Lake Powell, Arizona & Utah, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Powell — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Lake Powell
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Lake Powell Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Lake Powell Gifts
Looking for Lake Powell cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Lake Powell
Lake Powell is located in one of Southern Utah’s most picturesque red-rock desert areas and in Arizona’s Navajo Indian Reservation. It is one of the USA’s most scenic reservoirs. At “full pond” (normal water level) it is the second-largest man-made reservoir in the USA by volume – but drought can reduce that. With 1,900 miles of shoreline, a temperate climate and 160,800 acres to explore, Lake Powell is a utopia for 3+ million visitors seeking recreational opportunities each year.
Lake Powell is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Boating is the major drawing card. Fishing, diving, water skiing, hiking and camping are just some of the other possibilities. Open year round, many sun-seekers come to escape northern winters and to relax in the warmth, exploring spectacular side canyons and coves.
With two National Forests, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and Antelope Canyon nearby, Lake Powell is an ideal starting point for a day’s sightseeing and play. Lake Powell separates Arizona and Utah, providing a giant playground for both states’ residents – and for visitors from all of the USA.
Under the auspices of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lake Powell was formed by the construction of Glen Canyon Dam, impounding the Colorado River. Construction was completed in 1963. Lake Powell was completely filled 17 years later, in 1980. Lake Powell’s primary purpose is as a reservoir for the Upper Colorado Basin. By the Colorado River Compact, it must provide a specified amount of water to the Lower Colorado Basin states. Lake Powell acts as a “sponge” to Lake Mead, enabling Lake Mead to provide power and irrigation water to lower states. Glen Canyon Dam also produces hydropower. Spectacular recreation of all types is a byproduct of the dam and Lake Powell. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operates and maintains the dam, power plant and reservoir, while the National Park Service administers Lake Powell.
Boaters revel in the lake’s gorgeous waters. Fully stocked marinas dot the lake, some accessible only by boat. Everything from 75-foot houseboats to canoes and kayaks can be rented. Houseboating is common, with over 90 scenic canyons and coves to explore. Houseboats can be launched – or rented. Water sports abound with the warm climate, and at full pond boating can be enjoyed over 95% of Lake Powell. The remaining 5% is not navigable due to fluctuating shallow water levels. Launch ramps in both Arizona and Utah are conveniently accessible. For those without boats, cruises and boat sightseeing tours are plentiful.
Anglers enjoy Lake Powell’s striped bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, sunfish and crappie. Fishing is open year round, except in posted areas. Fishing from a houseboat’s comfortable lounge is favored by many.
Developed camping is available at many marinas. Some prefer piloting their boat or houseboat to a beautiful side canyon and roughing it. Camping possibilities are endless and memorable. There are no camping restrictions around Lake Powell, but be careful to note that the lake level can go up or down overnight. Follow the park’s instructions for tying up in the evening.
Geocachers can find dozens of caches around the lake. Although some require steep rock climbs, many are easy to find, log and add to your total.
Lake Powell provides a spectacular setting for all kinds of outdoor activities – and unforgettable memories.
Things to Do at Lake Powell
- Vacation Rentals
- Water Skiing
- National Park
- National Forest
Fish Species Found at Lake Powell
- Black Bass
- Channel Catfish
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Striped Bass
Find Places to Stay at Lake Powell
If you’re considering a Lake Powell lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Powell Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Powell lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Lake Powell Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Not Known
Water Level Control: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Surface Area: 160,800 acres
Shoreline Length: 1,900 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 3,606 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 3,370 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 3,700 feet
Average Depth: 132 feet
Maximum Depth: 560 feet
Water Volume: 27,000,000 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1963
Drainage Area: 108,335 sq. miles
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