There are so many fun things to do in Utah’s Caribbean of the Rockies – beautiful Bear Lake! The summer season boasts endless adventures on Bear Lake’s sandy beaches, turquoise waters, tranquil trails, and lush lakeview golf courses. As the snow falls, the Bear Lake Valley transforms into a winter haven for snowmobiling, skiing, and epic ice fishing for trophy Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout!
But, are you ready to turn your Bear Lake vacation into an extraordinary adventure? Beyond the idyllic shores and breathtaking vistas of Bear Lake lies a realm of captivating day trip destinations waiting to be explored. From natural wonders and cultural landmarks to recreation areas and wildlife refuges, get ready to journey through some of the most enchanting spots that Northern Utah and Southern Idaho have to offer.
Distance from Bear Lake: 23.7 miles
Location: St. Charles, Idaho
Buried beneath the picturesque landscapes of St. Charles, lies the captivating Minnetonka Cave. The Minnetonka Cave offers a journey into the Earth’s geological history and natural wonders. This enormous limestone cave, shaped over countless millennia, features nine rooms over a half-mile with fascinating formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, serene underground pools, and bat sanctuaries! The cave stays at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, so be sure to dress warm.
The Minnetonka Cave is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and offers guided tours every half-hour from 10 AM to 5:30 PM. While the tours are family-friendly, be prepared to cover 888 steps in half a mile! Reserve your Minnetonka Cave tour tickets HERE.
Beaver Mountain Ski Area
Distance from Bear Lake: 13.6 miles
Location: Beaver Mountain Ski Area
The Beaver Mountain Ski Area beckons visitors year-round with its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Nestled at 7,200 feet at the top of Logan Canyon, Summer at The Beav offers a gateway to miles of hiking trails, a 5.8-mile BJORR cross-country mountain bike trail, a network of OHV trails for off-road adventures, and breathtaking mountain views. As the “Greatest Snow on Earth” begins to blanket Utah’s ski resorts, Beaver Mountain boasts 828 skiable acres with 48 runs, two terrain parks, a snowsports school, night skiing, and the most affordable lift tickets in Utah’s ski country.
Beaver Mountain Ski Resort is open from mid-December to early April, conditions permitting. 2023-2024 Day Passes are available for $55 for juniors, $70 for adults, or $40 to ride and skin on Little Beaver lift all day. Perfect for beginners!
Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway
Distance from Bear Lake: 41-miles one way
Location: Logan Canyon
If you’re driving from Salt Lake City, the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway will mark the beginning of your scenic drive into the Bear Lake Valley. For those coming from Idaho, don’t miss the opportunity to include a day trip through Logan Canyon in your Bear Lake itinerary. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventurer, or simply seeking beautiful vistas, this byway promises an unforgettable journey through Utah’s stunning landscapes.
The Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway (US-89) traverses 41 miles through a stunning stretch of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest with countless recreational opportunities, attractions, and scenic overlooks along the way. Begin at the Bear Lake Overlook with stunning vistas of the turquoise waters, stop by Rick’s Spring, a historic roadside attraction with natural springs, explore the Hobbit Caves and Wind Caves, or enjoy a picnic and roadside trout fishing on the Logan River. Planning an autumn getaway to Bear Lake? Logan Canyon is one of the top spots for Utah’s fall colors!
Bear Lake State Park North Beach
Distance from Bear Lake: 18.4 miles
Location: Bear Lake North Beach
While the beautiful beaches of Bear Lake are right at your doorstep, beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts won’t want to miss the opportunity to take a short day trip to the northern end of the lake. Just a scenic drive away, Bear Lake State Park North Beach offers a two-mile stretch of sandy beach with picnic tables, boat ramps, and Bear Lake boat rentals and guided tours of every kind!
Bear Lake North Beach gets busy fast and often reaches full capacity by mid-morning! The best way to secure a spot is to purchase a North Beach Parking Day Pass in advance.
Distance from Bear Lake: 29 miles
Location: Bloomington Lake Trailhead
Travel north on the Oregon Trail-Bear Lake Scenic Byway for an easy hike to Bloomington Lake, a scenic alpine lake tucked deep in the mountains. The Bloomington Lake trailhead is accessed on a 30-minute drive on a narrow dirt road (a 4×4 should not be required) and the trail itself is roughly a half mile to the lake. The trail is short and easy – you can bring the whole family, picnic chairs, and even paddleboard rentals to play on the water.
Bloomington Lake is a popular day trip from Bear Lake, so don’t be surprised if you share the trail with fellow adventurers, especially during peak summer months.
Paris Tabernacle & Museum
Distance from Bear Lake: 20.7 miles
Location: Paris, Idaho
Founded in 1863 by pioneer settlers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Paris Idaho is a charming, historic town well worth a visit. On Main Street, the iconic Paris Tabernacle, a striking 19th century Romanesque landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, reflects the town’s rich pioneer history and still serves as a focal point for the community today. Directly across the street, the Paris Museum offers a captivating journey through the past, with artifacts and exhibits that illuminate the lives of the early Mormon settlers.
The Paris Tabernacle is open seven days a week with free guided 30-minute tours daily. The main floor is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. The Paris Museum is open Monday to Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Admission is free.
Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Distance from Bear Lake: 31.3 miles
Location: Montpelier, Idaho
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply seeking an escape into nature, the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is an undisputed day trip destination for visitors to Bear Lake. The refuge encompasses 18,000 acres of scattered grasslands, brush-covered mountain slopes, and marshlands that provide a protected habitat for waterfowl, colonial nesting waterbirds, and an abundance of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, including moose!
The Bear Lake Refuge has auto tour routes for birdwatching and wildlife viewing from the comfort of your car, flat waters for canoeing and kayaking, fishing docks, and miles of trails for hiking. May and June are prime for wildlife watching and during winter in Bear Lake, the refuge has many backcountry trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and birdwatching migratory winter raptors.
Bear Lake ATV Trails
Bear Lake boasts hundreds of miles of interconnected ATV trails for a bucket-list off-road day trip into the canyons, valleys, and mountains surrounding the turquoise waters. Beaver Creek Lodge offers UTV rentals and tours, or reserve a rental from the Epic Adventure Center or Bear Lake Fun near Garden City, and ride straight out into the Idaho wilderness! No trailers or hassle required!
The ATV trails surrounding Bear Lake pass some of Utah’s top-rated attractions including the infamous grizzly bear Old Ephraim’s Grave, the Elk Valley US Forest Service Guard Station, and an epic outdoor recreation area at Hardware Ranch in the south. To the west of Bear Lake, top attractions include Peter Sinks, the coldest place in Utah, and the 1953 military plane crash site at Pat’s Hollow. Start planning your off-road adventures with our guide to the OHV & Off-Road Trails & Rentals in Bear Lake
Back to Bear Lake – Utah’s Caribbean of the Rockies!
After a day of road-tripping around Bear Lake, there’s nothing quite like returning home to the embrace of a luxury cabin rental from Bear Lake Premier Cabins! Unwind in style, soak in the serene atmosphere, and relive your day’s adventures in the comfort of your private Bear Lake retreat.