Explore Large Lakes in the Utah Desert

Utah offers many natural lakes and man-made reservoirs. They attract people for far more than fishing. Boating, houseboating, and swimming are all popular.

Utah offers numerous natural lakes and man-made reservoirs. Many of the bodies of water are stocked with trout and abound with large-mouth bass, an invasive species that nevertheless is a favorite of fishermen. But lakes attract people for far more than fishing. Boating, sailing, houseboating, waterskiing, swimming and sunbathing are all popular.

Lake Powell


Crossing the border from Utah to Arizona lies Lake Powell. Houseboat rentals on Lake Powell let adventurers explore the almost 2,000 miles of shoreline that includes steep, colorful canyon walls as well as isolated beaches. The crystal clear waters are also favored for swimming, speedboats, water skiers, and intrepid sailors (the winds are erratic and subject to the whims of the canyon walls. Best bets for catching the wind are at Wahweap Bay, Padre Bay and Bullfrog Bay.)

Cruise ships offer day trippers a chance to see some of the celebrated beauty of Lake Powell where some reach into Rainbow Bridge National Monument to see the largest freestanding natural bridge in the world. Because of Lake Powell's enormity, boaters should be aware of flash flood and high wind dangers that may make the placid water suddenly resemble the wild waves of an ocean.

Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake in Utah

This famously salty lake outside of Salt Lake City is what is left from the ancient lake of Lake Bonneville. The inland lake is the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere. With white sand beaches, nine islands including Antelope Island, and legends that go back into the mists of time, it attracts visitors who love to photograph its vast face, kayak and sail its waters and wildlife aficionados who are attracted by the animals attracted to its freshwater inlets and wetlands.

Flaming Gorge Lake (Reservoir)

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Water enthusiasts enjoy miles of lakeshore is a stunning canyon and forest setting in the Flaming Gorge. Fed by the Green River, This National Recreation Area spans the area of Utah and Wyoming on the northeast border and offers excellent horseback riding, kayaking and rafting, fishing, hiking, camping and biking during the summer season and snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing during the winter.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake by kla4067 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bear Lake by kla4067 [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Another lake that bridges a border is Bear Lake in Utah and Idaho. The lake has been called the "Caribbean of the Rockies" for its unique turquoise-blue color and its popularity with divers.

Bear Lake has many marinas, beaches, and two tourist towns in Utah, Garden City and Laketown. It also has two state parks, each named Bear Lake State Park: one in Idaho, one in Utah.

The Utah state park includes one-half-mile long Rendezvous Beach at the south end of the lake, location of the 1827 and 1828 Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, and 3 mile long Cisco Beach on the east side, plus additional campground, marina, and boat ramp areas.

Added bonus: the surrounding valley has gained a reputation for having high quality raspberries which are recovering from a virus in 2001. Enjoy the new hardier strains of berries at the Raspberry Festival during the first week of August.

Other Reservoirs in Utah

Utah is dotted with smaller reservoirs, many that are large enough for boating, fishing and other water sports including the Pineview Reservoir, the East Canyon Reservoir, the Jordanelle Reservoir, the Scofield Reservoir,Joe's Valley Reservoir and the Deer Creek Reservoirs.

Other Natural Lakes in Utah

Fish Lake

Widgeon Bay on the Fish Lake, Fishlake Scenic Byway, UT

The Wasatch Pleateau is dotted with pristine alpine lakes surrounded by flowering meadows and towering mountains. Fish Lake is the largest natural lake in the state and lies within the deep woods of Fishlake National Forest in the Fishlake Mountains. The icy waters are lauded for their great fishing, but are too cold for most anything else. The wilderness area, however, is ripe for exploration, including the chance to see "Pando," a stand of male Aspens that are genetically identical and share the same root system, making them the heaviest living organism on the planet.

Panguitch Lake, meaning "big fish" in Paiute, is one of the top fishing lakes in the state. This beautiful lake offers a variety of scenic outings that take advantage of its natural beauty.



Lakes Neighboring Utah

Awe-inspiring lakes outside of Utah are worth a side trip for visitors wanting exceptional hiking trails, photography and wildlife viewing.

Island in the Sky District with the Green River

Utah Rock Formations, Mountains and Caves

Some of the most spectacular can be seen at Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Natural Bridges, Cathedral Valley, and Monument Valley.

Lower Calf Creek Falls in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Waterfalls in Utah and Beyond

Visit these stunning waterfalls around Utah and in Arizona's Grand Canyon.

Dinosaur skeletons at the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City

In the University of Utah’s Rio Tinto Center, the Natural History Museum features exhibits about Utah’s geology, ecology, and paleontology.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City

Temple Square in Salt Lake City is Utah's most popular tourist attraction. The 35-acre area contains more than 15 attractions related to Mormon heritage and beliefs

Leopard at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City

Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City

One of the top attractions in the state of Utah, the zoo's 42 acres feature natural hillsides, meandering tree-covered pathways, and a new African Savanna.


Chipmunks, Beaver, and Porcupines in Utah

Forty percent of all Utah mammals are rodents. You can distinguish rodents by the way they eat.


Amazing Sights in the Region

Many amazing things to see in the Zion National Park area, from Bright Angel Point in the Grand Canyon to Natural Bridge View in Bryce Canyon National Park– the regions top sights not to miss.

Hiking in the Narrows, a river canyon in Zion National Park

Salt Lake City to Zion National Park Road Trip

Driving itinerary and map starting in Salt Lake City, Utah and making its way through Fishlake National Forest, Southwest Utah, and St. George, Utah.