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One of the things I didn’t do enough of while I was out west was enjoy the Lake Powell beaches. Especially since I worked there.
But even if I wasn’t on them myself too much, I still know all about them thanks to working there for a total of six long summers (four in Bullfrog and two in Wahweap, usually March to October).
While this is a Lake Powell beach guide, I would say the best way to enjoy the beaches of Lake Powell is to just go into all the canyons and find a beach you like.
That said, this is primarily about beaches you can get to from land (via car) with a few that you can boat to.
But like I said, if you’re boating, there are so many great beaches on Lake Powell that change with the water level.
It can be hard to say which ones that require a boat to get to will be accessible because of the fluctuating water level.
I also have a section about camping on the beaches of Lake Powell and things you’ll need to know for a great experience.
**A note on fuel**
The only fuel available on Lake Powell is at Halls Crossing and Bullfrog at the north end of the lake, and Antelope Point and Wahweap at the south end. There is no fuel in the middle of the lake, Dangling Rope is closed!
Lake Powell beach camping
Here are some tips for Lake Powell beach camping. If you want general Lake Powell vacation planning tips, I have a whole post for that.
You can camp on any Lake Powell beach
There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, but generally, you can camp on any beach on Lake Powell! Well, anywhere along the shoreline so you could anchor on rock if you needed, too.
The only places you cannot camp on Lake Powell are in developed marinas, so Wahweap Beach and Hobie Cat Beach.
So when I say there are plenty of places to choose from, I mean it. Lake Powell has more shoreline than the entire west coast of the US!
Of course not all of it is prime for camping, with rough rocky areas and sheer cliffs, but there is no shortage of Lake Powell beaches to choose from.
There are no fees for camping on Lake Powell
Yup! There are no fees to camp on Lake Powell! There is the park entrance fee ($30) and any boat rental fees if you’re doing that.
The national park pass will cover the Glen Canyon entrance fee if you have one of those.
You don’t have to pay to camp anywhere on Lake Powell, except for Lone Rock which is $14 per night.
Pack it in, pack it out
If you’re camping on Lake Powell, or anywhere, be sure to pack out any trash and supplies.
If you bring it in with you, bring it out. Don’t be those people littering and leaving your trash and supplies behind.
I would even bring an extra garbage bag around so if you see other trash out on the beaches you can take that with you, too.
If you’re house boating, bring a powerboat, too
If you’re doing a houseboat trip and camping on Lake Powell, definitely rent a powerboat, too.
That way you can easily park the houseboat and explore the rest of the lake without having to reanchor and move the houseboat again.
Jet skis would also work for this if there are only a couple people in your group but a boat will be more convenient. Kayaks or paddle boards would be fun, too.
Bring what you need, there aren’t many facilities
If you’re planning to camp away from any of the marinas, but even near them, I would be sure to bring everything you need since there aren’t many facilities.
If you’re leaving from Bullfrog, definitely bring everything you need because there’s only small (expensive) and basic marina stores.
I know people have gotten there without having what they need and either need to just get things from the marina or drive back out (hours) to get things.
If you’re leaving from Wahweap it’s much easier since Page has a Walmart and a Safeway so you can do your shopping there.
But either way, it’s best to bring everything you need so you don’t have to make trips back to the marina taking up your precious lake time for supplies.
As for ice in Wahweap, just get it at the marina. It will be more expensive but then you don’t have to worry about it melting and having to rebuy it.
Follow other’s lead on how close to camp to other groups
If you’re trying to camp on a beach on Lake Powell, depending on where you are, you may have to share it. Especially in bays or around Wahweap.
If a beach is small and there is someone on it already, find another one, there are lots to choose from.
If it’s a big beach and a few houseboats already, just try to space yourself out so you’re not too close to anyone.
There might be a few houseboats together that are really close but you should be able to tell based on the other number of boats around.
Avoid holiday weekends
This isn’t just for camping on Lake Powell, but visiting in general: avoid holiday weekends like the plague.
This includes Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day Weekend. The days around Pioneer Day (a Utah holiday), July 24, are also fairly busy but not quite like the major holidays.
Not only does this mean the beaches are busier, but boat traffic in general is very high. Hotel rooms, campgrounds, and boat slips will likely be fully booked a few months in advance.
North Lake Powell Beaches (Bullfrog)
These Lake Powell beaches are all either north of Bullfrog or between Bullfrog and former Dangling Rope, but not too close to Dangling Rope.
While there aren’t as many bays near Bullfrog as there are by Wahweap, there are still tons of beaches near Bullfrog.
Just head north or south and check out all the canyons, which is the best way to experience the lake anyway.
First up is Stanton Creek, the primitive camping area in Bullfrog. This is accessible by car or boat.
This is just a giant sandy rocky beach area (depending on water level of course) and is popular for tent camping and parking houseboats.
Hobie Cat Beach is right in Bullfrog and could be walked to if you wanted. You can also drive or boat here but if you drive watch for deep sand on the road. It’s easy to get stuck!
This is a popular beach for just hanging out during the day if you don’t want to leave Bullfrog or aren’t renting a boat.
Halls Creek Bay (boat)
Halls Creek Bay is right next to Bullfrog Bay (just on the other side of the rocks if you’re looking straight out from the lodge or boat rentals).
It took a couple of years for me to finally see Halls Creek Bay and I loved it! It feels so different from Bullfrog and is a great place to park a houseboat if you don’t want to go far.
It’s also great to just hang out on a beach in for a day if that’s what you’re looking to do.
Cedar Canyon (boat)
This is a little beach north of Bullfrog in Cedar Canyon, right on the bend in the canyon on the left (going in to the canyon).
This is a great place for tent camping (not with a houseboat but a powerboat) and pretty much always has someone on it so you have to cross your fingers and hope it’s empty.
If there are people there, I would try to find somewhere else even if you’re just looking for a beach to hang out on for a bit.
Like i said, there are plenty to choose from, this one is just particularly great and in a beautiful canyon, one of my favorites!
The Rincon (boat)
If you want to be further from the marina, The Rincon is a great place to anchor up for a few hours or nights.
It’s just after Iceberg Canyon and before Bowns and Long Canyons, which are two of my absolute favorite canyons on Lake Powell, but they don’t have any beaches.
It’s thought that the river went around The Rincon making the river course about six miles shorter.
You can set up shop here and if you want to do some hiking, you can hike all the way around the butte that is The Rincon.
South Lake Powell Beaches (Wahweap)
Below I’ve listed three of the most popular beach areas on south Lake Powell. All of them can be reached by car or boat.
While these are the most popular and accessible, there are tons more if you have a boat and are actually out on the lake.
Just head north and choose from any of the beaches in any of the bays or side canyons. They may be a little busy sometimes but you’re sure to find plenty to choose from.
First up is Lone Rock, the most popular beach on Lake Powell. This can be accessed by car or boat and is very popular for camping.
While I would generally avoid the lake on holiday weekends, I would absolutely avoid Lone Rock on holidays weekends because it’s packed. It’s like an RV parking lot.
Also, be careful driving in the sand. A lot of people get stuck but if it’s busy there will probably be plenty of trucks willing to help you get unstuck.
This beach gets it’s name thanks to the large, lone rock in the water just off of the beach itself.
The water is usually around the rock and beyond it, but a couple years ago the water was so low you could actually walk out to Lone Rock!
This isn’t a sandy beach but a rocky area near the Hanging Garden Trail that acts as a beach.
You’ll need to drive over here from Wahweap or Page. It’s on the Page side of the Glen Canyon Dam bridge.
This is a nice area that isn’t super busy and is out of the main bay area, close to the dam. It’s a great place to enjoy the sun and take a dip in the lake.
If you’re camping at the Wahweap Campground or stay at the Lake Powell Resort (the only hotel on Lake Powell in the Page area), the Wahweap Beach is perfect to walk to!
This is on the lake shore right behind/below the resort. This is the perfect way to start or end your day, just walking down to the beach and enjoying sunrise or sunset.
It’s probably not the nicest beach on Lake Powell but it’s location is very convenient for some easy beach time.
Lake Powell beach finding tips
Here you’ll find some tips to help you find the best Lake Powell beaches and a bit about what they’ll be like/what to expect.
Beaches vary with the water level
With the water level changing so much, that means the availability and accessibility of beaches will also always be changing.
What is there one year could be gone two years later and there again five years after that.
I think there are more beaches when the water is lower (basically not full pool which it is nowhere near) but it still varies quite a bit.
The bays will pretty consistently have beaches to camp on but in the side canyons it can be hard to say.
I’ll list some canyons I know are popular for anchoring houseboats and camping. They’re listed from north to south.
I didn’t include anything listed above or the bays near Wahweap which are listed in the next section.
- Good Hope Bay
- Forgotten Canyon
- Moki Canyon
- Bullfrog Bay
- Iceberg Canyon
- Escalante River Arm
- San Juan River Arm
- West Canyon
- Face Canyon
- Navajo Canyon
Wahweap beaches will be a lot busier
Wahweap is like, three times the size of Bullfrog and just outside of Page, so it’s generally busier because it’s bigger.
There are tons of beaches near Wahweap thanks to all the bays down there. Navajo Canyon is a popular place for houseboats, too, because of it’s beaches.
A lot of the beaches here will have a lot of people (houseboats) on them so I wouldn’t expect to have one to yourself in the summer.
I mentioned it above, but just kind of follow the lead from others on how close to set up camp next to other groups. Some groups will have more than one boat so keep that in mind.
Bays near Wahweap:
- Wahweap Bay
- Warm Creek Bay
- Padre Bay
- Rock Creek Bay
- Last Chance Bay
Beaches closer to the middle of the lake will probably be less busy
Since there is no longer anywhere to get gas between Halls Crossing and Antelope Point, there will be a lot less people in the middle of the lake, meaning more beach for you!
If you do venture toward the middle of the lake, be sure to have enough (and extra) fuel, and a radio that works, just in case.
I would be cautious about going too far in a houseboat though because of this. Unless you’re sure you have plenty of extra.
Any tow from the middle of the lake will be expensive, but especially a houseboat tow ($265 per hour as of 2021 and double after hours).
Lake Powell books and maps
- Lake Powell Map (the Stan Jones map is the best one, I have like, three)
- Boaters Guide to Lake Powell
- Where the Water Goes
- Monkey Wrench Gang
- Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water
- Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West
- Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River
- Downriver: Into the Future of Water in the West
- Hayduke Lives!
What to bring boating on Lake Powell
Sunscreen – You definitely need to wear sunscreen out on the lake. Trust me. I’ve seen plenty of bad burns come through the lobby.
Water – Drink a ton of water, especially if you’re out in the sun a lot or hiking. You don’t want to be the one flying out because of dehydration.
Snacks – My preferred boat snack is Doritos. It’s really almost the only time I eat them. Beef jerky and trail mix might be healthier and more energizing.
Sunglasses – It’s bright an will help with the wind in your face.
Chums – These will keep your glasses from falling off into the lake.
Boaters Guide to Lake Powell – This is a great guide if you’ll be spending a lot of time on the lake and want to get a better idea of what you can do. The print is small and close together but it is very helpful.
Lake Powell map – This is a must for any Lake Powell trip.
What to bring camping on Lake Powell
Kammok hammock – I have a Roo single that I love. It’s the color of mac and cheese and pretty light weight. I don’t think as light as Eno if that matters though. But it’s perfect for just regular camping.
RTIC cooler – We have one of those giant coffin sized Yetis, which is great, but this 20 can soft RTIC cooler is a lot more convenient for small trips with easy access to a fridge and ice.
REI Passage 2 Tent – Our tent isn’t available anymore but this one is similar. We’ve used it quite a few times and it’s been great. It’s good for two people, but can be a little cramped if you move around too much.
NEMO Viola sleeping bag – Mine isn’t available anymore but this one is similar. It’s very good in cold weather, not freezing, but in the 40s with leggings on, I was totally fine. It has zipper vent things on the top that are supposed to help it cool down when it’s hot. I don’t know if it really did that. When we camped in south Florida, I was still pretty warm with them open and it was probably in the 60s.
LuminAID lantern – I love this lantern. It’s great for getting around your campsite in the dark, lighting up campground bathrooms at night, and even during power outages at home. You can plug it in to charge it or just let the sun do the work.
REI Ruckpack 18 – This is the daypack I have and it’s awesome. It’s lightweight, has water bottle pockets that my 40-ounce Hydro Flask fits in, and it comes in nice colors.
REI Camp Wrap – This is totally unnecessary, but I love it. It’s basically a blanket poncho and it doubles as a good blanket for sleeping in warmer weather. I used it two nights in south Florida and it was perfect for when my sleeping bag was too hot.
Pillow – If you’re just driving, I’d just bring a regular pillow, but if you’re flying then renting a car, you might want a smaller pillow. This is a good non-inflatible option. Here is a good inflatable option.
Dramamine – this is a must if you get carsick.
Other posts you may like
Have you gone camping on Lake Powell? How was it? Where did you set up camp? Was it tent camping or a houseboat?