Park at Navajo Lake and Do Some Camping or Fishing
By Mark Havnes
High in the forests on Cedar Mountain rests a jewel of sparkling water surrounded by sandy shores, providing a cool respite from the sizzling heat of summer and a great opportunity to let the pressures of the world go by while angling for a lunker trout. The popular destination is Navajo Lake in the Dixie National Forest off State Route 14, about 60 miles northwest of Kanab. The lake is accessed by a paved highway with lanes to accommodate bike riders and pedestrians. It also offers upgraded campsites and boat ramps.
Every year, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources plants about 25,000 10-inch rainbow trout in the lake, along with 5,000 brown-brook hybrid trout called splake. Some fish can grow into the lunker range of more than 10 pounds
Fishing tackle, camping supplies and lodging are all available at Duck Creek Village, located five miles to the east.
The lake was formed thousands of years ago when lava flows from volcanic activity on the surrounding Markagunt Plateau formed a dam in the valley where the lake is located. It has been suggested that some of the volcanic activity occurred as recently as 2,000 years ago. An impressive example of the volcanic activity that contributed to the lake’s formation can be seen in the huge boulders in black lava fields lying just east of the lake off Highway 14.
The lake is also a short jaunt to Cedar Breaks National Monument and only 20 miles from Cedar City, known for its summer and fall Utah Shakespeare Festival.
In July, one can enjoy the popular Duck Creek Days in Duck Creek Village that serves scrumptious food, with artist booths and plenty of activities for children.
According to Forest Service archaeologist Marian Jacklin, soon after Cedar City was settled by Mormon pioneers in the mid-19th century, a roving band of Navajos stole some horses from the settlers. The culprits were captured at the lake. Since that incident, the lake was known as Navajo Lake, even though the Paiutes referred to the body of water as Pa-Cu-Ay, meaning Cloud Lake.
If you go to Navajo Lake, here are some things to know.
• Reservations: First come, first serve.
• Fees: $17 for tent units; $17 for single units; $34 for double units; $5 for day use.
• Restrictions: Campfires in designated areas only; no fireworks; dogs must be on leash; ATV/OHV use prohibited in the campground; maximum length of stay 14 days.
Navajo Lake is the place to be cool in Kane County!