The water has risen at Lake Powell to levels not seen since 2001. June water flows were 176% of normal; July flows were 280% of normal, with lake levels rising close to a foot a day. The lake reached a point where it was 76% full this summer. After years of receding water levels, the additional 28 feet of water means new places to explore. ‘The higher water levels are opening hundreds of Lake Powell’s back canyons to boats, giving visitors access to areas that have not been accessible for 10 years,’ said David Sloma, vice president of operations for Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas.
Tracks & Trails offers an RV trip that features an excursion to Rainbow Bridge from Wahweap Marina, which is much easier now that the water levels have dramatically increased. The tour boat can get much closer, so it becomes half-a-mile roundtrip hike rather than a 2-hour hike.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument is part of the National Park System, but to Native American nations, Rainbow Bridge is sacred. Since 1993 when the Park consulted with five Native American Nations to develop a general management plan, visitors are asked to respect their beliefs by not approaching or walking under Rainbow Bridge. There is a viewing area about 200 feet away from the bridge, and outdoor exhibits and park staff help to explain more about the site.
If you are planning a trip that goes through Lake Powell, the conditions are the best they’ve been in 10 years. You may even consider renting a boat or kayaks and spending an extra day exploring. Lake Powell is the second-largest man-made lake in the United States. It is 186 miles long, with 1.960 miles of shoreline, and backs up into more than 96 major side canyons. Temperatures in September and October are still quite warm, and some find them more pleasant that the extreme summertime heat in July and August. Crowds have diminished as well, making Lake Powell a great fall destination. For more information, or to plan your trip to Lake Powell, call (800) 243-9490.