Lake Powell Boat-Hikers Corner

Have you made a recent boat hike at Lake Powell?
If you have, please share it with us.  E-mail your hike details to Wayne Gustaveson (wayne@wayneswords.com).  Please include who you are and where you're from, dates, location, and any other information you would like to pass on to other hikers.

Visit the Anglers Corner - Fishing reports from Lake Powell by anglers for anglers.

Pools at base of Cookie Jar

Elevation 3675


Water Holes Canyon Hike
Hiker - Mike O'Loughlin (MOJO) from Gilbert, AZ. Date of hike was Oct. 23, 2010.
Trailhead is 7 miles south of Page on Highway US 89 at mile marker #542, east of US 89.

This hike has good narrow slots for about 150 yards after a 20 minute hike from the highway. Total hike time is under 2 hours.
This is on Navajo land and requires a permit, which can be purchased at the Antelope Canyon entrance booths by the Power Plant off highway 98. Cost was $5 per person.

There is a parking area in plain view on the east side of Hwy 89 at mile marker 452, just north of the bridge. The entrance is through a designated opening in the fence line.
Start walking towards the canyon on the right, but only for an overlook view. You will need to walk along the ridge to the left following cairns until they direct you to a descent point into the canyon. If you miss the descent point, go back and study the cairns because there are no easy descent points after that.
After descending into the canyon, the wash is wide and an easy hike for about 20 minutes until you reach the slots. You should make a pointer in the sand of your entry point to look for on the hike back out.
The slots appear and will last for about 150 yards. Lots of twists and turns with beautiful rock formations all around.
The hardest part is a little climb up a 6 foot dryfall, but very manageable with some footholds and using your legs and hands against the rocks. I never saw any wet water holes, but this is one place where there would be some after a rain.
If you love slots, there are plenty to see.
The end of this hike is a 15 foot vertical rock wall and no way up. This is another spot where a water pool could exist, but was dry on this occasion.

Hiker: Wayne Gustaveson - Aleson Arch - Water Level 3633

Easy Hike:  2 miles R/T

November 2009

Aleson Arch is on the land form between Iceberg and Rincon. I was not aware of this arch until I read about it in Lake Powell Magazine. Thanks Dave Tate and Tiff Maple. (I am starting to look up more now and not concentrate so intently on what fish are doing.)


The best access is from the only cove between Iceberg and Rincon on the same side of the lake.

Park the boat all the way in the back on the right side. Now the only hard part is to find the right way to scramble up the steep rocky ledge. Notice the green bush to the right of the boat. Just above and to the right  of the bush there is a break in the rock ledge. That is the trail leading to the top and the easy hike on the top of the mesa.     
Once above the rock ledge, cairns abound and mark the well used path through the sand to the arch. 
Aleson Arch is a 100 foot long span. There is no access from below. Follow the trail around to the right to climb up to the base of the arch.


Make the hike in early morning for the best light to take pictures.


(Does this look like an elephant to anyone else?)

From behind, the arch looks small because it is not possible to get down into the bowl under the arch without a rope.  A large sandstone monolith backs up the arch making it hard to pick out from the lake below. 

Great hike and fun for all.

Hiker: Wayne Gustaveson - Chaol Falls (Navajo Canyon) - Water Level 3636

Moderate hike:  8 miles R/T

September 2009


Navajo Canyon is the longest side canyon on Lake Powell that is not a river arm. It is a narrow riverine canyon upstream from Antelope Point marina. The mouth is near Buoy 10 in AZ.

In the spring, the narrow canyon with perennial inflow is choked with drift wood making navigation to the end very difficult. As the lake recedes in summer, driftwood is stranded allowing boat traffic access to the inflow. 

Bottom slope of the lake at the canyon end is flat making navigation to the hike point marginal at best.  Jet drive boats or wave runners are an option but sand may get in motors . We tackled the problem with an inflatable dingy launched from the big boat which took us the last half mile.   

The very best option would be kayaks to cover the shallow water at canyon end.

Once the lake draws down there is a bit of beach that allows one to avoid wading for the last 500 yards. Getting to the canyon end may be the most difficult part of the hike.
Now that the hike has begun there is the problem of soft sediment that pulls off flip flops and fills up tennis shoes with silt.  I don't do bare feet so I have to deal with emptying my shoes as necessary.  It is impossible to make this hike with dry feet.  The stream bed is crossed about 50 times. On hot days the cool stream is refreshing. High walls provide shade about half the time.
Hike distance is 4 miles one way at this lake level. You may see horses as we did along the flat stream bed.  If the horses are not there note the sand bank in the background.  At this point two small streams come together. It takes one hour to hike to this point.

You must take the RIGHT FORK

The left fork is Navajo Canyon and it goes on farther that a person can walk in a day. If looking for the Falls, then Chaol Canyon is a better bet.

The walk is flat and the ground hard making for easy walking in Chaol Canyon. The walls are steep and picturesque.  It takes one hour to hike to the falls once in Chaol Canyon.
 You will be able to hear the falls in the narrow canyon about a quarter mile before they come into view. When it looks like its time to swim, step back and look for a sandy trail on the left hand side leading up to the next terrace.
Go up the trail for the overview. Elevation gain is about 40 feet.
The falls come across a wide hard rock layer and then tumble into a wild assortment of slots, bridges and arches. 
Before getting to the falls, look in the hard white rock layer for dinosaur tracks.  
This is a special place with stunning scenery, calm cool water. You may want to spend the full day here just taking in the sights and sounds.  It is hard enough to get to that you may have it to yourselves as we did on a Saturday in September.   
This is the slot looking back downstream from the top of the falls
Here are the falls looking upstream. Its difficult to judge how magnificent the falls are from the pictures.
There are numerous convoluted slots and arches in the sandstone.
For perspective the falls are bigger than people as they descend perhaps 40 feet.  It would not be wise to fall here and looking over the edge makes one cautious. 
Just upstream on the left side a short climb to the next level provides an unexpected view of ancient petroglyphs.
Pictures of deer and desert bighorn sheep are indicative of the wildlife frequenting the area when the Anasazi were living here.


This is a great hike to one of Natures Special places. Please enjoy it but leave it cleaner than it was and respect it for what it its.  Please protect it.

Hiker -  Dan Staples            Easy Hikes Near Bullfrog    April 2008

Lake Elevation 3590

Bullfrog Campground to Old Ferry Dock

DIRECTIONS: As you arrive in Bullfrog, the campground is directly across from the Sinclair station. At the far end of Loop B you will find the hike sign with the walker in white on a brown background.

The hike is about a half mile and has a couple of places where the trail splits and then comes back together so you can do the different portion of the splits going and coming. The trail is lined by stones much of the way and has stone cairns on the portions on rock.

There are a couple of places where you have to scramble a bit but you can walk around them easy enough. A quick and easy trail with typical scenery.

Pedestal Alley Trail:

DIRECTIONS: Leaving Bullfrog, just after you leave the Recreation Area gates, you see a rode leading to Escalante and Burr Trail. About 6 miles down that paved road, you see the Pedestal Alley trailhead sign and a small parking area on the other side of the road.

The trail is mostly flat for about half a mile out. There are a few balanced rocks and the way is marked by stone cairns that take a bit of looking at times.

Novice hikers should pay a little attention as the trail winds a bit around terrain features that can be confusing on return. Watch your own footsteps coming back if you can, otherwise take note of the rocks and ridges as you go over harder terrain on the way out.

There is one small area where you have to scramble just the tiniest bit. Easier trail with a nice spot at the end that seems miles from anywhere.

Hiker: Jeannine Bulot, Albuquerque, NM  - Rincon Overlook- Water Level 3569

Easy to Moderate hike:  3 miles R/T

The Rincon Overlook. date:05/15/05, Water level 3569

The Rincon overlook is an easy hike up the slickrock slope to a great overlook of the lake and Rincon. The slope reaches water level across and slightly uplake from Iceberg Canyon. (GPS: 37 20'11"N, 110 46'04"W)

We found a cove to beach the boat then hiked up the slickrock, steering to the west, the lake on out left and the waterpocket fold on our right.

We stayed close to the lake as we got higher, eventually reaching a high point with a great view of the Rincon across the lake to the south. (GPS: 37 20'23"N, 110 47'46"W) The hike is about 3 miles round trip but can easily be made longer by exploring the area.

Slope leading up to Overlook.


September 7, 2007 - Hikers:  Mike & Janna O’Loughlin (MoJo)
Hike distance: 4 miles R/T – Easy Hike Smith Fork Slot Canyon Hike --

Buoy M106  - Water elevation 3603 –

Caution: Do not pursue this hike without first checking the regional weather forecast. Plateau drainage may affect the slot canyon by flash flooding.

(Take a look at Kelly’s posting on YouTube [kkbrooks7] it inspired us to take this hike).

I rated this hike as EASY. It’s a walking hike with minimal elevation rise and it is shaded most of the way. We’ve noted a GPS reading (below) for the slot entrance, but you really won’t need it or cairns either – just stay in the stream bed. You do not need hiking boots; river shoes are best. There is only one area requiring any agility – you have to climb over fallen rocks obstructing the stream – this comes up within the first mile of the hike.


You should have no problem finding a place to anchor your boat. Even when the water rises 25’ there appears to be ample beach access. We boat camped about 100 yards away and used Mini Mo to ferry us to the trail head – (to the right in the picture).
Because of the receding water the first part of the hike was in slick mud. The canyon stream is actively fed by underground springs. The slots & side canyons were dry except for pooled water

The one mile mark puts you at a peaceful & colorful amphitheatre.

Another ¼ - ½ mile or so you’ll see this distinctive landmark. This is the confluence of Smith Fork (straight ahead) & a side drainage (right). Exploring this side canyon is a must see.
 If you’re packing a picnic lunch, time your hike to rendezvous here, either before the slots or on your return, it’s only 100 yards off the main hiking trail.
Entrance to the slots: GPS N37.36.140 W110.38.208

Looking at the picture, to the immediate right is a second confluence of side drainage. We walked up about 75 yards & took a few pictures but didn’t go further. Some really adventurous person might prove this area to be quite interesting.
Smith Fork slots have beautiful tapestries of rich dark reds & blacks. In his book, Boater’s Guide to Lake Powell, Kelsey describes this hike as “one of the premier narrow or slot canyon hikes in his book”. As you continue up the main drainage, Kelsey goes on to say “you’ll find some of the best narrows on Lake Powell”.
Should you be worried about claustrophobia, I doubt that these slots will give you a problem; you can always stretch your arms out side to side. If you are looking for the “tight squeeze” slots I recommend Labyrinth Canyon.
Depending on the season you may find water in the pool. This day the water was about knee deep.

You can hike out to the top if you don’t mind doing a little rock climbing. Kelsey tells us that these granite-type boulders came all the way down from Mt. Ellsworth to the north. Think about it – that would take some mighty flash flooding!
Kids will think this hike is AWESOME!!!

September 15, 2007 - Hikers:  Wayne and Charlene Gustaveson, Carlos and Raquel Dibble

Water Elevation: 3,602.
Hike distance: approx. 1/2 mile
Geologic Feature: Plunge pools and alcoves in "Eureka Canyon"

Thanks to Alan Silverstein from alerting us to the neat hike one canyon downstream from the Escalante River mouth.  See his webpage for details and many other hikes. (http://users.frii.com)

We just followed the creek bed up the wash on an easy half hour hike.  At this lake level the beach is too shallow for good camping. It would be perfect at 3603.


The stream bottom is like fine decorative tile of many dazzling colors with occasional pools where runoff water has collected.
One pool had a large population of fairy shrimp hurrying to complete their life cycle before the puddle dried up. We saw one tadpole shrimp as well. 
The walk was easy and picturesque.
At the base of the huge alcove was a double plunge pool where rain runoff waterfalls hit the ground.  It is always shady with lush vegetation.  We say tracks of mountain sheep and coyotes that frequent the watering holes. 
Colorful sandstone cliffs stand 500 feet above the pools.  We were the only ones there and really enjoyed the solitude and quietness of the remarkable canyon.
Its a great place to get away and contemplate those thing we don't have time to think about while busy in our daily working lives.

September 14, 2007 - Hikers:  Wayne and Charlene Gustaveson, Carlos and Raquel Dibble

Water Elevation: 3,602.
Hike distance: approx. 100 yards
Geologic Feature: Pelvic Arch

Dr Carlos Dibble and Dr Raquel Dibble

We were in the Escalante River viewing Cathedral in the Desert and then moved on to Davis Gulch to see La Gorce Arch.  On the way in, within 200 yards of the white Davis Gulch marker buoy, I glimpsed a possible small arch in a rock wash on the right side of channel.  Upon further investigation we found it was indeed an arch that looked like  a "bow tie" from the lake. 


I wanted to name it Bow Tie Arch but the two OB GYN doctors with us said it  looked more like a pelvic arch. So we went with that.  Note the arch in this picture on the left about elbow high.

We scrambled up the slick rock and we able to get a good photo of the arch feature from above.  It is only possible to get into the rock ravine with a rope and then with someone to man the rope and pull you out. 


The arch stands about 8 feet high.  Many plunge pools line the creek bottom.  One is completely full of round cobble rocks, others are empty.

Looking down on Pelvic Arch from the slick rock fin above.



View from above the arch looking back on the short walk to the boat.


This is a good quick trip for fun viewing on the way to La Gorch Arch and hiking further in Davis Gulch.

June 16, 2007 - Hikers:  Mitch and Kevin Lanyon from Cahone, Colorado

Lake Elevation: 3,611.05
Temperature: 100 degrees
Hike distance: approx. 1.3 miles
Geologic Feature: Hall's Creek Bay Arch
I've also seen this one referred to as Baker Ranch Natural Bridge.

My son Mitch and I recently made the hike to Hall's Creek Bay Arch and wanted to share the details with your readers.

GPS N 37 30.058' W110 47.215'

This hike was a short one for me and I would consider it "mild". However, we hike a lot and we're in reasonably good shape. So, due to the heat, change in elevation and terrain, I'm going to err on the side of caution and call it moderate. As I said, this is a fairly short hike and well worth the effort. It took us about 4 hours but we stop a lot to check things out and take photos. Remember to take plenty of water!!!

This arch is very difficult to spot from the lake but it can be done depending on your vantage point and if you know right where to look. Come into Hall's Creek Bay and work your way to the far end. Look for a "finger" on the left that goes back in quite a way. If you have a GPS this will be a much easier task. The finger is just past a couple of huge rock structures right at water's edge. You should have no problem finding a spot to beach your boat.

Photo 2 shows the route that we took. There are no cairns but you won't need them. You're going to walk along the top edge of the drainage. The right side is the easiest. Stay out of the drainage. It's a total jungle in places and you'll eventually come to huge cliff. You won't be able to climb out and you'll have to back track to get out.

You won't need a rope but we always carry hiking sticks and find them very handy. Other normal hiking gear is recommended e.g. boots, hat that provides shade, a knife or leatherman tool etc. Also, be sure to let some folks know where you'll be in case you become injured or lost.

Photos 3, 4, 5 & 6
GPS N 37 29.776' W 110 47.715'


We took a short break here. We peaked into the drainage to check things out and found this beautiful water fall. I was surprised to see so much water in the middle of June. Make the effort to stop and find this spot. It's drop dead gorgeous and well worth it.

GPS N 37 29.633' W 110 48.283'
You're almost there at this point. Photo 7 shows a shot of Mitch up on the rim.
Photo 8 shows the cliff I spoke of and why you don't want to be down in the drainage. There is where you'd have to turn back if you were down in the bottom.
Photo 9 shows Mitch with a small diameter plunge pool. This one is more than 6 feet deep. Continue on staying on the edge of the drainage. You'll go up and around the corner and the arch will appear. You can't miss it.

Photos 10, 11 & 12
GPS N 37 29.587' W 110 48.495'
This is it! As you can see the arch is quite high and comes down to a beautiful plunge pool. You can hike up and get around to the back side. I'd suggest taking the left side but it's steep as well so be careful. There is no book or journal to sign your name. Some people carve up the rock. I'm not into that. Just tag this one in your personal journal and call it good. That's it. Have a great hike. Take your time and enjoy the sights along the way. It may look like a bunch of desolate rock but take a closer look and you'll be fascinated I guarantee it!!!


April 7, 2007 - Mike and Janna O'Loughlin (MoJo)

Lake Elevation:  3599

Jacks Arch -Mouth of San Juan

Mike and Janna hiked Jack’s Arch on April 7, 2007. The water level was 3599. The hike to Jack’s Arch begins in Confluence Cove. This cove is not always labeled on all maps; it is the first canyon on the left as the mouth of the San Juan flows into the main channel. You shouldn’t have any problem beaching your boat at the back of the cove, (just stay on the right side).

I suggest you start your hike early in the morning because you will be hiking along the east canyon wall and you will have shade all morning.
Begin the hike by following the stream bed.

An added bonus is after only hiking approximately 50 yards you see this alcove, which is actually an arch in the making.

As you hike, keep the canyon wall on your right. You may hike part of the way on the slick rock or continue to follow the stream bed. It might be fun for the kids to hike the valley and follow the deer trails. Even though there are several trails they all lead to Jack’s Arch. The cool shade of the arch alcove seems to be a gathering spot for deer
If you are following the valley, the brush does get thick.
After the first rise in elevation, you have a beautiful view of the cove and you can see Navajo Butte in the background.
You probably won't need them, but look for the cairns for directions.
Jack's Arch is not a rim arch so don't look up high. You'll find it where the canyon wall meets the valley.
Guaranteed! You’ll be thrilled when you find it!
The truly unique feature of Jack’s Arch is that in another 10,000 years or however long it takes to make an arch, Jack’s will be two side by side bridge arches. Maybe then “they” will change the name to Jack & Jill Arches.

Don’t forget to take your picture.

October 7, 2006 - Mike and Janna O'Loughlin (MoJo)

Lake Elevation:  3602

Peekaboo Arch - San Juan

Mike and Janna O'Loughlin (MoJo) hiked Peekaboo Arch on Oct 7, 2006.  We're happy to share our perspective and experience with you. Peekaboo is a rim arch found along the San Juan arm just past Deep Canyon. The 4.2 mile R/T hike will take you between 4-5 hours and has a terrain rise of  880 feet.  I highly recommend standard hiking boots rather than your river sandals.  Also, pack along your normal hiking gear (water, hat, sunscreen... we found a rope came in handy).  You'll find a log journal in the bowl of the arch so all those successful can tag their victory.  Two other hikers I offer as reference guides are Tony Ferris and Alan Silverstein, without their information we could not have made the hike.
GPS N37 11.051 W110 45.110  Beach your boat here.
Start the hike by walking east up the wash about 30-50 yards.  Turn right/south and head for the ridge. You'll be able to find your own passage way up the ridge.  At the top, mark your waypoint (or use cairn) - you'll want to be able to find it on the return.


GPS N37 10.965 W110 45.018  Once on top you should be about here. 
Head east, the terrain is mostly flat. 

Walk to the south of the base of these mountains.



This is the view looking south towards Navajo Mountain.




GPS N37 10.855 W110 44.393  You'll start your switchback up this rocky ridge.  There are cairns along the way and you'll be able to recognize a trail if you look for it.  The GPS is the approximate location of the first cairn.



GPS N37 11.029 W110 44.377  View from the top.



From the top of this 2nd ridge you'll skirt back to the left/west for about 70 yards before heading north.  This is the view to the north.  You'll recognize and follow a sheep/deer trail most of the way before your next course change back to the east.




GPS N37 11.447 W110 44.224 When you make the turn back to the east you'll cross over two slick rock ridges. Look for the cairns.



View from the top -- you're almost there. 




Look for the Flintstones back door.  Climb down into the water hole and enter the arch through the "back door".  The day we made the hike the water hole was full of water (day after the "Big Flood of Oct 2006").  We couldn't get in.  So, please sign our names in proxy!




GPS N37 11.491 W110 43.874  You made it!! Congratulations!!!


October 5, 2006 - Joan Terao

Lake Elevation: 3601

Dry Rock Creek

Enter Dry Rock Creek and head toward the left side in the back. This is a pretty easy hike and we did it in about 1 1/2 hours round trip in sport sandals.

At high water levels you can camp right across from Alcove Arch.

At later times during the day the light really illuminates the full arch as it was early when we hiked we got to see just a bit of light.
Continue past Alcove Arch and in a short distance you will come across a deep steep gully. You need to bear left between the cliff and the gully and you will pick up a trail. Along this trail you will find some ripple patterns covered with desert varnish.

At this point if you stand facing the gully and look across it you will see slabs of fossilized ripple patterns. In the lower part of the picture you can see slabs of the ripple rocks laying on their sides
Continue to your left between the gully and the cliff. When you reach the end of the gully you can cut across it to the other side. At that point if you turn around and look up the hill you will see an Indian grainery ruin. I must say sadly that it has deteriorated even more since I saw it last 7 years ago. I was told by other people that had climbed up to it back then that it is empty. The photo does not do it justice and it looks like just a pile of rocks in it.
Continue on up the small hill and you will come across the fossilized ripple rocks.
Some of the slabs are very large.


Lastly, if you hike just a little bit farther (before you get out of the small canyon) you will find a rock we dubbed Eagle Rock.


Its an easy hike with some parts of it a well traveled trail.



October 1, 2006 - Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3601

Oak Creek Canyon accessed from Oak Bay

When fishing is slow I sometimes hike.  I have to admit I haven't had much time for hiking the past few years because the fishing is awesome. I caught these two in sight of the floating restroom in Oak Bay.  We camped around the corner in the mouth of Oak Canyon where we decided to hike the next morning.  Boat to the lake end and hike up the small stream bed.
There is some water in the creek year round but it goes under ground occasionally and splits in two forks. Hike up the left hand fork as far as possible. Its possible to go overland where the trail is obvious or to follow the creek bed.  The water course is a cooler more interesting hike. 
Fall rains and the moisture from the stream have made a riparian zone that includes spring flowers. The hike is very scenic but can be hot after mid day. Take lots of water. 
About 2 miles up the left fork the stream is very hard to follow due to the rapid increase in elevation.  The stream forms some plunge pools that are difficult to scramble up due to slick rocks and very tight riparian vegetation.  This large willow pasture is best traversed by walking at the edge of the sandstone cliff on the left hand sided of the picture.  The willows are almost impassable as the stream has gone underground here forming a wet meadow. 
Look toward the right fork of the stream at this point.  Key in on the small rainbow arch imitation.  Beyond this arch the right hand fork canyon forms a dead end box canyon.
The canyon is marked by oak thickets, and a breathtaking sandstone cliff wall. This overlook is a logical place to stop and view the canyon.  There is a stream bed in the bottom that appears nearly inaccessible. 
A closer look at the skyline shows a notch where flash floods have carved a groove to allow water to plummet over the edge.  It strikes in a groove under the notch which is visible from the overlook.  
But some wish to get a closer look at the very end of the canyon. The stream bed is in perpetual shade.  If planning to go into the stream bed a rope would be a welcome tool.  The drop is about 10 feet at the only logical point to enter the right fork canyon. 
There is a perennial stream that keeps the rock stream bed wet and very slick from the moss that grows over the rock. Oak and willow brush require 50 yards of bushwhacking to get through the bottom land. Ambient air temperature is 10-15 degrees less in the shade of the cliff than it is during the overland hike. Its a very welcome change.  

Interesting side note: The red leaf plants are most likely poison ivy which are not supposed to grow in the desert at this elevation.  But (scratch ...scratch) I am quite sure they really are poison ivy.....

Finally, at the end of the canyon a giant plunge pool appears making the arduous hike worth the effort to find it.  It is about 300 feet below the slot and groove in the rim. The stream appears to start from the plunge pool. It may be that the pool is only there following a rain storm.  I am not sure about its duration. The cliff wall is constantly wet and a perfect garden spot for the largest fern garden I have seen in the Glen Canyon area.  
We named the spot the "Oak Canyon Reflecting Pool". It is perfectly still and provides a 360-degree reflecting view of any of the surrounding structures. Here is the shady view of the wet wall.
Comparing that to the better lighting on the far side of the pool.

The stillness, beauty, degree of difficulty and feeling that no one else has ever seen this feature make this hike one of the most remarkable in this area of very grand hikes. 

Oh yes,  This little bush was the only handhold that allowed us to drop into right hand fork and scramble along along a very thin slick rock ledge.  Once in the stream bed the beautiful vista awaits just around the corner. 

Many More Neat Hikes and much cool information is found on Alan Silverstein's Web page



Other Lake Powell Resources

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area - National Park Service

Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas

Utah Wildlife Resources Home Page