Boating in Utah


For a state with vast stretches of desert, Utah has a surprising number of lakes and reservoirs. In fact, Utah is ranked sixth in the U.S. for amount of boatable water per capita. Not bad for the second driest state in the nation.

Our waters are wonderfully diverse. Boating opportunities range from houseboat vacations on sprawling Lake Powell to fishing boat trips on small, high mountain lakes in our forested mountains.

Utah offers over 100 bodies of water that are considered boatable. We describe the most popular below. All have developed boat ramps and other modern facilities. Excellent campgrounds are available at each of these waters. Elevations and surface acres are approximate and are for full pool.  Some of the best places to boat in Utah include the following:

Lake Powell

The most popular boating water. It offers sunny skies, sandy beaches, scenic canyons and excellent opportunities for skiing, fishing and personal watercraft. Excellent launch ramps and boat rentals are available at major marinas. Part of this reservoir extends into Arizona.

Elevation: 3,700 ft

Surface acres: 160,000

Flaming Gorge

A huge reservoir where boating is very popular. Houseboats are available here and it is easy to escape to a secluded cove. "The Gorge" is bordered by forested mountains in spots and has sandy beaches in other areas. It offers excellent powerboating, skiing and world-class fishing. Top-notch facilities and boat rentals are available. Part of this reservoir extends into Wyoming.

Elevation: 6,053 ft

Surface acres: 42,020

Bear Lake

A beautiful natural lake with Caribbean-like cobalt blue water. It offers excellent powerboating, sailing, skiing, fishing and diving. Part of this lake extends into Idaho.

Elevation: 5,920 ft

Surface Acres: 70,000

Jordanelle Reservoir

A popular playground close to the Salt Lake metro area. On summer weekends the number of craft on the water is restricted to insure a quality experience. This water is excellent for powerboating, skiing, personal watercraft and fishing.

Elevation: 6,200 ft

Surface Acres: 3,300

Deer Creek Reservoir

Close to the Salt Lake metro area and is popular for powerboating, skiing, personal watercraft, sailing and fishing.

Elevation: 5,423 feet

Surface Acres: 2,965

Willard Bay Reservoir

Located on the edge of the Great Salt Lake, just north of Ogden. It is very popular for powerboating, skiing, personal watercraft and fishing.

Elevation: 4,236 ft

Surface Acres: 2,870

Utah Lake

Located just west of Provo, in the metro area. It is a shallow lake suitable for Powerboating, skiing and fishing.

Elevation: 4,488 ft

Surface Acres: 96,900

Yuba Lake

Located about 25 miles south of Nephi, just east of I-15. It offers warm water, sandy beaches and great conditions for skiing and other water sports. It is one of the few waters in Utah offering boat-in camping. It is also a popular fishery for walleye, perch, trout and pike.

Elevation 5,100 ft

Surface Acres: 11000

Quail Creek Reservoir

An extremely popular water playground near St. George. It is great for powerboating and personal watercraft; launch restrictions control the number of vessels on the water to provide a quality experience. Fishing is good during the winter. Power boaters push fishermen off the water during the summer, but fishing can be good very early on summer mornings.

Elevation: 2,900 ft

Surface Acres: 590

Sand Hollow Reservoir

Located near St. George. It is the newest reservoir in Utah's system and is rapidly becoming one of the most popular. It is set amid sand dunes and rocky cliffs, which provide gorgeous scenery and fun play areas. Restrictions control the number of craft on the water. Fishing is good but powerboaters dominate so fishermen usually choose to hit the water very early.

Elevation: 2,900 ft

Surface Acres: 1,000

Pineview Reservoir

Located in a mountain valley east of Ogden, where it has some protection from the wind. Water is often glassy and ideal for skiing. It is also a very popular fishery.

Elevation: 4,900

Surface Acres: 2,870

Strawberry Reservoir

Perhaps the most popular fishing water in Utah. It grows big rainbows, cutthroat trout and kokanee salmon. It is located at a high elevation and the water is cold, so most boating activity revolves around fishing.

Elevation: 7,560 ft

Surface Acres: 17,200

Great Salt Lake

Utah's largest body of water in terms of surface area. It is shallow but provides excellent conditions for sail boating. Most power boaters ignore the lake; that's too bad because powerboats can operate there without any problem if they simply flush salt water from their engines after completing their outings. The Great Salt Lake is perhaps Utah's most under-utilized playground.

Elevation: 4,200 ft

Surface Acres: 960,000

Boating Tours

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Mad Moose Rentals is a locally owned rental business that provides a custom experience that allows y...
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