Navajo Lake is a small reservoir in Kane County, about 25 miles east of Cedar City on Highway U-14. The spot is popular for fishing, camping, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, biking, and hiking. There are no entrance fees for daytime activities. Campground fees are $21 for single units and $42 for double units. The campground connects to the Virgin River Rim Trail, providing hikers with spectacular views of Zion National Park, Pine Valley Mountains, and the vast Kolob Plateau. Navajo Lake Loop Trail is a popular 12 mile mountain biking loop around the lake with modest climbs for novice bikers. Nearby Navajo Lake Lodge offers lodging, groceries, and other supplies.
Navajo Lake was originally known to the Paiutes as “Pa-Cu-Ay” meaning “Cloud Lake”. It changed names to Navajo Lake after a confrontation occurred near the lake between pioneer settlers and the Navajo tribe. The lake was formed by a lava flow across the eastern end of the valley, with the lava flow still visible across the lake today. The rich green pine trees provide plenty of shade cover for summer days. Paired with a crisp mountain breeze and the higher elevation, the temperature is typically cooler than the rest of Southern Utah. This makes the lake the perfect place to cool off even if sticking to dry land. Rows of pines reflecting in the clear blue lake creates stunning images for photographers.
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Fishermen enjoy species such as brook trout, splake trout (hybrid), rainbow trout, and the Utah chub. It is shallow, its deepest sections reaching no more than 25 feet. It is recommended to wear life jackets when doing water activities. The lodge rents out pontoon boats, canoes, paddleboards, kayaks, and more. Life jackets and cushions are included in the rentals. Rates can be found on their website at www.navajolakelodge.com, along with information on staying overnight in one of their eleven cabins. Commercial boat rental and launching is available as well.
After a long day of playing on the water with the family, the cabins or campground offer excellent spots to unwind and light up a campfire. All of the spots are dog friendly, though they must be on leash. The wide open sky absent of light pollution is a beautiful spot to stargaze, creating more picturesque images with the moon and stars mirrored in the vast lake. Whether someone is looking to spend a day or a week in the area, Navajo Lake has a wide range of options for everyone to enjoy.