Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Cache and Caribou National Forests and the scenic Logan Canyon, aptly nicknamed “The Last Unspoiled Place”, the Bear Lake Valley boasts some of the best hiking trails in Utah. Follow the historic trails of the Native Americans and Oregon Trail pioneers, cool off in streams and alpine lakes, take in the beauty of colorful wildflowers and golden fall foliage and soak up panoramic views from the mountain peaks.
Hiking Trails In and Around Bear Lake, Utah
Whether you’re travelling with kids or an avid hiker seeking mountain adventures, Bear Lake has a diverse network of trails from family-friendly nature trails to challenging mountain summits. Before you head out, please be prepared. Check the weather and dress accordingly, print your trail map (there’s not always signal in the mountains!), carry water and snacks, let someone know where you are and please, leave only footprints behind!
If you’re travelling with small kids the Garden City Park boardwalk is perfect! The raised wooden walkway to Bear Lake is less than a ¼ mile with interpretive signs about the local wildlife and wetlands. There’s a playground for the kids, a sandy beach, and kayak and paddleboard rentals to get on the water.
The Bear Lake follows the western shores of Bear Lake for 4.8 miles with breathtaking views of the lake. This trail is flat, paved and pet-friendly making it ideal for a family with strollers, wheelchairs and easy bike rides on the shoreline of Bear Lake.
Pack your binoculars and head to the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the north shores of Bear Lake in Idaho.
This 18,000 acre wildlife sanctuary is one of the most extensive wetlands in the Rocky Mountains, a haven for wildlife and birdlife with mammals, amphibians, reptiles and over 160 species of birds.
Drive the Wildlife Observation Route to Salt Meadows to access the easy walking trails to lush ponds and wildlife blinds.
Easy: 1.5 miles round trip
Trailhead: 7 miles west of Bear Lake on Highway 89 toward Logan Canyon
The Limber Pine Nature Trail is a short and scenic pet-friendly loop trail through switchbacks of forests, tunnels of aspens and meadows of wildflowers to a 560-year old limber pine tree.
The ancient limber pine has a 25-ft diameter and is in fact 5 intertwined limber pines. This scenic Bear Valley nature trail has benches to soak up the stunning lake views and interpretive signs to help you identify the flora and fauna along the way.
The trail has a smooth walking surface with a couple of steep sections and gains only 80 feet in elevation, the perfect hike for families with small children to experience the beauty of the Bear Lake Valley.
Easy: 1.4 mile hike
Trailhead: Bloomington Canyon
Fee: There is a $5 day use fee per vehicle.
The Bloomington Lake Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails near Bear Lake, Utah. This family-friendly and pet-friendly Bear Lake trail follows an unpaved road up Bloomington Canyon to a small, sparkling glacial lake surrounded by rugged cliffs and the towering Saint Charles Peak.
The lake is teeming with trout, surrounded by summer wildflowers and the perfect place to spend a warm summer day.
Hang your hammock in the trees, fish, swim, picnic and brave the 30 foot rope swing into the cold alpine water. High clearance vehicles can drive with a short 0.25 mile hike.
Moderate: 4 miles round trip
Trailhead: Swans Flat Road north of US 89
This Bear Lake Valley hike begins with a very steep climb through the sagebrush and aspens to a high ridge, gaining 650 ft in the first half-mile.
The trail then eases out and continues along the ridge to the 9,082 ft summit of Swan Peak with panoramic views of Bear Lake. Return to the trailhead on the same path or instead of descending, hike the ridge to the top of the 9,255 ft Bridger Peak, the highest peak in Rich County.
Moderate: 7 miles round trip
Trailhead: Park at the rodeo area in Laketown and onto a dirt trail at the southern end of 200 East.
Laketown lies on the southern shores of Bear Lake. This pet-friendly Bear Lake trail weaves through a twisting canyon of sagebrush covered hills and aspen groves to a refreshing spring at the turn around point.
This scenic hike crosses the stream several times and is great for refreshing dips on a hot day. Stay on guard as moose encounters are possible! The Laketown Canyon Trail is one of the best hiking trails in the Bear Lake Valley.
Moderate: 9 miles round trip
Trailhead: Near the Beaver Mountain Ski Area on Beaver Creek Road
The Sink Hollow Trail forms part of the old Great Western Trail that climbs up Beaver Creek in the heart of Logan Canyon.
This Bear Lake heritage trail heads north through open sagebrush meadows surrounded by aspens and pine forests. The trail becomes narrow, steep and then levels out as it approaches the large sink. You can turnaround at this point or continue on to Horse Lake.
Sink Hollow produces the lowest recorded temperatures in Utah in the winter months but is beautiful in summer and a scenic trail for fall foliage in the Bear Lake Valley.
North Fork Trail: Saint Charles Canyon
Challenging: 10 miles round trip
Trailhead: North Fork Campground
If you’re visiting the famous Minnetonka Caves in Saint Charles, pack your hiking boots and explore the North Fork Trail of Saint Charles Canyon.
The trail follows the creek through the valley, surrounded by evergreens and aspens, to the sparkling Bloomington Lake nestled below the 9,245 ft Saint Charles Peak.
The North Fork Trail has a gradual elevation gain of 2,000 ft over the five mile distance and connects with the Highline Trail that follows the crest of the Bear River Mountain Range from Utah to Idaho.
Challenging: 11 miles round trip
Trailhead: Steam Mill Trailhead, Franklin Basin Road
The Steam Mill Hollow Trail is a high-elevation alpine hike through the canyon to Steam Mill Lake.
If you’re looking for a challenging hike around Bear Lake, this is it. The trail has tricky stream crossings as you weave your way through the rocky fir and aspen forests to a scenic lake nestled in a glacial cirque surrounded by colorful wildflowers or striking fall foliage.
Look out for the old, rusted steam boiler dating back to Bear Lakes original settlers.
Planning an outdoor adventure in Bear Lake Valley? Bear Lake Premier Cabins have a wide selection of premier Bear Lake cabin rentals to book your vacation, family reunion or weekend getaway to Bear Lake.
Our cabins are ideally located to explore the hiking trails around Bear Lake with all the comforts of home to unwind after a day on Utah’s epic trails.