Any Lake Powell experts who can advice on changed conditions at dramatically new lake levels?


May 18, 2012
Happy New Year. For years I read up in Kelsey's Lake Powell book and other books and studied obscure websites with lots of info about hikes off Lake Powell. But the distances and some approaches - which may even be impossible now by boat or foot - will have changed now with current lake levels, but how much I don't know. So wondered if anyone had been to any of these at near current levels. In Kelsey's book he was talking about 3606 being low. Now it's 3524.

IN ESCALANTE ARM, can you still get to the entrances of DAVIS and FIFTY MILE?
Are there any problems getting to La Gorce Arch or 50 Mile Creek's narrows such as waterfalls, very hard upclimbs, quicksand, logjams, bad bushwacking,

I presume it's now a really long hike to the mouths of FENCE and COW canyons in Escalante arm.

Are there any stunning features or slots that have now been revealed in Escalante arm? (or anywhere else on the lake for that matter? (My dream is for Dungeon to emerge as it looks stunning in pre-Glen Canyon dam photos

Also interested in ICEBERG canyon. I presume the canyon's end right fork is still pooled by a natural dam? Wondered how far you have to hike from high water mark to reach that dam if that's changed?
One person pre-new low levels said you need to drag a kayak over the dam in order to cross the lake to hike on to alcoves and caves at the end of the canyon when lake water is high? But maybe that lake has shrunk now so you can hike around its edges?

(These were the notes on Iceberg for someone who has explored loads of the Powell' canyons hundreds of times a long, long time ago after the Glen dam, but when Powell levels were considerably higher.
  • (!) ICESRF: Iceberg second right finger, 0.77 miles GPS direct, ~0:45 one way from brushy end at full-pool up and down on decent braided trails to huge sandy flat, gardens, and pool; probably the biggest amphitheater at the lake, bigger than even "Dougs Cathedral", with a comparable 600-700' drop from the rim. You can also overlook this spot. Awesome cave on river-left along the way, not very big by Powell standards, but the greatest depth-to-height ratio I've seen at the lake. (Obstacle to getting here: Below full-pool, natural dam forms a lake up the finger, you'd have to drag a kayak over or something. Do it at full-pool, or else much lower, when it's a much longer hike.)

How long is the hike now to FACE's slot?
And how long is the walk to the narrows in SMITH FORK?
Was in Llewellyen Gulch and Cotonwood Gulch a couple years ago.... from upper lake level was long brushy hike with stretches of mud to the lake.
New level was roughly 1 1/2 m down from where it shows on the map. Would expect most other canyons are the same.
Hi Ross,

I don't have information on the specific canyons that you mention, but I did do some hiking along the shoreline of north Lake Powell (or more accurately, the edge of the Colorado River !) last year (map below).

You are correct that the falling water level is revealing some interesting 'new' areas to explore in this region.

For most of my route, it was fairly straightforward to negotiate the terrain, which mostly comprised white sandy beaches or deeply fractured dry mud. However, close to 4-Mile Canyon the wet mud/quicksand was difficult to traverse, although I got there in the end.

I usually rely on satellite images from Google Earth, when planning a backcountry route, but due to the dramatic changes to the Lake Powell topography over recent times, I also found it useful to use websites which display very recent (although not quite so detailed) satellite images. These give a pretty good idea of the current water levels in a particular canyon.
For example,

Lake Powell Hike Screenshot April 2022.png
Thanks @TrailScot . You made me think, after I said about new areas, I should have said if people don't feel keen to say somewhere in a reply then by all means PM, although as I'm asking about places newly-revealed close off the main lake that are in the middle of canyons at the bottom of streams/rivers/creeks, they're not going to be either hidden away secrets or places that are delicate and could be damaged by numbers or hiking boots, and also on Lake Powell they're never going to attract crowds. Basically if you moor a boat up when the deep water ends you'd just have to stroll on up the canyon a short ways as it's not like finding a high hidden slots, or using bolts and rope grooves. I gave the example of submerged Dungeon Canyon - if the lake dropped to reveal that you'd just walk straight up canyon through the slot, so it would be pointless keeping it a secret. (Also thought I'd tag @Nick and @ram (hope you're well) on the original canyons in the question as I know they're long-time lake lovers & explorers/visitors who've probably still been going strong the past few years
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