Lake Powell is known for water recreation, but there’s so much more to explore by foot, too. What’s the best part about Lake Powell hiking? You’ll usually be combining water fun and some time on dry land. Grab your bathing suit and hiking shoes, bring plenty of water, and get ready to see a whole new side of the Lake Powell area.
There’s plenty of climbing and scrambling involved in canyon exploration, so never climb up anything you aren’t comfortable climbing back down. These are hardly the only hikes near Page Lake Powell….
So get out there and explore!
1. West Canyon
Trail Head: 37.04013, -111.21516
This strenuous hike combines the best of Lake Powell: land, water, and amazing canyon scenery. Exploring this particular spot is tough work, but this long slot canyon is worth the effort. You’ll be swimming, wading, and scrambling up and around obstacles. However, if you avoid the upper portion, none of the terrain requires technical canyoneering skills.
Find West Canyon approximately 25 miles up the lake from Glen Canyon Dam, the dam that created Lake Powell. If the water levels are high you can go several miles into the gorge. If levels are low, be prepared for a muddy start. Explore the canyon by hiking, swimming, and climbing up small waterfalls. A good end point is a larger, 12-foot waterfall that cannot be scaled.
2. Davis Gulch
Lake Powell’s Escalante arm is one of the prettiest areas of the lake. It’s an excellent spot for boating, but the side canyons serve up prime hiking conditions. Davis Gulch is a moderately easy hike that has stunning canyon scenery and a pleasant, vegetation-filled atmosphere. You’ll find the Gulch approximately 5 miles up the Escalante arm of the lake.
As with most hikes around Lake Powell, you’ll have to boat in as far as water levels will allow. You’ll pass LaGorce Arch and Bement Arch, and you can hike as far into the canyon as you like. There’s no set beginning or end point, just wander until you want to return to the lakeshore.
3. Horseshoe Bend
Okay, so Horseshoe Bend isn’t directly on Lake Powell, but it’s close enough to count. This iconic geographical feature is located approximately 5 miles downstream from Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam, and it’s a must-visit. This huge curve in the Colorado River is spectacularly scenic, and the hike to reach it is quite easy.
You’ll walk 1.5 miles total, and the trip can be done in under an hour. But why rush? Sit back, relax, and watch the landscape unfold. You’ll notice that the colors of the rocks and water change as the the day goes on. To get the most out of the experience look into guided tours that combine Horseshoe Bend with other phenomenal natural wonders in the area.
4. The Chains
If you’d like to combine hiking with beach relaxation The Chains is a perfect spot to visit. Located east of the Glen Canyon Dam, the beach area is relatively easy to access (depending on current lake levels, of course.)
Explore the surrounding area by walking around and climbing up the rocks. Since this area of the lake is deep you can even try jumping off some of the rocks and into the water… just be sure that you’re fully confident that the water is deep enough!
5. Cha Canyon
If ditching the crowds is in your game plan you’ll want to visit Cha Canyon. This canyon is in one of the more remote parts of the lake, so you could very well have the area to yourself (or close to it.) Cha is situated approximately 11 miles up the San Juan arm of the lake. It’s a long boat ride, so come prepared!
You’ll pull up your boat to the back of the canyon as far as water levels allow. Begin hiking up the canyon and you’ll reach a fork. For the best scenery, make a right. If you’re lucky you may even see some semi-wild horses! The roundtrip journey can be 6 miles or more, but you always have the option of turning around whenever you’re ready.
6. Page Rim Trail
This trail makes a nice loop around the top of Page Mesa in far northern Arizona with great views of the surrounding desert and picturesque Lake Powell. This a fun trail and the only single track in the area. The Rim Trail is used by runners and bicyclist.
The trailhead to the north connect to the trail via the Rim Trail Connector and allows hikers to start with a brief descent and then get the climbing out of the way over the next few miles before a long gradual descent brings you back (as mapped). If you start at the Public Library trailhead, you’ll end up dealing with the climb at the end of your journey, but this is probably still the best option if you’re hiking from a hotel.
The Chamber of Commerce HUB Welcome Center has maps available. There are enough intersections and nearby trails that you’ll want to keep the Hiking Project mobile app handy to stay on track.