Visiting the Carribean of the Rockies...Bear Lake, Utah

{Dates of Visit: June 25 - July 3, 2014}


You know what's really cool (bedsides RVing)? Building up a network of fellow RVers and bloggers who see where you're heading and then make awesome recommendations for a side adventure. That's what our good friends Nealys On Wheels did when they saw we were heading north from Salt Lake City. Seems we were a few weeks behind them...but bound for the same late July destination of Glacier National Park.

So, Jennifer Nealy, being the amazing planner and sharer of information that she is, set me a message advising us to stop at Bear Lake, situated on the border of Utah and Idaho. And, since she's way better than me at updating her blog in a timely manner I was able to read her post and see just how gorgeous the area was before I book a spot.



Everything about our travels to Bear Lake was memorable from the drive all the way up Logan Canyon (Scenic Highway 89) to the stunning views of the turquoise water of the lake at the summit.





Beautiful right? Well, here are a few facts about Bear Lake:
  1. It's a natural lake...meaning it isn't a reservoir and there are no dams...and it's growing.
  2. It's color comes from the sunlight reflecting of off suspended limestone deposits.
  3. It's over 250,000 years old!
  4. There are 2 "Bear Lake State Parks"...one in Idaho and one in Utah (because the state line bisects the lake...each state "owning" half of the lake).
  5. It's home to several species of fish and fauna found only in the lake. 
  6. Bear Lake Wildlife Refuge (on the Idaho side) is a season home to many species of waterfowl with an emphasis on saving the redhead and canvasback ducks, trumpeter swans and white-faced ibis. It's also a great spot for a picnic and photo-shoot.


Red-tail hawk babies?? Anyone know?
Before we even made it to the campground we pulled over at one of the burger and shake joints to sample the areas famous Bear Lake Raspberry Shakes. This should be a requirement for anyone who visits.

Officially Bear Lakers now!
We stayed at the Bear Lake State Park in Utah...mostly because we didn't know there was another state park. Since we made our reservation last minute, we were unable to get one of the coveted pull-thru spaces closet to the water but our site was huge and had full hook-ups for only $25 per night. Once we got to the campground we found that the water is actually pretty far away...within walking distance, yes, but with some shrubs and lots of sand in between. Regardless, the sunsets were lovely as were the strolls along the "beach".



Tiny shells make up a lot of the beach.
Pastel sunsets graced the skies every night we were there.
But the campground was not the best part...and neither were the shakes. It was the hiking!

I believe it was our stay here at Bear Lake that really sparked (or maybe rekindled) our love for hiking. It took a day and half of researching before I realized there was actually a lot of great hikes in the area. We initially had been worried about how we were going to fill 9 days on a lake too cold to swim in, near a town so small you can see it all in less than an hour. We ended up not having enough time to "do it all".

Our top 5 favorite hikes...

5) Limber Pine Trail:
    This is an easy, fairly flat 1.5 mile loop that takes you past fields of wildflowers, fir and aspens into the arms of a 500 year old limber pine tree. Well, it turns out it's really 5 limber pines that grew together...forming what appears to be one huge tree. The base is 25 feet in circumference. Suitable for all levels, kids and kids at heart.




4) Laketown Canyon Trail:

This is a fun little hike (or mountain bike ride) that takes you through a canyon and past a little lake. Although it's 7 miles round trip it's still a fairly easy hike (a bit more difficult on a bike due to some rolling hills). It's on this trail that we spotted Clark's first moose (in real life) and came across some newborn calves. We also found the Bridge to Terabithia where we stopped for lunch.


There really was a little bridge that lead to this...



Secret rest stop.
Brand new babies...
Trust me...that's a moose right there.

3) Wind Cave Trail:
     A tough hike up but very rewarding. This is a popular trail so expect to share the trail with others. Beautiful views of Logan Canyon help make the 1000 foot climb much more bearable.







 
2) Bloomington Lake:
    The majority of this trek was done in the Jeep on a dusty Forest Service road outside of nearby Bloomington, Idaho. An easy .5 miles hike (give or take) is all that's left to bring to bring you to a spectacular glaciated lake. An impressive headwall and unique display of wildflowers make this a must-see. High clearance vehicles advised.




1) White Pine Lake:




Yes it was 8 miles round trip...and there was quite a bit of elevation change (1344 foot). Our thighs were screaming on portions of this hike and our lungs sometimes ached for oxygen (the trailhead is at 7500 feet) but it was the most rewarding and therefore, our favorite hike in the Bear Lake area. Not only were the meadow ridge and alpine lake views spectacular but we encountered wildflowers, very few people, and had a picture perfect picnic spot right on the lake.






The Bear Lake/Logan Canyon area is definitely one of our favorite areas...as a matter of fact, that seems to be true of most of Utah. I guess I just never knew there was so much diversity here from the red rock formations in Moab to the painted canyons of the Southern portion of the state to the alpine meadows and bold mountain ranges...it's all really quite impressive.

And since I can't seem to decide which photos to post (and which to leave out) I'm going to bombard you with a sampling from around the Bear Lake area now...

 













Comments

  1. Beautiful! I've got to read Jen's post and then I'm putting this on our list!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading (and taking the time to comment). We think it's beautiful too. =)

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  3. Great pictures! I will add that to our ever growing bucket list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You won't regret it...especially if you like hiking (and milk shakes). =)

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  4. Awesome post! You hit the nail on the head about needing to really research to find hiking trails. In fact a "trails committee" was just formed in the area to change this. Love your RV trip. I hope to do it some day. Come back and visit Bear Lake again some time and stay in a cabin! (BearLakeCabinRentals.com)

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    Replies
    1. That's such good news about the trails committee! It's such a beautiful place and I hope to visit again soon.

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