FODOR'S GO LIST 2015
The top 25 places we think should be on every traveler's radar this year.More
Cyclists of all abilities can enjoy all or any portion of the level 48-mi ride on the road circling Bear Lake. The paved Lakeside Bicycle Path curves from Bear Lake Marina south and east along the shore, with several rest stops. Interpretive signs relate stories about Bear Lake's history and local lore.
Bear Lake KOA. Right on the trail, this campground rents bikes, including a four-wheel, surrey-top bicycle-built-for-four that can actually carry a family of six. 485 N. Bear Lake Blvd., Garden City, UT, 84028. 435/946–3454.
Bear Lake's turquoise waters are a bit chilly for swimming on all but the hottest summer days, but boating is a popular way to enjoy the lake. Personal watercraft, sailboats, and motorboats are available at the Bear Lake Marina, at Rendezvous Beach, and in the surrounding towns. Prices vary from about $20 per hour for a catamaran to $60 an hour for a large motorboat capable of towing water-skiers. Be advised that the winds at this mountain lake can change 180 degrees within minutes (or go from 30 knots to completely calm), so inexperienced sailors may want to stick to a motorboat.
Bear Lake Fun. In addition to sailboats and motorized craft this water-sports equipment specialty shop rents paddleboats, canoes, and kayaks that are great for poking around the lake's vast shoreline and marshes. You can also rent water skis, wet suits, tubes, and wakeboards here. Rendezvous Beach, Hwy. 30, Laketown, UT, 84038. 435/946–2900. www.bearlakefun.com.
Cisco's Landing. At the Bear Lake Marina this go-to-shop for gear offers everything from personal watercraft to full-size ski boats. You can also grab a quick bite at the grill. Don't neglect to pick owner Bryce Nielson's brain—he's a wildlife biologist and a former Garden City mayor, and he can tell you everything you need to know about the lake and its denizens, both above and below the water. Bear Lake Marina, Hwy. 89, Garden City, UT, 84028. 435/946–2717. www.ciscoslanding.com.
Beaver Mountain Ski Area. Owned and operated by the same family since 1939, this locals' favorite offers skiing as it was before it became a rich man's sport. A terrain park invites aerial tricks. There aren't any trendy nightspots at the foot of this mountain, just an old-fashioned A-frame lodge with burgers and chili. 40000 E. Hwy. 89, Bear Lake State Park, UT, 84028. 435/946–3610 or 435/753–0921. www.skithebeav.com. Lift tickets $48. 1,600-ft vertical drop; 664 skiable acres; 45 runs; 35% beginner, 40% intermediate, 25% advanced; 2 double chairs, 2 triple chairs, 1 surface lift.
The Logan River and Blacksmith Fork are blue-ribbon trout streams. You can pull indigenous Bear Lake cutthroat, which are found nowhere else in the world, out of Bear Lake, or join the locals in dip-netting Bear Lake cisco when they come to shore to spawn in January. Warm-water species are found in abundance in Mantua Reservoir, 4 mi east of Brigham City on U.S. 89. In the Bear River, it's mostly carp these days. For a novelty fishing experience, boat out to the middle of Tony Grove Lake and use a long line with plenty of sinkers to land one of the rare albino trout that frequent the depths of the lake.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. You can get a fishing license at most local sporting goods stores, but if you want to obtain your license online, go to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website. Bear Lake State Park, UT. 801/476–2740. www.wildlife.utah.gov.
Bear Lake Golf Course. Golfers looking for a quick game can play nine holes in this beautiful lakeside setting when the weather permits (generally May–October). It's suitable for all levels of play, good for beginners, but also with some challenging greens and water hazards, generally calling for accurate shots—not easy, given the distraction of the stunning views and activity on the lake. There's a good restaurant at the clubhouse, with occasional live entertainment. 2180 S. Country Club Dr., Garden City, UT, 84028. 435/946–8742. www.bearlake.com/golf. $15 weekdays, $17 weekends; with cart: $23 weekdays, $25 weekends. 9 holes, 3376 yards, par 36.
At 9,980 feet, Naomi Peak is the highest point of the Bear River Range in Cache National Forest. The 3.2-mi Naomi Peak Trail starts in the parking lot of the Tony Grove Campground and gains almost 2,000 feet in elevation. You hike through conifer forests and open meadows and along sub-alpine basins and rocky ledges. A shorter hike to White Pine Lake, which begins on the same trail and splits after a quarter of a mile, is also lovely. To reach the trailhead, take U.S. 89 southwest from Garden City approximately 15 mi to the Tony Grove turnoff, then follow the signs. Closer to Garden City is the Limber Pine Nature Trail, a popular and easy hike (1 mi round-trip) at the summit between Logan Canyon and Bear Lake that features interpretive information especially designed for children.