Rock Canyons, Clear Waters: Standup Paddling on Arizona’s Lake Powell

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Standup paddle Lake Powell canyons Antelope Canyon Jordan Lapekas
Standup paddle Lake Powell canyons Antelope Canyon Jordan Lapekas

Welcome to Lake Powell, Arizona:  Exquisite Beauty on a Paddleboard!

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Lake Powell, Arizona is one of the world’s top sup destinations. Located in northern Arizona and extending beyond the border into Utah, the majestic rock canyons and natural landscapes discovered along Lake Powell’s shores are unlike anywhere else on earth.

standup paddling on Lake Powell, Arizona
Hundreds of colorful sandstone side canyons, coves and natural wonders make Lake Powell a paradise for fishing, photography and, of course, exploring on your paddleboard!

Lake Powell is located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Utah/Arizona border. There are over 94 major canyon sections to paddle at Lake Powell with over 150 miles of lake to explore!  Paddlers and kayakers alike love to roam among the sheer red rock cliff faces and beautiful, crystal clear, warm waters.  With an average depth of 300 feet, there is NO shortage of water here!   Glen Canyon was the name of the tranquil section of the Colorado River that once meandered through red rock canyons which, after the building of Glen Canyon Dam in 1966, became the stunning blue waters of Lake Powell.

 

standup paddling Lake Powell, Gren Canyon Arizona
With smooth white sandstone landscape features and narrow slots, the Lone Rock Canyon section of the lake looks like something on another planet!

 

Fun Facts about Lake Powell:

The lake is 186 miles long, and with 96 major side canyons with more small ones, it has more than 1,960 miles of shoreline—more than twice the length of the California coastline!

Lake Powell holds up to 27 million acre-feet of water and is 560 feet deep at the dam. That amount would cover the state of Ohio with one foot of water!

There are over 94 major canyons to paddle at Lake Powell, with over 150 miles of lake to explore and constantly fluctuating water levels you will never have seen it all.

It took 17 years for the Colorado River to fill it up. Lake Powell started filling in 1963 and reached full pool for the first time in 1980.

Lake Powell is the second largest reservoir in the United States (Lake Mead in Nevada and Arizona is the largest).

 

standup paddling Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam Arizona
Glen Canyon was the name of the tranquil section of the Colorado River that once meandered through red rock canyons which, after the building of Glen Canyon Dam in 1966, became the stunning blue waters of Lake Powell.

Conditions & Weather:

Average water temperatures on the lake fluctuate from an inviting 82 degrees F in August to a chilly 46 degrees F in February. Warmest water months are July, August and September.

Summer typically is very hot and has late afternoon thunderstorms that pass quickly. Fall is the best time to come because the water is still warm, the wind is light and but most of the tourists have left.

The air temperature runs from the high 90’s in summer to the mid-40’s in winter with some snow. The lake is virtually deserted in the winter making it an amazing winter paddle destination for the hearty paddler. Just be sure to bring a wetsuit with booties!

 

standup paddling on Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Antelope Canyon is one of the most scenic spots on the lake with the tall, majestic, red rock cliffs and narrow slot canyon at the back

Getting there:

You can access Lake Powell from Page, AZ, the ONLY city near Lake Powell. The lake is over 150 miles long and very remote. Other than the Page, AZ section there are no services, restaurants, hotels or gas stations except for just a few far up lake. So come prepared!  Travelers can fly direct to Page from either Denver or Phoenix.

 

standup paddling Lake Powell in Glen Canyon, Arizona
Some canyons wind back over 20 miles with some narrow areas you can only access by SUP or kayak. There is something for every type of paddler on Lake Powell.

Staying there:

You can stay in a hotel in Page, AZ. There are many to choose from. You can also camp at a few spots here. For a truly unique experience plan to paddle over to Antelope Island and camp there. You will have the island practically to yourself and you can be right on the water’s edge.

To really experience Lake Powell at its best is to wake up a dawn and paddle over about 1 mile to Antelope Canyon and experience the glassy conditions that are just unreal!

Another camping spot is at Lone Rock Beach, on the Utah side, where you can camp right on the beach. There are no services here though so you will be roughing it and loving it.

The wildlife at Lake Powell includes Ravens, Big Horn Sheep, coyotes, snakes, hawks, California Condors, and other desert life. On a typical paddle you can expect to see birds of prey, lizards and fish. In the water you only have river fish such as trout, bass, catfish and others. Nothing that bites or stings making it ideal for swimming, relaxing, exploring!  — Jordan Lapekas

For MORE standup paddle adventures in the area, check out:  The Most Absurd, Beautiful and Symbolic Paddleboard Adventure Ever on the Colorado Delta!

Jordan & Joe Lapekas of Lake Powell Paddleboards
Jordan Lapekas of Lake Powell Paddleboards

Jordan Lapekas is owner and proprietor of Lake Powell Paddleboards in Page, AZ with her husband Joe.  Together they are, Team “SUP the USA”. In 2012 the two of them set off an a personal quest to paddle in all 50 states.   Over 120,000 miles later, they’ve accomplished their goal to paddle in all 50 states, including the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico!  Their quest also led them to paddleboard in all the Great Lakes and many of America’s great rivers including the Mississippi, the Potomac, the Charles, the St. Louis, the Arkansas and the Colorado River. They’ve paddled in Bora Bora, Mexico and Europe.  They even honeymooned on their sups!  When they decided it was time to settle down in a special place and set up a local paddleboard shop, they chose Page, Arizona.  Lake Powell Paddleboards is the only shop of it’s kind on Lake Powell and hosts sup board rentals, sup excursions and lessons available from WPA certified instructors.  When you’re in AZ, give them a shout!