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Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August
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Author:  ShakaGeoff [ Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August


I'm going to be traveling across the country from Illinois to god only knows where to sail my AI in some different spots. I am keeping it pretty loose so far, but have decided I really want to get on Lake Powell... I'd rather float down through Glen Canyon, but I guess I'll just have to sail over it.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone sails around there regularly, and has any advice on a few items:

1. Ideas for multi-day trips... I'd sort of like to see Rainbow Bridge, but I guess that might be a pretty popular spot. I'm looking to take a trip anywhere from 3-7 days and was wondering ideas for put in spots put in so I can hit up some good placed to camp that are slightly off the beaten track, or places that lend to good hiking from pull out spots, etc.

2. Day sailing - anyone want to join?

3. Accommodations/camping/cabins... unfortunately, I have to some work on the road so looking for a place where I can get a decent cell signal for hotspot or camping/cabins with wi-fi or cheap places to stay with internet - that also might be close to put in spots on the lake for day sailing. And also any other ides for car camping even if no internet possibilities that might be places where I can camp close to put in spots... I was there once but have no idea how easy it is to find places to put in - I just remember jumping in from some red rock.

4. Can you get close to Glen Canyon Dam from the lake, or do they limit your distance? Just curious.

And any other advice and info on what kind of wind conditions I might typically be dealing with that time of year. I understand it will be wicked hot but I think I can handle that part - we'll see.

Thanks Much!

Author:  hobieutah [ Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

We did a spring sail from Bullfrog to Smith Fork two years ago in my TI. I think Rainbow Bridge would be very ambitious from any starting point. I've done paddle trips out of the all the major marinas and it is hard to go wrong. Your best bet might be to stay in Page and launch out of Antelope Point. If Rainbow Bridge looks to be too far, there are a lot of interesting canyons around Padre Bay (West, Labyrinth). Maybe just some easy sailing from Lone Rock beach if you felt like car camping. I've never seen predictable winds on the lake. The main channel can get extremely choppy. Afternoon thunderstorms that time of year are predictable so keep an eye on the weather and stay safe. For "off the beaten track", I'd recommend this as a source.
http://www.amazon.com/Boaters-Guide-Pow ... 944510248/

Author:  Chekika [ Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

Just off the top of my head, Lake Powell would be a great place to sail. I think you can camp any place you find suitable, but don't expect any internet service. Before going any further, let me warn you that very nasty afternoon storms on any of the lakes in western US mainland are common.

Fishing can be good on Lake Powell depending on the time of the year.

If I had my choice, one of the lakes I would love to sail on would be Yellowstone Lake in YNP--if you have never been to Yellowstone, that is a must stop. At least one person has taken his AI on Shoshone Lake. You definitely have to be looking for a bit of an adventure to get your boat up Lewis River Channel to Shoshone Lake. The beauty of Shoshone Lake is that it is like a mini (micro?) Yellowstone w/o all the people. There are many backcountry campsites on Yellowstone & Shoshone. Here is a link to info about both lakes: http://home.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/3maps.pdf Both of these lakes are about 8000' and represent cold-water sailing. Comments above about storms and internet apply to these lakes.

Jackson Lake in the Teton National Park would be hard to beat. Absolutely spectacular Rocky Mountain setting. For natural beauty, it is hard to beat the Tetons.

Heron Lake in northern New Mexico is a nice lake to sail. Northern NM is neat because it is so close to Indian heritage sites like Chaco, Mesa Verde, Bandolier. Of course, if you want to get some trout fly fishing in, this (& southern Colorado) is the area to do it. Navajo Lake is another possibility with some truly world-class fly fishing in NM below the dam. Navajo Lake has a variety of fishing and camping. BTW, northern NM is generally 7000' plus, so it is not nearly as warm as Arizona and Lake Powell. Nights are almost always cool.

All wilderness areas in the west and many urban areas are subject to bear predators, so you have to take precautions and use common sense. At the same time, people hike and camp in these areas all the time, so you don't need to let that deter you.

Montana is a surprisingly beautiful state with many large lakes: Flathead, McDonald, Hebgen, St Mary, Hungry Horse, Quake, and Bitterroot, to name some.


Author:  ShakaGeoff [ Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

Thanks to both of you for the advice, I appreciate it. I have a keen eye for storms and know the tendencies of how they tend to build in the mountain west during the afternoons. Hopefully I won't get caught off guard, I've been living in Hawaii for some time. I hope to see some ripping storms during my visit (how I miss them)... but not while I'm sailing. And bears too... I have done plenty of backpacking so I know how to properly hang food... etc. As long as there isn't Grizz in the area, I'm much less concerned...

But if I go to this spot in Yellowstone area then I might have to worry a bit about being back in the food chain. I appreciate the ideas for other spots like this... I will likely take you up on one or a couple if such spots. I love NM and would love to get back to Chaco Pueblo, so I might try to find the lake you mentioned there as well.

The advice and suggestions are very much appreciated, keep them coming if you have them! Relly appreciate the Powell specific launching/camping ideas.


Author:  beebrain [ Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

I am planning a sailing camping trip on Yellowstone Lake at end of July. I will be in one AI and one "Frankencraft", a TI with a canoe substituted for one of the amas (!) to increase passenger/gear capacity. 3 night trip. Hoping for some but not raging wind. I would like to try Shoshone Lake. I was there many years ago in a K2 whitewater boat, and before that in canoes. I don't remember the Lewis River channel specifically enough to know how it would be in an Island, but I believe one could do it. The bugaboo on these lakes for canoes is wind/waves, and that's much less problem for the Island boats, though I would still want to avoid the thunderstorm squalls.
I would love to try Lake Powell, too, and I hope you will post your experiences.
I recently sailed Black Canyon below Lake Mead and Hoover Dam (put in at Willow Beach Marina, not too far south of Las Vegas. Strong upcanyon winds, kinda hairy sailing down the narrow canyon against them, but I did make progress. (and sailing upcanyon was a piece of cake despite significant current). Nice place, with hot springs in side canyons. Go Sunday and Monday to avoid powerboats, Keep in mind the possibility of big changes in river levels due to dam release upstream; always tie in way uphill, be prepared to move boats over exposed beach.
Late in the summer, in the far west (Lake Mead, etc) I'd be tempted to join you if invited. If you want to sail the Pacific around Southern California, I'm about 60 miles inland and could put you up (and provide internet) and point the way. Not much in the way of camping possibilities, there, though. The coast is too populated.

Author:  coachstevo [ Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

If you want to see big ripping t-storms you need to make your way down to phoenix or Tucson...

If you decide to keep coming west- the Americas cup will be going on here in San Francisco. The sailing isn't bad here eitherr.!

Author:  Crazy4DaRiver [ Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

AS mentioned storms can come in FAST and stay.
I Do Havasu every year sometimes twice a year. There have been days of absolutely no wind ever and days when it was 30 knots. Still fun but I do off-shore more than lakes so this is not a worry

Author:  RiverSailor702 [ Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

I am down here in Parker AZ, been here for two weeks now. Some days are calm and others are blowing 15-20. Been having a blast. I am putting a trip together from Hoover Dam to Laughlin. The trip will take 3-4 days, camping, fishing and hiking. I hope to do it in September.

Author:  ShakaGeoff [ Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

Thanks again for the advice and offer for a place to stay (beebrain)! I would love to join you on Yellowstone Lake in late July, but I think that will be too early for me... please do post your experience there as I just got turned onto this idea myself. I think I might need to make a hammock if I do as I don't sleep as well on land in Grizz country. Nothing like being back in the food chain to keep you alert.

I'll keep in touch via this forum and reach out if I make it to SoCal... trying to nail down plans for sailing Powell possibly as early as the 29th... we'll see. I'm just trying to get my head wrapped around it.


Author:  walt [ Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

The family (four of us plus 2 dogs) took four one week trips to Lake Powell using a sailboat to travel and live on and brought along some kayaks to explore canyons with. The last year we went, we carted along an AI. I took a bunch of pictures of the trip and put them all here http://analogengineering.com/sail/powell/

All of our trips were in June and we launched at Bullfrog. I would absolutely recommend that trip but also will give some cautions. One is that we had the shade of a bimini on the sailboat and this was very important in making things pleasant. Water was a pleasant 78 to 84F so doing a lot of swimming also made things pleasant. I have not explored around Page but think that area is more open than around Bullfrog. In the Bullfrog area, you may have miles of canyon where it would pretty much be impossible to get off the lake - just steep walls on either side. Also, from around the first of July to near the end of August is Monsoon season and I don’t know about Lake Powell but its a time of year to watch for flash floods. Not important on the lake but something to care about if you get way up to the end of some of the side canyons.

I think my favorite trip there was up the Escalante River launching from Bullfrog. That would be a long trip - you might put in 40 or 50 miles just getting way up the Escalante river..

Good adventure. I recently heard one person’s definition of an adventure. "At some point during the trip, you wish you were not there"..

Author:  Chekika [ Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

Walt's warning about flash floods up some of these "narrow" canyons is very good advice. If you have never seen a flash flood in some of the arroyos (narrow canyon), they are quite amazing and very dangerous. In minutes, a dry river bed can go to a 400' wide raging river with trees, logs, and other hazards being swept along. And, the scary part is, it does not have to be raining where you are. A heavy rain 10-20 miles away can result in a flash flood in your canyon, as the rain runoff concentrates in the few canyons available and works its way down to a lake or river. Being on the lake isolates you some from the flood, but you would not want to be close to the confluence of the flash flood and the lake/river.

When camping, you want to above the "flood plain." Look around, does it look like high water has passed near your campsite at any time? Obviously, camp higher if it looks problematic. Of course, tie your boat off on a high point.

We had one experience when car camping. We had just crossed the Colorado River at the very north end of Lake Powell--it is near Hite, UT. By the way, there is a marina at Hite with access to Lake Powell. This is a beautiful high desert region--lots of national parks and monuments. We couldn't reach our destination to camp before dark, so we pulled off State Hwy 95 onto a dirt road and proceeded about a half mile. There was a nice little site big enough to camp 30-40 ft above a gulch (an arroyo, if you wish.) We had never seen a flash flood and never gave the possibility a thought. It is hard to think of it raining in that very arid, beautiful land. We set up camp, had dinner, and went to bed. During the night I woke up to what sounded like very strong winds. Several times I unzipped the tent, looked out, only to find no wind and a perfectly clear starry night. Even then, I could hear the "winds," but could see nothing.

We were amazed in the morning to find our dirt road, which crossed the gully (we planned to cross on the road and explore the country side), our dirt road was under about 6-8 ft of mud, debris, sand, and rocks. Amazing. A flash flood had roared down that narrow canyon while we slept a feet away. I will never forget the experience. It was an eye-opener. The rain, the source of the flood, occurred so far away, we did not even notice it. Maybe we noticed some lighting 10-20 mi away.

We have since witnessed a flash flood in the much bigger Gobernador Canyon near Navajo Lake/San Juan River in northwest New Mexico. This flash flood spread 500-600' across the canyon floor and swept everything in its way down to the SJ River. To witness a flash flood is very memorable.


Author:  beebrain [ Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

In Yellowstone, there are indeed grizzlies. Sleeping on boat in a hammock could be problematic, though, because the NPS regulates camp sites closely, and many of the sites require that the boat be completely removed from the water. Also, sleeping on your boat could have you sleeping with your food, a real bad idea in bear country (and against NPS regs), and Grizzlies can swim.
There are a few sites that are on-boat camping only, but I think those require your boat has a toilet.
Although there are Grizzlies, most of the lakeside camps are occupied most days of the season, and people are not getting eaten in their tents. I have been there when certain campsites were closed because of known bear activity hazards (an elk carcass, for instance). Just like sailing, if you take precautions, you are usually, but not guaranteed 100%, safe, and if you don't, you are more at risk, though you usually get away with it.
I think a much bigger hazard is very cold water, combined with mountain weather.

Author:  Chekika [ Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

Bb is right about the bears--grizzly & black in Yellowstone, but unless you are hiking on a real backcountry trail, I doubt you will run into a grizzly. Black bears are every where, and, in my opinion more dangerous than a grizzly. Remember the rules: play dead if attacked by a grizzly; fight back if attacked by a black bear. Grizzlies like to leave their dead prey for later consumption. Black bears are looking for an immediate meal. NEVER have anything smelly in your tent. Use odorless deodorant. Hang your food or use canisters. I like bear canisters, but Yellowstone prohibits them as of the last time I was there. Yellowstone does provide nice hanging poles at all their designated backcountry campsites. Places like Glacier Bay National Park require all your food be placed in canisters. Place the canisters 50-100 yds from your campsite. If you come across any bear, stop, do not look them in the eye, and slowly back away. Of course, there is bear spray. Not bad to have a can or 2 for insurance. It is effective against most bears, but may be temporary, so it is a good idea to move out of the area as quickly as possible. There is some safety in numbers. More people, more safety. Given the almost infinitesimally small chance you will be attacked by a bear if you follow the rules, it is a good idea to be sure your car insurance is up to date because the chances of having a car accident going to Yellowstone are significant.

BTW, remember rule #1, never run. Bears love a chase. It is a challenge and bears love a challenge. You cannot outrun or climb higher than a bear. And, they are probably better swimmers than you are, especially in cold water. Don't panic. If a bear gets near your camp, stand your ground. Stand together and make lots of noise. Rattle pots and pans. If necessary, grab a blanket/sleeping bag/tarp and make it as large as possible. Flap it. Bears respect size.

Frankly, I am very alert in bear country, and I have had a couple encounters with grizzlies in Glacier Bay NP--one of which was quite serious, at least in my mind. Still the facts are that the last known fatal bear attack in Glacier Bay was more than 30 yrs ago. I also had a black bear sniffing my tent, inches from me, in Valle Vidal Wilderness here in northern NM. Fortunately, most black bears know that people are very dangerous and keep their distance. We do carry bear spray. I do not carry a gun, concealed or otherwise, even though I live in Florida most of the time.


Author:  ShakaGeoff [ Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

Thanks again for the advice on Powell & Yellowstone/Grizzlies. I've arrived at Lake Powell and have a plan, so I'll share what I've learned and am planning on doing...

First, thanks for the advice on flash floods, monsoon season and the like. I have never witnessed a flash flood in the american west but am well aware of how they happen. Ed Abbey wrote a great essay of a deep country Jeep adventure through these parts from back in the day and getting a tire replaced while stuck in a wash moments before a flood hit. Anyway, I'm told by rangers here that the sites on the lake are fairly safe against flash floods and that most caution should be take if hiking any narrow slot canyons and the like. I'll be acutely aware of my surroundings when it comes to this part of it - of course, when storms that fuel the floods can happen tens of miles or more away, I guess sometimes one might not get warning... The highwater mark around camps and the like was very good advice, thanks to all who are looking out for my safety.

So, like "wait" I will launch from Bullfrog - or actually Hall's Crossing across the way. And I have figured out that Escalante River is the destination with the most natural beauty, so it's my plan to hoof it with the AI wind or no wind the 50 miles or so it will take to get up in there.... that does not include the mileage of diversions that can be had. I went ahead and bought the guide book of the lake for boaters someone suggested here it's good. I'm really stoked about it. I'll have 9 total days on the water... Escalente is supposedly reminiscent of what Glen Canyon looked like before they killed it. So, I'm looking forward to having a glimpse of that.

I'm slightly concerned about doing it during monsoon season. I've seen some dandy storms already only being here a few days, but there's nothing I can do about them but hope to avoid them when I'm on stretches of the lake I can't get off. But, in the end I think I'll survive them. I will be ready to be "exposed" to the elements in every way.

I get the idea light winds under normal conditions might be all I get out here this time of year. One house boater tells me by afternoon time, I should have light winds anyway. I went out in the AM just on the Adventure kayak, and I had some very light winds pick up in the Weahweap area.

The bimini shade would be nice, but I'll have to survive the heat without one. I went down the Mississippi River for 8 days in the south during 100 degree weather, 125 heat index with humidity, so I think this dry heat will be a pleasure.

I take off this Saturday. Yippie! I'll report back and then focus on my next destination... maybe Yellowstone, but I've been turned onto some other ideas so I don't know...

Aloha from Utah...

Author:  Chekika [ Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Questions on Sailing Lake Powell in July/August

Great to hear you are out there. Hot, hot, hot! You might consider buying a large beach umbrella for shade when you stop. I used mine on my 7-day, solo trip last spring. http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&start=255 Scroll down until you come to "Flamingo to Chokoloskee," and then scroll thru that story until you see it. Very useful. Consider looking at Weather.com for long-range forecast in your area. I used them to plan my 7-day trip and they were spot on. Out here in northern New Mexico, I have been using them for daily forecasts (precisely when is it going to rain?) and they are very good again.

You are in the middle of some of the most beautiful country in the world. Going further south, just gets hotter. If you have time go NW to Bryce Canyon NP. Spectacular but can be warm during day. If you get to Bryce, you can find some cool weather over at Cedar Breaks NM--cool weather at 10,000' and no crowds. Capital Reef NP and Canyonlands NP are beautiful. And Arches NP near Moab is interesting and beautiful--Moab is a great stopover. Rent a mountain bike and do some fun (and/or serious) mountain biking in the mountain-biking capital of the world. They have shuttles to take you up, so you can ride down through some beautiful country.

Be careful in everything you do. This is not forgiving country, but it is worth the effort.

Be sure to take tons of pictures and post the best.

BYW, we are over here in northern NM, if you come by this way. We are at 9500'. Overnight lows are 45-50 deg, highs are about 75-78 deg. Monsoon season, so it rains almost every day.


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