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         Lake Powell, AZ - Tubing Oasis
         Lake Powell, AZ/UT (July 2009)
Overall Rating: A+
Tubing on Lake Powell
   

Renting a boat on Lake Powell had been on my bucket list for a long time, and it lived up to my expectations.  This is a must-do trip.

Our adventure started when we launched the pontoon boat at the Stateline boat ramp at Wahweap Marina.  This isn't a ramp, its a mountain.  The ramp was at least 100 feet high and several hundred yards long.  I started to question the wisdom of not renting a boat already in the water.  Toni saved the day as her Alabama backwoods upbringing means she had boat ramps in her genes.  Once I'd backed the truck into the water up to the tailpipe, Toni gunned the prop and the boat slid right into the lake.  My paranoid visions of the truck and trailer slipping silently into Lake Powell were vanquished until it was time to haul the boat out.

Once on the water, I was grinning ear-to-ear.  The red cliffs, sparkling water and clear blue desert sky combined to make an irresistable scene.   The kids took turns cooling off by being dragged behind the boat in the inner tube.  During breaks to swap out the kids, everyone would jump overboard for a quick dip.

As we wound up the main channel of the lake we ducked into narrow side canyons guiding the boat between 200 foot cliffs set 40 feet apart.  It took all day to get to the bay where we shared a camp site with several massive houseboats.  One family we met was kind enough to let the kids use the slide off the back of their boat.  These boats are massive and have all the comforts of home.  The one we toured was hauling a ski boat and two wave runners!

The next morning we took a side trip to a box canyon filled by a 200 foot sand dune.  The intersection of the dune and lake  formed a beautiful crescent shaped sugary sand beach to rival anything in the Caribbean.  Footholds carved in the canyon walls allowed energetic boys to climb the rock and jump down into the water.  We all reluctantly headed back to the boat ramp before our boat rental expired, wishing we could stay longer.

With so many places yet to see in the world, I hate making repeat trips but Lake Powell is going to be an exception.  I've since added a new entry to my bucket list: "Return to Lake Powell."
-  Brian



 

 
Gotta Go!
1) Rent a Boat
2) Antelope Canyon
3) Sand Hill




Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell

Boats on Lake Powell
Sand Hill, Lake Powell

Family Grades
Toni (Mom) - A+ -  "Relaxation with magnificent scenery.  Sleeping under the stars on the rocking boat was very peaceful."

Sean (10 yrs) - A - "The big sand dune was fun to climb."

Kyle (9 yrs) - A+ - "It was really fun tubing and playing with the dog."

Emi (5 yrs) - A - "It was very fun!!  I liked playing with the dog at the camp site."

Details
Rent a Boat, Antelope Canyon, Sand Hill
Rent a Boat on Lake Powell
Why Go
1)  Tubing for the kids
2)  Explore hundreds of miles of shoreline and flooded canyons
Getting There
Lake Powell is on the Arizona/Utah border with the southern end near Page, Arizona.  The Utah side is the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.   

Google Map - Page, Arizona

Advice
1)  We saved several hundred dollars by renting a boat in Big Water, Utah and launching it ourselves.  We saved money first, because slipped boats are more expensive and secondly, our boat rental place only charged us one day for a noon-to-noon rental while the marina rental places wanted rent for two days.  We rented from Big Water Boat Storage (map).  Had to also pay $30 to rent the truch and trailer to haul the boat two and from the boat ramp.

2)  If I was doing it again, I'd get either a pontoon boat with at least a 150hp engine or a ski boat.  Our 24 foot pontoon boat only had about a 75hp engine and it made for slow going.  Lake Powell is a big lake and you need a boat with some zip to get around..

3)  The lake shore constantly changes as the water level of the lake rises or receeds.  When we were there the lake level was rising 6 inches a day!  Therefore, get some advice from a ranger or local as to which are the best camp sites for the given lake level.

4)  I dragged a tent and sleeping bags all the way to Arizona with the rest of our luggage just to camp one night on the lake.  I was the only one who slept in the tent, Toni and the kids slept in the open air on the boat as the July night was very comfortable and there weren't any bugs.
Antelope Canyon
Why Go
1)  Impressive boat trip up a narrow slot canyon.
Getting There
This is the lower end of Antelope Canyon, with the upper end being the famed site for tours from Page.  The entrance to the canyon from the lake is near the Antelope Marina (map).
Advice
1)  Take your time rounding corners as some of the other boaters aren't very cautious and these are rather tight quarters.
2)  Because of the tight quarters I wouldn't let the kids ride in the tube as we went up the canyon.  Therefore, they got bored pretty quickly.
Sand Hill, Lake Powell
Why Go
This is a small box canyon which is 300-400 feet high.  It is filled with a 200 foot sand dune which forms a beautiful cove perfect for swimming.  Hiking to the top of the dune and running/sliding down is fun too.
Getting There
Sand Hill is on the northeast shore of Wahweap Bay directly across the bay from the Wahweap Marina.  It is only marked on the most detailed maps of Lake Powell, but rangers or locals should be able to provide directions.  It is also marked on Google Earth (map of Wahweap Marina).
Advice
Sand Hill is only accessible by boat when the lake level is high.  Also, the box canyon runs parallel to the lakeshore so you can't see the dune from the main channel.  Thus, it may take a little exploring to find this hidden swimming hole.



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