Lake Powell Houseboat
Trip For
Seven Days & Six Nights

Lake Powell

On your first day of your Lake Powell Houseboat Trip, either Warm Creek Bay, (mile 14) or Padre Bay (mile 22) would be a good destination.

Both of these bays, offer great camping sites with lots of sandy beaches and plenty of room for water skiing and jet skiing.

The sandy beaches at Warm Creek Bay are favorites for sand castle and sand sculpture architects.

Padre Bay is a great destination for first-time visitors, with sandstone features like Gunsight Butte and the Cookie Jar.

The "weathering pits" in the sandstone hills southeast of the Cookie Jar make for a great hike and some wonderful photo ops.

The perfectly round depressions cut into the sandstone range from 10 to 50 feet in diameter and 20 to 70 feet deep.

See a satellite view of the trail from

Lake Powell

Toward the back of Padre Bay, are three canyons worthy of your consideration:

• Padre Canyon
• Kane Creek
• Kane Wash

All three offer great beaches for a base camp.

Lake Powell Houseboat Trip Cont'd

Day Two:

Continue up-lake from Padre Bay to Dangling Rope Marina. (mile 40). This is the only marina on the lake that is not accessible by land and the last one before Hall’s Crossing and Bullfrog Marina.

This is a good place to top off your fuel tanks, pick up any forgotten grocery items or obtain more ice.

After visiting Dangling Rope Marina, head up-lake again to Oak Canyon (mile 50-51). This is a nice place for a base camp with sandy beaches.

I like Marcia Dibble’s description of Oak Canyon found in Hiking Lake Powell - TREASURES AWAIT PAST THE SHORELINE,

“Unlike the steep, dramatic cliffs that predominate in the main channel, surrounding us here were unearthly whorled, curved and mounded hills and slopes….”

Lake Powell Houseboat Trip Cont'd

Lake Powell

If you make camp early enough, use your power boat to take you to the back of Oak Canyon where a nice two hour round trip hike awaits you.

Navajo stairs (also known as Moki (Moqui) Steps, have been carved into a sandstone incline leading to the top. The resulting panorama is worth the climb.

If you are not into hiking, Secret Canyon, a little known narrow twisting canyon within paddling distance of Oak Bay, is a great place to explore with canoes and kayaks, or lacking them, a powerboat.

Secret Canyon is at the mouth of Oak Canyon and is much too narrow for your houseboat to enter.

Lake Powell Houseboat Trip Cont'd

Day 3:

Head back down-lake to the mouth of Forbidden Canyon (between mile 49 & 50). Continue to the NPS courtesy dock.

Rainbow Bridge is 3.5 miles round trip from this point. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and a hat.

Bring along plenty of water as there is none available nor are there any restrooms at the bridge.

For more information on this great national monument, see my page on Rainbow Bridge.

While it is possible to bring a houseboat into this area, space is limited and it is much easier and safer to use a powerboat.

Lake Powell

After your visit to Rainbow Bridge, depending on the time, you might want to drop down to Cathedral Canyon (mile 45).

It is a beautiful narrow, labyrinthine canyon with towering sandstone walls that shimmer in the emerald green water.

It is a special place and well worth taking the time if you have it.

Lake Powell Houseboat Trip Cont'd

DAYS 4-5:

From Oak Canyon, head up-lake to the San Juan River Arm (mile 58).

From its mouth to its most eastern end, the San Juan River Arm is about 48 miles long and offers some great campsites, superb fishing and outstanding beauty.

You could spend your entire trip just exploring this one area.

The mouth of the San Juan would be a good place to set up your base camp.

From here you can explore more of the San Juan, or visit both Llewellyn Gulch (mile 63) and Cottonwood Canyon (mile 66).

Llewellyn Gulch is a lovely canyon and has some nice campsites a mile or two in from the mouth.

Cottonwood Canyon is where the epic Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition crossed the Colorado River.

For more information on this historic expedition, please see my page Hole-in-the-Rock.

For those who are young and like to climb, it is a moderately strenuous climb to the top of the cliff where there is a marker commemorating this historical event.

Lake Powell Houseboat Trip Cont'd

Day 6:

You should head down-lake today to allow yourself sufficient time in which to arrive back at the marina by 2:00 PM on the 7th day.

A good destination would be Rock Creek Bay (mile 36A).

It is loaded with great camping sites and sandy beaches, with an additional factor of having three other canyons in the immediate area:

Lake Powell

• Rock Creek Canyon
• Middle Rock Creek Canyon
• Dry Rock Creek Canyon

Each of these canyons offers great camp sites, superb fishing and water skiing.

In fact, it would make a great spot for a base camp site due to its proximity to Friendship Cove, Grotto Canyon, Dungeon Canyon and to Dangling Rope Marina.

If you would like to get a little further down-lake, Last Chance Bay (mile 28) would be a good destination. It has many side canyons with good beaches for camping.

Gregory Butte, at the mouth of Last Chance Bay, makes for a good photo op in the proper light.

Day 7:

Allow yourself at least three hours travel time from Last Chance Bay to your Boat Rental. Also, be sure to allow time for refueling.

A Word About Buoys:

Red and green channel markers are a system of buoys that mark the safe channel or safe water for you to pass.

As long as you stay between the red and the green buoys, you can count on a safe passage without the fear of running aground.

Beginning at Glen Canyon Dam the buoys are numbered starting at 1 and end at Hite at 135.

Green buoys are always numbered with an odd number and are can-shaped; red buoys are even numbered and have a “nun” shape.

On Lake Powell, the shape and color should be visible from a distance of one-half mile.

The red or "nun" buoys denote the starboard (right) side of the main channel when heading up lake, away from the dam.

The green "can" buoys mark the port (left) side of the main channel when heading up lake, away from the dam.

These buoys are also numbered with the mileage from Glen Canyon Dam.

Remember this simple little ditty: “Red Right, Heading to Hite.”

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Lake Powell is one of the most beautiful lakes in the United States.

It is a magical place, a place that casts her spell over all of us who visit her, drawing us back to her crystal waters year after year.

If you would like to share a memorable Lake Powell vacation, please fill out the form below.

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