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“Houseboating on Lake Powell, Utah side - Fall, '13”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Lake Powell

Lake Powell
Ranked #263 of 1,040 things to do in Utah
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Straddling Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, Lake Powell and the surrounding Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offer many leisure activities.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Houseboating on Lake Powell, Utah side - Fall, '13”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 October 2013

We (Family of 7 Adults and 4 Kids) visited Lake Powell during the week of September 21st through the 28th of this Year (2013). We "Did-it" via a "Houseboat" lodging / touring situation / venue. We entered via the Utah side at "Bullfrog" marina. We launched from "that" area via Hobby-Cat beach, "cruizing" / motoring "up" The Lake to Forgotten Bay, where we "positioned" / beached the Houseboat for 4 days.

1st of all ... the weather was VERY unresceptive to launching a houseboat from HobbyCat beach! The weather pattern / conditions were VERY Windy! ... , it was "dangerous" AND VERY difficult to effectively launch AND even keep The Houseboat secured during "this" period / segment of Our L.P. tour; there were "Other" houseboats that had been "blowen" up onto the beach...We spent 2 days of trying to "process" staging for "launching" our Houseboat and another 1/2 day getting "IT" off-the-beach and "in-route"; ALSO assisting 2 other houseboat "recreational-respondents/ participants" in getting their houseboats off-the-beach.

"The" Lake was as we had expected from previous readings / pictures/ and "travel-log" info. - "Amazing" sandstone-rock cliffs and intriguing / interesting canyons / passages. Yet, given the "Windy-weather" conditions that presisted for "most-of-the-time" we were there... we spent A LOT of time/effort "processing" / maintaining the Houseboat, securely (?!) positioned against "The" beach (which, given Our setting, was really a "Rocky-shoreline").

A "Highlight" of "The" Tour, was a hike we made to the Anastasi (spelling , ?) Ruins... "up" Forgotten Canyon (N. of Bullfrog Marina, on the Utah side) ; again, "the" nature / rock canyon-ish setting IS quite "spectacular" and interesting.

"A" Concern / compelling observation / personal experience driven understanding /realization for ...future "Houseboating" / "HouseboaTERS" ! ... IF (!!!) "your" Houseboat (given "the" observed fact that "many" Houseboaters stage / "load" / get-ready-to-launch from HobbyCat Beach) gets "STUCK" on-"The"-beach there by / in-the-procsimity of Bullfrog Marina... AND, you "NEED" assistance from "The" Contracted-Services : "They" CHARGE (require You-to-PAY) $275 an hour (BEGINNGING / STARTING "Their" Billing process) when "They" leave "The" Marina !!

I intend to write / alert "The" National Park Service "There", of "THE" exhorbidant / UNacceptable nature / condition of "Their" having allowed "Contracted Services" to effectively / AND UNavoidably "GAUJE" the Consummer / Recreational Participant, houseboating at "The" Park!

Visited September 2013
1 Thank 287TravelerTom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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152 reviews from our community

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Mill Valley, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Bullfrog Marina Sent Us Out On a Badly Maintained Boat!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2013

If you are renting a houseboat from Bullfrog Marina, you will want to make sure that everything essential is in good working order before you go very far. Our boat was poorly maintained, which created a near catastrophe for our group of 8.

We noticed soon after leaving the marina that one of our engines was under performing. Sure enough, on our third day, it gave out completely. Unfortunately, we were almost 8 miles from the Marina, battling winds of 25-40 MPH. Because we had only one engine, the boat rocked as we came out of a side canyon. All of the dishes spilled out onto the floor and broke into hundreds of pieces. Turns out the galley cupboard latches were broken! If someone, particularly a child, had been in the galley when the boat rocked, they might have been seriously injured. (Why have porcelain dishes on a boat???)

All around us were sheer canyon walls and no safe place to dock. We decided to go back to Bullfrog Marina rather than stay out on Lake Powell with high winds and only one engine. Our fear was that the remaining engine would give out, and we would be dashed up against the rocks. Since our gas gage was broken, we had no idea if we had enough gas left to make it back.

We contacted the marina at about 3:15 to let them know we were coming in. We had been told during our boat walkthrough that the marina would help us get back to the dock, so we called again for docking help at 5:15. No one responded. We found out later that the office closed at 5:00 and no longer monitored the radio, even though there were several other boats just like us trying to figure out what to do in the strong winds! The lack of radio monitoring after 5:00 had not been explained to us in our orientation!

Any one of these issues – the defective engine, lack of latches on the galley cupboards, broken gas gage, lack of radio support – was very bad. Putting them altogether created a situation that frightened all of us and might have ended in disaster.

Visited September 2013
4 Thank Carolyn K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Disappointed and frightened”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 October 2013

On a recent trip to Lake Powell, our 6th time, on a rental houseboat from Bull Frog Marina we found ourselves aboard a tired and dirty boat while paying the same rental price as the new vessels. The slider door was broken, spider nests abounded and the generator required manual starting. To make the experience worse when we anchored we were threatened by a houseboat neighbor with his on board firearm. That boat left the following day replaced by another using fireworks. Both firearms and fireworks violate the national park rules.
When we returned to the dock, a returning boater allowed his aggressive acting dog to be unleashed and refused to follow the dock rules requiring all pets be leashed,.

Lake Powell was as beautiful as ever, but for $4000K, our Bull Frog Marina experience was disappointing to be sure.

Visited September 2013
4 Thank hwjminneapolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guilford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
44 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Houseboat on Lake Powell!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 October 2013

There is nothing like unplugging and living on a 65' houseboat on Lake Powell, especially after Labor Day. The lake is warm, fresh and clean, and the weather is warm in the days and just right at night. We needed air conditioning just two nights. The scenery is fantastic (red stone with white highlights, blue water and clear blue sky! Basically, the cost of the boat is it (park fees for Glen Canyon National Park ar small, and parking is free after that.)
Bring your small boat, launch at Hall's Crossing or Bullfrog, and motor to the houseboat that you rent. The small boats allows scouting and sports while the big houseboat is your mobile home. Lots of sandy patches to tie the houseboat up to, and enjoy hiking and beach fires in the evenings. Great place for kids of all ages and whole-family holidays.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Nicholas L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Casper, Wyoming
Level Contributor
42 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Houseboat Adventure”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 September 2013

We just got back from our first houseboat trip and it was unforgettable! Our party consisted of four couples - all well traveled, but with no experience house boating. We started at Bullfrog Marina where we picked up our 59' Discovery Platinum XL boat. The boat has 2 private staterooms and 2 semi private berths below - all double beds. There was plenty of common space, a good sized galley, as well as lot's of outdoor deck space on the top deck, both covered and not covered. A short but thorough instruction from Aramark and we were off! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and the houseboat proved to be comfortable and well equipped. The lake was warm and beautiful and the water clear and inviting and irresistible for swimming! Other than the constantly stunning views of Lake Powell and all of it's canyons and gulches, we also found some great hikes. The only drawback was a few minor mechanical issues with the boat which we were able to repair or deal with. They proved inconvenient but not detrimental, and were pointed out to Aramark on our return so hopefully the next group did not have to deal with them. The cost was comparable to a week at a resort. The environment was much more along the lines of RV Camping. Overall, the whole experience was excellent, and we will probably do it again. From our own first time lessons, here are a few pointers for houseboat beginners:

1) Plan your food and beverages carefully. Lake Powell is very remote and you can't just run to the store.
2) Ice is important. The boat fridge and freezer run on a generator, which does not run the entire time. We found it best to use for food only and the chest freezer for our ice supply. We used coolers for all the drinks, and some of the more versatile food. With our size party, for 7 days, 20 blocks of ice were needed for the week.
3) A small boat makes a huge difference! We used our 19 footer for exploring and sightseeing, and most importantly, for going ahead of the big boat to find a good spot to beach. It towed well behind the big boat.
4) Beaching and securing a large houseboat is definitely a challenge - much more than expected. Also finding an appropriate place to beach. We found it best to find a wonderful spot and stay for a couple of days and use the small boat to run around. After the trip we realized it may have been a good idea to use Google Earth to find some possible camps prior to the trip.
5) The lake is deep. Other than the requisite life jackets, it is a good idea to have other floating apparatus like tubes, rafts, noodles, etc. for more relaxed swimming.
6) A boat is extremely close quarters so make sure you choose the right party for a trip like this!
7) We purchased a book and map in advance and it was definitely worth it to find all the good spots for hiking and sightseeing. There are many to choose from, but we used the map Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Utah / Arizona, USA (Trails Illustrated Map # 213) by National Geographic and the book Boater's Guide to Lake Powell by Michael R. Kelsey

Visited September 2013
13 Thank letsgogogofromWYO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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