Several short hikes lead to panoramic vistas of Lake Powell. For a view of the lake, Wahweap Bay, the Colorado River channel, and the sandstone cliffs of Antelope Island, drive half a mile east from the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, cross a bridge, and turn left onto an unmarked gravel road; follow it for about a mile to its end and a parking lot in an area locally known as The Chains (day-use area only). Heading north from the parking lot, follow the unmarked but obvious trail across sand, up slickrock, and across a level gravel section to an overlook that provides a magnificent view of the lake. This is usually a 10-minute walk (one-way). To extend the hike, you can find a way down to the water's edge, but beware: The steep sandstone can be slick.
Several hikes originate in the Lees Ferry area, including a moderate 2-mile round-trip hike through narrow Cathedral Canyon to the Colorado River. The trail head is at the second turnout from U.S. 89A along Lees Ferry Road. This hike isn't along a marked trail, but rather down a wash, past intriguing rock formations. In wet weather, be alert for flash floods and deep pools. Allow 1 to 1 1/2 hours for the round-trip hike.
Another relatively easy hike, the River Trail, starts just upriver from the Lees Ferry fort and follows an old wagon road to a ferry-crossing site, passing the historic submerged steamboat, the Charles H. Spencer. Allow about an hour for this 2-mile round-trip walk. A self-guiding booklet is available at Lees Ferry.
A heavy-duty 34-mile hike through the Paria Canyon Primitive Area, which departs from Lonely Dell Ranch at Lees Ferry, takes you through beautiful but narrow canyons. Beware: Flash flooding can be hazardous. This hike requires a permit from the Bureau of Land Management office in Kanab (tel. 435/644-4600; www.ut.blm.gov/kanab_fo).
Although most visitors take an easy half- or full-day boat trip to see beautiful Rainbow Bridge National Monument, it is possible to hike to it, although the 14-mile one-way trail is difficult and not maintained. It crosses the Navajo Reservation and requires a permit. Contact the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department, P.O. Box 2520, Window Rock, AZ 86515 (tel. 928/871-6647; www.navajonationparks.org).
Serious backcountry hikers should obtain current maps of the area and discuss their plans with rangers before setting out. Hikers should carry at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.