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Truck and camper driving on Crosby Canyon Road under low hanging outcropping

Crosby Canyon to Warm Creek Bay – A Fun and Crazy Drive!

Minimum vehicle equipment needed for this trail

Part of the way: 2×4 or AWD — All of the way: 4×4 (stock or better)
Graph with 4x4, 2x4 and car ratings

The drive through Crosby canyon is a crazy, fun time on roadbed access used almost 30 years ago for the filming of the movie Maverick (1994), and even before that as a mining road in and around the Glen Canyon Area.

View from road before turning into Crosby Canyon

Rocks that look like Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwich “Like” Rocks

Crosby Canyon is an off-road trail starting near Big Water, Utah and ending at Warm Creek Bay on the southernmost section of Lake Powell. To access this road, take Ethan Allen Road off HWY US-89 in Big Water. You will then take Smoky Mountain Road as it splits off to the north. The first 5 miles are paved, and then transitions into a dirt road. At the 13-mile mark, you’ll find a sign pointing you to Crosby Canyon that branches off to the right that will ultimately take you to Warm Creek Bay. This portion of the drive will take you through Crosby Canyon. You will find parts of this road having deep sand, narrow driving areas, and rocky overhangs. Look for the Ice-Cream-Sandwich like rocks on your left, along with so many other rock formations you will see on the drive.

As you come out of the canyon you will see a variety of sandy road trails that you can take to access the lake. Make sure to look around and get your bearings. These “roads” crisscross and move around this peninsula area without much rhyme or reason. We recommend taking the FIRST right as you exit the wash at the end of Crosby Canyon. Also, keep in mind that the elevation of the lake will dictate where you can and cannot drive. After the 50-foot water level drop of 2021, the access to the beach has become more difficult. Also, beware of land that has recently had water on top of it. It may look as if you can drive on it – but it’s sticky thick mud until it dries out, and you will get stuck. Also, vehicles with low clearance beware. We’ve seen more than one low clearance vehicle go over an area with hidden rocks and end up inoperable.

Here’s a fun (and true) story!

Cassandra and Luke own and operate All In Boat Rentals out of Big Water, UT.  During one of our many trips to the area, Cassandra shared a story with us from back when she was in school. Their class went on a field trip to visit the movie set where they were filming the movie Maverick – IN A SCHOOL BUS — through Crosby Canyon!

Just a fun fact to keep in mind as you yourself drive through Crosby Canyon, hopefully in your Jeep or other off-road capable vehicle. We would not recommend this drive for any low clearance vehicles. Though we must admit that we have navigated it with our 27-foot camper trailer. But a word of caution. The sand is thick, really thick, and we literally had to tandem both of our off-road capable vehicles to pull the camper back up to the canyon road from down by the lake shore. Yes – it really was 8-wheel drive!

Trucks and Campers on Sand with Desert Mountains in Background

Exiting Crosby Canyon into Warm Creek Bay Area

Housekeeping Items for this Trip:

  • You are required to pay a fee to enter Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass. Please check at the park for current rates.
  • You must carry out all human waste by use of a sanitation device. Plastic bags are prohibited for this purpose. Rangers do patrol the lake and will visit Warm Creek Bay on a regular basis.
  • You can camp boon-dock style pretty much anywhere on this peninsula, but keep in mind that you have a 14-day consecutive limit.
  • Hint, to increase traction, it’s a good idea to lower your tire pressure.

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