Located roughly 90 miles north of Park City on the Utah/Idaho border, Bear Lake is often called the Caribbean of the Rockies for its intense turquoise-blue water. With a 45 mile circumference, Bear Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in the Western United States. There is abundant public access to its numerous white, sandy beaches and boaters will find ramps and docks available for their use.
Bear Lake is surrounded by mountains and huge swaths of National Forest land, making the valley one of the West's most beautiful locations. It also boasts a rich history and recreational opportunities during all four seasons. For instance, you can jet ski across the turquoise water. Sail off into the sunset. Track the elusive mule deer, awesome moose or the majestic rocky mountain elk. Troll for huge mackinaw or cutthroat trout in Bear Lake or fly-fish for the smaller brook and rainbow trout in the many local mountain streams. Experience the rush of snowmobiling. Snowboard or ski at two local ski resorts or enjoy the large amounts of terrain available to cross-country skiing, mountain biking or hiking.
You may also be interested in exploring America's past and discover the stories of the intrepid people that settled this area. The Bear Lake Valley was first inhabited by Shoshoni Tribes, then fur trappers. Between 1825 and 1840, many mountain men and Native Americans met on the south end of the lake to swap goods and stories. These meetings became known as the mountain man rendezvous. Re-creations of these historical cultural exchanges are held in mid-September on Rendezvous Beach.
The first permanent settler to the Bear Lake Valley was reportedly Thomas Pegleg Smith, a crusty, one-legged, ex-mountain man. During the 1840s, he set up a trading post to provide supplies to the emigrants on the famous Oregon Trail. Early Mormon pioneer leader Brigham Young sent the first group of permanent settlers to Bear Lake Valley in 1863. Up until recently, the valley enjoyed relative isolation as a rural agricultural region. However, with its pristine waters and beautiful natural setting, it is no wonder that Bear Lake Valley has become a major regional attraction and vacation destination.