20 Best Utah Lakes
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Utah is known for its large stretches of desert and spectacular geological formations, but it is not so well known that the state has more than 100 bodies of water large enough to fit a boat on. Not bad for one of driest states in the country! Massive Lake Powell is known for its houseboats and lovely sandy beaches. Bear Lake is a beautiful cobalt blue natural lake popular for boating and diving. Great Salt Lake has 11 islands and is so salty it is known as America’s Dead Sea. Flaming Gorge is known for its world-class fishing, while Dear Creek Reservoir is a popular water playground for Salt Lake City residents. Strawberry Reservoir is the most popular fishing lake in Utah and Great Salt Lake is Utah’s largest lake.

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» Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake
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The largest remaining piece of prehistoric Lake Bonneville, Great Salt Lake covers 1,700 square miles and is the largest lake in the USA outside the Great Lakes region. Its shoreline is 10,000 miles long and the lake’s high salinity gave it the name "America's Dead Sea." Regardless of the high salinity, the lake is rich in many species of animal and plant life and is a popular recreational destination. The high salinity is caused by the fact that the lake is fed by three rivers – the Weber River, the Bear River, and the Jordan River – but it has no outlet, only evaporation. There are 11 islands on the lake, with Gunnison Island being protected as the main rookery for a number of endangered birds. The whole lake is a heaven for birdwatchers because the surrounding wetlands offer a home and sanctuary for many migratory birds. Around the lake, visitors come for great hiking, biking, sightseeing, and golf, and in the winter there is skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing,

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» Lake Powell

Lake Powell
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Located in Arizona's Navajo Nation Reservation, Lake Powell is surrounded by southern Utah's picturesque red rock desert and is one of the American most scenic reservoirs. The lake has 1,900 miles of shoreline and covers 160,800 acres in the heart of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It is also a major recreational destination for boating, fishing, water-skiing, diving, hiking, and camping. Lake Powell is the result of the 1963 construction of Glen Canyon Dam, which impounded the Colorado River. Lake Powell primarily serves as a reservoir for the Upper Colorado Basin, and Glen Canyon Dam generates hydropower. There are several marinas around the lake used by boats of all sizes, including popular houseboats. Anglers come for striped and smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, sunfish, channel catfish, and crappie. There are campgrounds all around the lake.

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» Utah Lake

Utah Lake
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Utah Lake is a 100,000-acre natural freshwater lake located in the Mountainland Region of north-central Utah. Cities of Provo and Orem are located on the lake’s eastern shore. Snuggled between the Lake Mountains to the west and the Wasatch Mountains to the east, Utah Lake is incredibly scenic and a popular destination for year-round recreation. Utah Lake is one of the last remnants of prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which covered most of Utah in prehistoric times. Utah Lake's water sources are the Provo River, the American Fork River, Hobble Creek, and the Spanish Fork River, and its only outlet is the Jordan River. The lake is located within Utah Lake State Park, which provides a visitor center, camping, boat rentals, picnicking, boat slips, and swimming. The water level in the lake fluctuates severely, by as much as 9 feet, mostly because the water is diverted for irrigation. The lake is well-stocked with carp.

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» Bear Lake

Bear Lake
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A beautiful natural 70,000-acre freshwater lake on the borders between Utah and Idaho, Bear Lake is not only a popular tourist destination but is also used for irrigation, the generation of hydropower, and flood control. The incredible turquoise color of the water is due to suspended limestone deposits. There are three popular scenic drives around the lake: Laketown Scenic Byway, Bear Lake Scenic Byway, and Logan Canyon Scenic Byway. Of the many hiking and biking trails, some of the most popular are the 11-mile Swan Flat/Red Sink Loop and the 10-mile Steam Mill Lake Trail through fir forests, ending at a 500-year-old, 25-foot-wide limber pine tree. Visitors can rent a jet ski or powerboat or hop on the guided pontoon boat tour. The lake is part of three Utah state parks and two Idaho state parks, which offer beaches, small boat rentals, boat ramps, and camping facilities. Bear Lake is also popular for trout fishing.

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» Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir
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Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a 42,000-acre manmade lake on the border between Wyoming and Utah in the heart of the Ashley National Forest and is part of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The lake was created with the construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam in Red Canyon, Utah, by impounding the Green River. There are several boat ramps, fishing docks, and marinas with boat slips around the lake. A network of hiking trails, several camping sites, and picnic sites make the lake a popular recreation destination. The reservoir is very popular with fishermen for its lake trout, but besides rainbow and brown trout, the lake is also stocked with smallmouth bass and kokanee salmon. The lake’s incredible clarity attracts underwater enthusiasts for scuba diving and spear fishing.

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» Strawberry Reservoir

Strawberry Reservoir
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Strawberry Reservoir is located 65 miles from the Wasatch Front and the cities of Provo, Salt Lake, and Orem. Known as the most popular fishing spot in Utah, the 17,164-acre Strawberry Reservoir is part of the 1922 Strawberry Valley Project and was formed as the result of the construction of Strawberry Dam on the Strawberry River. The reservoir was enlarged in 1973 to hold 1,106,500 acre-feet of water. Surrounded by the scenic Wasatch Mountains, Strawberry Reservoir is a popular recreation destination, especially for fishing. There are four public ramps for easy boat access, and the Strawberry Bay Marina is located at Strawberry Bay. There is also Renegade Point at the southwestern side of Meadows Basin, Soldier Creek Marina on the northern shore, and Aspen Grove at southern shore of the Soldier Creek Basin. Parts of the lake lie within Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, offering solitude and spectacular hikes through the wilderness. There are 1,524 miles of hiking and biking trails and 245 miles of trails for motorized vehicles.

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» Sevier Bridge Reservoir

Sevier Bridge Reservoir
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Sevier Bridge Reservoir, or Yuba Lake, is one of several reservoirs built along the Sevier River for the irrigation of local farms. The reservoir was created in 1914 in the deep canyon between the Valley Mountains and the San Pitch Mountains. In extremely hot summers, water levels in the lake drop so much that the muddy bottom of the lake appears. Fishing depends on the level of water in the lake, but perch, walleye, northern and rainbow trout, carp, and tiger trout are thriving. There are several free public launches around the lake. Two parks around the lake – Painted Rocks State Access and Yuba Lake State Park – have campsites, picnicking areas, and boat launches. Swimming is not allowed because of the high level of chemicals in the water, but boating is popular and fun.

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» Jordanelle Reservoir

Jordanelle Reservoir
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Located between Heber City and Park City, Jordanelle Reservoir was built in 1992 as result of the construction of Jordanelle Dam on the Provo River. The towns of Hailstone and Keetley, Utah, were completely submerged as a consequence. The reservoir was built for irrigation, flood control, public recreation, and fish and wildlife conservation. Jordanelle State Park was created in 1995 to provide access to the reservoir and offer opportunities for recreation. The lake is full of rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, and cutthroat trout, to the delight of local fishermen. The lake is also great for water-skiing, boating, sailing, and swimming. The Hailstone Recreation Site has a nice beach for swimming, and there is also a playground, boat launches, and a marina.

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» Deer Creek Reservoir

Deer Creek Reservoir
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Deer Creek Reservoir is located near Heber, Utah, and was created in 1941 with the construction of a dam on the Provo River. It is mostly used for irrigation and recreation. The lake is stocked with perch, walleye, rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and carp. The lake is warm, allowing fishing all year round. Visitors also enjoy swimming, boating, sailing, water-skiing, and windsurfing. The snow-covered peaks of Mount Timpanogos reflect in the clear water of the lake, creating spectacular views from the aspen-covered lake banks. There are two campgrounds in Deer Creek State Park, which also has a nice beach, picnic tables, a fish cleaning station, and restrooms.

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» Fish Lake

Fish Lake
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Fish Lake is a 2,500-acre body of water in the heart of the Fishlake National Forest. Surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Mytoges Mountains, this clear lake is the largest natural mountain lake in Utah. The lake is deep, reaching 170 feet in some spots. Water comes to Fish Lake from Doctor, Jorgenson, Twin, and Bowery Creeks, and it exits through Lake Creek on the way to the Fremont River. All types of water activities are possible on Fish Lake, from boating, water-skiing, and jet-skiing to swimming, fishing, and scuba diving. The Fishlake National Forest around the lake is a heaven for hiking, camping, biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding. For the fishermen, there are mackinaw trout, splake, rainbow trout, brown trout, and yellow perch.

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» Echo Reservoir

Echo Reservoir
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Echo Reservoir is 1,400-acre lake located between the Utah/Wyoming border and Salt Lake City. It was built in the 1930s to help control the water coming from the snow melt from the Uintas Mountains. It is also used for irrigation, flood control, recreation, and hydropower. Located at an elevation of 5,560 feet above sea level, Echo Reservoir is surrounded by grass and sagebrush. There is a privately owned area shaded by mature trees with a marina, boat ramp, campground, boat rentals, store, and restrooms. There is a free public boat launch just south of this private area. Echo Reservoir is a popular fishing spot, with plenty of yellow perch, brown and rainbow trout, small bass, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. During the summer, the lake is a great destination for canoeing, camping, mountain biking, and horseback riding. In the winter, visitors come for great skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides.

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» Gunnison Reservoir

Gunnison Reservoir
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Gunnison Reservoir, or Sugar Kids Pond, was the result of a dam built in 1889 by impounding the San Pitch River. The lake is surrounded by dry lands and its water evaporates fast, so in particularly dry years it runs out of water. However, when there is enough water, it is a true jewel, not well known but wonderful for boating, water-skiing, and other sports, and you can enjoy it all in solitude. There are also a few nice beaches, and anglers can enjoy fishing for catfish, bluegill, carp, perch, and largemouth bass. The town of Sterling is the only town nearby.

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» Panguitch Lake

Panguitch Lake
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Panguitch Lake is located in the heart of the Dixie National Forest in southwestern Utah. This natural lake is surrounded by a dense forest of spruce, aspen, and ponderosa pines. The lake is located at the elevation of 8,200 feet and is believed to be over 1,000 years old. Panguitch Lake is best known as a fishing destination. Its cold water is full of trout – rainbow, brook, cutthroat, and brown. In the winter, the lake is a popular destination for ice fishing. There is a marina where visitors can rent boats or boat slips for their own craft. There are also two public boat ramps and a free fish cleaning station. The area around the lake is excellent for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching.

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» DMAD Reservoir

DMAD Reservoir
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DMAD Reservoir is a 1,199-acre oasis in the Sevier Desert near Delta. It was created in 1959 as a result of the impounding the lower end of the Sevier River. Its purpose is to supply water, protect aquatic habitats, and provide recreation, water for irrigation, and cooling for a number of nearby coal burning power plants. Its name comes from the four irrigation companies that collaborated in its creation – Delta, Melville, Abraham, and Deseret. The lake is 80 feet deep and most of its 6.3 miles of shoreline is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. There are a few simple campgrounds and boat launches around the lake. The most popular activities are fishing, boating, and camping.

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» Joe’s Valley Reservoir

Joe’s Valley Reservoir
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Joe's Valley Reservoir is located in the heart of the 1,413,111-acre Manti-La Sal National Forest in Emery County, Utah. This 1,200-acre lake has an extremely high elevation of 7,000 feet, and its cold waters are a heaven for many species of fish, making the lake a popular destination for serious fishermen. While tiger trout is the most common, there are also plenty of brown, cutthroat, lake, and rainbow trout. Ice fishing is also very popular. Joe's Valley Campground, located on the western side of the lake above Joe's Valley Reservoir, has campsites with spectacular views of the lake and the massive surrounding mountains. The nearby woods are at times full of large game such as elk, deer, and moose. The area is also popular with birdwatchers who come looking for hawks, ospreys, and peregrine falcons.

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» Minersville Reservoir

Minersville Reservoir
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Located in Beaver County in southwestern Utah, the 990-acre Minersville Reservoir lies in a low and arid desert valley, surrounded by an amazing, diverse landscape of deep canyons, meandering mountain rivers, granite mountains, lush dense forests, historical mines, and peaceful valleys and meadows. The lake is located between the cities of Minersville and Beaver, providing a wonderful recreation destination to its residents. The reservoir was created in 1914 after the construction of the Rocky Ford Dam, impounding the Beaver River. The lake water is used to irrigate nearby farmlands, so the water level varies severely throughout the year. Today the Minersville Reservoir is known as a trophy trout fishery. The lake is well-stocked with rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, cutthroat trout, and Utah chub. The reservoir is also a popular destination for water-skiing and fishing. Visitors can enjoy a campground, boat ramp, sandy beach, restrooms, hot showers, and picnic areas. The land around the lake is full of birds and birdwatchers can expect to spot ospreys, common loons, Caspian terns, great-tailed grackles and, in the winter, bald eagles. In the winter, anglers come for ice fishing.

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» Navajo Lake

Navajo Lake
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Navajo Lake is a 700-acre natural lake located in the heart of the Dixie National Forest in the southwest part of Utah in Kane County, on the Markagunt Plateau. The elevation of 9,042 feet makes the lake and the surrounding magnificent forest a wonderful destination during hot summer months. The lake was formed thousands of years ago and is fed by ground water. The only outlets are sinkholes. In the early 1930s, a dike was built to control the water levels. During the summer, visitors can enjoy boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and fishing. Once the snow covers the surrounding area and the lake freezes, people come for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. Anglers can enjoy fishing all year round and the lake is full of rainbow trout, splake, German trout, brook trout, and cutthroat trout. There are a few outfitters that rent out boats and fishing gear.

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» Johnson Valley Reservoir

Johnson Valley Reservoir
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Johnson Valley Reservoir is located in the heart of Utah's Fishlake National Forest. The 700-acre reservoir was created in 1899 after a dam was built on Sevenmile Creek. Surrounded by tall, stately aspens and rolling hills and located high in the mountains, the reservoir is a perfect recreation destination during the hot summer months. Less popular than nearby Fish Lake, Johnson Valley Reservoir is wonderful, peaceful summer retreat, perfect for boating, fishing, swimming, water-skiing, and hiking through the surrounding forest. There is a public boat launch on the northern side of Johnson Valley Reservoir, together with a few picnic tables and a primitive campground. Fishing is one of the most popular activities here, especially for trout.

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» East Canyon Reservoir

East Canyon Reservoir
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Located about 30 miles from Salt Lake City, East Canyon Reservoir is a 680-acre manmade lake and a popular destination for fishing, boating, and watersports. Created originally in 1898 by damming East Canyon Creek for irrigation and to provide water, recreational uses quickly became its main purpose. East Canyon Reservoir State Park, which surrounds the lake, provides a range of facilities for visitors. The reservoir has been stocked with rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, black crappie, and cutthroat trout, making fishing one of the most popular activities. The park has a boat launch, fish cleaning station, rest rooms, showers, and covered pavilions for picnics. There is a concession that offers boat rentals as well as a large campground. The lake is great for swimming in the summer when the water warms up, as well as for sailing, water-skiing, jet-skiing, and wakeboarding. A network of hiking trails through the surrounding forest offers opportunities for wildlife watching. It is possible to spot mule deer, elk, turkey, ruffed grouse, and waterfowl.

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» Electric Lake

Electric Lake
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Located in the Panoramaland and Castle Country regions of Utah, Electric Lake is a 425-acre reservoir created in 1974 by the construction of a dam to collect the waters of a number of creeks, including Upper Huntington Creek, Boulger Creek, and Coal Creek. The water is used for irrigation, to cool of a Rocky Mountain power generating plant, and for recreation in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. The lake is deep and steep-banked and is great for water-skiing, but only in the summer when the cool mountain water warms up – the lake is located at 8,575 feet and the water is too cold for swimming. However, it is excellent for fishing, with plenty of fish. Fishing is catch-and-release, mostly for trout. Kayakers and canoers can also some enjoy tranquil time on the lake. There is a concrete boat ramp for boat launching, but no marina.

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20 Best Utah Lakes