Although a popular summer destination for watersports, the Bear Lake Valley area and surrounding mountain terrain also provide the ideal playground for all sorts of winter activities. Ski Utah’s best powder at Beaver Mountain resort or explore 350 miles of well-maintained snowmobile trails. From the recreational to scenic, outdoor lovers will appreciate visiting this overlooked but worthwhile winter wonderland.
Ski Beaver Mountain
The Beaver Mountain Ski Resort is only 15 miles west of Garden City and it boasts some of the best alpine skiing, snowboarding, and night skiing in northern Utah. Due to its remote location in Logan Canyon, "The Beav" (as it’s colloquially known) experiences fewer crowds and has a more local vibe to it than most major ski resorts in the area—hence why it’s considered one of Utah’s best-kept secrets. Ski season at the resort remains open December through March, and with four ski lifts, there’s plenty of accessibility for all ability levels. Click here to go to their website.
Besides downhill skiing, there’s also excellent cross-country skiing starting right outside your door. In the wintertime, Bear Lake valley's ATV trails of summer are transformed into smooth powdery pathways, and routes can even be found at the Bear Lake Golf Course. For a more scenic experience, venture to nearby Logan Canyon and ski through the mountain wilderness. For a list of groomed trails, click here.
Cover more ground in Bear Lake Valley by snowmobiling more than 350 miles of groomed trails and open play spaces on both sides of the Idaho-Utah border. Stick to the trails for an easygoing ride or adventure off-trail and climb the mountains for a breathtaking view of Bear Lake and the entire valley. The more popular snowmobile spots on the Utah side include the Sinks, Peter Sinks, Temple Peak, and the Hardware Ranch. Click here for options and pricing.
Snowshoeing is another great way to explore the area’s numerous trails on foot and get in a decent workout. The trails within Logan Canyon are ideal for snowshoeing because most of the trails are closed to snowmobiles, providing a more peaceful experience. A popular snowshoeing route starts at Bunchgrass Creek trailhead, which follows the creek bed for 4 miles until it reaches the White Pine Canyon Junction, or for 9 miles until White Pine Lake. However, most people just snowshoe the 3-mile out-and-back for a more leisurely outing. Epic Recreation rents snowshoes for $8 for a half day and $15 for a full day. Click here to contact them.
What is winter fun without a good old-fashioned sled race? Within Logan Canyon, about 10 minutes west of Bear Lake, there’s a wide-open bowl known as the "Sinks." The large indentation in the earth created by a natural sinkhole is the best spot in all of Cache Valley for sledding, snow tubing, and generally playing in the snow. Rent snow tubes and sleds for the day at Epic Recreation.
Although anglers can fish year-round at Bear Lake, the real draw is ice fishing in January and February when the Bonneville Cisco, a small fish unique to the area, spawns close to shore. During this spawn larger fish such as cutthroat trout and lake trout (mackinaw) come to feed on the cisco, in which jigging for these fish can result in very productive yields.
Fat Tire Biking
Now even cyclists can still enjoy the snow without having to hang up their bikes for the season. Rent a fat tire winter bike from Epic Recreation in Garden City for safe riding on the surrounding trails. A leisurely ride around Bear Lake or through some of the surrounding canyons is a nice alternative to skiing. Most summer trails should make excellent snow biking terrain too—just look for hard-packed snow that the fat tire bikes can grip into.
Bear Lake Monster Winterfest
Every January Garden City hosts the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest. Most of the festival’s activities take place in the Bear Lake State Park Marina, including the popular Cisco Disco and Polar Plunge. At dawn, competitive yet friendly anglers gather at Cisco Beach to dip their nets and catch the biggest Cisco fish in the Cisco Disco Tournament. After the limit has been caught, participants then head to the marina, dress up in costumes and jump in the freezing lake to help raise funds for local nonprofits. Prizes go to groups and individuals with the best costumes. Jumping into a freezing lake may not sound enticing, but spectating is just as entertaining! Click here for details.