Navajo Lake, Utah, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Utah - Color Country -

A piece of Mother Nature’s finest work describes the beauty of the area surrounding Navajo Lake in the Dixie National Forest in the southwest corner of Utah in Kane County. Located on the Markagunt Plateau, one of the largest and highest plateaus in Utah, the 9,042 feet elevation makes this lake a cool alternative to summer’s extreme heat and is a popular summer recreation area. Because of the high elevation, the Paiute Indians referred to it as Cloud Lake. In the middle 1800’s there was a violent battle between the cattlemen from nearby Cedar City and a Navajo raiding party at the lake, and from then on the lake was known as Navajo Lake.

Formed thousands of years ago when lava cut off the upper part of Duck Creek’s drainage area, Navajo Lake is fed by ground water; the main outlet are sinkholes on the east end of the lake, as no surface outflow exists for the lake. Water from the sink holes disappears underground and comes out again at the Duck Creek Spring and some drains toward the Pacific Ocean via Cascade Falls and the Virgin River. In low water years, the lake could be completely drained but in the early 1930’s a dike was built to maintain water levels. Although the dike is set to maintain the lake’s level to 13 to 16 feet deep, summer evaporation, seepage, and a release of irrigation water through a built-in pipe still can decrease the water level lower than that by the end of most summers.

During the summer, boating, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing are enjoyed in the 700+ acres of pristine water. Once early winter arrives, the activities change to snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice fishing. Anglers will enjoy the year round challenge for rainbow trout, German trout, brook trout, splake and cutthroat. Boats and fishing gear can be rented from nearby outfitters. Vacation rentals and accommodations around the lake include a lodge, cabins, and campgrounds. Summer homes dot the landscape, and real estate is available for those who desire a permanent location to enjoy the fun.

Dixie National Forest gained its name in the mid-1800’s when Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormon settlers, sent a group to explore southern Utah. As this group passed through the town of Saint George, they noticed a large “D” painted near the top of the southern most mountain. Since it was the “south” mountain, this group proclaimed it was for Dixie as no one could provide the real meaning of the painting, so the name remains to this day. But there is no mystery to wonderful things for your enjoyment that can be found in the forest. Many lakes, other than Navajo Lake, and creeks provide easy access to water. Bike trails, hiking trails, horseback riding, backpacking, camping, boating, waterskiing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, picnicking, fishing, ATV trails, snowmobile trails, and deer hunting are allowed in the forest. Lava beds abound and create areas that allow visitors to see the volatility of nature. Mammoth Cave is actually a lava tube that was formed by cooling lava and water that can be explored with proper preparation. Ice Cave is also a lava-formed creation and requires more experienced exploring due the year round ice found inside the slippery cave. Lodges, cabins, and campgrounds are located throughout the two million acres of the forest for accomodations.

A few miles from Navajo Lake is Zion National Park which was named by 19th century Mormon settlers who proclaimed the mountains were natural temples of God; they called the area Zion after the heavenly city described in the Bible. The area was slowly created over two million years by water, snow and ice eroding the rock foundations to produce this spectacular awe-inspiring creation. Also, once home to Anasazi and Paiute Native Americans, there are 26 known sites in the park that contain petroglyphs or rock art, abandoned cliff houses, and chipping sites. With its deep red canyons, towering cliffs, mesas, and buttes, this natural playground attracts hikers, backpackers, and casual observers to challenge and enjoy its unique splendor. Impressive rock formations or landmarks throughout the park include Temple of Sinawava, the Great White Throne, and Cathedral Mountain. Hiking trails range from daring climbs along the canyon rims to easy walks by the Weeping Rock Trail to paved trails for handicap accessibility that make the park home to some of the best hiking in Utah, while some might boast perhaps the best hiking in the United States. Vacation rentals for your stay here include cabins, a lodge, motel, and a RV park.

Bryce Canyon National Park, a short ten miles northwest from Dixie National Forest and Navajo Lake, is not really a canyon at all. The canyon was named after Ebenezer Bryce, an early Mormon settler, who homesteaded here in the 1870’s. Described as the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau that extends down 1000 feet, is about 20 miles long and includes 36,000 acres that make up 14 amphitheaters of natural rock formations, Bryce Canyon is a four-season destination that proclaims the spectacular scenery is even more beautiful topped with pristine white snow and glistening layers of ice. Miles of hiking trails are designed with all levels of ability including a family-friendly trail with spots for families to splash around in the cool water; these trails double as snowshoe trails during the snowy days of winter. Visitors will delight in observing wildlife scurrying around the park including animals on the Endangered Species list thriving and multiplying including the Utah Prairie Dog, the California Condor, and the Peregrine Falcon. Overnight accommodations for a stay here include a lodge and campgrounds but are only open from early spring to late fall.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is located on the western edge of the Markagunt Plateau which is the same plateau where Navajo Lake is located. The colorful rock formations here have no equal as analysts have identified more than 50 different hues in the impressive display of nature. In fact, the Paiute named the colorful amphitheatre “circle of painted cliffs.” Today’s name is a misnomer as there are no cedar trees in the high elevation area, but early settlers mistakenly called the local juniper trees cedars and the name survived to present time. Few visitors include this impressive monument in their vacation itinerary in favor of spending more time in the larger Zion and Bryce Canyon Parks, but the intense colors, meadows of wild flowers, the impressive 2500 foot depth is magnificent and worth a minor detour as you travel to other destinations. However, plan your trip during the summer months as deep snow closes the main road from late October to late May. A campground is located in the National Monument but be forewarned that even on the hottest summer day, night time temperatures can drop to as low as 30 degrees.

Kane County boasts that it “offers easier access to more National Parks and Monuments that any other place on earth.” With 95 percent of the county lands administered by State and Federal Agencies, the opportunities for outdoor adventure are limited only by your imagination. In addition to Dixie National Forest, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument, a short drive from Navajo Lake will take you to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Pipe Spring National Monument, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Throughout the county, vacation rentals are plentiful for your stay and include lodges, resorts, cabins, bed and breakfast inns, private home rentals, campgrounds and motels for all budgets.

Known as the Color Country Tourism Region in Utah, it is easy to understand how this area gained that title. Whether it is the many shades located in the geologically formed playgrounds with multihued rock formations, or the brightly colored foliage that surrounds Navajo Lake in the Dixie National Forest, colors attack your senses every way you gaze. This is a picture that only Mother Nature can paint, so be sure to pack your camera when you visit because words can not describe the beauty that awaits you.

Things to do at Navajo Lake UT

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • National Park
  • National Forest
  • Playground

Fish species found at Navajo Lake UT

  • Brook Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Splake Trout
  • Trout

Navajo Lake UT Photo Gallery

Navajo Lake UT Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Utah Forestry Service

Surface Area: 714 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 9,042 feet

Average Depth: 12 feet

Maximum Depth: 16 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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