The staff of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area want you to have an enjoyable and relaxing time while visiting the park. We also want you to be safe and to treat the resources here with care, so that future generations may enjoy them as well.
The dangers here are real, but most can be avoided by good planning, a watchful eye, and smart decision making.
Traveling to Escalante?
We have an interagency app! Use your phone to discover the Escalante region and stay safe. Search "Escalante Visitor Info" in your app store. The mobile app features weather and flash flooding alerts, interactive and downloadable maps, road conditions, and a decision tree planning tool.
The desert can be a harsh and unforgiving environment, especially if you are not accustomed to it. Make sure to drink plenty of water, at least a gallon per person per day (soda, alcohol, coffee, and tea don't count). Also make sure you eat during the day to help electrolyte replacement. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and light comfortable clothing. Use sunscreen. Curtail strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day.
Personal flotation devices, or lifejackets, save lives. Since Lake Powell was created, almost 150 people not wearing lifejackets have drowned.
Boaters are required to carry a lifejacket of proper size for every passenger in the boat. Children 12 years of age and younger must wear a Type I, II, or III U. S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket when the boat is underway. It is recommended that children always wear a lifejacket when they are around water, even if they are not on a boat.
People on personal watercraft must wear a life jacket regardless of their age, as must anybody being towed by a boat (skiing, tubing, etc).
Stay aware of your surroundings when you are on the water. Be aware of wakes and waves that bounce back and forth between canyon walls. Slow down when passing boats. Look at the size of the wake, not the size of the boat. Depending on hull design, even relatively smaller boats can produce serious wakes. Approach large wakes at a 45-degree angle.
Bow riding (sitting on the top front part of the boat) is illegal unless the boat is designed for people to ride in the bow section (the bow section will have seats).
All boaters must know and follow applicable state & federal boating requirements, as well as carry all required equipment on their vessels. Copies of this information are available at visitor centers. Please check our Boating page for more information or visit the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Resource Center. Additional information is available from the states of Arizona and Utah.
Do Not Swim at Marinas
Don't swim in marinas. Electrical faults from vessels can electrocute swimmers. Boat traffic and propeller strikes can maim or kill. Read more about the dangers of electric shock drowning.
Desert creatures of all sizes can hurt you if you are not careful. Please be aware of biting and stinging animals, arachnids, and insects. A few venomous animals live in the park, including rattlesnakes, scorpions, and black widow spiders. While a scorpion sting is likely to be mild (like a bee sting), anyone bitten by a black widow spider or rattlesnake should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
While no cases of the Zika virus have been reported in the United States, if you are planning to continue your travels south of the border, please read about this mosquito-borne threat.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a potentially deadly disease spread by infected wild rodents, especially mice. People become infected when the virus becomes airborne—when dust is stirred up or nests are disturbed, especially in confined spaces. Recently, cases of this respiratory disease have been confirmed on the nearby Navajo Nation. Learn more about how to protect yourself from Hantavirus.
Flash floods are the artists who carve the intricate curves of slot canyons. They are also the assassins of anyone who may be in their paths. Do not enter a slot canyon if rain has been forecast. Even if the skies above you are clear, a storm hundreds of miles away may have triggered a flash flood in your area. Flash floods can also create damage in more open areas, as well.
Sadly, there have been multiple deaths in Lake Powell due to cliff jumping. Realize if you leap from 50 feet up, you could be going almost 40 miles per hour when you hit the water. The higher the jump off spot, the faster the velocity upon impact.
It is prohibited for any person to jump or dive off of rock cliffs, ledges, or man-made structures (excluding vessels).The NPS does not advocate or promote the activity of cliff jumping or diving regardless of the height from the water surface. For the purpose of this restriction cliff, ledge, or man-made structure is defined to mean any formation of rock or soil, or structure, or combination thereof having a height of 15 feet or more from the surface of the water.
The National Park Service continues to stress the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) and boats. This odorless, tasteless gas can kill you. The gas replaces the oxygen in your lungs and if you do not receive oxygen soon, the damage may be fatal. While past emphasis has been on houseboats, studies show that all boats can collect dangerous levels of CO. Any time generators and/or engines are running, CO is produced. Do not allow passengers to congregate around engines or the backs of boats when engines or generators are running. This is especially important when you may enclose the boat for warmth. In boats that vent CO out the back, this deadly gas can collect under the swim step and spaces under the boat. The CO remains there long after engines and generators have been shut down. Don't play or swim under the swim step or under the boat. Use carbon monoxide detectors. Always be aware of the dangers of CO around your boat.
Keep Safety in the Picture
Come and capture your adventure in the park. Check out these quick tips on how to avoid photography-related hazards when visiting our national parks.
Picture-perfect tips presented in this NPS Story Map.
Are you tired of seeing your fellow boaters dump their trash and human waste on beaches? Did you find graffiti carved on canyon walls or other damage to the landscape? Help us out on Lake Powell by being part of our neighborhood watch program.
If you see any resource damage or illegal activites, send an email to our Dispatch Center, who can process accordingly and notify law enforcement. If you can, include coordinates and/or photos with your report. Send to GLCA_Dispatch_Center@nps.gov.
This is an information only platform. In an emergency, call 911 or hail National Park Service on Marine Band 16.
Last updated: August 3, 2020