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Pass Canyon & Ben Allen Anchorages
About two thirds the way up the east side of Stansbury Mountain are two of my favorite anchorages on Great Salt Lake. These are Pass Canyon and Ben Allen. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but both are very picturesque. And both have good holding ground with a sandy bottom. Both have springs and provide good hiking. The whole east side of Stansbury Island, excepting Sandy Beach Bay, is on BLM land so there is no trespassing issue.
 
Approaches to the anchorages are very straight forward with no obstacles. Just keep about four miles off the island until you are due east of the desired anchorage. The only real navigation problem you may encounter is if you head west for the south tip of Stansbury and run aground on Atlantis Reef. Even in high water years the reef is very shallow. So stay well clear of Stansbury Island until you are half way up the island.
 
The information for these anchorages is based on a lake level of 4198’ above sea level and on datum WGS 84. For lake levels below 4198’ you will have to make adjustments.
 
 
Pass Canyon Anchorage
The Pass Canyon Anchorage will put you close to the island on the south tip of Pass Canyon. As you look at the map above you will see how the contour lines of the lake bottom bend to the west towards the ridge on the sound end.   Using this anchorage will let you anchor as close to the island as you can get on the east side. As you look towards Pass Canyon you will see a nice beach to the north of you. This beach rises to a lush green valley with a stream that runs down the canyon onto the beach. The spring is at the base of the ridge to the north of Pass Canyon and is near the north end of the beach. The abrupt ridges make for a pleasant view.
 
You may want to consider this a day anchorage only. I have anchored here before and had pleasant nights. On other occasions, when the Weber drainage winds are active, the waves can make the anchorage bumpy. The Jordan River can run strong from the north along this anchorage. This can have the undesirable effect of keeping your bow to the north while the waves come in from the east. If you want to use this as a night anchorage you may want to check to see if the Weber winds will be strong. You will not get the wind but you may get the rolling waves.
 
Navigation to Pass Canyon
Navigation to Pass Canyon is very basic. The anchorage is 14.5 nautical miles on a heading of 294° magnetic. Do not sail below this heading or you may encounter Atlantis Reef. Stay on the heading and you will clear Atlantis with room to spare. If you have a GPS head for waypoint PASS 1 which is at north 40° 52.803’ by west 112° 26.912’. This will put you one mile due east of the anchorage and in deep water. From here start heading due west to the anchorage which is at north 40° 52.827’ by west 112° 28.136’. Here you should be in eight feet of water with a sandy bottom beneath you. Do not head any further west from this point as there are some small bioherms that start to rise off the sand.
 
If you choose to swim here you may want to throw a floating line out behind the stern of the boat. The current along this section of the lake can be strong at times.
 
Ashore
The anchorage puts you just east of the ridge on the south end of the valley. It looks tempting to paddle a dinghy right to the ridge. Yet when you get close you will see that the beach here is inundated with phragmities and is impassable.  But if you look just to the north you will see a stretch of beach with no phragmities. This is the preferred landing. There are some good hikes to be had here. You can also visit the spring on the north corner of the beach.
 
Bring good hiking shoes as the hike can be rugged. Expect to encounter cactus and beware of rattlesnakes.
 
Please do not build any fires on the beach or on land. The whole island burned several years back and is just now healing. You can see evidence of the fire if you look higher up the canyon.
 
 
Ben Allen Canyon Anchorage
Ben Allen Canyon anchorage is my favorite on the lake for its views. Ben Allen Canyon has a beautiful green valley that rises from the beach. The valley is capped with abrupt and rugged ridges that climb to Castle Rock. This combination makes for one of the most picturesque anchorages that Great Salt Lake offers.
 
During the spring and early summer there are several springs running down the valley to the beach below. The spring is located just off the beach due west of the anchorage.
 
Navigation to Ben Allen Canyon
Navigating to Ben Allen Canyon is very straight forward. The anchorage is 13.3 nautical miles from the marina on a heading of 293° magnetic. Do not sail below this heading or you may encounter Atlantis Reef. Stay on the heading and you will clear Atlantis with room to spare. If you have a GPS head for waypoint BEN 1 which is at north 40° 52.019’ by west 112° 26.825’. This will put you one mile due east of the anchorage and in deep water. From here start heading due west to the anchorage which is at north 40° 52.060’ by west 112° 27.662’. Here you should be in six feet of water with a sandy bottom beneath you. Do not head any further west from this point as there are some small bioherms that start to rise off the sand. If you draw more than five feet just stay east of listed anchorage somewhere between waypoint Ben 1 and the anchorage until you are in a desired depth. The bottom along here is sandy and will provide good holding ground.
 
If you choose to swim here you may want to throw a floating line out behind the stern of the boat. The current along this section of the lake can be strong at times.
 
Ashore
The anchorage puts you just short of a mile from the beach so the paddle can be a little long. But the shore can be worth it. The spring is at the southern base of the ridge that forms the north wall of Ben Allen Canyon. There are many streams running down the canyon wall to the center of the beach. There are several hikes. Some can be challenging. Others are fairly easy. This is BLM land so there should be no trespassing issues.
 
Bring good hiking shoes as the hike can be rugged. Expect to encounter cactus and beware of rattlesnakes.
 
Please do not build any fires on the beach or on land. The whole island burned several years back and is just now healing. You can see evidence of the fire if you look higher up the canyon