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 Utah Travel Center State Parks • Bear Lake


Description. Bear Lake is nestled high in the Rocky Mountains on the Utah-Idaho border. Water-skiing, swimming, scuba diving and sailing are favorite activities. Fishing is for cutthroat, mackinaw and whitefish. In the winter snowmobilers and ice anglers are drawn to the area. Bear Lake is famous for its annual January cisco run. Three state-owned facilities provide boating, camping and picnicking.

Bear Lake Marina is on U.S. Highway 89, two miles north of Garden City. The marina to this freshwater lake provides a sheltered harbor, 80-foot wide, 5-lane, concrete launching ramp, 305 boat slips, marina sanitary disposal station, 13 campsites, group pavilion, modern rest rooms, hot showers and visitor center. Year round fishing is a popular activity.  A concessionaire provides boat rentals, gasoline, fishing/boating supplies and fast-food grill.

Bear Lake Rendezvous Beach is on the south shore near Laketown on State Route 30. It extends for 1.25 miles and offers 138 campsites, modern rest rooms, hot showers and utility hookups. A wide, sandy beach provides excellent camping, picnicking and small watercraft activity. Rendezvous Beach is a popular area for groups and family reunions and the site of an annual Mountain Man Rendezvous. A local concessionaire provides small boat rentals.

Bear Lake Eastside is 10 miles north of Laketown. Activities include scuba diving, boating and fishing. There are six primitive campgrounds and two, 2-lane concrete boat launching ramps. Drinking water is available at the South Eden campground.

Park Information. There are 906 total acres for all three parks. The elevation is 5,900 ft. The park is open year round, with reservations accepted May 1-October 1. The stay limit is 14 days. Some of the activities include: boating, swimming, fishing, and winter activities.

  Marina   
  Rendezvous Beach
  East Side    
Total Units
  13
  136
  25
RV Trailer Sites
  13
  136
  25
Maximum RV Length
  32
  36
  NA
Tent Sites
  13
  Yes
  Yes
Group Camping
  No
  Yes
  Yes
Visitor Center
  Yes
  No
  No
Picnicking
  Yes
  Yes
  Yes
Group Pavilion
  Yes
  No
  No
Drinking Water
  Yes
  Yes
  Yes
Modern Rest Rooms
  Yes
  Yes
  No
Vault Toilets
  No
  No
  Yes
Showers
  Yes
  Yes
  No
Waste Disposal
  Yes
  Yes
  No
Utility Hookups
  No
  Yes
  No
Off-highway Vehicles
  No
  No
  Nearby
Watchable Wildlife
  Yes
  No
  No
Concession Service
  Yes
  Yes
  No

Camping Reservations. Reservations may be made by calling Utah State Parks and Recreation, 322-3770 in the Salt Lake City calling area or toll-free 1-800-322-3770, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Individual campsite reservations may be made from three days to 16 weeks in advance from the date of departure. A $6 nonrefundable reservation fee will be charged for each site reserved. A $10 nonrefundable fee is charged for group sites and building rentals. An additional reservation fee will be charged for any changes to existing reservations. Visa, MasterCard and personal checks are accepted. A $5 fee is charged for an extra vehicle and is collected at the park.

Permits and Passes. The Single Park Permit is $50 and allows the cardholder and up to seven guests in the same private vehicle day-use entrance into Bear Lake State Park.  The permit is valid for the current calendar year.  The Five-Day Pass is $15 and allows day-use entrance to most Utah state parks for five consecutive days.


History. Bear Lake was formed some 28 thousand years ago by earthquake activity. Its unique aqua-blue color is the result of calcium carbonates suspended in the lake. At an elevation of 5,923 feet, Bear Lake is 20 miles long and 8 miles wide, 208' deep, covering 112 square miles.

Originally Bear Lake was called Black Bear Lake by Donald Mackenzie, explorer for the North West Fur Company who discovered it in 1819 while scouting for fur-bearing animals, largely beaver, to satisfy urban demand for hats. The name was later changed to Bear Lake.

The beach is named for the famous rendezvous of fur trappers and Indians held in the summers of 1827 and 1828. The gatherings were attended by a thousand or more Indians and mountain men including Jedediah Smith. There were so many campfires at the south end of the lake at these trading sessions that one observer called the area "a lighted city."

East Side-Cisco Beach-South Eden-North Eden-1st Point: These primitive areas are located on the east shore approximately ten miles north of Laketown. The terrain is rocky and the water depth drops off quickly to 208 feet.

Cisco Beach is famous for its midwinter fishing with dip nets for the little seven-inch Bonneville Cisco, a member of the white fish family. For a week to ten days in January, swarms of the little fish come close to the rocky shore to spawn. They are easily scooped up by hardy fishermen wading waist-deep in the icy water or through holes in the ice if the lake is frozen.

Cisco Beach is also known for this excellent inland water scuba diving  opportunities. The rocky bottom and the steep drop off close to shore make this location a favorite of divers from the Tri-State area. Two diving areas have been marked and designated for this activity. Wooden walkways assist the diver in accessing the water with his needed equipment.

Bear Lake State Park
P.O. Box 184
Garden City, Utah 84028-0184
(435)946-3343

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