Brandview / 

Utah adventures with Maverik: Got a kayak or canoe? 7 of the best places to use it in Utah

Utah adventures with Maverik: Got a kayak or canoe? 7 of the best places to use it in Utah


Heading out with your kayak or canoe is a great way to not only get some exercise but also to clear your mind. Better Health Channel says kayaking or canoeing can improve your cardiovascular fitness, increase your muscle strength, and practice meditation (depending on your preferred waterway).

Even though the state is in a severe drought, there are still plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy a serene day on the water in your kayak or canoe in Utah. So if you're looking for a new place to paddle, fill up the car at your local Maverik and strap down your kayak. Here are seven places in Utah you'll want to explore.

East Canyon Reservoir

Nestled away in East Canyon is this quiet, picturesque reservoir. The 35-mile drive from Salt Lake City takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, making it a great after-work-getaway for those looking to cool off and paddle in the evening hours.

Though it's only a short drive from the city, it is in the heart of the canyon—most people won't have cell service at the reservoir. So this is a great place to unplug and connect with nature if that's what you're after.

According to the State Parks website, the park has personal watercraft rentals as well as boats and ski boats. So even if you don't own your own kayak or canoe, you can always rent one at the park.

Mirror Lake

This lake is so spectacular it had a highway named after it! Located in the high Uintas, the serenity of Mirror Lake can be a great place to spend a day or two (or three).

The lake is surrounded by the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, and doesn't allow motorized boats, making this a great spot to enjoy the peace and quiet. With a lake as calm as Mirror Lake, even the most novice kayakers will have a great time.

Utah adventures with Maverik: Got a kayak or canoe? 7 of the best places to use it in Utah
Photo: Shutterstock

You can plan on a 1.5 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Mirror Lake, but the views are so stunning, you'll crave more time on the road!

Because the lake is at a high elevation, many Google reviewers recommend going in July or August because the chilly water feels most refreshing in the high summer temps.

Little Dell Reservoir

Little Dell Reservoir is such a short distance from Salt Lake City, you might find yourself frequently escaping to the beautiful waters on weekdays. From I-80 East, it's only a few miles into the mouth of the canyon before you take exit 134 and drive for three more miles. Admittance is free if you're willing to walk a ways, says the Salt Lake County website, but you can also pay $5 for a parking lot much closer to the water's edge.

This is another body of water that prohibits motorized boats, making it a serene place for kayaking and canoeing. Keep in mind that access to the water is only available until about October 1st, says the county website, so get your fix in before the cool air is here to stay.

Bear Lake State Park

When it comes to beautiful water, there is nothing like the bright, turquoise colors of Bear Lake. According to the State Parks website, the water gets its brilliant hue from calcium carbonate in the water. There's also no shortage of space or water at this Utah lake–it's massive.

Spanning across the Idaho state line, Bear Lake has all the space and variety you could want as a kayaker.

Kayak Guru said Bear Lake "can be a great place for beginners and experienced paddlers, as there is a lot of space, easy launching and the water is generally calm."

There are several entry points into the park, depending on which direction you're coming from. Many of those entry points are even open year-round! Check the State Parks website to make sure the entry point you're choosing is open past October.

Oh, and don't forget to grab an infamous raspberry shake at the end of the day!

Utah adventures with Maverik: Got a kayak or canoe? 7 of the best places to use it in Utah
Photo: Shutterstock

Lake Powell

Though reports the water levels are seriously low (they even shut down a couple of launch stations), the park is still open and allowing people and their boats in. With almost 2,000 miles of shoreline, Lake Powell has some of the best red rock formations, coves, canyons, and cliffs in the world to explore. As a bonus, you can stop and set up camp wherever you want for up to 14 days without having to get a permit.

Whether you're a Lake Powell aficionado or a first-timer, exploring Lake Powell on your kayak or canoe is one of the best ways to enjoy this special place.

Don't forget a waterproof bag for your phone, because you'll want to take lots of pictures.

Smith and Morehouse Reservoir

Located a few miles outside of Kamas, this hidden gem is a gorgeous place to spend a Saturday afternoon. It also doesn't permit motorized boats, so you'll find mostly calm waters great for kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing.

The picturesque views are really what sets this spot apart from other kayaking places near the city.

There are several areas to park at Smith and Morehouse, however, each area is small and fills up quickly on the weekends. Make sure you get there early to get a spot!

If you'd like to camp at the reservoir, you need to make a reservation on

Red Fleet State Park

Red Fleet State Park is perhaps the most underrated kayaking spot on this list. In fact, the State Parks website says many local boaters refer to Red Fleet as Little Lake Powell.

This oasis in the desert is located near Vernal, so not only are you in some beautiful landscapes, you're also close to rock formations, wildlife, caves, and dinosaur tracks.

Red Fleet Reservoir is not only stunning, but the water temperature isn't too cold, either. Compared to other state lakes and reservoirs, the mid-August 75 degree water sounds extremely refreshing, especially if you enjoy a quick swim after you kayak.

No matter where you end up paddling in Utah, make sure you fill up at Maverik first. Get gas for the car and snacks for the road so you're ready to take on the day's adventures. To find your local Maverik, visit their website.



    Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast