Crosby Canyon Road is an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) road that takes you do the shoreline of the Warm Creek Bay on Lake Powell. It is located about 25 miles north of Page, Arizona and is just over the state line in Utah in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This road provides a gorgeous ride into the Crosby Canyon, which features towering sandstone walls and beautiful views in an area covering about 450 acres.

Crosby Canyon is one of the access points to get to Lake Powell from the Utah side.

Shoreline access to lake powell from crosby canyon
Lake Powell shoreline access from Crosby Canyon

We drove the road through Crosby Canyon on a 4-wheeler ATV.

crosby canyon
Gorgeous scenery in Crosby Canyon

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is a large reservoir formed by damming of the Colorado River. The dam was built to store water and provide hydroelectric power. Construction of the dam was completed in 1963.

As of April 2024, Lake Powell is only 31.6% full due to ongoing drought. This has made it more difficult to reach the shoreline of Lake Powell by way of Crosby Canyon, as the water line has receded back significantly.

However, it is still possible to reach the shoreline via Crosby Canyon.

Lake Powell houseboats
Lake Powell houseboats south of Crosby Canyon

Google Map of Crosby Canyon

The location of the Crosby Canyon Road is identified in the Google Map below. You can use this link to get detailed directions from whatever location you’re coming from.

Directions to Crosby Canyon

To get there, turn off US Highway 89 in Big Water, Utah onto Ethan Allen Road.

ethan allen road
Ethan Allen Road

Then turn right onto Smoky Mountain Road, which is a smooth road for about 5 miles.

You will see an entry sign for the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

glen canyon national recreation area sign
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area sign on Smoky Mountain Road

At this point, the road is suitable for any vehicle. However, that ends in about 5 miles.

The canyon descends over 1,500 feet in elevation from this area down to Lake Powell.

smoky mountain road in crosby canyon
Smoky Mountain Road in Crosby Canyon

The upper area near Highway 89 is more open with a wide valley before narrowing through the sandstone walls of the canyon.

After about a mile, a warning sign about the road conditions shows that the improved road ends in 4 miles.

improved road ends 4 miles ahead sign
Sign warning that improved road ends in 4 miles

Smoky Mountain Road is smooth and traverses through a wide canyon area at the beginning.

Crosby canyon view
Smooth road suitable for passenger cars at beginning of drive into Crosby Canyon
drive into crosby canyon
Drive into Crosby Canyon

You will be driving through Crosby Canyon with steep canyon walls made of red and tan Navajo Sandstone layers. In some sections, the canyon walls reach up to 1,000 feet.

layers of sandstone on canyon walls
Layers of sandstone on canyon walls
different colors of sandstone
Different colors of sandstone in canyon walls

We took the video below that shows the wide open area of this part of the canyon drive.

YouTube video
Wide view of canyon open area and road

Crosby Canyon ATV Road

At about the 13-mile mark, you’ll see a sign directing you to the Crosby Canyon Road, which veers to the right and leads to Warm Creek Bay. Take this right. It is sometimes listed as Rec Road 231 on maps.

warm creek bay via crosby canyon road sign
Crosby Canyon Road sign

At this point, the road becomes more rocky and uneven, requiring an ATV or 4-wheel drive. There are sections of deep sand, so do not attempt this without 4-wheel drive.

There are stories of people getting stuck in cars not prepared for this terrain, especially after it has been raining.

There are also areas where large vehicles may have difficulty passing. See the video we took below to show the funky scenery along the road with some tight areas.

YouTube video
Drive along Crosby Canyon Road showing tight areas with cliff overhangs

The sandstone formations in this area are all unique as they have eroded over time.

sandstone formations in desert
Sandstone formation in Crosby Canyon

There are numerous side canyons and side roads that branch off the main Crosby Canyon Road.

The video below shows one of the sandy side roads that we took. If it had rained, it would have been very muddy and difficult to get through.

YouTube video
sandy road in crosby canyon
Sandy road in Crosby Canyon

Flash Flood Risk

In addition to the risk of getting stuck in mud, there is also a significant flash flood risk.

In some areas of the canyon road, it becomes quite narrow. If there were to be a flash flood, especially during heavy rainfalls or sudden weather changes, it could become very dangerous quickly.

Be sure to check the weather before you head out to ensure you are not caught off guard.

Lake Powell Shore Access

As you exit the canyon, various sandy road trails lead to the lake.

Crosby Canyon Shoreline Access Area sign
Crosby Canyon Shoreline Access Area sign

As of April 2024, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area had closed off access to the shoreline for vehicles.

Crosby Canyon Shoreline Access Area closed sign
Crosby Canyon Shoreline Access Area closed sign

We recommend checking in with the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to find the latest status before planning to drive any further down the road.

The map below was posted on the sign to show the areas off limits to all vehicles.

crosby canyon ohv map
Map of Crosby Canyon from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area showing closed areas

At this point, we parked our 4-wheeler and walked the rest of the way to the shore.

Shoreline of Lake Powell via Crosby Canyon
Shoreline of Lake Powell via Crosby Canyon

We had the area all to ourselves.

The video and photos below show the shoreline access from the Crosby Canyon area.

YouTube video
Lake powell shore
Lake Powell shore

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Rules

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area covers 1.25 million acres around Lake Powell.

You will need to pay fees for entering the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. However, there is nowhere to purchase a pass in the Crosby Canyon, so you will need to purchase it before you enter the area. You can buy a pass online.

Read here for more details about ATV riding rules in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Dispersed Camping in Crosby Canyon

Dispersed camping is allowed in Crosby Canyon. We saw several people camping when we visited the canyon in April 2024. ‘

For camping, Crosby offers dispersed, primitive sites with a 14-day consecutive limit.

Crosby Canyon dispersed camping sign
Crosby Canyon dispersed camping sign

Campsites

You can ride your ATV to disperse camping areas in the backcountry as long as you camp at allowable sites and follow ATV regulations about staying on designated trails.

We saw several areas with fire rings that had been previously used as campsites.

Dispersed campsite with fire ring in desert
Dispersed campsite with fire ring

We also saw people setting up camp next to sandstone cliffs. It was quiet when we visited Crosby Canyon, but we saw about 3-4 different campers in the area.

Dispersed camping up against sandstone cliff wall
Dispersed camping up against sandstone cliff wall

Human Sanitation Device

Campers are required to use a human sanitation device (not plastic bags), as indicated in the sign above.

A human sanitation device is equipment used to manage and contain human waste outdoors, ranging from portable toilets to special waste bags, crucial for environmental preservation and hygiene in remote areas.

A product similar to the one below would meet this requirement.

Rangers patrol the area, so be sure to follow this rule.

We have also camped at Lees Ferry Campground in the Page, Arizona area. It’s an established campground on the Colorado River south of Lake Powell.

History of Crosby Canyon

After visiting the canyon and seeing its beauty first-hand, we decided to do a little research to learn more about the area. Crosby Canyon has an interesting geological and human history in this remote region of southern Utah.

Geological History

Crosby Canyon was carved over millions of years by erosion from Crosby Creek cutting through Navajo Sandstone and other sedimentary rock layers.

Different areas of the canyon expose layers of rock from the Jurassic and Triassic periods, around 200-145 million years ago.

Human Inhabitation

Ancestral Puebloan peoples lived and farmed in Crosby Canyon over 700 years ago, taking advantage of the water sources. Rock art panels and archaeological sites with pottery shards, stone tools, and habitation structures can still be found in the canyon.

Prior to European-American settlement, the Southern Paiute Indians also made use of the canyon’s resources.

Modern History

In the early 1900s, ranchers kept cattle in Crosby Canyon.

After Lake Powell was created in 1963, the canyon became a popular access route for boaters and others to reach the shore of Lake Powell.

Shore of Lake Powell via Crosby Canyon
Shore of Lake Powell via Crosby Canyon

Today it is one of the main entry points managed by the National Park Service for ATV riders and hikers exploring the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Final Thoughts on Crosby Canyon

Crosby Canyon was a surprise find with beautiful canyon scenery. It also has the bonus of providing access to Lake Powell’s shoreline.

We recommend contacting the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area before your visit to find out the latest rules for access.