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Wahweap Window: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Apr 1



Wahweap Window is located on the northern end of Wahweap Bay in Lake Powell. You can see it from Wahweap or a boat, but it requires both a boat ride and a small hike if you want to see it up close. There are many other viewpoints nearby that will provide wonderful views.


In this post, we’ll talk about everything there is to know about Wahweap Window, including how it was created, directions, the view of the arch and the landscape, and more locations to explore the area.

Inside Wahweap Window on the northern side of Wahweap Bay at Lake Powell.
Wahweap Window. Photo by adventureneffs.

How Was Wahweap Window Formed?


Wahweap Window formed in the same way that Angels Window (on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon) and Ear of the Wind in Monument Valley did. Sediment is compacted over a long period of time, and turns into very hard rock from pressure and cementation.


Erosion, from things like wind, water, and ice, will chip away at the soft rock. The tougher rock will remain. The erosion will form an arch if the hard rock is on the outside, and the soft rock is on the inside. Arches National Park has so many arches because of sandstone, which is easily eroded. There are not more arches nearby because the conditions are not right; arch development requires the correct rock types in the correct area.

The sedimentary rock layers inside Wahweap Window, next to Lake Powell and the town of Wahweap.
The rock layers inside Wahweap Window. From jess.aldana.

How to Get to Wahweap Window


The only way that you can get here is by crossing Wahweap Bay. There are a few boat launches on the northern side of Wahweap near Wahweap Marina and more on the eastern side. You can rent or bring your boat, kayak, paddleboard, or anything else to cross the bay. I recommend booking a hotel here so you can get the view of the lake! We wrote a blog about hotels in the nearby Grand Canyon, too.


Once you’re in the water, travel north for 1 mile if you are on the northern side of Wahweap, or 2 miles northwest if you are on the eastern side. You should aim for what looks like a giant hole in a rock. The town of Wahweap is just off US Route 89.


Once you reach shore, make sure not to lose your transportation. You will need to hike for 3,500 feet and you will reach Wahweap Window! The hike should not be difficult, but bring good shoes; you will be hiking through a lot of plants and maybe even mud. The coordinates are 37.029423, 111.496553.

The hike to Wahweap Window covered in plants and dirt, with the arch visible in the background.
The hike to Wahweap Window. By bjrdavis.

The History of “Wahweap”


The word “Wahweap” is translated to “bitter water” or “bitter creek,” a description of the water in the local area; indigenous tribes will name many locations after the characteristic of an area. Most of the time, they tell a hidden story that will only be taught if someone is willing to learn. Wahweap comes from the Paiute Tribe. The erosion that created Wahweap Window also contributes to the bitterness of Lake Powell’s water.


Wahweap Window


Wahweap Window is a massive arch, over 250 feet tall. The picture below shows how small people look in comparison. There are hundreds of names engraved on the rocks here, but this should not be done by anyone (it is technically graffiti). You can see dozens of sedimentary layers in the arch, each revealing millions of years of history.

The interior of Wahweap Window, with Lake Powell, Wahweap, and Wahweap Window in the background.
The inside of Wahweap Window. Picture by angels_ventures.

If you go on a windy day, there can be extremely strong gusts of wind kicking up dirt and sand. If you’ve ever been in a tunnel when it is windy, it’s the same thing but with more dirt. Lake Powell can create windy days, so check the weather forecast before you plan your trip.


Just off to the right side of the arch is a small cave that you can walk 30 feet in. It’s pretty cool and can make for some fantastic pictures. You can see in the photo below that the cave is large enough to fit a person!

The inside of the cave next to Wahweap Window, located next to Wahweap Bay and Lake Powell.
The inside of the cave. Photo by scottwyne.

Wahweap Window and the cave next to it, located on the northern side of Wahweap Bay and Lake Powell.
Wahweap Window (left) and the cave (right)

Wahweap Window is in between Ice Cream Canyon (to the west) and Castle Rock (to the east). Across Wahweap Bay is the Stateline Launch Ramp. There are usually some boats parked at Ice Cream Canyon (also called Ice-cream Cone Slot Canyon.


There are so many popular locations that you can see from Wahweap Window. Some of them include Wahweap Overlook, Navajo Mountain Viewpoint, Wahweap Viewpoint, Wahweap, Antelope Island, and Alstrom Point. This is why you shouldn’t spend all day at the arch (unless you are at Lake Powell for multiple days, of course). And I would urge you to bring some binoculars to see all of these incredible spots.

Looking toward Wahweap Bay, Wahweap, Wahweap Marina, and Lake Powell from Wahweap Window.
Looking toward Wahweap Bay from Wahweap Window. From life_worth_wild.

Wahweap Window is probably the best place in Lake Powell to have a picnic. There are no people to bug you, and you get a view of so much of the lake. You can also stargaze, but the light pollution from Wahweap and Page may prevent you from seeing a lot of stars and the Milky Way.

Looking toward Lake Powell and Wahweap Bay from Wahweap Window, with Wahweap Marina and Antelope Island visible.
Looking toward Lake Powell from Wahweap Window

If you want to hike up above the arch, you'll see cool geological features (if you know what they are, comment below). You can get an even better view of the lake from higher up.

Above Wahweap Window with unique geological features.
Above Wahweap Window. From kelseyjimikil.

Lake Powell can sometimes be so filled with water (not during droughts) that the water level can be right next to the arch. No hike would be required! Google Earth shows that the water is currently ⅔ of a mile away from Wahweap Window.


One review reads, "Beautiful place, not a long walk but it is in the sun so it takes the toll. We got there by kayaks and it was beautiful, but definitely a workout. Take a lot of water."


Bonus Hikes


If you’re not satisfied with just the arch, you can travel to Wahweap Overlook, which we wrote a blog about. It provides a great view of Lake Powell and the Colorado Plateau and is a must-see if you’re in the area.


Not far away from Wahweap Overlook are Wahweap Viewpoint and Navajo Mountain Viewpoint. Both of these spots are very accessible and provide a close-up view of Lake Powell. They are a nice place to have a picnic as long as the temperature is not high. These locations are in Arizona, while Wahweap Window is in Utah (they are all right next to the border, though).

Inside Wahweap Window looking out toward Lake Powell on a cloudy day.
Another view of Wahweap Window

Just a little down US Route 89 is Glen Canyon Dam Overlook, which provides an excellent view of Glen Canyon Dam. It looks very similar to the Hoover Dam at Lake Mead, so you don’t have to travel hundreds of miles.


Even further down Highway 89 is Horseshoe Bend, the most famous viewpoint in the Lake Powell area, and Waterholes Canyon, which has slot canyons leading down to the Colorado River. It can be very expensive in Waterholes Canyon, and it is also a long and difficult hike to the river. Further down the river are Marble Canyon, Navajo Bridge, and House Rock Valley Overlook.

Wahweap Window and the cave next to it, with its sedimentary layers visible.
Wahweap Window and its cave

If you’re ever at Grand Canyon National Park, I highly recommend visiting Moran Point and Navajo Point on the South Rim. You get an eye-opening view of the canyon and the Colorado River.


When Is Wahweap Window Open?


It costs $30 to enter the Glen Canyon National Conservation Area, and the pass is eligible for 7 days. The park is open all year, but the number of tourists will peak during certain times of the year (when it’s not too hot). The permits help to protect and restore the area due to its unique features. The weather can make the lake choppy or the hike miserable, so try to go on a nice weather day

An interior view of Wahweap Window, with a person inside to show how large it is.
Another interior view of Wahweap Window

Packing List for Visiting Wahweap Window


A boat, kayak, paddleboard, or something similar. The arch will be a mile or two away, so you shouldn’t swim. Make sure to secure whatever you’re bringing so it isn’t swept away.


Sunscreen. You will be gone for at least an hour (I would say 2 if you want to enjoy Wahweap Window). The sun can be ruthless in the summer, and it is important to wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer.


A meal and snacks. You will have no places to get food, so pack some food. It is a very secluded spot where you could spend hours soaking in the sun and enjoying the view. You can see Lake Powell, Wahweap Marina, Antelope Island, and maybe even Glen Canyon Dam in the distance.

The entrance to Wahweap Window in Utah
The entrance to Wahweap Window

Water. Once again, you will be gone for at least an hour or two. It is important to hydrate, especially if you are kayaking or paddling to the destination. I would recommend bringing at least 32 ounces of water for your trip. Temperatures in Wahweap can reach 100 degrees.


Good shoes. You will be hiking on sand, dirt, rocks, and plants. You will be less likely to have cuts or blisters if you bring footwear. This should be considered a real hike and adventure, not a quick trip.


Flashlight or headlamp. It can be scary being in an isolated spot or on a lake with no light. It can also be used as a signal that you are in need of help. Emergency lights can be seen in Wahweap.

Looking through Wahweap Window, with Lake Powell, Antelope Island, and the Colorado Plateau in the background.
Looking through Wahweap Window

A camera. If you bring a high-quality camera, you should ensure that it is waterproof or has a waterproof case. You can get some amazing pictures from inside Wahweap Window or on the shore of Wahweap Bay and Lake Powell.


This may not be everything you need, but it should be a good chunk.


Conclusion


Wahweap Window is a great place for those who want to have a unique and amazing view where there will be no other people. You get to travel across Lake Powell, and there are more than a dozen other spots in the area to continue your adventure. Not too far away is the Grand Canyon. Have a great trip!

Wahweap Window on the northern side of Lake Powell.
Wahweap Window

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