Bear Lake Monster Winterfest (2023)

Have you ever wondered if winter on Bear Lake could be just as magical as those hot summers on the shores? Our answer is a resounding yes!

As the snow blankets the surrounding mountains and the lake freezes over (most years), Bear Lake also dons its festive spirit, bringing legends to life and winter cheer to the lake. Get ready for cook-offs, festivals, and live music with the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest. Locals wait all year for the hot chocolate, fried Cisco, and scones that accompany the festival!

Want the best seat in the house for this winter celebration? Be sure to book your stay at our premium Bear Lake Luxury Rentals. This is your guide to Bear Lake Monster Winterfest!

Why Visit Bear Lake in Winter

Photo Credit: Carolyn Dietrich

While summer on Bear Lake might reign supreme in the eyes of many visitors, locals and long-time Bear Lake visitors know a special secret- Bear Lake is pure magic during the wintertime!

You can ride snowmobiles, go ice fishing, snowshoe, cross-country ski, snowboard, and more. It’s also a particularly joyous place to spend Christmas time in this idyllic location. The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is the center of all that winter fun.

During the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest, the frozen lakeside transforms into a winter wonderland, and the whole Bear Lake community comes together to celebrate the season. Winter really is one of the best times to visit Bear Lake.

About Bear Lake Monster Winterfest 2024

  • Location: Most activities take place in the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort & Event Center
  • Website:
  • Dates: January 26th to January 28th, 2024

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is not only a great way to get a taste of the local vibe, but it’s also a fundraiser. It’s the perfect way to give back to our beloved Bear Lake communityThe Bear Lake Monster Winterfest has fun events for the entire family, including the kids. There’s even a raffle event where you can win cash prizes.

This year, all marina entrance fees will be waived, and visitors are instead encouraged to donate to The Family Place, which is the non-profit the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is fundraising for this season!

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

Photo Credit: Jose Ivan

Curious about the name “Bear Lake Monster Winterfest”? It stems from one of Bear Lake’s oldest legends. The Bear Lake Monster is said to have roamed these waters for centuries, with Native American tribes recounting stories of a serpent-like creature inhabiting the lake long before European settlers arrived.

Today, the Bear Lake Monster is not only a piece of local folklore but has since transformed into a symbol of community identity and pride. Whether real or a legend, the monster plays a starring role in local celebrations, including the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest.

To join in on the fun, plan your trip to the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest and swap stories with the local fisherman about the Bear Lake Monster, who’s since been named “Isabella.”

What’s New at the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest 2024

As if the Cisco Fishing Contest wasn’t fun enough already, brand new for the Monster Winterfest 2024 is the Monster Cisco Disco Dance!

The Event Schedule


Photo Credit: Ross Walker via Flickr CC 2.0

  • 9 am to 3 pm: Monster Winter Sports & Trails Day at Logan Canyon Sinks Area & Bear Lake Overlook Rest Stop Area
  • 5 pm to 8 pm: Monster Winterfest Social and Monster Taste of Bear Lake, both at the Sunrise Resort & Event Center


  • 6 am to noon: Monster Cisco & Disco Fishing Tournament on the East side of Bear Lake
  • 10 am: Monster 5k Run/Walk at the State Park Marina
  • 10 am to 4 pm: Winterfest Village Market & Food Trucks at the Bear Lake State Park Marina Parking Lot
  • 10 am to 2 pm: Monster Chili Cook-off
  • 11 am: Monster Cardboard Boat Regatta
  • 11 am to 3 pm: Monster Raffle
  • 11 am to 12:30 pm: Bear Lake Monster Plunge at the Bear Lake State Park Marina
  • 5 pm: Monster Disco Dance & Awards Ceremony


8 am to 11 am:  Cody’s Sweet Cream Pancake Breakfast at Cody’s Gastro Garage

Bear Lake Monster Winterfest Activities

Here’s a rundown of the specific Bear Lake Monster Winterfest activities you have to look forward to. 

Monster Cisco & Disco Tournament

Photo Credit: Pavel L Photo and Video

The Cisco Tournament is a fun, free fishing tournament with kid and adult categories where each fisherman competes to catch the biggest little Cisco fish and enters it into the tournament. The Disco is a celebratory dance later that night.

Winterfest Village Market & Food Trucks

Photo Credit: Konstantin Venev

The Winterfest Village Market includes a variety of food trucks and local artisans selling their crafts and goods at the outdoor fair.

Monster Plunge

Photo Credit: Nancy Myers-Scholz

Can you handle the cold? If the answer is yes, you’ll love joining in on the fun tradition of this polar plunge into Bear Lake mid-winter. Be sure to come in your best costume for the chance to win individual and group prizes.

Monster 5k Run/Walk

Photo Credit: Blazej Lyjak

Run or walk; it’s up to you! Just be sure to take in the gorgeous views of Bear Lake in winter while you’re at it. If you love running events like this one, you might want to check out the Bear Lake Trifecta, which includes three different races in three days in three different states.

Monster Chili Cook-Off

Photo Credit: BestStockFoto

One of the best ways to warm up in winter is with a hot pot of delicious chili. This cook-off sees local chefs and amateurs alike battle it out to create the most flavorful pot of chili. You might even discover your new favorite chili recipe here.

Monster Cardboard Boat Regatta

Photo Credit: Justin Waits via Flickr CC 2.0

Creativity, fun, and a touch of madness come together for the Monster Cardboard Boat Regatta. Participants design and build their own “boats” using only cardboard and duct tape. The ultimate test? Sailing their creations across the icy waters of Bear Lake!

Whether you’re participating or spectating, the Cardboard Boat Regatta guarantees loads of laughter, and if you’re participating, the perfect chance to show off your engineering skills.

Monster Raffle

Who doesn’t love a good raffle? Purchase a ticket (or a few) for a chance to win some spectacular prizes. Plus, the proceeds go to a good cause, making it a win-win.

Cody’s Pancake Breakfast

Photo Credit: BrunoWeltmann

Winterfest concludes with a Sunday morning pancake breakfast at Cody’s Gastro Garage. It’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the event’s fun and start planning your trip for next year’s Winterfest.

Tips for Attending the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

Dress Warmly: Remember, it’s a winter fest! Layer up and ensure you’re equipped with warm gloves, a hat, wool socks, a jacket, and a cozy scarf. Check out our Bear Lake packing list for what you need for winter on the lake.

Support Local Artisans: The Winterfest Village Market is a fantastic opportunity to pick up some unique gifts and souvenirs. Plus, you’ll be supporting the local artisans and businesses of Bear Lake.

Bring a Camera: From the gorgeous views of Bear Lake and the surrounding mountains in winter to the lively events, there’s so much to capture during the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest. And hey, if Isabella decides to make an appearance, you’ll want to be ready!

Enjoy the Winter Festivities

As the frosty winds blow and the festive spirit of Bear Lake Monster Winterfest fills the air, there’s no better place to be than right here in Bear Lake. Whether it’s your first time attending or coming back year after year, each Winterfest is better than the last.

Get ready for this fun winter event, and book your stay in Bear Lake today!

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