the right side as you head into the Escalante a good beach at the right water levels...... beyond that we never had great luck in Llewellyn Gulch - too busy and too many waves and wakes... but there is some good spots along the right side as you are heading back toward Dangling Rope - there is a huge sand dune/cave-like area on the right just past, and across from, Ribbon Canyon ...... If you are lucky you can get a spot in there ... across from the entrance to Rainbow Bridge is a section with beaches - which is a good spot to set up camp and then venture into the canyons in narrow canyons in the area of Rainbow - all of which need to be seen... usually you can find a spot in Reflection... we've found great spots there early in the day as well as afternoons - depends on the time of the year - after the middle of August things slow down at Powell because school has started back up here in AZ.

After about three days we always had to head to Dangling Rope for ice, pump out, etc... and then would go to Rock Creek for a few days before heading back to Stateline... used to love a spot up Last Chance in Randy's Canyon, but that was at water level 3684......
 

Regal95

Active Member
Thanks Waterbaby.
"the spot across from Iceberg had nice beaches, kept our dogs contained and boats normally went right on past us heading downlake."

We have a dog as well. So, I like the sound of spots like that. :cool:
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
Goblin mentioned Wetherill canyon which is awesome but if you want to get your feet wet about history of the area read about Richard Wetherill, the white man that discovered Mesa Verde and the history of the discovery of Anasazi ruins, early trading posts and the indiscriminate digging of Anasazi artifacts. I seem to remember a Swedish archaeoligist (sp) that took most of the artifacts and I think the largest Anasazi collection is in Sweden. Wetherill guided him. Super interesting.
 

Dale

Well-Known Member
Thanks Dale. You raise some other excellent points. I'm assuming that most Houseboat rentals are Saturday to Saturday? It seems like we have seen many take off early Saturday mornings vacating some pretty nice spots in the past. If that's the case, I was planning on launching Saturday morning and beating them up there.

I'm not sure of our range either, but I'm quite confident that we will hit Dangling Rope going both ways. It's not worth risking it, and the kids typically love stopping there for ice cream. ;-)
Houseboat rentals take off every day. They are rented anywhere from 3-7 day trips. Definitely gas up at DR. The Sea Ray cruising at 35 did not use much gas. Wahweap to CID and back on 3/4 of a tank. The previous boat needed a stop at DR each way and a 5 gallon can.
 
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