When you catch the first glimpse of the lake you can’t help but smile at its beautiful, intense turquoise blue color. As the clean mountain air fills your lungs, the excitement sets in and you delight in starting your Bear Lake adventure.
Referred to as the Caribbean of the Rockies, due to the color of the water, Bear Lake has been thrilling visitors for generations. Located just two and half hours north of Park City, it is Utah’s second largest natural freshwater lake. A true beauty of nature and recreation paradise, it spans 20 miles on the borders of northern Utah and southern Idaho. Surrounded by marinas, beaches and two tourist towns on the Utah side, Garden City and Laketown, summers are not complete without a trip to Bear Lake.
At an elevation of 5,923 feet, Cache and Caribou National Forests surround Bear Lake. Water enthusiasts can swim, kayak, canoe, boat, waterski, wakeboard, paddle board, fish, dive and sail.
You can also simply relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery on numerous rustic beaches. Friendly and informative locals off er helpful tips and insights from family-operated shops throughout the area, making each visit a customized experience. Make sure to set aside time for hiking, running and mountain biking. You will want to absorb the view via miles of paved and mountain trails surrounding the lake. ATV and horseback trails are equally scenic. Visit Bear Lake Fun at bearlakefun.com before your trip to rent everything from boats to paddle boards.
Bear Lake Fun also offers guided activities including fishing, water sports and lake tours.
For over 40 years, the Pickleville Playhouse has catered to family fun. This summer, guests will enjoy The Little Mermaid and Shoot Out at Shadow Mountain. Pickleville offers musical theater workshops for kids ages 8-16. These workshops include singing, dancing, acting and having fun.
Northwest of Bear Lake in the St. Charles Canyon, the Minnetonka Cave offers guided tours of stalactites, stalagmites and banded travertine. Because the cave is only 40 degrees, pack a jacket.
Just 20 miles north of Garden City is Paris, Idaho and the beautiful Paris Ice Cave. Th is natural wonder is open year round and offers magnificent ice formations. It’s perfect for a family outing.
Because Bear Lake is renowned for having a “funky feel,” you will find an eclectic mix of lodging and activities, from camping to condos to beautiful log cabins. For more information visit bearlake.org.
If you’re looking for the ability to camp without sacrificing the comforts of home, visit Conestoga Ranch. The estate is rustic and filled with romance, family fun, adventure and more. The ranch is ideal for reunions, weddings and groups of all sizes. The perks of Conestoga Ranch include on-site games and playgrounds, complimentary cruiser bicycles and their famous s’mores served around the campfire. Also, located at the Conestoga Ranch is the Campfire Grill—a timber framed, open-air restaurant with delicious dining under the stars.
If you’re looking for a location that is both beautiful and budget friendly, travel just outside Garden City, to Beaver Mountain. For over 70 years, the Seeholzer family has been making memories and building traditions. Locals call it “The Beav” and it offers hiking, biking, fishing and spectacular views in the summer.
The Beaver Mountain Lodge is available for weddings, conferences and reunions all summer long. In addition, RV travelers enjoy full hookups, picnic tables and fire pits at the park. There is also a campground. The Seeholzer’s will make you feel right at home.
If you’re sauntering around town, stop into the Bear Trapper Restaurant and order a fresh sandwich or burger. Or step next door to the home of the 28 inch “Old Emphraim” Pizza, at the Bear Lake Pizza Company. Yes, you read it right; a 28 inch pizza!
After a fabulous day on the lake or the golf course, Cooper’s Restaurant and Sports Bar is the place to be for food, drinks and fun! Right on the Bear Lake West Golf Course, Cooper’s is the only restaurant in town with a view of the entire lake! Headed into their 10th year of business, Cooper’s is a local and visitor favorite. Try one of the unique special dishes or choose from an everyday favorite. On Sundays, Cooper’s serves a scrumptious breakfast that can’t be beat; one of our favorites is the raspberry stuffed French Toast. But the best thing about Coopers is their live music every Saturday night in the summer. Relax on their beautiful outdoor scenic deck and enjoy as the crowds gather for an evening filled with fresh air, music and great food. One visit to Cooper’s and you will always go back.
One of the best kept secrets in the area is the Bear Lake West Golf Course. Th is 9-hole mountain course is great for all levels of golfers and handicaps. With a full pro-shop and rental equipment, there’s no need to pack your clubs along for an afternoon on the links. You’re guaranteed to be delighted by the variety of holes and brilliant green conditions. Our favorite hole is #5, with a panoramic view of Bear Lake.
Right on the Utah/Idaho border in Logan Canyon, Beaver Creek Lodge has become another favorite year-round destination. Nestled in the mountains with elevations between 7,200 to 9,600 feet, the nights are cool and perfect for sitting by the fire. Beaver Creek Lodge is surrounded by hundreds of miles of off-road trails. Offering mountain horseback rides and ATV rentals, Beaver Creek Lodge is the ideal place for business retreats or family reunions.
Guests can rent the entire lodge or a room. During hot summer months, Beaver Creek Lodge offers a variety of lodging and outdoor adventure packages. Packages include guided tours and breakfast. Horseback rides are suitable to riders of all levels. The 1 1/2 and 3-hour rides have scenic mountain views and are, typically, filled with wild flowers in the summer. Guests can also spend the day exploring the mountain renting side-by-side vehicles that seat 2-6 passengers.
If you’ve never been to Bear Lake, you owe it to yourself to go. It’s close enough for a weekend excursion but so unique you will feel like you’re a world away. For a Calendar of Events visit bearlake.org