Home » 2020 Lake Powell during Covid

Lake Powell - Gunsight Canyon, UT

Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 2:30pm by Lolo
24 miles and 1.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Big day at the Stateline Boat LaunchBig day at the Stateline Boat LaunchLaunching the boat at the Stateline Boat Ramp went off without a hitch, and the motor started up with the first turn of the key.

It felt great to be cruising in the boat again, especially in such spectacular scenery - 186 miles of colorful rock formations, natural arches and bridges, and so many canyons, bays, and coves that there is 1,960 miles of shoreline to explore.

The last time we were here in 2018, the lake levels were just high enough to allow us to take the Castle Rock Cut out to the main channel. The cut becomes impassable at 3613 feet (elevation level), out to the main channel requiring boats to take the longer (just by a few miles) route around Antelope Island.

Gunsight Canyon campsiteGunsight Canyon campsiteLake levels freshly measured today were 3,599 feet, so around Antelope Island we would go. It probably would have been fine, and there were a few boats even bigger than ours going through the Cut, but we had no desire to risk it and possibly screw up this much-needed vacation. Besides, we didn’t mind a few more cruising miles.

We decided to skip popular Warm Creek Bay and continued on to Gunsight Canyon, just shy of Padre Bay, on the northern side of the channel at Buoy 17. The canyon was named by early rivermen who thought the large butte at the mouth of the canyon resembled a giant gunsight.

We hoped this smaller canyon, squeezed between the two larger bays, would have less camping options for houseboats and thus be more secluded.

Lolo strolling from our camp spotLolo strolling from our camp spotSoon we were anchored just a short distance from the shore in a shallow, solitary cove. It was a little bit weedy, but we thought that that might serve as an extra deterrent to anyone trying to join us for the evening. I’m not exactly sure what the etiquette is for how close to anchor near someone, but with so many coves and miles of shoreline, we felt that it would be pretty obnoxious of anyone to come in here.

Well, apparently obnoxiousness is not in short supply on big houseboats, and we were joined not just by a boat, but a flotilla - 50 foot houseboat, 2 ski boats, 4 jet skis, and about 12 people. Oh, and they partially blocked our view as well. It was totally ridiculous and definitely put a damper on our first night on the lake.

A glass or two of wine improved our moods and we positioned ourselves with a good view of Gunsight Butte, rising more than 1,000 feet above the Lake, just across the water from us. Like most of the rock formations surrounding the lake, it is made of Entrada Sandstone and has a lovely rich-red hue, especially at sunset.

Lake Powell - Gunsight Canyon location map in "high definition"

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