West Canyon is a beautiful, long narrow slot canyon above Lake Powell. Everyone knows Powell offers great boating and fishing but not many people know some of Utah's best hikes can be found in the narrow canyons just above the water's edge. This one is great because it combines boating and hiking.
To get up West you have to scramble, wade and swim. The bottom part is challenging but not technical. The canyon becomes more difficult as you get up high, becoming technical on the upper end. You just hike as far as you feel comfortable and then return the way you came in.
Mouth of West Canyon
West Canyon is about 25 miles uplake from the dam. It is best accessed from Wahweap or Antelope Point marina. (You can get there from Bullfrog but it is much further from that direction.) Boating is the only reasonable way to get into this canyon, which snakes up the west side of Cummings Mesa.
Boat as far as you can up the West Canyon. When the water is high you can go 6 or more miles into the gorge. Then secure your boat and start hiking. If the lake is low you may have to endure a stretch of gooey mud before you reach the sandy canyon bottom above the lake's high water mark.
The canyon soon narrows and the small stream spreads across its floor. You hike where you can, scrambling up small waterfalls and wading/swimming through pools as needed. Then you reach a 12-foot high waterfall that is not climbable. To go farther you backtrack a bit and find a way to climb the canyon walls. Just remember, you’ve got to be able to climb down anything you climb up.
Go as far as you dare and then turn back.
TRAIL HEAD: 37.04013, -111.21516
TRAIL TYPE: Hiking