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The Best Locations for Swimming and Watersports in Utah

Utah is home not only to world-class ski resorts and vast deserts, it also has all kinds of accessible bodies of water for any watersport activity. Utah’s lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and large swimming holes are found at just about any direction the compass’ needle points. 

Whether you are at the top or bottom of the Wasatch Front, in the middle of the Salt Lake City metropolis, on the backside of the Salt Lake mountains in Park City, near the state borders in Logan or St. George, or located at a remote area scattered throughout Utah, you are never too far from a swimming hole or a watersport-fulfilling location.

Utah’s Best Lakes – Interesting enough, the greatest lakes in Utah share their wealth of pleasure with other states. If you desire to see what Utah can offer, and you should, these locations are ideal for weeklong or weekend trips. All three spots give you the ability to participate in just about any water-related activity. The exception being river-specific activities that involve a strong current, but that can be found at different areas throughout Utah. Just don’t expect to surf atop a huge swell or find Nemo and other saltwater fish as you adventure across Utah.

      • Lake Powell – South Utah; shares with Arizona
      • Flaming Gorge – East Utah; shares with Wyoming
      • Bear Lake – North Utah; shares with Idaho

Utah’s Best Reservoirs – While there are many reservoirs to visit throughout the state, these seven are arguably the most popular sites for a day-trip boating. Each location is just big enough to pull out the bigger boating toys: waterski, wakeboard, wakeskate, tubing, airchair, and even flyboards. They also serve as a place for jetskis, seadoos, and paddleboards. The main difference between the reservoirs and lakes is that it might be harder to find glassy waters during the middle of the day. 

      • Pineview Dam – Ogden Valley
      • Jordanelle – East of Salt Lake City—near Park City
      • Deer Creek – Provo Canyon/Heber City
      • Strawberry  – West of Provo/Springville areas
      • Yuba Lake – South of Nephi—near Scipio and Gunnison
      • Sand Hollow – St. George
      • Quail Lake – St. George

Utah’s Best Rivers – While some of these rivers run for hundreds of miles, specific portions of their current are exceptionally good for white river rafting. Rivers are classified from I-V, and while Utah may offer Class V rafting locations, you might be more fond of floating peacefully downstream rather than thrashing down with a high risk of personal injury. For that reason, we present you a shortlist with areas for extreme rafting, and other places perfect for more mild activities like floating the river on a tube.

      • White Water Rafting 
          • Colorado River – Class IV-V
              • Westwater Canyon – Eastern Utah; north of Moab 
              • Cataract Canyon – Southeast Utah; at the top of Lake Powell
          • Green River – Class III-IV
              • Gates of Lodore – Eastern Utah; near Vernal (on Colorado border)
              • Desolation Canyon – Eastern Utah; near Carbon/Wellington
          • San Juan River – Class II-III 
              • Upper and Lower – Southeast Utah; in Bluff (close-ish to Four Corners)
    • Lazy River Floating 
        • Logan River – Starts just beyond the mouth of Logan Canyon
        • Weber River – Off of I-84 in Weber Canyon; near South Ogden/South Weber
        • Provo River – Halfway up the Provo Canyon

*there are locations along the Colorado and Green Rivers to float, but planning a trip for that might not be ideal when there are sure to be other lazy rivers near you*

Utah’s Notable Swimming Holes – If you are looking for something a little more relaxing, and the places to camp or spots to play on the larger reservoirs listed above aren’t ideal, the following locations, though not accessible for boating, are some of the most enjoyable places to go cool off during the summer. The choices are here for either their beauty, isolation and/or plain fun! Make sure you do a little research before showing up because some, but not all, may have entry costs or other regulations to pay attention to. Besides that, you will be free to paddleboard, kayak, rope swing, cliff jump, and relax at these locations.

      • Bloomington Lake – Bear Lake/Garden City; technically Idaho but while you stay at Bear Lake, it’s a gorgeous tarn with a rope swing.
      • Logan River – Logan Canyon entrance; the river builds up into a small pool that you are free to jump in (literally, even off a small, walkway bridge). 
      • Causey Reservoir – 40 minutes east of Ogden; The drive is well worth it for this reservoir—it is large-sized and provides a good cliff-jumping spot.
      • Blackridge Reservoir – Herriman/bottom of Salt Lake County; family-fun park.
      • Highland Glen Park – Highland/Alpine; family-fun park.
      • Tibble Fork Reservoir – American Fork/Alpine/Highland; family-friendly trail.
      • Silver Lake Flat Reservoir – American Fork/Alpine/Highland; family-friendly trail.
      • Bartholomew Park – Spanish Fork/Mapleton/Springville; family-fun park.
      • Mona Rope Swing – Between Payson and Nephi; Not to be confused with Mona Reservoir, the Mona Rope Swing, or Burraston Ponds, is just south of the reservoir and is surrounded by trees that have a couple ropes swings attached to them.
      • Toquerville Falls – Between St. George and Cedar City; 30-minute hike into small, natural pools of water fed off of smaller, but still scenic falls.

While the above-mentioned locations focus on a variety of different watersport activities, each one comes at a risk that may bring a personal injury to whoever braves the activity. If an accident does come your way, or someone else you know, remember that Robert J. DeBry wants all persons to avoid any further misfortunes. In any case, be sure to contact an attorney or lawyer from our team and we will work with you even when the watersports do not.

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