Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase sits on a red rock canyon rim plateau that overlooks Lake Powell—just 20 minutes from the Wahweap Marina which is an ideal launch point for all your South Lake Powell adventures. At the marina you can rent a variety of motorized boats to explore the area and all its natural wonders. It’s no question that there is an abundance of things to see and do from the water while at Lake Powell, so make sure to allow for a full day of exploring. Here are our top five suggested sites to see and enjoy while on the water at Lake Powell:
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Sacred to Najajo culture, Rainbow Bridge is one of the largest known natural bridges in the world and is accessible via boat on Lake Powell. The natural sandstone bridge rises up from the shores of Lake Powell and is 290 feet tall and 270 feet across, creating quite a sight to see. This location is tucked 50 miles northeast of the Wahweap Marina so plan for a 2 hour ride to get to Forbidding Canyon where Rainbow Bridge is located. Forbidding Canyon is found between mile markers 49 & 50 and will be on your right hand side. Once you enter the canyon there are plenty of signs which will guide you to Rainbow Bridge National Monument. This location does require you to dock your boat and hike in a short distance to get to the base of the arch.
On your way back, make a stop at the famed Dangling Rope Marina at mile marker 40, which is only accessible via boat. You can stop for fuel and some snacks but don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the towering red sandstone that makes the backdrop for this unique marina.
Lone Rock is a solitary white rock formation that towers out of the middle of Lake Powell. It is visible from Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase and famed for the white sand beach that lays across the water. Anchor your boat on the shore and enjoy a picnic lunch on the white sand beach or enjoy some stand up paddling and kayaking in the crystal, calm waters. Whether enjoying by land or boat, Lone Rock is a natural formation that is a must-see once launching your boat from the Wahweap Marina.
The Sand Hill
Sand Hill is easy to spot and not far from Lone Rock Beach. This large, white sandy hill sits against a rocky outcrop where you can anchor your boat and climb your way to the top. When you’ve taken in the surrounding sights and are ready to get back on the water, enjoy the fun of coming down—rolling, sliding, running…whatever sounds like your idea of fun! This unique location at Lake Powell is a great stop while exploring the area, perfect for the whole family to enjoy together.
Padre Bay is the largest expanse of open water on Lake Powell, offering a variety of different natural attractions worth exploring. Located at mile marker 22, this area is perfect for anchoring and exploring by kayak or stand up paddleboard as the waters are calmer. Along the way, you may want to stop at one of the many sand beaches in the bay and enjoy sunbathing or a picnic (be sure to snag a grab-n-go lunch from Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase’s main lobby tent for your visit). There are many other spots to see in Padre Bay, including Hole in the Roof, a naturally formed rock pool often referred to as “The Toilet Bowl”. This natural rock structure can be observed from your boat and if waters are high enough it’s also a popular place for adrenaline-seekers to enjoy cliff jumping and swimming. Cookie Jar Butte, which juts out of the water with the appearance of a cookie jar, is another worthwhile spot to check out nearby. Before the day is done, you can take your boat out to explore a number of other buttes, mesas, and rock pools in the area.
Horseshoe Bend via Colorado River
Another popular attraction to see around the Lake Powell area is the popular Horseshoe Bend. This trip requires a boat tour but is definitely worth it to float down the Colorado River, winding around the curves and bends that make up Horseshoe Bend—with the opportunity to see the beloved formation from a different, more unique vantage point. You can also kayak or paddleboard down the river through Horseshoe Bend but you will need to pay for a service to transport you back up-river after you have completed the adventure to Lee’s Ferry.
There is so much to see and do during your stay at Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase and one of the best ways to explore this incredible landscape is by boat. Although the spots mentioned above are great to check out during your boating adventure, we also feel that the best way to experience Lake Powell is just by exploring the water’s inlets and canyons without an agenda. Add a Paddleboard and Picnic enhancement to your reservation and bring along all the goods you’ll need on your boat ride to explore the tight slot canyons along the way. Stop at one of the many sandy beaches along the way at Lone Rock or Padre Bay to enjoy your seasonal picnic lunch. After a sun-filled adventure on Lake Powell, retreat back to your upscale safari-inspired accommodations, rinse off in a hot water shower, and get ready to enjoy a sunset dinner on our outdoor patio while reminiscing on the day’s adventures on Lake Powell.