7 Unique Ways To Experience Lake Powell and Grand Staircase-Escalante

When you stay at Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase, you will be immersed in the beauty of the American Southwest with rugged red-rock landscapes and adventure at every turn.

This awe-inspiring location is near some of the top attractions in Utah and Arizona, including Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell to name a few. Located on the border of Grand Staircase-Escalante you’re able to hike towering mesas, unwind in a red-rock oasis and enjoy water adventures all in one day. If you’re looking for water sports or to soak up some sun on a beach, you’ll find numerous things to do on and around Lake Powell, just 14-miles from our upscale accommodations. With these bucket list attractions nearby, you’ll find a wide range of activities to explore during your stay at Under Canvas.

Discover the Best Hikes

With nearly 1 million acres of trails, you will want to plan out which of the best hikes in Grand Staircase-Escalante are calling your name. Calf Creek Falls is a popular spot and gives you two waterfall hike choices — the upper and lower falls. Though both hikes are enjoyable, the lower falls are more accessible, an easier hike and more popular due to the over 100-foot waterfall that cascades down into a natural swimming area. Calf Creek Falls is a moderate 6-mile hike where you can see various points of interest along the way including ancient petroglyphs and colorful wildflowers depending on what time of year you visit.

Devil’s Garden is another popular spot for trail-seekers and is located on Hole-in-the-Rock Road. It’s a prime place to see hoodoos, abstract rock formations and majestic arches. There are no official hiking trails, but you can easily navigate the rock formations or even enjoy a picnic with a view. Bringing the kids? This is also a great place to bring little hikers who are eager to explore. Remember, no matter where or when you hike, to pack enough water as you will be hiking in extreme desert conditions.

Girl standing in Antelope CanyonGirl standing in Antelope Canyon

Chase Slot Canyons

Grand Staircase-Escalante is home to countless slot canyons or narrow gorges formed by natural rushing water and Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase even has a slot canyon on-site, named Elephant Canyon. The area is also home to  Antelope Canyon, one of the most photographed slot canyons in the world. Travelers from all over are awed by the way the sun shimmers through the curved sandstone walls. Since Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land and also holds great spiritual importance to the Navajo people, a Navajo tour guide is required to see it. Reserve your tour in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on seeing this incredible slot canyon.

With a moderate 3.5-mile hike you can also visit the Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons. Unlike other hard-to-reach slot canyons, these neighboring canyons don’t require any technical skills or permits. Here, you’ll carve through tight spaces and encounter natural wonders. With Spooky Canyon being one of the narrowest treks, at only 10-inches wide in some legs of the journey, you’re in for a fun and challenging hike.

Sunset view at Horseshoe Bend

Catch a Horseshoe Bend Sunset

Watching this stunning display of the sun moving across red and pink sandstone cliffs will be a highlight of your trip — and your Instagram feed! Whether you’re catching a Horseshoe Bend sunrise or sunset, the view will leave you speechless. The Horseshoe Bend hike out and back is a relatively easy 1.5-mile roundtrip distance from the trailhead to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. To see Horseshoe Bend from a different perspective, take a boat trip on the Colorado River and cruise around the bend. Another option is to enjoy the view from above with a helicopter or airplane tour. No matter how you see it, you’re in for a memorable experience.

Walk With Dinosaurs

At Grand Staircase-Escalante, you can walk where dinosaurs roamed millions of years ago. Over 20 species of dinosaurs have been uncovered in this national monument area. The Kaiporawits Plateau is home to the largest number of paleontological excavation sites within the monument. If you want to trace their footsteps, you can explore Twenty Mile Wash Dinosaur Trackway, one of the largest dinosaur trackways in the world with over 800 individual tracks along the way.

Boat on the water on Lake Powell

Cruise Lake Powell

With 186-miles of beautiful blue water, the best way to explore Lake Powell is by boat. You can rent powerboats, pontoons, party boats, or jet skis for your water adventure. If you don’t have a need for speed, you can kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP) on Lake Powell. In fact, Lake Powell is one of the world’s top SUP destinations, so this activity comes highly recommended.

Lake Powell boat tours are a perfect way to soak in all of the natural beauty around you without having to navigate on your own. You can get up close to Antelope Canyon, see Glen Canyon Dam, and view towering Navajo sandstone formations from the water.

Looking to enjoy Lake Powell from land? Check out Lone Rock Beach for unparalleled views while you relax on the sand beach or take a dip in the crystal blue waters. Lone Rock is the perfect place to enjoy time with family and is dog-friendly. Pack a picnic for a water-side lunch, and don’t forget to bring the sunscreen.

The Rainbow Bridge near Lake Powell

See One of the World’s Tallest Natural Bridges

While Rainbow Bridge in Lake Powell was discovered by settlers only a century ago, Native Americans have regarded it as a sacred symbol for centuries due to its bridge-like shape and massive size. It is known to be one of the largest natural bridges in the world. In the Navajo culture, this symbol is believed to be responsible for creating clouds, rain and rainbows, essential for life in the desert. You can get to Rainbow Bridge National Monument by taking a scenic Lake Powell boat trip, hiking a strenuous 16-mile trail starting at the Navajo Nation or by way of horseback.

Woman walking on The Wave in Grand Staircase-Escalante

Ride The Wave

Though you can’t surf in the desert, if you visit The Wave in Grand Staircase-Escalante you can strike a pose and pretend you’re riding the red, orange and yellow sandstone formations that look like massive waves. The Wave is in the north section of Coyote Buttes, between Paria Canyon and Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Although, visiting this natural beauty takes some planning. Due to its popularity, permits are granted to only 20 people per day in an effort to preserve its natural beauty for years to come.

With so many unique experiences to choose from, you’ll want to make the most of your stay. Our Guest Experience Coordinators are here to help you plan your adventures. After your adventure-filled day, retreat to safari-inspired accommodations to relax and recharge beneath the starry desert sky at Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase. Our upscale canvas tents are fitted with plush king-size beds, ensuite bathrooms with hot, running water and flushing toilets along with on-site dining and activities. Here, you can connect with the wonders of the American Southwest without sacrificing the comforts of home. Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase is now bookable for stays starting April 1, 2021.

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