Lake Powell Boaters’ Update

Wondering what is going on in Glen Canyon? A fantastic winter snowfall in the Rockies is currently melting, and on Friday, July 1 the inflow to Lake Powell measured 78,849 cubic feet per second. At the same time, the outflow of water released down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon to Lake Mead was 24,522 CFS, which is the maximum power generating capacity of the electric station at Glen Canyon Dam. As a result, Lake Powell is currently rising eight inches each day; the Lake level has risen ten feet in the last two weeks. The result for boaters is a myriad of dangerous obstacles barely covered by water, capable of injuring boats and boaters alike. In addition to the rocks, the rising water is floating once-beached logs, bark, and trash, creating additional hazards.

Some Specific Lake Powell Notes:
• Wiregrass Canyon (behind Lone Rock( currently has at least five rock hazards just below the current water level.
• The entrance to Labyrinth Canyon is very difficult to navigate at the current water level.
• The camping area at Lone Rock Beach is disappearing daily, as the rising water submerges more of the sandy beach. This is true of many camping beach areas.
• The water temperature for swimming is seven degrees cooler than normal (currently 70.6), due to the continued large inflows of snow-melt.


About Dave

Dave Buckingham guides, outfits, and waxes poetic on all things canyoneering at Zion Adventure Company. When Dave isn’t exploring desert canyons or waterskiing on Lake Powell, you might find him fixing his boat, walking his dog, or tooting his own horn (it’s a trumpet) here in Springdale.
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2 Responses to Lake Powell Boaters’ Update

  1. avatar Austin says:

    Isnt this a good thing though? Hasn’t the water level been dropping steadily for many years?

  2. avatar Dave says:

    Hey Austin,
    Generally, yes, all this water is a good thing. The incredible snow year in the Rockies has allowed the Glen Canyon Dam to operate the power station at full capacity since January. This means that the water levels in both Lake Mead and Lake Powell are currently on the rise. This is good for the residents of the Southwest & Southern California who depend on these reservoirs for the irrigation of crops, drinking water, and more.
    On the other hand, the increasing water level is a negative to canyoneers who love to visit the amazing slots of Glen Canyon. Each day, rising water levels submerge more of our favorite wild slots.
    The rapidly changing water level also creates a minefield of newly submerged sandstone obstacles, which could pose injurious hazards to boats, boaters and swimmers. So it all depends on your context.