20 Best Things to Do in Bear Lake

Bear Lake

Welcome to the stunning scenery of Bear Lake, an oasis of natural beauty in the mountains.

Here, the call of wild geese echoes across the lake's mirrored surface, the scent of pine permeates the air, and every sunset paints a mesmerizing canvas of colors.

The enchanting tranquility during off-peak hours and the lively hum of summer activity provides a beautiful contrast that never fails to captivate.

Allow me to guide you through some of the best things to do in Bear Lake.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Joy Crowley, Harold Bell, Rhea Wiley, Esteban Cook, Mary Hand, Susan Wright and Erin Hill.

Enter a Bird-watching Paradise at Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The sky reflecting on Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge's water
William Cushman / Shutterstock.com

Do you know that feeling when you stumble upon a place rich in nature and wildlife and can't help but get lost in its beauty?

That’s how I feel when visiting the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s like stepping into another world, one that’s teeming with vibrant bird species, majestic moose, and peaceful marshlands.

The trip is always an adventure, with the anticipation building up as I approach the marshes and grasslands.

Upon arrival, the wildlife sanctuary never fails to amaze me.

I usually opt for the auto tour, which guarantees sightings of many bird species.

Pelicans, hawks, osprey, sandhill cranes, black-necked stilt, white-faced ibis, American coot, magpies, marsh wren, cormorants, ducks, and Canada geese are just a few of the feathered residents here.

Hay bale on the grounds of Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

And sometimes, if I'm lucky, I will come across a massive flock of Savannah Sparrows fluttering around near the restrooms, making me feel like I'm in a scene from The Birds.

A trip to the refuge wouldn't be complete without catching a glimpse of the swans, which, in my opinion, are particularly wonderful to watch, even during the off-season when much of the refuge is frozen.

Besides bird-watching, the lake offers many activities like jet skiing, boating, and swimming.

There are also picnic areas equipped with barbecue grills, perfect for a relaxing day with the family.

In retrospect, every visit to the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge feels like a new adventure.

I discover a new species or witness an interesting animal interaction each time.

This refuge truly is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts like myself.

Wetlands of Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge
vagabond54 / Shutterstock.com

Go on Adventures at Beaver Mountain Ski Area

I practically grew up on the snow-blanketed slopes of Beaver Mountain Ski Area.

I'll never forget the first time I strapped on a pair of skis in '97.

Nervously, I took on the Little Beaver, which was just perfect for a beginner like me.

Today, the mountain is as awe-inspiring as ever.

A few years later, I decided to switch things up and took snowboarding.

I instantly fell in love with it and couldn't resist bringing my board to the mountain whenever I could - even during my broke college days in 2007.

That's the kind of allure this place has!

Nowadays, after a long day of boarding, there's nothing more satisfying than resting in their cozy yurt.

It's one of those unique experiences Beaver Mountain offers that sets it apart.

The mountain is truly a winter wonderland.

It has a little bit of everything – green runs for beginners, blue for intermediates, and challenging black diamond trails for the experts.

Plus, the lift lines are usually short, and if you need a breather, there's a rest-stop building part-way down.

For food and refreshments, the café is my regular stop.

They serve delicious food; unlike many others, they don't try to nickel and dime you.

And if you're looking for some keepsakes, the gift shop has a great selection of t-shirts and gear.

A recent mountain visit reminded me of how much it has grown.

The Little Bear lift has been moved further down for longer runs, and the rope tow has been retired.

The day was perfect - not too hot or cold - and the quick and easy rentals topped off the experience.

True to its name, Beaver Mountain Ski Area is a diamond in the rough – a treasure nestled in northern Utah.

Anyone visiting this part of the country should check it out.

Explore the Paris Ice Cave

The Paris Ice Cave is a hidden gem in our area, preserving the chill even when the outside temperature is hot.

Going there is a bit of an adventure itself.

A drive down a decent dirt road that winds through the picturesque landscape is the beginning of this exhilarating journey.

You'll pass several primitive camping spots, making it a perfect place for those who want to connect with nature.

However, the surroundings of the cave itself are not meant for camping.

As you step into the cave, the drop in temperature is immediately noticeable.

Even in the height of summer, ice remains in the cave, sometimes forming a small pool of chilled water.

Pack your headlamps or flashlights, as the cave can be pretty dark.

The cave is a thrilling exploration site for everyone, young or old.

Despite its out-of-the-way location, Paris Ice Cave is worth every minute of your time.

But remember, it's a popular spot, especially during holiday weekends, so plan your visit carefully to avoid the crowd.

And yes, you won't have to empty your pockets to experience this one-of-a-kind icy retreat.

Adventure, mystery, and beauty, all wrapped in one surreal experience – that's what Paris Ice Cave offers.

Enjoy a Night Out at Pickleville Playhouse Theatre

Every summer, I look forward to the opening of the Pickleville Playhouse Theatre.

This charming, long-standing theater adds an irresistible layer of Western flair to our small town.

Each year, they offer a variety of family-friendly musical comedies that never fail to fill our evenings with laughter.

One of my favorite memories at Pickleville was when I saw 'Beauty and the Beast' last year.

The production was simply breathtaking.

I still remember how the actors brought the timeless characters to life, their impressive singing voices filling the theater.

The creativity of the script was also commendable, showing us a fresh take on a familiar tale.

This year, I took a chance on 'Thick As Thieves'.

The cast of six kept us entertained for 90 minutes, and I laughed more than I had in months.

Indeed, the talent on display was truly remarkable.

Before each show, I make it a point to get dinner at Cafe Sabor, the Mexican restaurant conveniently located on the theater premises.

It saves me the hassle of finding another restaurant and rushing back in time for the show.

If you are ever in town during their season, do yourself a favor and catch a show. You won't regret it.

Take a Leisurely Stroll on the Limber Pine Nature Trail

I've been blessed to live close to the Limber Pine Nature Trail, a hidden gem in Logan Canyon's heart.

My favorite way to start my day is a stroll on this trail; the path is easy to walk and perfect for a quick morning workout.

The stretch unfolds under a thick canopy, providing a cool shade perfect for a summer hike.

Exploring this trail is like unwrapping a gift. Every turn uncovers something new - a sleepy squirrel, an unusual stone, or a new plant species.

But the real beauty of this trail lies in its two viewpoints.

The first one offers a panoramic view of the canyon, painting a picture worth a thousand words.

Meanwhile, the second viewpoint, my personal favorite, is home to a 500-year-old tree.

Standing beside a living piece of nature that has weathered five centuries is an awe-inspiring experience.

The Limber Pine Nature Trail is a journey back in time.

Its ancient trees seem to whisper stories of the past, resilience, and endurance.

Likewise, it's a perfect hike for families with young children, older folks who can't march miles, or someone who wishes to soak in the beauty of nature at a leisurely pace.

If you're looking for a peaceful, easy hike with breathtaking views at any time of the year, Limber Pine Nature Trail is the one for you.

Experience the Majestic Minnetonka Cave

View inside the Minnetonka Cave
Joe Guetzloff / Shutterstock.com

My boots crackle against the gravel as I make my way toward the entrance of the Minnetonka Cave, the hidden gem of our town.

It's an excellent retreat for locals and tourists alike, offering an exhilarating tour that leaves everyone in awe.

The journey starts even before setting foot inside the cave, with a scenic drive up a picturesque valley.

As the car climbs up, the panoramic views are breathtaking, and it’s often a toss-up between keeping your eyes on the road or stealing glances at the unfolding vistas.

As you approach the mouth of the cave, a cool draught of air tingles your skin—a tantalizing preview of what awaits you inside.

The constantly refreshingly cold 40-degree cave is a welcome respite from the summer heat.

But don't be fooled, even when the sun is blazing outside, it's a good idea to bring a jacket and sturdy shoes.

The cave floor can be slick with condensation—after all, the earth is breathing.

The guided tour is simply fantastic, and the guides often have a knack for making what could be a complex geological journey into a fun and informative experience.

They’re accommodating and patient, especially with children.

Speaking of the tours, they're open daily, not just on weekends.

Rock formations in Minnetonka Cave
isabel jones, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stepping into the Minnetonka Cave is like stepping into another world where time stands still.

With 880 steps to navigate, the tour can be quite a workout.

It's a test of endurance—climbing up and down—but the reward is worth every step.

You will be in awe of the stalactites and stalagmites as the flickering lights cast dancing shadows on the cave walls.

If you're someone who frequently visits caves, remember to avoid cross-contamination.

White Nose Syndrome, a disease that affects bats, could spread if you bring anything that's been in another cave, like shoes, cameras, and even phones.

We always make sure to clean our gear thoroughly before visiting.

Parking can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, but it’s manageable.

Besides, a little walk never hurt anyone, especially with the bonus of the spectacular views around the cave area.

Visiting the Minnetonka Cave is an adventure, a journey into the heart of the earth.

It's a testament to nature's wonders if we can step off the beaten path.

Escape to Conestoga Ranch

When I first stumbled upon Conestoga Ranch, I knew I had discovered a hidden gem in my hometown.

Nestled amidst nature, this seasonal resort offers an exceptional experience that differs from other places.

Every visit to the ranch is like stepping into a completely different world.

The covered wagons and tents are charming, providing a distinct and immersive glamping experience.

Moreover, the safety factor is sky-high, and the scenery is spectacular, making any walk to the shared facilities worth it.

These facilities, including the toilets and showers, are always spotless and even conveniently equipped with hair dryers.

Outside each tent is a bonfire basin, my favorite feature.

There's nothing quite like watching the stars at night around a crackling fire.

Even walking around the ranch is a treat.

The small stone path meandering through the meadows between each tent is picturesque and gives a sense of privacy.

And don't worry about lugging your luggage. They provide a baggage cart to pick you up.

Yet, the most appealing aspect of Conestoga Ranch to me is the community feel around the campfire.

It's unique and different.

Everyone gathers around, sharing stories or simply soaking in the peace and tranquility.

It's an experience that's hard to put into words but one that leaves a lasting impression.

Conestoga Ranch is where I escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse myself in serenity.

Each visit leaves me feeling refreshed and renewed, eagerly looking forward to my next stay.

If you're lucky enough to visit, I hope it becomes just as unique to you.

Conquer Bridger Peak

I've climbed to the highest point of Rich County via the Bridger Peak Trail.

The initial half mile was a real leg workout, but the challenge is part of the charm.

Once the trail leveled out somewhat, it veered southwards.

From there, it was a free-for-all, navigating through the undergrowth to reach our prize: the summit of Bridger Peak.

You might think it's a stroll in the park, but it's not for the faint of heart - the bushwhacking can be intense, especially as you get closer to the peak.

But the undergrowth isn't overwhelmingly thick, so at least there's that.

There's a certain satisfaction in being able to say you've climbed to the county's highest point.

Bridger Peak could be just the adventure you're looking for if you're into bushwhacking and enjoy a relatively short approach.

And hey, you might catch a glimpse of Bear Lake from the top if you're lucky!

Take a Ride with Bear Lake Fun - Jet Ski & Kayak Rental

I'm here at Bear Lake all the time.

It’s practically my second home.

Every summer, the lake's refreshing waters become a hub of activity when folks from all over come to enjoy the lake's beauty and thrilling water sports.

One of my favorite places to kickstart my summer fun is Bear Lake Fun, a rental service that promises an exciting day.

Last summer, I remember renting a kayak for just $30 for a couple of hours, allowing me to explore the lake's tranquil waters at my own pace.

The cool water against the summer heat is an experience I look forward to every year.

We rented a water trampoline and a couple of jet skis from the same place during our family reunion.

Likewise, we fit a couple of kayaks, paddle boards, and pizza in our boat!

It was a day filled with laughter, splashes, and a gorgeous sun overhead.

Although their pricing can be tricky sometimes, I've learned from experience to clear out all costs beforehand.

Once, they added extra charges for gas and taxes on our jet ski rental, so it’s best to ask for a complete breakdown.

Bear Lake Fun is excellent for an affordable and adventurous day out.

Enjoy a Day to Remember at Bridgerland Adventure Park

When it comes to fun and adventure, nothing beats the thrill we feel at Bridgerland Adventure Park.

Nestled in the heart of the Bear Lake area, it's a place where memories are made and smiles are a daily guarantee.

It's our sanctuary for laughter, adrenaline, and pure, unfiltered joy.

I've spent numerous weekends enjoying the high adventure ropes course, the massive swing, and the adrenaline-pumping tubing course.

And that's just the beginning; there's also a bungee trampoline, mini golf, a train, and a bounce house for the younger ones.

Spending time there, you realize the park caters to everyone - young, old, thrill-seekers, or those who prefer to stay grounded.

I remember we brought a large group of youngsters for a day of adventure.

We had a blast trying our hands at activities like zip lining, rock climbing, and swinging from the giant swing.

Even just watching others have fun and cheering them on was a treat.

With the group discount for 25 or more participants, it was also quite affordable.

And don't worry about packing a lunch, they allow outside food and drinks.

Or, if you prefer, you can buy soda with unlimited refills at a very reasonable price.

Plenty of picnic tables exist for those who like to sit back, relax, and watch the fun.

Every time we visit Bridgerland Adventure Park, it’s a day filled with excitement, laughter, and unforgettable memories.

It has become a tradition in our family and a must-visit for any out-of-towners we host.

If you’re in the Bear Lake area, plan a day here. You won’t regret it.

Visit Bear Lake State Park

Scenic view of Bear Lake State Park
Tampa / Shutterstock.com

Trust me, Bear Lake State Park is a treasure in its own right.

No summer in Utah is complete without a visit to this natural beauty.

Its blue waters are known far and wide and never fail to provide a refreshing respite from the hot sun.

On searing summer days, I love to hit the park's beaches, which are famous for boating, fishing, and water sports and make for an excellent hangout spot.

The sand at many spots is soft, perfect for a leisurely walk or for those who enjoy building sandcastles.

Not to mention, the water clarity of the lake is unbelievably unique.

It feels almost surreal when you can walk out more than 100 yards into the water and still see your feet!

There's something for everyone here.

The park offers various picnic tables, campsites, and day-use areas, each adding a different charm to the overall experience.

As for me, I prefer making day trips with my family, but I must say, camping on the northern side of the rim is an experience in itself that I cherish.

The campground is top-notch, with full hookups and strong cell reception for Xfinity and T-Mobile users.

Even the OTA TV reception is quite good.

The park is also mindful of cleanliness; I've always found the bathrooms tidy.

I wish they could improve the rock situation at the east beaches.

They could do some rock removal and perhaps add more sand.

But that's just a minor hitch in an otherwise fabulous place.

Bear Lake State Park is also a haven for pet lovers, being a dog-friendly spot.

My furry companion enjoys it as much as I do.

So, if you're a local like me or just visiting Utah, I highly recommend a trip to Bear Lake.

Savor the Classic Flavors at LaBeau's

Nothing compares to the delightful experience of sinking your teeth into juicy burgers or feeling the creamy richness of specialty shakes on your tongue.

My haven in Garden City, a visit to this retro-themed eatery, LaBeau's, has become a tradition for me and my friends.

I remember one summer's day when the sun was blazing, and even the slightest movement seemed to make you work up a sweat.

Longing for some respite, we headed towards LaBeau's.

Their specialty shakes are an absolute treat.

Creamy, smooth, and delectable, they are unlike any other shakes you might have had.

They melt rather quickly, which is as good an excuse as any to wolf them down immediately.

My favorite is the famous raspberry shake, a classic Bear Lake delight.

Tucked right next to several food establishments, LaBeau's also offers various hot sandwiches and fried sides.

And their fries? Simply delicious.

The place also houses a small gift shop, and although there are no outdoor games, the ample seating and buzzing atmosphere more than make up for it.

So, if you're in Garden City and are in the mood for some tasty treats, LaBeau's is the place to be.

Spend the Day at Little Bear ATV Trailhead

Saturday mornings are best spent at Little Bear ATV Trailhead.

The fresh mountain air, the rev of the engines, and the exhilarating rush of adrenaline as we zip through the trails are the perfect recipe for an adventure-packed morning.

Aside from the adrenaline rush, what makes the place truly special are the free camping spots.

There's nothing like waking up to chirping birds and seeing dew-kissed leaves glistening in the early morning sun.

Yes, it's as idyllic as it sounds, the perfect escape from the chaos of city life.

The proximity to the incredible Bear Lake is another bonus.

It's the perfect spot to cool down after a morning of riding.

Paddleboarding, hiking, boating, and fishing are just so many activities to choose from.

Although the ATV trails are fun all year round, the seasons add their charm to the experience.

Spring is my favorite when the trails are wet, adding an extra challenge to our ride.

Conversely, fall brings cooler temperatures and a beautiful array of colors that make the trails even more scenic.

But above all, Little Bear ATV Trailhead is a great place to be.

Whether you're on an ATV, camping, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature, it never fails to bring a smile to your face.

Enjoy a Lakeside Adventure at Rendezvous Beach

Rendezvous Beach is my little slice of heaven right here in Utah and not far from our Idaho neighbors.

I couldn't recommend this spot enough if you're looking for somewhere to escape to.

Now, despite its immense popularity, it can be a bit tricky to navigate the local regulations.

They're strict about parking, but it's understandable with the number of visitors they get.

The campsites, however, are top-notch.

Nestled next to the lake, they offer an unparalleled water view.

The lake itself is a sight to behold, with different shades of blue that put even the Mediterranean to shame.

Likewise, the crystal-clear waters allow you to see straight to the bottom, and the shallower areas are perfect for families with little ones.

Trust me, renting a kayak and paddling out into the tranquil waters is an experience you won't forget.

There's even a built-in BBQ grill for those summer cookouts.

So whether you're into water sports, boating, or just soaking up the sun on the sandy beach, Rendezvous Beach has something for everyone.

Just remember to bring a good book and a beach towel and prepare for a day of fun in the sun.

Enjoy Unforgettable Escapades at Cisco Beach

The waters of Cisco Beach
JF Hobbs, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ever since I can remember, Cisco Beach has always been a part of my life.

Nestled in the heart of the wilderness, it's ideal for fishing, camping, and creating lifelong memories.

I've seen the place transform over the years, and one of the most exciting changes has been the introduction of Cozy Casitas.

These little homes add comfort and homeyness to the usual camping experience.

The last time I was there, the campground was packed, but luckily, we managed to secure a Casita for a beautiful weekend getaway.

The best part about these mini houses? You can bring your whole family!

Seeing my family laughing and bonding in the comfort of our little abode was heartwarming.

I enjoyed the experience so much that I plan to book two more for our next family gathering!

But it's not just about the Casitas. Cisco Beach is the perfect spot for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities.

For a mere $15, you can park your car at one of the campsites.

We brought our trailer along, and although we didn't have a generator, we could have easily used one.

What I love the most is that the beach is on the lake. It's a beautiful sight, especially in the early morning and sunset.

And let's not forget about the fishing! My family has been coming here for years, and we all agree it’s the best fishing spot.

You can set up camp and fish to your heart's content. Trust me, there are plenty of fish in this lake!

Cisco Beach is more than just a spot to camp and fish - it’s where traditions are born and unforgettable memories are made.

One thing's for sure - once you've visited, you'll want to keep coming back, just like me!

Embrace the Wild at Bear Lake Aquatics Base, BSA

When it's time to step away from the daily grind, I often find refuge in the arms of nature at Bear Lake Aquatics Base.

It's the perfect place to escape, where the night sky is so clear it feels like you can touch the stars.

Though the facilities might need a bit of sprucing up and could use a modern touch, the charm of this place lies in its untouched, rustic appeal.

During my time here, I’ve enjoyed the excitement of the scout camps.

From merit badges to numerous outdoor activities, the energy here is palpable.

And don't get me started on the views. The lack of trees means unobstructed views of the horizon that gift us surreal sunsets.

Discover the Greens at Bear Lake Golf Course

You wouldn't believe the thrill of teeing off at the Bear Lake Golf Course.

An absolute beauty to behold, this course offers a unique playing experience that adds charm to the game.

I love the tranquility it provides before Memorial Day when the tourist influx isn't in full swing.

Trust me, hitting a few balls in mid-May amidst mild thunderstorms added a dash of adventure to my game - it was nothing short of spectacular.

The course has its fair share of challenges; it's pretty hilly, which demands a reasonable degree of skill, but that makes it all the more interesting.

I remember carefully calculating my hits to account for the course's undulating terrain - a fantastic exercise for my golfing brain!

One thing that stands out at Bear Lake Golf Course is the impeccable maintenance.

The greens and the carts were always perfectly manicured and never gave me any trouble.

But none of this compares to the breathtaking view the course offers.

Standing on the greens, you get an unobstructed view of the stunning Bear Lake stretching out to the horizon.

I was so captivated by the scenery on several occasions that I almost forgot I was there to play golf!

Bear Lake Golf Course has been my go-to spot for golf for the past 30 years - and it will remain that way for many more to come.

Make a Savory Stop at Crepes and Coffee

Do you know the sweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee that beckons you from your cozy bed in the morning?

That's precisely what I wake up to every day, thanks to my favorite local joint, Crepes and Coffee.

Now, this isn't your run-of-the-mill coffee shop.

Nope, it's the heartbeat of our town, an all-day haunt that serves up lip-smacking crepes and coffee from dawn to dusk.

Let me walk you through a typical day at Crepes and Coffee.

The place opens with the first streaks of sunlight, quickly morphing into the town's most happening breakfast spot.

Thanks to their extensive menu, I've tried sweet and savory crepes, hearty sandwiches, and even charcuterie-style boards.

They offer gluten-free buckwheat crepes and non-dairy drink options for anyone with dietary preferences.

But the star of the show? The coffee. I swear, each cup is a mini-masterpiece brewed with love and warmth.

And if coffee's not your thing, they've got plenty of non-coffee options to satiate you.

The ambiance is a charming blend of casual and lively.

Packed to the brim with locals and visitors alike, it's where you can converse with a stranger, only to leave as friends.

Whether you're looking for a hearty breakfast, a leisurely lunch, or a relaxed dinner, Crepes and Coffee is the place to be.

Don't forget to try the Mik crepe - it's my favorite!

Oh, and did I mention they serve alcohol, too? Perfect for unwinding after a long day.

So do yourself a favor and stop at Crepes and Coffee. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Final Thoughts

There's no denying that Bear Lake offers a wealth of activities for all kinds of visitors.

There's always something new to explore, from adventurous trails and ski slopes to serene nature reserves.

I feel fortunate to have access to such a bounty of natural beauty and outdoor adventure right on my doorstep.

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