Utah Boating: Top 8 Lakes And Reservoirs To Go Boating In Utah

Utah Boating Guide - Neighbor Blog

Utah Boating: Top 8 Lakes And Reservoirs To Go Boating In Utah

More than 40 percent of Utah is covered in national parks, national monuments, national forests, state parks, and public lands. With that many opportunities how can you ever hope to make a decision on where to start your recreational adventures? There’s rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, off-road adventuring, and many other activities. But one of the greatest activities Utah has to offer is boating and, luckily, we at Neighbor know some of the best spots to do just that.

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Check out Utah’s top 8 boating lakes or reservoirs.

#1 – Lake Powell

Easily coming in at our top spot, Lake Powell is a state-wide mecca (but still known both nationally and internationally), drawing in over 3 million people a year. Lake Powell is man-made, so technically it’s a reservoir, but clearly that hasn’t dampened the popularity of this area in the least.

Location: Lake Powell is located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area along the southern Utah and Northern Arizona border, although the majority of the lake is located within Utah.

Distance from Utah cities (to Wahweap Marina):

  • St. George, 150 miles
  • Cedar City, 150 miles
  • Provo, 339 miles
  • Lehi, 355 miles
  • Salt Lake City, 383 miles
  • Ogden, 419 miles

Depth:

  • Average: 132 ft. (40 m)
  • Max: 585 ft. (178 m)

Elevation: 3,700 ft.

Marinas/Rentals:

  • Wahweap Marina: Largest marina on Lake Powell. Located in Page, AZ, this marina is open year round.
  • Bullfrog Marina: Second largest marina on Lake Powell. Located 70 miles from Hanksville, UT, this marina is open year round.
  • Halls Crossing Marina: Located across from Bullfrog Marina, this marina is open year round.
  • Dangling Rope Marina: Located in UT and only accessible by water. Your only fueling station between Wahweap and Halls Crossing/Bullfrog Marinas.
  • Antelope Point: Located in Page, AZ, this marina offers full boat services and rentals.

Fish That Live In Lake Powell:

  • Bass (smallmouth, largemouth, striped)
  • Crappie
  • Sunfish+
  • Channel catfish
  • Northern pike
  • Walleye
  • Common Carp
  • Razorback sucker
  • Brown trout
  • Bonytail chub
  • Gizzard shad

Average water temperature: Summer Water Temperature 70-80°F

Lake Powell is your perfect Utah boating location, with over 160,000 acres of surface area and 1,900 miles of shore length. Nearby points of interest include Glen Canyon Dam, Rainbow Bridge, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, among many others.

#2 – Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge is a popular spot for Utahns wanting to head the opposite direction of the ever-busy area of Southern Utah. One of the visual appeals for the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is the presence of the Ashley National Forest, which provides green contrasts to the orange/red “flames” of the local geology.

Location: Flaming Gorge Reservoir is located in Daggett County in northeastern Utah, as well as Sweetwater County in southwest Wyoming.

Distance from Utah cities (to Flaming Gorge Dam Visitor Center):

  • Vernal, 40.9 miles
  • Park City, 183 miles
  • Provo, 194 miles
  • Ogden, 197 miles
  • Salt Lake City, 203 miles
  • St. George, 443 miles

Depth:

  • Average: 212 ft.
  • Max: 436 ft.

Elevation: 6,053 ft.

Marinas/Rentals:

  • Cedar Springs: Marina that offers boat services, camping sites, and food.
  • Lucerne Valley: Full-service marina offering rentals, camping sites, food, and more.

Fish:

  • Kokanee salmon
  • Rainbow trout
  • Lake trout
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Burbot
  • Brown trout
  • Common carp
  • Channel catfish
  • Cutthroat trout

Average water temperature: Summer Water Temperature 60-68 °F

Flaming Gorge Reservoir will fulfill all of your Utah boating dreams. With over 42,000 acres of surface area and plenty of additional activities available (hiking, camping, backpacking, snowmobiling), this is an amazing place to visit.

#3 – Bear Lake

Our first natural lake on the list, Bear Lake and its surrounding areas is famously known as a popular summer destination. Its turquoise-blue waters are quite the sight to behold, even prompting the unique name, the “Caribbean of the Rockies.”

Location: Bear Lake is located in Rich County in northern Utah and Bear Lake County in southern Idaho. The Idaho/Utah border splits the lake almost evenly.

Distance from Utah cities (to Garden City, UT):

  • Logan, 39.4 miles
  • Ogden, 86.8 miles
  • Salt Lake City, 122 miles
  • Lehi, 148 miles
  • Provo, 164 miles
  • St. George, 422 miles

Depth:

  • Average: 94 ft.
  • Max: 208 ft.

Elevation: 5,920 ft.

Marinas/Rentals:

  • State Marina: Located on the west side of Bear Lake, north of Garden City. No campsites available. Ready to be reserved, overnight boat slips available.
  • Marina Rentals: Located in Garden City. Offers rentals, gas, food, and accessories.
  • North Beach Rentals: Located 7 miles east of St. Charles, ID, this location offers boat and Sea-Doo rentals, as well as non-motorized water toys.

Fish:

  • Cutthroat trout
  • Lake trout
  • Bonneville whitefish
  • Bonneville cisco
  • Bear Lake whitefish

Average water temperature: Summer Water Temperature 55-65 °F

Bear Lake has plenty of space for your Utah boating needs, boasting over 69,000 acres of surface area. Other activities include fishing, diving, and camping.

#4 – Jordanelle Reservoir

An ever popular destination due to its close proximity to the Salt Lake metro area, this reservoir provides ample space and amenities for your perfect weekend getaway.

Location: Jordanelle Reservoir is located in Wasatch County, UT in a central spot between national forests and mountain ranges.

Distance from Utah cities (to Hailstone Campground):

  • Park City, 9.5 miles
  • Heber City, 10.0 miles
  • Salt Lake City, 37.8 miles
  • Provo, 37.9 miles
  • Ogden, 73.8 miles
  • St. George, 301 miles

Depth:

  • Average: 109 ft.
  • Max: 292 ft.

Elevation: 6,200 ft.

Marinas/Rentals:

  • Jordanelle Rentals & Marina: Offering rentals of all kinds, including boats, jet skis, flydive, kayaks, and SUPs. You can also find a full-service marina that includes repairs, docks, and boat storage.

Fish:

  • Yellow perch
  • Rainbow trout
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Brown trout
  • Largemouth bass

Average water temperature: Average unknown, current temperature 38 °F on 3/7/18

Jordanelle Reservoir is part of Jordanelle State Park, which offers more than just Utah boating activities. You can camp, hike, bird watch, and more!

#5 – Deer Creek Reservoir

A very popular location for visitors all over Utah County because of its relative proximity to multiple cities, this reservoir is very similar to the Jordanelle Reservoir and provides just the right amount of excitement for a day or weekend outing.

Location: Deer Creek Reservoir is located in Wasatch County, UT, close to both Heber City and Provo.

Distance from Utah cities (to Deer Creek Island Resort):

  • Heber City, 6 miles
  • Provo, 21.9 miles
  • Park City, 23 miles
  • Salt Lake City, 51.2 miles
  • Ogden, 87.3 miles
  • St. George, 285 miles

Depth:

  • Average: 65 ft.
  • Max: 137 ft.

Elevation: 5,423 ft.

Marinas/Rentals:

  • Deer Creek Island Resort: Offering all kinds of boat rentals for cruising, fishing, or wakeboarding. Dry boat storage also available, including winterization and shrink wrap.

Fish:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Rainbow trout
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Walleye
  • Brown trout
  • Yellow perch

Average water temperature: Average unknown, current temperature ~35 °F on 2/24/17

Deer Creek Reservoir provides the amenities and space you’ll need for a fun day or weekend outing, especially if you live in nearby Utah or Wasatch counties.

#6 – Willard Bay Reservoir

The only mention of the Great Salt Lake you’ll see on this list, and only because Willard Bay is part of the GSL, but separated into a freshwater reservoir. No worries about saltwater here!

Location: Willard Bay is located in Box Elder County, UT, near both Ogden and Logan.

Distance from Utah cities (to Willard Bay North Marina Campground):

  • Ogden, 16.8 miles
  • Logan, 31.2 miles
  • Salt Lake City, 51.5 miles
  • Lehi, 78.3 miles
  • Provo, 94 miles
  • St. George, 351 miles

Depth:

  • Average: 19 ft.
  • Max: 36 ft.

Elevation: 4,236 ft.

Marinas/Rentals:

  • North Marina: Full boat launch and marina with campground services, including restrooms. Much larger area than the South Marina.
  • South Marina: Full boat launch and marina with campground services, including restrooms.

Fish:

  • Black crappie
  • Channel catfish
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Walleye
  • Wiper
  • Bluegill
  • Common carp
  • Largemouth bass
  • Yellow perch
  • Green sunfish

Average water temperature: Average unknown, current temperature 39 °F on 3/9/18

Willard Bay Reservoir is a close and convenient location for anyone near Ogden, Logan, or Salt Lake. With plenty of options for boating, fishing, and camping, this reservoir would make for an ideal day or weekend out.

#7 – Utah Lake

One of the most well-known lakes in Utah because of its proximity to the Provo-Orem metro area, this lake is quite shallow, but still suitable for recreational boating activities.

Location: Utah Lake is located in Utah County and is bordered by many cities, including Provo, Orem, Lehi, and Saratoga Springs.

Distance from Utah cities (to Utah Paddle Board Rental & Sales):

  • Provo, 4.4 miles
  • Orem, 9.5 miles
  • Lehi, 18 miles
  • Salt Lake City, 46 miles
  • Ogden, 82 miles
  • St. George, 262 miles

Depth:

  • Average: 10.5 ft.
  • Max: 14 ft.

Elevation: 4,488 ft.

Marinas/Rentals:

  • Lindon Marina: Offers non-motorized boat and toy rentals, boat storage, and boat slips.
  • American Fork Marina: Rentals include paddle boards, kayaks, paddle trikes, jet skis, canoes, and boats.
  • Saratoga Springs Marina: Boat launch and day services, including pavilions, parking, restrooms, fire pits, grills, etc.
  • Utah Paddle Board Rental & Sales: Rental services include SUPs, kayaks/canoes, boats, jet skis and paddle boats.

Fish:

  • Bullhead catfish
  • Common carp
  • Channel catfish
  • Black crappie
  • Largemouth bass
  • Walleye
  • White bass

Average water temperature: Average unknown, current temperature 34°F on 12/4/17

Utah Lake is extremely close to home for lots of people in the areas of Utah and Salt Lake Counties so it’s an easy decision for many to get out on the lake for a day or weekend. There are many walking trails around the lake.

#8 – Yuba Lake

Rounding out our list, Yuba Lake is known for its fishing, motorsports, and great beaches for camping. It is located close to I-15, just south of Nephi, making it a great stop-off point if you’re heading to southern or northern Utah.

Location: Yuba Lake is located within the counties of Juab and Sanpete in Utah.

Distance from Utah cities:

  • Nephi, 27.1 miles
  • Provo, 67.9 miles
  • Salt Lake City, 111 miles
  • Cedar City, 141 miles
  • Ogden, 147 miles
  • St. George, 192 miles

Depth:

  • Average: 21.3 ft.
  • Max: 80 ft.

Elevation: 5,100 ft.

Marinas/Rentals:

  • State Park: Camping area with boat launch and other amenities.
  • The Docks: Boats, Jet Skis, and more available for rent. Food also available.
  • Painted Rocks: Camping area with boat launch and other amenities.

Fish:

  • Walleye
  • Yellow perch
  • Rainbow trout
  • Northern pike

Average water temperature: Average unknown, current temperature 33°F on 3/8/18

You’ll satisfy your boating and outdoors cravings with a visit to Yuba Lake, whether it’s for the day, weekend, or a few days.

Do I need a license for a boat and how do I obtain one?

Boating License requirements for all states can be found by visiting DMV.com’s Boating License page and then selecting your state.

The State of Utah requires a Boater Education Card, which is not a license. This card is obtained by completing an approved (by the Utah State Parks) Boater Education Course or by passing an approved equivalency test. Direct link: Utah Boating License Information.

Is insurance required to go boating in Utah?

In the State of Utah it is required that your boat or personal watercraft have a minimum amount of liability insurance when operated on Utah waters. This may mean you may purchase a boat without yet having insurance, but upon registration there will most likely be a document stating you swear to buy insurance for your boat or personal watercraft. To learn more, read the Utah Boat Insurance Basics.

How do you Register a boat in Utah?

Much like automobiles, some boats and other watercraft require registration.

Here is a quick rundown:

Requires Registration

  1. Any powerboat.
  2. Any sailboat.
  3. Private vessels including jet skis.

Does not require Registration

  1. Boats registered in another state and not being used in Utah for more than 14 days.
  2. Any boat that is propelled only by oars or paddles.
  3. Surfboards or sailboards.

Boats can be registered at your local DMV office. To learn more, read the complete Utah boat registration details.

Where do I find boat storage?

Many boaters will only bring their boat out when it’s “boating season” where they live. This means they’ll have to winterize the boat and keep it in a safe place the rest of the year. You can search for many convenient and fairly-priced storage spaces near you.

 

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Utah has many great lakes and reservoirs available for public use, ready to fulfill your boating needs. There are some differences in scenery and amenities depending on where you go, but regardless of which body of water you decide to launch your boat on, you’re bound to have a good time!

Author: Ben Walker

I'm a husband, photographer, and traveler. I love soccer (Arsenal) and food (any).