Tour City, aka Lake Powell

Lake Powell Wahweap Campground
April 24 – 30, 2019

We had so looked forward to Lake Powell. We’d heard good things and built it up in our minds. So of course it didn’t live up to our expectations. We imagined something with a National park feel, but what we found was tour central. Boat tours, canyon tours, kayak tours, dam tours, and tour buses disgorging tourists everywhere.

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The lake is extremely low making the walk from the campground down to the beach about a mile.

One weekday I went to the Safeway in town and found 3 tour buses parked in the lot. When I came out there were 3 different tour buses taking their place. Needless to say the store was crazy busy. 

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The bridge in front of the dam. 

We had hoped for some ranger programs but in reality there were hardly any rangers to be found. They were at the Wahweap and Lone Rock entrance booths, but not at the information counter in the Glen Canyon Visitor’s Center which is really more of a tour desk for the dam. I thought we could get some information on things to do, but they basically referred me to the same pamphlet I had. And even though that pamphlet said they would have information about kayaking, they didn’t. So I went back to my online research.

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Glenn Canyon Dam

The campground was pricey, but others had raved about it so we decided to splurge. Turned out to be a huge disappointment. True there were some 5 star sites, and some 4 star sites, but our site was barely 3 stars. With 3 feet between us and our neighbor, our view was the side of their trailer and we were awoken in the wee hours by their door slamming as they prepared to head out fishing. If you want a good site don’t do the senior discount rate and request loop C, B, or A where the sites are spaced further apart. See Chuck’s Campendium review for more details.

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We had a tiny view when our neighbors pulled out (that concrete is their site).
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Views from one of the sites in B loop.

On the upside the views of the lake were stunning especially with the evening light. I took to walking the campground loops daily so I could enjoy the views.

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We drove about 25 minutes to Antelope Marina to kayak. Even though the public boat ramp is closed due to low water levels, it’s still open to kayaks, you just have to scurry down a steep sandy hill at the foot of the boat ramp.

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The boat ramp is way steeper than it appears in this photo, especially when you’re walking back up!

From the ramp we headed left (west) along the shore. The water soon turned choppy as speed boats created waves that bounced off the canyon walls. We hit one spot where the waves were about three feet. Chuck was on the phone and I was having a hard time directing the boat. “I think I better hang up.” Thank goodness! I thought we were going to hit the kayak and/or the paddle board passing us in the opposite direction.

After a bit we came to Antelope Canyon and turned in. There were still quite a few motor boats and many didn’t follow the 5mph no wake rule, but as we went further back the canyon narrowed and the water got calmer.

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This is not like the Antelope Canyon you see in the photos—that’s further up where the canyon narrows quite a bit and there is no water. Still there were some cool views and it was not like any kayaking we’d done before.

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Eventually we ended at a sandy beach in the canyon where we found some shade and ate our lunch.

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There were people hiking back into the canyon, but I’m not sure how far you can go. It’s illegal without a guide to head into the official Antelope Slot Canyon.

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The view heading deeper into the canyon.

Heading back out the water was calmer in the canyon as there were fewer boats, but once we got out on the main lake we were bouncing around again.

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Almost back out to the main lake.

We haven’t kayaked in months. Boy were my arms and shoulders sore for the next few days!

An Antelope Canyon hiking tour wasn’t in our plans (it’s pretty spendy and seems like a cattle call), but I did want to see a slot canyon so I planned a hike to Buckskin Gulch via Wire Pass.  Then the forecast called for rain and you don’t want to be in a slot canyon if there’s the chance of rain (flash flood danger) so we had to bail. 

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Our consolation prize was this amazing rainbow. So that’s it for our Lake Powell adventure. Other than the great kayaking we were kinda underwhelmed by it all. 

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