Things to do in Bear Lake Valley
The Caribbean of the Rockies is much more than its shimmering waters.
The turquoise waters of Bear Lake are legendary, but you don’t get a reputation as one of the best vacation spots in the Mountain West just for your crystal clear water. After all, a swim is only as good as the raspberry milkshakes you have afterwards. And in Bear Lake, both are well worth the trip any time of year.
Yes, any time of year. After all, an ice skate is just as good as a swim and that raspberry shake stays nice and cold when you leave it in the snow. There are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy in Bear Lake Valley in any season. Want us to prove it? OK.
Because those raspberries in your world famous Bear Lake shake didn’t come from just anywhere. Held each year at Heritage Park in early August, Raspberry Days isn’t your average fruit festival. With a pie eating contest, a boat parade, a rodeo, concerts, fireworks and more, you’ll need an appetite for both food and fun.
Hiking and Biking
From easygoing forest jaunts to more challenging treks towards alpine lakes and scenic viewpoints, Bear Lake has a bit of everything for enthusiastic hikers and mountain bikers to take in. Explore a new area each day, and don’t be afraid to push yourself — there’s a nice refreshing swim waiting to reward you for your hard work. And in the winter, plenty of those trails work just as well for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It’s less fun to go swimming afterwards though.
Bear Lake Monster Winterfest
Oh, what’s that? You want to go swimming in the winter? Well, that’s crazy, but the good news is you’ll have lots of company at the Bear Lake Winterfest. Part fishing festival, part polar plunge and all party, the Winterfest is a great way to explore Bear Lake in the winter and have a blast while doing it. Don’t worry — there’s plenty of hot chocolate, locally made chili and freshly caught Bonneville Cisco to warm you up.
Are you ready to #SkiTheBeav? Beaver Mountain, one of Utah’s true hidden gems, is located just an hour from Bear Lake in Logan Canyon. With a mix of family friendly trails and some expert terrain that will make you say “CottonWHAT Canyons?” it’s a great way to enjoy The Greatest Snow on Earth™ away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds.
Snowmobiling and Off-Roading
If hiking and snowshoeing are a bit slow for your liking, feel free to explore Bear Lake Valley with a little more pep in your step. With endless off-roading trails winding through the mountains in the summer and over 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the winter, Bear Lake is an all-season playground for riders of all ability levels and disciplines.
Channel your inner Indiana Jones (your Innerdiana Jones) and explore some of the incredible and unique caves in Bear Lake Valley. At Minnetonka Cave, you’ll find nine rooms of stalagmites and stalactites, and not a single quiz on which is which. You can also visit the Paris Ice Cave, which stays cool year round and even boasts ice in the summer months. You can see the Ice Cave from June to October. Be sure to bring a flashlight and use extreme caution when exploring caves.
There’s really no bad way to drive in Bear Lake — windows-down summer cruises, leaf peeping fall drives, early morning rides to the ski slopes — you can’t go wrong. But the drive through Logan Canyon tops ‘em all in any season. There’s nothing like coming down through the mountains as the shining waters of Bear Lake unfold before you. Even if they’re in the rearview, don’t worry — you’ll be back soon.
The Bear Lake Valley was first inhabited by Shoshone Tribes, then fur trappers. Between 1825 & 1840, many mountain men and Native Americans met on the south end of the lake to swap goods and stories! These meetings became known as mountain man rendezvous.
The first permanent settler to the Bear Lake Valley was reportedly Thomas Pegleg Smith, a crusty, one-legged, ex-mountain man. During the 1840s, he set up a trading post to provide supplies to the emigrants on the famous Oregon Trail. Early Mormon pioneer leader Brigham Young sent the first group of permanent settlers to Bear Lake Valley in 1863. This group was led by Charles C. Rich. The County bears his name.
Bear Lake Activities
- Ice fishing
- OHVing and ATV trails nearby
- Scenic Byway Drive
- Skiing at Beaver Mountain
- Snowmobiling, 362 miles of groomed trails
- Special events (including Raspberry Days)
- Water skiing and wakeboarding
- Wildlife watching
Bear Lake Golf Course
Garden City, Utah 84028
Enjoy a challenging 9 hole mountain golf course, with a beautiful view of Bear Lake.
Bear Lake West Golf Course
Fish Haven, Idaho 83287
9-hole course, carts, club rentals, lessons, restaurant and lounge overlooking Bear Lake.
Montpelier City Municipal Golf Course
Montpelier, Idaho 83254
9-hole course, carts, club rentals, driving range, and lessons available.
Birch Campground: $25/night (full hookups)
Big Creek Campground: $25/night (full hookups)
Cottonwood Campground: $16/night
South Eden Campground: $10/night (primitive)
Most RV sites are back-in. There are some pull-throughs for vehicles up to 80 feet
Group sites are available for day use and overnight camping
800-322-3770 (toll-free from outside the Salt Lake City area)
801-322-3770 (from within the Salt Lake City area)
Things to Do in Bear Lake Valley | Photo Gallery
View of Bear Lake in Northern Utah
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