While Bear Lake is famous for its crystal-clear blue waters in the summer, in the winter, it is transformed into a serene wonderland with a host of fun activities. You will find fewer crowds, beautiful blue bird days and plenty of winter activities.
Winter in Bear Lake means prime snowmobiling conditions. You will find an extensive network of snowmobile trails that cater to both beginners and experienced riders. The Bear Lake valley and its surrounding mountain ranges have over 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. One of the best-known trails is the Garden City Trail, perfect for those with a little bit of experience. Sinks Road Trail is a great trail for a little more excitement. Find these trails and more on the following snowmobiling maps:
You can rent snowmobiles at the following places:
2. Ice Fishing
Bear Lake is renowned for its incredible ice fishing opportunities. There are four endemic species of fish that you won't find anywhere else in Utah or Idaho; including the Bonneville Cisco, the Bonneville Whitefish, the Bear Lake Whitefish, and the Bear Lake Sculpin. If you are new to ice fishing, the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest (January 26-28, 2024) is a great introduction to ice fishing! This yearly event unfolds during the January Cisco run, drawing in hundreds of fishing families and passionate anglers. Make sure you are familiar with Utah's fishing regulations along with any laws and catch limits. You will also want to check the current conditions before heading out on the lake and make sure there is at least 4" of clear ice.
Popular spots to Ice Fish on Bear Lake are Cisco Beach and Rainbow Cove on the eastern side, the artificial rock piles just north of Bear Lake State Park Marina, and the popular rock pile near Ideal Beach Resort (our guests have access to Ideal Beach Resort).
3. Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
If you prefer a slower pace, Bear Lake offers an array of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails. Trails like Limber Pine Nature Trail, Bear Lake Golf Course, Tony Grove Road and Swan Flat Trail are perfect for these activities. Beaver Bottoms is located 0.3 miles before Beaver Mountain Ski Resort and offers a 4 km loop with one hill, but is otherwise gently sloped. Find more trails and prep information here. Snowshoe rentals can be found at Epic Adventure Center.
4. Hot Springs Haven
What better way to escape the winter chill than soaking in warm, natural mineral hot springs? Bear Lake has FOUR hot springs nearby. One is as close as 30 minutes and the furthest away is 90 minutes - making it a perfect day trip. Check out our list with prices and details here.
5. Skiing & Snowboarding at Beaver Mountain
Embrace the thrill of skiing or snowboarding at Beaver Mountain. Visit Bear Lake, rent a vacation home, and enjoy a ski weekend—all while spending less money than you would at a resort in the Cottonwoods or Park City. Beaver Mountain ranks third-lowest out of 51 resorts on Forbes Cheapest Ski Resorts before factoring in potential discounts from its accepted Epic Pass. With pristine powder and breathtaking views, it's a local favorite for winter sports enthusiasts. Half-day ski passes are just $40/Junior & Seniors and $55/Adults.
6. Sledding and Tubing
The "Sinks" stands as a massive limestone sinkhole nestled in Logan Canyon, just 15 miles west of Bear Lake. This prime location in Cache Valley features numerous fantastic slopes perfect for snow tubing and sledding. Just bundle up as the "Sinks" has the record for the 2nd coldest temperature in the lower 48 states.
7. Fat Biking
If you know how to ride a regular bike, you can handle a fat tire bike too. A relaxed bike ride around Bear Lake or through nearby canyons is a great alternative to skiing. Many summer biking trails are perfect for snow fat biking. Just look for groomed or tamped-down trails for easy riding, it is difficult to pedal through deep snow. Epic Adventure Center offers fat bike rentals for the family. Find a list of mountain bike trails here.
8. Local Winter Eats
Indulge in hearty winter cuisine at Bear Lake's cozy eateries or bring your grocery's to our fully equipped kitchen to cook up a tasty meal. Bear Lake does have reduced restaurant options during the winter, but you will find the following restaurants open year-round:
Café Sabor | 21 E 75 N, Garden City, UT | (435) 946-3297
Bear Trapper | 216 S Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT | (435) 946-8484
Moose Buns | 220 W 10 S, Garden City, UT | (435) 241-7773
Coopers at Bear Lake West | 554 Lewis Loop, Fish Haven ID | (208) 945-2222
Cody’s Grastro Garage | 88 S Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT | (435) 946-3644
Bear Lake Pizza Co. | 240 S Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT | (435) 946-3600
Blue Water Bistro & Bakery | 65 West Logan Road Unit 2 (limited hours)
Garden Tea Shop | 65 W Logan Rd #6, Garden City, UT | (435) 946-3399 (limited hours)
Subway | 25-1/2 N | Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT | 435-946-8998 Chevron Gas Station (raspberry shakes) | 604 W Logan Rd, Garden City, UT
9. Charming Winter Events
Immerse yourself in the local winter festivities. From a polar plunge, to Skijoring, there are some great community events during the winter. Check out these local events:
- Christmas Tree Burning & Fireworks: December 30, 2023 at Heritage Park from 8 am-5 pm
- Bear Lake Monster Winterfest: January 25-28, 2024 at Bear Lake State Park Marina. Features a wide range of activities for all ages. Come out and enjoy an icy monster plunge, cardboard boat regatta, ice fishing, outdoor Expo, 5K and more.
- Skijoring The Bear: February 23 (Exhibition) & February 24, 2024 at Heritage Park. Check out this fun competition where a horse and rider pull a skier at a fast pace through a course. Free entry for spectators.
10. Cozy Retreat
The winter experience in Bear Lake is incomplete without a cozy home to stay in. Stay with us at The Bear Lake Monster House and cozy up with a movie or games. You can also take a trip to Ideal Beach, included with your stay at our place, and relax in the hot tub or sauna.
Winter Packing Tips:
- Bring sunscreen
- Pack for cold weather with boots, gloves, coats, hat and snow pants.
- Don't forget to pack a sled.
The magic of winter here is sure to leave you with some amazing memories. Enjoy your insider's journey!