Eight miles wide and 20 miles long, Bear Lake is an unusual shade of blue, thanks to limestone particles suspended in the water. It is home to five species of fish found nowhere else, including the Bonneville cisco, which draws anglers during its spawning season in January. Among the lake's more discreet inhabitants is the Bear Lake Monster, which according to local lore lurks somewhere in the depths like its Loch Ness counterpart. The abundance of Bear Lake's raspberries is celebrated each year in early August at Raspberry Days. A parade, a craft fair, and entertainment are almost eclipsed by the main event: sampling myriad raspberry concoctions.
Along the south shore of Bear Lake, Route 30 traces an old route used by Native Americans, mountain men, and settlers following the Oregon Trail. The lake was a popular gathering place for mountain men, who held two rendezvous here in the 1820s. Harsh winters persuaded most travelers to move on before the first snow flew, but hardy
Mormon pioneers settled in the area and founded Garden City. You'll find several hotel and restaurant options in town, which sits at the junction of U.S. 89 and Route 30, and you can follow the ¼-mile boardwalk through a small wetlands preserve to the lakeshore.
Bear Lake Marina. Visitors to Bear Lake won't want to miss the marina. It has a beach, picnic area, campground, and visitor center with information on all the park's recreation areas. Boats can be rented from several local vendors around Garden City. Hwy. 89, Garden City, 84028.
Rendezvous Beach. On the south shore of Bear Lake this area has more than a mile of sandy beaches, three campgrounds, and picnic areas. Mountain men gathered here for their annual rendezvous in 1827 and 1828. Their meeting place now has interpretive signs about the gatherings. Each September a Mountain Man Rendezvous includes period cooking demonstrations, storytelling, cannon and rifle competitions, and a Native American encampment. Hwy. 30, Laketown. www.stateparks.utah.gov.
Eastside. The lake bottom drops off quickly here making it a favorite spot among anglers and scuba divers. Facilities include a primitive campground and a boat ramp. N. Cisco Rd., 10 miles north of Laketown, Bear Lake State Park. www.bearlake.org.