Bear Lake State Park
Bear Lake is a 20-mile long and eight-mile wide natural lake with beautiful, placid waters that perfectly match the tranquil pace of the quaint towns that dot the shore. The northern half is located in Idaho and the southern half in Utah with the state lines dividing it. The turquoise color of the lake comes from the mineral calcium carbonate. The vibrant waters have led some people to call it the “Caribbean of the Rockies.” The lake was named in the 1800’s Black Bear Lake, but was later renamed to just Bear Lake.
On the western shore of Bear Lake, just north of Garden City and about an hour from Logan, is Bear Lake State Park and Marina. Bear Lake’s beauty along with the marina’s facilities and beaches makes it an ideal place for boating, fishing, playing, and camping. Away from the lake, more than 100 miles of trails allow hikers, bikers and ATV fans to adventure to their hearts’ content. Read about the five best hikes in Bear Lake Valley
In the winter, the Bear Lake area transforms into a snowy adventureland, headlined by ice fishing and snowmobiling, and the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest. Learn more about ice fishing in Bear Lake, featured as one of Utah's best winter refreshes and the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest in Garden City.
Bear Lake is often called the Caribbean of the Rockies for its intense turquoise blue water. Photo: Jim Urquhart
Dip net for Cisco fish on the east side of Bear Lake at dawn as part of the Winterfest's Cisco Disco. Photo: Jim Urquhart
In the winter, experience the rush of snowmobiling on our 350 miles of groomed trails and wide open play areas. Photo: Jim Urquhart
Riding through Powder
Bear Lake State Park is a great place for snowmobiling. Photo: Jim Urquhart
Fishers look for a morning catch during the Cisco Disco. Photo: Jim Urquhart
Bear Lake Monster Winterfest includes a Monster Plunge into the icy lake to help raise funds for a local charity. Photo: Jim Urquhart
The Icy Depths
Brave participants of the Monster Plunge. Photo: Jim Urquhart
Bear Lake Solitude
Outside of the Monster Winterfest, Bear Lake is a great place for peace, quiet and fish. Photo: Jim Urquhart
The perfect place for beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation and a raspberry shake. Photo: Jim Urquhart
After the Cisco Disco, it's time to eat. Photo: Jim Urquhart
A motorhome makes it's way up Highway 89, through the fall colors along the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway. Photo: Steve Greenwood
Sailors take to the Caribbean of the Rockies.
Bear Lake is a favorite for boaters and riders.
Bear Lake in Summer
Bear Lake’s charms is pretty apparent for anyone interested in the outdoors, water sports, cute small towns or fresh-picked raspberries. Photo: Jay Dash
What Makes It Great
If you have a sailboat, Bear Lake is the place for you. With calm water, a consistent afternoon breeze, and tons of room to maneuver (nearly 70,000 acres), it has to be one of Utah’s best places to unfurl the sails. There’s nothing better than watching the sunset over the Bear River Mountains from the deck of a boat. The marina has a large paved boat launch and berths that can hold more than 100 ships within its sheltered harbor.
The calm and tranquil water of the lake has put Bear Lake on the map for water skiing and wakeboarding enthusiasts. Jet skiing is just as popular. With the lake having so much open surface area you are guaranteed to find the perfect spot to skim the water. You can find rental boats and jet skis at the marina or in one of the nearby cities.
In addition, the trophy fishing attracts tons of people to Bear Lake. Most are hoping to hook a cutthroat or lake trout, but you may also land whitefish and carp. Trolling is popular across the lake and casting from the rocky embankment of the marina can be productive.
Be sure to bring your stand up paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes as well. Quietly cruising the shores south of the marina will lead to seeing beautiful waterfowl in the lake’s marshes. Starting from the beach at the marina you can head north to explore the beaches along the west shore. If you don’t feel like cruising, then just drifting and playing in the shallow and warm water near the marina’s beach can’t be beat.
With depths reaching 200 feet Bear Lake is also great place for fresh water scuba diving. The steep drop off and rocky bottom of Cisco Beach is a popular place for divers. It’s 10 miles north of Laketown on the east side of Bear Lake.
If you plan to stay a night or two, camping at Bear Lake State Park is available at the marina, Rendezvous Beach, and Cisco Beach. The Marina and Rendezvous Beach sites have water, flush toilets, and showers, while the Cisco campground is primitive.
While you are hanging at the “Caribbean of the Rockies” be sure to eat your fill of raspberries. Bear Lake raspberries are world famous and each August the harvest is celebrated with a festival. If you happen to miss the festival, don’t worry you can still have a raspberry milk shake at any number of drive-ins surrounding the lake.
It is also a great place to explore America's past (Read: Bear Lake for History Buffs) and discover the stories of the hearty souls that settled this area
What You’ll Remember
Having a blast on the water! With everything from swimming and paddling to watersports and fishing, this lake is an adventure all its own. Who can forget the famous raspberry shakes?
Who’s Going to Love It
Anyone who loves being down by the water. Fishermen, watersport enthusiasts, families with little swimmers, and anyone looking to get away from it all for a day, weekend, or longer. Experience the rush of snowmobiling on more than 350 miles of groomed trails and wide open play areas. Ski nearby Beaver Mountain and enjoy some of Utah's best powder.
GPS Coordinates, Parking, and Regulations
GPS Coordinates for the Marina:
Bear Lake State Park charges fees for the different beaches, campsites, boating areas, and other rentals around the lake. Check the Utah State Parks website for more specifics on Bear Lake or call 435-946-3343.
Through Logan, Utah: Take I-15 to U.S. 89/91 in Brigham City. Stay on U.S. 89/91 into Logan. Follow U.S. 89 through Logan Canyon to Garden City. Turn left on U.S. 89, travel 1 mile north of Garden City.
From Evanston, Wyoming: Take S.R. 89 north. At the UT/WY border, the road changes to S.R. 16. Stay on S.R. 16 to Sage Creek Junction. At Sage Creek Junction, turn left (west) onto S.R. 30. At U.S. 89/S.R. 30 junction, continue north about1 mile through Garden City on U.S. 89.
Beyond the lake, the Pickleville Playhouse offers a live theater and Wild West grill on beautiful Bear Lake during the summer months. The Garden City Pool is open year-round. Outdoor adventurers may also enjoy horseback riding and OHV trails through the Cache National Forest. Renegade Raceway allows kids and adults to experience the fun of a go-kart race track.
Logan Canyon Scenic Byway
This 41-mile national scenic byway is the most scenic route from Northern Utah to Jackson and Yellowstone. The byway runs alongside the winding Logan River from the city of Logan to Garden City, right through Bear Lake State Park. Much of the corridor travels through spectacular, craggy limestone cliffs, some of which are nearly vertical. There are many opportunities for recreation in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and interpretive information on Logan Canyon along the way.
Ogden River Scenic Byway
The Ogden River Scenic Byway follows a narrow canyon away from the urban center and up into spectacular alpine landscapes. Along the way to its high point of nearly 9,000 feet at Monte Cristo Summit (closed in winter), it passes through a complex quartzite gorge, a beautiful high valley, and some of the finest mountain meadows and forest in Northern Utah. Also along the way are significant man-made attractions that include a genuine monastery and prize-winning hamburgers.
Bear Lake State Park
940 North Bear Lake
Garden City, Utah 84028