Why is Bear Lake Called Bear Lake?

Also known as the Caribbean of the Rockies, Bear Lake stretches out 109 square miles and offers countless recreational opportunities, from boating to caving and everything in between!

Photo Credit: Chase-Karli Willden

Bear Lake is also located right on the Utah-Idaho border so you can set up your homebase in various places ranging from the bustling town of Garden City in Utah to the charming, laid-back community of Fish Haven in Idaho. Wherever you stay, you will be rewarded with incredible views of Bear Lake’s blue waters and the picturesque Bear Lake Valley surrounding it. Not to mention unparalleled views of the Wasatch Mountain Range on the northeast front!

Photo Credit: Nicholas D. via Flickr CC 2.0

But what makes Bear Lake that much more inviting is that it not only makes for the perfect location for a cabin rental but is also filled with a rich history that can be admired from just about any angle. From the historical sites to the lake itself, there is so much to learn about this beautiful location! So that leaves one question – why is Bear Lake called Bear Lake?

An Indigenous Beginning

Photo Credit: Picryl via Google Images CCL

To truly understand the history and origin of Bear Lake, it is important to consider just how long this area has been inhabited. Various Native American tribes have called this place home for over 12,000 years.

Some of these tribes included the Bannock, the Ute, and the Shoshone. They would navigate between the Great Salt Lake Valley and the Bear Lake Valley by following the food sources and, in doing so, avoiding harsher weather.

The tribes gathered plants to help them through the colder months and often hunted for mammals like bison, pronghorn, and deer. When they weren’t out hunting and gathering in the nearby canyons, forests, lakes, and rivers, they would frequently camp by the shores of the wide-sweeping Bear Lake. This was also a great homebase because it provided the tribes with a plentiful food source of fish like the easy-to-catch cutthroat trout.

As time went on, these tribes began to exchange goods with one another. This was an important practice because, by the early 1800s, mountain men would also make their way to the shores of Bear Lake.

The Origin Story

Photo Credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM via Flickr CC 2.0

In 1818, a group of European mountain men who were trappers for the Northwest Fur Company paddled their way up the Bear River and arrived at what would eventually become Bear Lake.

One of the trappers was a Scotsman by the name of Donald McKenzie, and upon his arrival, he decided to name the lake Black Bear Lake – which was later shortened. They were here, in fact, to trap animals of this kind, so it only seemed fitting. As time passed and the mountain men continued exploring the area, the name was shortened to Bear Lake. Fur trappers and traders also called it Sweet Lake.

Whether or not this is true is one thing, but there is no denying that the Bear Lake Rendezvous of 1828, also known as the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, was one of the most iconic events in Bear Lake’s history when the Smith, Jackson, and Sublette Company chose the location as it’s first lakeside trading post.

Photo Credit: via Flickr CC 2.0

Hosted at what is now Rendezvous Beach in Bear Lake State Park, nearly 10,000 American Indians and thousands of mountain men gathered during the summers of 1827 and 1828, including famous mountain men like Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger. The east side of Bear Lake became a stomping ground for fur trading, storytelling, and gambling.

As mountain men began exhausting their trapping perimeters, they continued to push west, looking for new opportunities. This led to what is known as the Oregon Trail and the Oregon Trail-Bear Lake Scenic Byway, a scenic drive that makes a great way to experience both the history and the incredible views that go with it.

Today, you can also head down to Laketown, Utah, to learn more about the lake’s rich rendezvous history.

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

Photo Credit: Gertan

While many Europeans and Mormon pioneers made their way through the Bear Lake Valley, no one decided to settle here until 1863. Led by Brigham Young, a group of Mormon settlers established Paris-Bear Lake’s first official community.

To do so, Young and his people worked out a peace treaty with the Native American tribes, but this was just the beginning. As time went on, more settlers made their way to the Bear Lake valley and established small towns along Bear Lake’s shore.

One of these settlers was a man by the name of Charles C. Rich. He was an apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was the founder of Rich County, where Bear Lake now resides. These two factors made him an icon of his time, so it was safe to say that anything he said was considered golden and irrefutable.

Home to more than just the iconic Bonneville Cisco fish, Charles C. Rich believed Bear Lake had a monster! In 1868, the Desert News published an article that included multiple eyewitness accounts from Charles C. Rich himself. He stated that he had seen what would become known as the Bear Lake Monster amongst the lake’s waters on various occasions.

Today, the Bear Lake Monster is still an iconic figure in Utah folklore. Every January, anglers and locals alike participate in the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest. This winter event includes the Cisco Disco, a fish-catch-grill extravaganza, and a polar plunge!

Home of the Famed Butch Cassidy Robbery

Photo Credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM via Flickr CC 2.0

The interesting stories of Native Americans, mountain men, and the Bear Lake Monster is enough to have history buffs running to the shoreline, so the Butch Cassidy robbery is just icing on the cake.

During the summer of 1896, Butch Cassidy and his two accomplices, William Ellsworth Lay, and Henry Meeks, robbed the Bank of Montpelier. Not only was this the first bank that the gang robbed together, but it was also the first bank robbed in southeastern Idaho. To make it that much more interesting, it is the only bank Cassidy robbed still standing today.

The bank has since been restored, and you can visit it today to see where the iconic bank robber first learned to walk (or rob banks!). Stop by the Butch Cassidy Museum in Montpelier, Idaho, to stand where Cassidy once stood and relive the tale of one of Cassidy’s most famous robberies.

Fun Fact: During this robbery, the Wild Bunch Gang stole 7,000 dollars, equivalent to more than 150,000 dollars today!

A Lake Steeped in History

Photo Credit: Dmitry Yashkin

Come to enjoy the turquoise blue freshwater lake and stay awhile to experience the intriguing history of Bear Lake. This year-round destination offers plenty, including boating, mountain biking, hiking, wildlife watching, fishing, snowmobiling, and historical stops.

Walk along the beach where mountain men and Native Americans once exchanged stories, spend time along the shoreline looking for the infamous Bear Lake Monster, explore the first settled community in Paris, and stand in the same spot as the iconic Butch Cassidy. The options are endless when you book a Bear Lake getaway!

Bear Lake Fishing Guide

Often referred to as the ‘Caribbean of the Rockies’ due to its alluring turquoise waters, Bear Lake is the second-largest natural freshwater lake in the State of Utah. Covering 109 square miles from Utah across the Idaho border, it is home to four species of fish that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Around four out of every five years on average, Bear Lake ices over, setting the stage for prime ice fishing opportunities as well. Though Bear Lake has the environment to appeal to anyone in search of an outdoor adventure, anglers are especially in-store for a unique kind of paradise. Once you settle into your Bear Lake vacation rental home, we’re sure you’ll be ready to grab your rod and head to the crystal clear waters of the lake.

Here’s all you need to know about fishing at Bear Lake.

What’s Biting?

Bear Lake is open year-round and hosts four endemic fish species:

  • Bonneville Cisco
  • Bonneville Whitefish
  • Bear Lake Whitefish
  • Bear Lake Sculpin

Bear River Cutthroat Trout and Lake Trout can be found near Cisco Beach, Rainbow Cove, and the Bear Lake Marina, and carp, bluegill, smallmouth, and largemouth bass, and catfish can also be found here. Bear Lake is also home to a trophy cutthroat trout fishery where the Idaho State record cutthroat (19 lbs.) was caught. Lake Trout in Bear Lake may grow to be as large as 30 lbs.

When Are They Most Active?

The Bear Lake area is a legitimate lure for novice and seasoned anglers at any time of year, with fresh fish harvests springing up every season.

Here’s a quick look at when you expect to fish for each fish species in Bear Lake:

  • The Bonneville Whitefish spawn in mid-December, luring Cutthroat close to shore as well. Whitefish remain active in the area until around mid-March.
  • Bonneville Cisco spawn in late January–early February, which creates one of the best times for fishing on Bear Lake, with millions of Cisco drawing larger cutthroat and Mackinaw.
  • The Bear Lake Whitefish have a month-long spawning season beginning around the end of February, continuing a run on Cutthroat and Mackinaw.
  • Bear Lake Sculpin come into spawn around the end of March through mid-April.
  • Bear Lake Cutthroat spawning season runs from mid-April through the end of June, creating expansive trolling grounds for inshore opportunities. Peak time for the most colorful Cutthroats runs from April through mid-June.
  • The Mackinaw spawn in late October and early November, paving the way for prize fly fishing catches averaging around 5 lbs. or more.
  • The once-thriving Rainbow Trout is no longer a prolific species in the Bear Lake area, but an uncommon treat rewards angling enthusiasts now and then. The fishery is on a waiting list to re-introduce this species.

Where To Cast A Line (Or Dip A Net)

Fishing from boats is a classic and favorite option of many Bear Lake anglers, but there are plenty of ways to aim for the catch of the day in these bountiful waters — and more than one method to try, as well! Your successes at fishing Bear Lake largely depend on knowing where to fish, and how to lure the catch, so here are some insider tips!

On the western shores of Bear Lake, just north of Garden City, you’ll find Bear Lake State Park and Marina — home to boat slips, a five-lane boat ramp, great trolling and ice fishing opportunities, and the annual Bear Lake Monster Winterfest event. This popular fishing competition and fundraiser is centered around the winter spawning of the Bonneville Cisco close to shore and finds many ambitious fishermen casting dip nets to pluck Cisco from the ice.

The east side of Bear Lake is also a great place to fish. Still within the State Park, you’ll discover the areas of First Point, South Eden, Cisco Beach, Rainbow Cove, and North Eden here. Trolling and jigging are popular pastimes at Rainbow Cove and Cisco Beach, where boat ramp access is also available. Tip your jigs or bait with sucker meat or Gulp minnows in white, green, and chartreuse for best results! Trollers do well using minnow-type lures, rapalas, and flatfish-off downriggers close to the bottom. For Lake Trout fly fishing, aim to visit in the late fall.

The DWR keeps the Garden City Community Pond stocked with Rainbow Trout. This three-acre pond just off Bear Lake in Garden City is a favorite hidden gem and a popular spot for anglers seeking a relatively easy catch. It’s also a great location for fly fishing in the fall. The limit is two trout.

Not far from the shores of Bear Lake, Laketown Reservoir is located in Rich County, Utah. This is a smaller reservoir and the waters aren’t very deep, but it’s a great place for a family fishing adventure. Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout are the primary species here and can be fished easily from shore using traditional baits and lures. The limit is four trout.

Local Guides And Equipment Rentals

If you’re new to fishing and would like some help finding the best spots to get a bite, there are several licensed local guides available year-round in Bear Lake. It’s also possible to hire boating equipment for every imaginable adventure on the crystal clear waters.

  • Cisco Charters – (435) 994-1649 – Bryce is a licensed captain and an ex-fish biologist, and is known for regaling his guests with fascinating tales of Bear Lake. The educational tours take place on spacious pontoon boats and can be booked in advance.
  • Epic Adventure Center Bear Lake – (435) 946-3742 – hire kayaks, paddleboards, and more, or book a guide if you’d rather leave the driving to the experts. Land lovers will enjoy the Can-Am side-by-side rentals that are also on offer here.
  • Bear Lake Funtime Rentals – (435) 946-3200 – there is a huge range of motorized and non-motorized boats on offer for hire here, and rentals can be made for as little as two hours and as much as eight hours. Beach wheelchairs can also be hired here, too.
  • Bear Lake Rentals – (435) 946-8611 – choose from three boat sizes that seat between ten and 18 people. All three options are powerful enough to pull tubes and other water toys.

Licensing And Fishing Regulations

Anglers in possession of a valid Utah fishing, combination hunting license, OR a valid Idaho fishing license can fish anywhere on Bear Lake. On the Utah side of the lake, you can use two fishing poles per fisherman, but the use of two rods by one person on the Idaho side of the lake requires a special permit. If you are fishing from a boat from the Idaho side of the lake, you must also have a current Idaho Invasive Species Fund sticker on your watercraft.

Buy your license online and review current regulations in detail at You can also purchase your fishing license(s) in person through local vendors or the Idaho Fish and Game and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) offices. You can even display and use your licenses on your mobile device for convenience. License pricing varies based on residency, length of permit time requested, and age. Nonresidents can expect to pay $24 – $40 for three or seven-day fishing permits. For all local, up-to-date fishing information, check the latest fishing report.

All You Need to Know About Bear Lake Fishing

Bear Lake is a fisher’s paradise with plenty of fish biting year-round. Whether you’re looking to hook a yellow perch, crappie, or a host of other species, you’re almost guaranteed a big catch here.

Bear Lake Guide To Restaurants & Dining

Located on the Utah–Idaho border is a turquoise-blue oasis waiting to be discovered. Sometimes called the ‘Caribbean of the Rockies’, Garden City and other lake towns that litter the coast of Bear Lake are destinations that are perfectly suited to those who love the outdoors. With year-round activities on Bear Lake including fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and even jet-skiing in warmer months, the lake stays busy all year round.

With so much to do, you can certainly build up quite an appetite. And you’re in luck because you’ll find plenty of tasty options here, from classic American fare and hearty Mexican food like burritos to Hawaiian-style eats and elegant fine dining.

Although our Bear Lake luxury rentals come with full kitchens for you to whip up your own meals, here are some of the best Bear Lake restaurant options that you’re going to want to pin on your map before your trip.

Bear Cave Drive In

554 Main St, St Charles, ID 83272 • (208) 945-0927 •

On the western shores of Bear Lake in St. Charles, Idaho, Bear Cave Drive-In offers a classic drive-in dining experience, with an adjacent general store. This is a great pit stop to grab some grub before or after a visit to Bear Lake State Park and definitely one of the best restaurants in St. Charles.

For an extra hardy appetite, consider the Bear Cave Monster — two-quarter-pound, top sirloin beef patties with ham and cheese. Bear Cave Drive-In is open Monday – Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Cafe Sabor

82 N. Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-3297 •

With six locations in Utah and Idaho, including one in Garden City on North Bear Lake Boulevard, Cafe Sabor offers an array of bold flavors from Mexico, South America, and Asia. Guests rave about the innovative takes on traditional favorites like shrimp ceviche, Chino-Latino egg rolls, shrimp and artichoke pasta, tacos al carbon, and fajitas.

Take advantage of the full bar, featuring signature Latin-inspired cocktails. Hours vary by season so check the website before visiting.

Bear Lake Pizza Co. / Bear Trapper Steak House

240 S Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-3600 •

Located in Garden City, Utah, Bear Lake Pizza uses fresh dough and ingredients to create delicious traditional pizza by the slice or by the pie, plus hamburgers, ice cream, soups, and more. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Make sure to stop in next door at Chocolate Bear for homemade chocolate-dipped raspberries, Bear Lake Jam, and more. Bear Lake Pizza’s sister restaurant, Bear Trapper Steak House, is also a part of this tasty trifecta on South Bear Lake Boulevard. Here, you’ll find a smorgasbord of comfort foods from traditional breakfasts to dinner entrees including seafood steaks, chicken, and pasta, all served up in a rustic atmosphere. This hotspot is open year-round.

Campfire Grill Restaurant

427 N Paradise Parkway, Garden City, UT 84028 • (385) 626-7394 •

This rustic, open-air restaurant is located at the Conestoga Ranch, providing an elevated-casual dining experience. Breakfast highlights include the breakfast hash scramble and the pulled pork biscuits with gravy, while dinner favorites such as Wagyu black and blue beef African sewers and wood-fired pizzas are perfectly suited to the earthy atmosphere at dusk.

A high-quality selection of wine and craft beers is on offer, too. Ample seating is available outdoors as well as indoors overlooking the exhibition kitchen. Make sure to save room for dessert! Campfire Grill is open seasonally. If you’re in town when it’s open, be sure to give it a try. It’s one of the local favorite restaurants in Garden City.

Crepes & Coffee

235 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-2696 •

You simply can’t call your Bear Lake visit complete without a visit to Crepes & Coffee! Enjoy a clever assortment of more than 20 sweet and savory crepes (and more) alongside specialty coffees, ice teas, lemonades, and Italian sodas. If you’re in a hurry, visit the hot and ready station with grab-and-go food options. Proudly serving gelato from Sweetaly Gelato out of Salt Lake City!

Open seasonally, this is a great place to spend a weekend evening enjoying the Summer Music Series spotlighting local artists. There’s often a long line for service here, but consider that a good sign. Locals and visitors agree — it’s worth the wait!

Cody’s Gastro Garage

88 S Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-3644 •

This is an auto-themed eatery of epic proportions. The flagship location (of two) is located in Garden City in a converted auto garage. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, Cody’s offers a cozy atmosphere with cool decor that petrolheads will love.

Standout favorites include burgers, quesadillas, fries, appetizers, wings, and salads. Make sure to keep an eye out for the iconic Cody’s hot rod during the spring and summer races at Bear Lake! Cody’s is open year-round.

Ephraim’s Restaurant

35 S Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-2255 •

The whole family will appreciate this unique lakeview dining experience for breakfast, lunch, dinner, take-out, or dessert. Specializing in traditional American comfort food, Ephraim’s serves cooked-to-order burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, Dutch oven chicken and potatoes, fish and chips, and more.

The nostalgic ice cream shop offers an exceptional selection of flavors, and the famous Ephraim’s raspberry shake is made from berries grown on-site. This shake will hold you over until next year’s Raspberry Days!

Cooper’s at Bear Lake West Restaurant and Sports Bar

554 Lewis Loop #100, Fish Haven, ID 83287 • (208) 945-2222 •

Cooper’s Restaurant & Sports Bar is located on the beautifully scenic Bear Lake West golf course. The diverse menu offers something for everyone, from fresh fish and lobster to raspberry-stuffed French toast, as well as thick-cut steaks, seafood, chicken, pasta, sandwiches, burgers, and complete $5 kids meals.

Enjoy seating in the dining room, sunroom, sports bar, or on the outdoor deck — all of which offer expansive views of Bear Lake. Cooper’s is open year-round, but hours vary by season.

Firehouse Pizzeria

50 S Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-2600 •

This unassuming pizzeria offers stone-fired specialty pizzas and calzones, baked sandwiches, pastas, desserts, and more. Specialty pies include the Down South Cajun Pizza, Texas BBQ Chicken Pizza, and the specialty Montana Pizza.

You can also design your own pizza, or if you’re looking to indulge with your crew, try the legendary Firehouse Monster Challenge — a 36” pizza with up to four flavors added. This is the largest pizza in Utah so bring your appetite!

Hometown Drive Inn

105 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-2727 •

Family-owned and operated, this low-key, homestyle diner is an iconic place for hearty home-cooked meals. This spot is known for out-of-this-world raspberry shakes served alongside old-fashioned burgers and sandwiches. This classic fast food stop is open seasonally.


284 S Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-3691 •

Enjoy your meal outdoors while basking in the majestic views of Bear Lake and enjoying lawn games with the family! Most items at Ruca’s are made from scratch daily. Featured items include their famous Danish Aebleskivers, gourmet sandwiches, and original coffee blends. Ruca’s is open seasonally.

LaBeau’s Drive Inn & LaBeau’s Too

69 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 / 75 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 •

LeBeau’s is a family-owned restaurant and a Bear Lake institution. With a menu that boasts more than 40 sandwiches and over 45 varieties of shakes, there’s a flavor anyone can savor! Must-haves include raspberry shakes and the LaBeau’s Special — a hamburger patty served with ham slices.

LaBeau’s is known for generous portions and long lines of loyal devotees who never mind the wait for the original classic tastes served up in this laid-back gem. Hours vary seasonally.

Merlins Drive In

149 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-8411

This is a quaint and beloved hole-in-the-wall burger joint. There are no frills to be found, but you can count on heaping helpings of tasty grub and luscious, flavorful milkshakes. The outdoor seating area sits alongside a children’s playground and is an ideal stop for a budget-friendly, casual afternoon out!

Summit Inn Pizza

70 W Logan Rd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-2870 •

When you spend ten years perfecting your signature dish, it’s bound to be something special, and that’s just what the locals say you can expect from Summit Inn. These guys serve pizza made from scratch daily using only the freshest ingredients and have been voted “Best of State” and “Best Family Pizza” from 2010 to 2016. There are locations in Lehi and Kamas, as well as Garden City.

Waffle Den and Bakery

70 W Logan Rd Suite B, Garden City, UT 84028 • (801) 360-2730 •

How many ways can you enjoy a waffle? Stop in for a bite at the Waffle Den and find out! This fun and creative eatery offers waffle trees, waffle bowls, waffle sticks, waffle animals, and the original Belgian waffle — perfectly topped or filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, homemade raspberry jam, raspberry butter, and more. You can also opt to keep it purely sweet with a selection from the batch of fresh pastries.

Moose Buns

220 West 10 South, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 241-7773 •

Moose Buns is a quick-service drive-thru/walk-up coffee shop and juice bar known for its exquisite cinnamon rolls, hot-cold-blended beverages, and flavorful fruit smoothies. Enjoy seasonal breakfast and lunch menus, daily specials, and new Red Bull or apple cider-infused drink options!

This is the place to be when you’re seeking something fun, different, and oh-so-tasty in Bear Lake. Make sure you pop into the on-site gift shop to commemorate your visit with a Moose Buns memento!


75 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028 • (435) 946-2810 •

For a zippy drive-thru experience that will leave you scrambling back for more, pop into Zipz! It’s the perfect, nothin’ fancy stop for a classic, all-American meal… with a few twists here and there, for the sake of culinary innovation. Enjoy hot dawgs, corn dawgs, “saucewiches”, Dole Whips, and of course — raspberry shakes! This cozy location is right on Bear Lake and offers stunning views.

Bring a Big Appetite to this Small Town Destination

There are some fabulous dining options at Bear Lake, and whatever you’re in the mood for, you are certain to find a spot that perfectly fits the bill.

A Visitor’s Guide to Fall in Bear Lake

This year-round destination tucked away between Utah and Idaho is the perfect lake getaway with all of the waterfront amenities and none of the crowds. Each season offers something new to enjoy, but there is nothing quite like the fall here at Bear Lake.

With temperatures still in the 60s, you can enjoy an afternoon on the water as you take in the fall foliage and admire the breathtaking scenery of the Bear Lake Valley. Then go for a scenic hike or walk around town with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. What’s not to love? It’s time to book your incredible vacation home for fall in Bear Lake!

Getting to Bear Lake

Photo Credit: Chase-Karli Willden

With Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) just three hours away, a vacation to Bear Lake is close enough to a major airport to maximize your time but just far enough away to feel remote.

Alternatively, you can take the two-hour drive from the smaller Pocatello Regional Airport on the Idaho side of Bear Lake.

Things to Do in Bear Lake in the Fall

Get out on the Water

Photo Credit: Chatham172

Bear Lake has more than 160 square miles of pristine, crystal-clear water waiting to be explored. Fall temperatures in the 60s still make for pleasant fishing days and exploring the shoreline. Enjoy spectacular views of Bear Lake Valley during peak foliage, and admire the bright turquoise waters of the lake as you go. You may even get a glimpse of the native Bonneville Cisco fish!

Seven boat ramps are located around the lake for a convenient launching experience regardless of your home base. Rent a boat at one of the many boat rental shops, or try something new like paddleboarding, kayaking, or jet skiing. We recommend Bear Lake Rentals for a variety of watercraft rental options!

Explore the Trails

While there is no denying that the lake is the star of the show here at Bear Lake, the rolling Bear River Mountains and nearby Logan Canyon are some key players. These features make an impressive backdrop for Bear Lake and offer some incredible outdoor adventures, especially in the fall. Dotted with aspen trees and scrub oak, hiking trails like the 1.5-mile Limber Pine Trail or the more challenging 7-mile Laketown Canyon Trail will be bursting with color. You can also drive a bit further for an easy stroll down the Bloomington Lake Trail on the Idaho side.

Short and Easy: Limber Pine Nature Trail

  • Length: 1.3 miles roundtrip.
  • Elevation Gain: 177 feet.
  • Trailhead: US-89, Garden, UT

This family-friendly hike is a great option for people who want to spend some time in nature but don’t want to work too hard for it. From the parking lot, you will head right into Logan Canyon, where you can enjoy educational signs about the ecosystem, marvel at the towering trees, and take in the breathtaking views of Bear Lake below.

Moderate Adventure: Laketown Canyon

  • Length: 7 miles roundtrip.
  • Elevation Gain: 800 feet.
  • Trailhead: Rodeo Arena in Laketown, UT

Avid hikers will love this trail, with moderate elevation gain and multiple stream crossings guiding you up to one of the densest aspen groves in Bear Lake Valley. Once you get here, you will be rewarded with fall colors that will have you feeling like you are up in the mountains of Colorado.

The Polar Plunge Option: Bloomington Lake

  • Length: 1.6 miles roundtrip.
  • Elevation Gain: 187 feet.
  • Trailhead: Bloomington Lake Trail Head, Forest Rd 816, Preston, ID

You have to work for this hike, but not in the way you would think. Once you get to the trailhead, a short, relatively easy hike will take you to the crystal clear, turquoise shores of Bloomington Lake. But to get to the trailhead, you will need to drive about an hour from Bear Lake and traverse a section of washboard dirt road. Reward yourself at the end with a polar plunge dip in the picturesque waters!

Admire Fall Foliage on a Horseback Ride

Photo Credit: Alex Vog

Imagine all the breathtaking fall colors you’ll see on any scenic hiking trails throughout Bear Lake Valley, and then imagine it without having to do any of the walking! Take your fall foliage experience to the next level by booking a tour with one of these horseback riding outfitters.

Logan Canyon Horseback Riding

Look for wildlife as you ride through bright yellow aspen groves and cross babbling brooks throughout Logan Canyon. It doesn’t get more serene than that!

Pony Express Horseback Rides

  • Cost: $75 per person OR $115 a person for groups of 2 or less.
  • Address: 2703 US-89, Fish Haven, ID
  • Website:

Head into the Cache National Forest for an hour’s ride through some of the best scenery in the Bear Lake area. You’ll get to cross bridges, admire the aspens, and get a great view of Bear Lake itself. Other fun options include a Cowboy Dinner and a Beach Ride!

Go for a Refreshing Bike Ride

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images

Once you have made it to Bear Lake, you aren’t going to want to take your eyes off of the water. And the good news is that you won’t have to! With small-town streets peppered along the lake’s edge and a variety of ways to get around, Bear Lake is as bike accessible as it gets.

The Bear Lake Cruise is a 51-mile bike path that loops around Bear Lake. Grab a bike rental, take in the incredible views, and stop at charming towns like Garden City and Fish Haven.

In addition the area is known to host some of the best mountain biking around. Imagine riding through the magnificent, towering trees of the Beaver Mountain Ski Area before the first snow hits. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced biker, the trails cut through beautiful terrain and offer stunning views of Bear Lake.

For a more challenging adventure, you can explore the single tracks with plenty of obstacles or take on thrilling downhill descents like the ones offered on Stump Hollow Trai, which offers a fun ride down.

What to Pack for Fall in Bear Lake

When planning for a fall season trip, your mind probably rushes to thick-knitted cardigans, heavy flannels, and a possible beanie or two. But you should also consider packing a few T-shirts and maybe even a pair of shorts.

The fall weather in Bear Lake is crisp and sunny, with October temperature highs ranging from 55 to 65 degrees. Colder evenings are a great time to break out the fall sweaters, and infrequent rain showers minimize the chance of crashing your outdoor plans. So what should you pack?

A bit of everything! The most important thing to remember is layers, layers, layers.

Enjoy a Fall Get Away to Bear Lake

With plenty of outdoor adventures to keep you busy throughout your visit, Bear Lake is a great option for your next fall getaway. Enjoy the fall colors and breathe in the mountain air as you boat around the lake, hike amongst the mountains, and ride into the sunset. Finish each day at one of Bear Lake’s charming vacation homes, all conveniently located in the small towns that call the lake home.

Most Stunning Bear Lake View Points

With a nickname like the “Caribbean of the Rockies,” it is safe to say that Bear Lake has its fair share of stunning viewpoints. In fact, you’ll have a harder time finding a location that doesn’t have a great view of the lake than not.

When you aren’t admiring the views of Utah’s deepest lake, you can marvel at the Bear River Mountain Range and the picturesque Bear Lake Valley below it, not to mention the premium views that come with a Bear Lake Luxury Rental!

These are the best vantage points around picturesque Bear Lake!

The Shores of Rendezvous Beach

Photo Credit: via Flickr CC 2.0

Easily one of Utah and Idaho’s most breathtaking green spaces, Bear Lake State Park offers a variety of dramatic views of the lake without even trying. Any pull-off in the park will treat you to views of the lake’s blue waters and sandy beaches, but one viewpoint, in particular, has made quite the name for itself.

Rendezvous Beach has become one of the most popular destinations for lake admiration, and it’s not hard to see why. With easy access to the lake’s crystal clear waters, a beachfront campground, and breathtaking views in every direction, a stop at Rendezvous Beach is a must on any Bear Lake getaway.

Garden City Park

The small town of Garden City is a great place to admire the views of the lake as you sit back and enjoy one of the town’s famous raspberry shakes at its central park. As you walk along Lido Point Road towards the water, you’ll meander through the tall grasses that will take you to a 360-degree view of the lakeshore.

The Trails in Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Photo Credit: asharkyu

Home to various beautiful water birds like the sandhill crane and the snowy egret, Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge offers an additional charm on top of its already great views. Many of these birds are seasonal, so what you see here can vary by the month, but it makes for a great excuse to come back time and time again!

Enjoy a one-way scenic drive throughout the refuge, or opt to take one of two short trails to get a closer look. Both options will offer you amazing views of Bear Lake and the surrounding area.

Pink Bench Overlook

Just like the name suggests, the Pink Bench Overlook in Fish Haven is a singular bench on an isolated hillside overlooking the vast waters of Bear Lake. Get here early or stay late to get the bench all to yourself and sit peacefully as you enjoy a view of Bear Lake, unlike anywhere else.

Most people only arrive here by stumbling upon it, so the Pink Bench Overlook is a hidden gem amongst viewpoints. Now imagine having this place to yourself at sunset!

Oregon Trail Bear Lake Scenic Byway

Photo Credit: summerreader via Flickr CC 2.0

Go for a scenic drive on the Oregon Trail Bear Lake Scenic Byway for amazing views from start to finish. Spanning out over 93 miles, you can choose to spend the day driving the byway from one end to another, or you can just drive a short section. Whatever you decide, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Bear Lake, the surrounding mountain range, and the lush limber pine forest.

Not to mention the drive will take you through both the Cache National Forest and the Caribou National Forest and fifteen of the historic Oregon Trail stops along the way.

Bear Lake Rest Area

Right at the foot of Logan Canyon, the Bear Lake Rest Area is often the first view people get of Bear Lake as they drive in from Salt Lake City, and boy, is it a great introduction. From here, you will have a wide-sweeping view of Bear Lake down below. Take a moment to read the informational way signs to learn more about the area, and check out the area diagram to learn the names of all the natural features you see around you.

Bear Lake Hot Springs

With views of Bear Lake everywhere you go, why not choose to admire the views from the warmth of a natural hot spring? Located in St. Charles, the Bear Lake Hot Springs has two large mineral pools, each offering incredible views of the Bear Lake Valley and the lake reigning supreme in the center of it all!

The Double Shores of North Beach

North Beach is the only area lake that can boast two viewpoints, one facing the beautiful bear lake and the other looking out over Mud Lake and the Bear Lake National Refuge. Because it is positioned on a narrow swath of land that separates the two bodies of water, it is the perfect place to catch a view of both! This beach is a great option for people willing to wake up early, as the two-mile stretch of beach is incredibly popular and is often closed for max capacity by mid-morning.

Atop the Highline Trail

Photo Credit: NARA AND DVIDS Public Domain Archive via Google Images CCL

Hop on your ATV and make your way up the Highline Trail for a view of Bear Lake that few people ever experience. You can start this 55-mile trail at one of five points (Logan Canyon, Bloomington Canyon, Emigration Canyon, and Paris Canyon), and within minutes you will be rewarded with unmatched views of the Bear River Range. Talk about an adventure!

More than Just a Great View

Only a few hours from Salt Lake City, Bear Lake is a hidden oasis with outdoor activities and breathtaking views galore. This year-round destination offers ever-changing scenic viewpoints that change throughout the season.When you aren’t admiring the views, you can participate in other fun activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Book your Bear Lake Luxury Rental today!

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