Close to Campus: Navajo Lake

Navajo lake recreation area, located in the Dixie National Forest, is 25 miles up Cedar Canyon, only a 40-minute drive from SUU campus. Navajo Lake and the surrounding area are great settings for boating, camping, swimming and fishing during the summer, and snowmobiling, ice fishing and snowshoeing in the winter.

The natural lake was originally named “Pa-Cu-Ay” by the native Paiute Indians, meaning “Cloud Lake” for the waters crystal reflections of the sky. The area was later titled Navajo lake by pioneer settlers after a resolved confrontation with members of the Navajo tribe.

The Navajo Lake was molded by a prehistoric lava flow which dammed the eastern side of Duck Creek Valley, representing the last volcanism on Cedar Mountain. The water, which sits atop a layer of limestone, contains underground drainages to Cascade Falls and the Virgin River.

There are several trails which are accessible from the Navajo Lake recreation area. The Cascade Falls and Virgin River Rim trails are connected to the campgrounds and are open to hikers, bikers and equestrian riding.

Cascade Falls is a one-mile path, round trip, to a waterfall from the lake. The Virgin River Rim trail is 32 miles long and is moderate in difficulty. This trail offers panoramic views of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyon Plateau and the Pine Valley Mountains.

The forested campground is located on the south side of Navajo Lake. Camping reservations are not accepted. Commercial boat rental and launching are available to guests along with lodging and groceries at the Navajo Lake Lodge.

The recreation area is open year round but is best enjoyed between June and September. Roads may be closed due to snowfall during winter months. For more information contact Cedar City Ranger District 435-865-3200.

Story By
Ansleigh Mikesell