Even in a state with many superb viewpoints, Powell Point (elev. 10,188 feet) is outstanding. Yet surprisingly few people know about this lofty perch at the southern tip of the Table Cliff Plateau, a southwestern extension of the Aquarius Plateau. Its light-colored cliffs stand about 15 air miles northeast of Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Getting to Powell Point involves a bit of adventure. You can drive a car with good clearance within 4.3 miles of the point; high-clearance vehicles can go to within 0.6 mile. From the highway junction north of the national park, drive northeast 11 miles on Highway 63 (gravel), turn southeast and go six miles to Pine Lake, continue east six miles on Forest Route 132 (up onto the plateau), then look for the one-lane dirt road on the right to Powell Point; high-clearance vehicles can turn in 3.7 miles to the Powell Point Trailhead.
If you’re not equipped for driving this rough road, you’ll still find it good for hiking or mountain biking. The road ends where the ridge becomes too narrow for it; a clearing here is fine for camping (no facilities).
A foot trail continues 0.6 mile to the very end of Powell Point. The route passes through an extremely weather-beaten and picturesque forest of bristlecone and limber pine. Panoramic views begin well before trail’s end; at the point itself it feels as though you’re at the end of the world. Much of southern Utah and northern Arizona stretches out below to the far horizon. The colorful cliffs of the Claron Formation lie directly underfoot; take care near the crumbly cliff edges.
Avoid Powell Point if thunderstorms threaten. (Note the many lightning scars on trees here!) The Escalante Ranger District office (755 W. Main St., Escalante, 435/826-5400, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) may have current road conditions for Powell Point.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition