7 Unexpected Places to Visit this Summer
Paddleboarding is booming, and with its ease of entry and accessibility, it’s no wonder why. While landlocked Utah may not seem like a paddleboarding mecca, it’s the perfect place to learn or improve your stroke. Whether you’re a newbie or experienced paddleboarder, uncrowded lakes or reservoir are ideal places to enjoy the sport without being rocked by wakes from other boats. We’ve curated a list of Utah favorites you may not be familiar with, offering calmer waters and beautiful surroundings.
Highland Glen Park, Highland
Just 15 minutes east off I-15 in Utah County lies Highland Glen Park, with a quaint pond open for swimming, paddling, and relaxed recreation. The parking lot and put-in beach are just steps apart, and all of the park’s amenities are wheelchair-friendly, making this one of the most accessible spots on our list.
It’s a small pond, but perfect for a beginning paddleboarder, younger adventurer, or athlete with different abilities. Surrounding the pond is grass, picnic areas, and walking and biking trails. You’re not in a remote location at Highland Glen Park, yet are still surrounded by beautiful trees and Timpanogos mountain views.
Mirror Lake Highway, Uintas
We’re noting an entire highway here, because along the Mirror Lake Highway you can find a plethora of watering holes perfect for paddleboarding. There are dozens of lakes and ponds on this stretch of highway, offering a veritable paddleboarding playground in the stunning Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
One of the largest and most popular is Mirror Lake, 40 miles from Kamas. But on your way to Mirror Lake, you’ll also pass Washington, Trial, Moosehorn, Pass, and Lost lakes—all quieter options that are great places to stop and paddle. The highway is at a relatively high elevation, so check the conditions before heading up so you’re not caught in any snow. If you have a blow-up paddleboard and are interested in hiking to a more remote locale, try Budd or Bonnie lakes, or the lakes of Naturalist Basin.
Causey Reservoir, Huntsville
Located just 10 miles east of Huntsville, this spot is readily accessible from anywhere in the Wasatch Front, especially if you’re coming from Davis County. Causey Reservoir may be familiar to you if you have spent any time an a scouting organization in northern Utah, as the Boy Scouts of America own property at the north end of the reservoir.
The reservoir’s long and needle-thin shape makes it a great place for paddling as you can move along the ample shoreline for a long distance before having to loop back around. There’s also beach space for setting up a sun shelter and picnic along the water’s edge.
Blackridge Reservoir, Herriman
Just a few short years ago, Herriman was very rural and consisted mostly of farm and ranch lands. Today, it’s abuzz with new construction and some of the fastest growing residential areas in the west. Nestled amidst all that is Blackridge Reservoir, a pond maintained by the city with easy access, comfortable amenities, and a sandy beach, great for paddleboarding access.
The reservoir is almost hidden on the hill, with neighborhoods around it, but has an excellent view looking down over the valley below. On warm summer days, you’ll see families on the southside beach, and even concession carts selling popsicles and water.
Stansbury Lake, Stansbury
If you’re looking for water terrain that is close to Salt Lake and has something other than mountain views, Stansbury Lake might be just the place. The man-made lake was created in the 1970s from a natural spring and flows between quaint neighborhoods. It’s maintained by the Stansbury Service Agency, but does welcome non-resident visitors; just be respectful of the private property on most of the lake’s perimeter.
Stansbury’s a popular place for families, and gas-powered vessels are not allowed, so the waters are almost always calm. Thanks to its lower elevation, this lake is a great early season paddle as it’s guaranteed to be snow free earlier than others on this list.
First Dam, Logan Canyon
The Logan River runs down Logan Canyon in Cache Valley, pooling at three reservoirs at the canyon’s base, just minutes from Logan’s town center and Utah State University. First Dam is the largest of the three and is small but popular with paddlers.
Just off of Highway 89 and Canyon Road on the north side of the dam, its park offers picnic and grass areas that are perfect for relaxing before and after your paddle. There’s also a dock to put in a short distance from the parking lot.
Deer Valley Pebble Beach, Park City
Though the ski season has ended, Deer Valley is not done with outdoor fun. The summer months bring hiking, biking, music, and festivals, but also paddleboarding. Deer Valley’s Pebble Beach is a majestic but easily accessible spot surrounded by verdant hills. The water is shallow and calm, and seldom crowded. Park City SUP operates a shop right on the water’s edge where you can rent gear and get some good tips and tricks on the sport. It’s a great place for kids and new paddlers, as no motorized boats are allowed.
Stay Safe Out There
Paddleboarding is cool. You know what’s not cool? Paddling without a PFD. Even the strongest swimmers can be caught off guard by winds, currents, or fatigue. Let your social media pics show that you value safety by showing off a cool Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
Affordable vest with sculpted foam paneling and easy adjustability for a personalized fit. Classic vest style $29
Stay safe without compromising movement with this waist PFD. Belt style, manual inflation $53
Pull to inflate this just-in-case waist PFD. Stash keys and cards in the zippered pocket. Belt style, CO2 Inflation $120