Lake Powell Canyons- An Ansleigh Adventure

Most southern Utah residents would agree that visiting Lake Powell is a must-do. Like many families, I had the chance to visit the exquisite lake this summer.

Many Lake Powell visitors lodge in houseboats which drift slowly across the channel, allowing for hours of water games. I, on the other hand, opted to camp along the coast for the week and spend several of my days exploring the various slot canyons.

The lake, which stretches for 186 miles between southern Utah and northern Arizona, is known for having some of the most beautiful views in the western United States including the iconic Rainbow Bridge. With the help of a speedboat, my friends and I drove across the lake to various locations such as Smith Fork, Sevenmile and Forgotten canyon.

On our second day, we visited the Forgotten Canyon Anasazi ruins. A two mile hike through sagebrush and cacti led to several preserved ancestral puebloans built into the side of the towering red rocks. These dwellings were named “Defiance House”, after the warrior pictographs seen on the walls surrounding them. This popular hike is a personal favorite and one I try to visit every year.

The third day at Lake Powell was spent in Sevenmile canyon, just north of Main Channel. According to its name, the river running through this slot canyon can continue on for almost seven miles. Most visitors, including myself, only traverse about three miles upstream until coming upon a small waterfall and small pool. Unfortunately, this year, the lack of rain had left the path bone dry and the pool empty.

Day four in Smith Fork canyon was packed with picturesque views. The winding slots are exciting for both boating and hiking. The trial, which usually requires climbing through tall greenery on the sides of a riverbed, was completely covered in red clay, the results of a flash flood earlier this summer. After two miles of hiking, the walls of the canyon began to arch inward creating a swirling roof. The trail ends at a pool fed from a waterfall from the middle of the rock wall. The chilled water was a perfect refresher before returning to the exposed trail.

However, what is a trip to Lake Powell without wakeboarding and tubing? Luckily for us, each morning greeted us with pink skies and glass water: perfect for skiing.

Students who want to share their outdoor adventures or pictures from this summer can email the SUU News outdoor editor at for a chance to be featured.

Story by: Ansleigh Mikesell
Pictures by: Ansleigh Mikesell