Kayaking Lake Powell without the crowds

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
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Kayaking Lake Powell — without the crowds
Question: I am planning a trip to Lake Powell the first week in September. I have backpacked a lot in southern Utah, but this is my first foray into the world of kayak camping. What information can you give me about parts of the lake to paddle that are far from the power-boating crowds? Also, I’ll need to rent a kayak for the week — any ideas on that? Thanks for your help.

Kate Turner
Arlington, VA
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: September is the perfect month to tour Lake Powell via kayak. The water will be a balmy 80 degrees, with daily air temperatures hovering in the same range. Plus, by September, most of the jet-skiers and power boaters have gone home. Because Lake Powell has 1,960 miles of shoreline — more than the coast of California — you won’t have much trouble finding secluded fingerlets. The best rule is to paddle north past Rainbow Bridge National Monument and to stay away from Wahweap Marina.

One particularly gorgeous area is the San Juan arm, a quiet haven for kayakers, but also a mega-haul from Page, where you’re likely to start your trip. A little closer is the West Canyon where you’ll find a great 4- to 5-mile hike at the end of the bay.

In Page, there are two outfitters that rent kayaks. The first is Twin Fin (520-645-3114) which has sit-atop kayaks for $35 per day (singles) or $140 per week. Tandems cost $45 per day and $180 per week. The other option is Red Rocks Cyclery (520-645-1479), which has single touring kayaks for $40 per day, $160 per week, or tandems for $50 per day, $200 per week. Both shops prefer that you make reservations two weeks in advance. Be sure to pick up the Stan Jones map of Lake Powell ($3.95) at either store before you head out into the 250-mile long lake. When you pick up your kayak, you can get specific details tailored to your trip, but the general rule is that you can camp anywhere, as long as you bring a portable toilet on overnights, which can be rented at Twin Fin.

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