This guide to camping at Utah’s Fish Lake is brought to you by Liquid IV, whose electrolyte powder is your go-to source for high alpine hydration.
When it comes to the treasure trove of outdoor activities that Utah has to offer, Fishlake National Forest is no exception. Along with 1.5 million acres of densely wooded forest, the alpine lake of the same name (that’s Fish Lake, with a space) is one of the most beautiful spots in the state.
Tucked amongst the colorful aspens that spot the Mytoge Mountain Range, Fish Lake is located at 8,848 feet in the heart of the Fishlake National Forest. At 175 feet deep and almost 4 square miles, Fish Lake is the largest natural mountain lake in the state of Utah, and provides a high altitude paradise that’s accessible to outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.
Fish Lake’s Wide Range of Activities
Along with its natural beauty, Fish Lake offers an array of activities for every visitor, ranging from fishing and hiking to scuba diving.
Camping at Fish Lake, Utah
Despite sitting at well above 8,000 feet, Fish Lake is a popular mountain destination due to its accessibility from the Fishlake Scenic Byway. The lake features three campgrounds of varying sizes as well as two resorts, where cabins can be rented during the bustling summer months.
This spot for camping near Fish Lake, Utah is located just across the Fishlake Scenic Byway that borders Fish Lake, and offers to campers the full amenities of a state recreational area in close proximity to the water. Along with the other campgrounds around the list, most of the sites at Fish Lake have lake views, as well as easy access to the resorts and marina that border the lake and offer fishing supplies, groceries, laundry services, gas, and even a restaurant.
“Aspen trees for days! This campground is similar to Bowery Creek except filled with more trees…the campground has showers and bathrooms which all the campgrounds are allowed to use.” –The Dyrt camper Alicia F.
Bowery Creek is a spectacular option for camping at Fish Lake, Utah as it offers sweeping views of Fish Lake and featuring sites speckled with ranging Aspens and cottonwood trees, which burst with color in the Fall. Most sites have a lake views, and the campground also includes four group sites, which can accommodate between 20-30 people each.
“Bowery Creek is beautiful. Spring, summer, fall you need to see Fish Lake in all seasons. The campground has beautiful views year round. There are so many things to do like hiking, fishing, boating, atv rides, and breakfast at Bowery Haven is a must. One of my all time favorite places to visit.” –The Dyrt camper Kelli R.
Located on the tip of Fish Lake on Mallard Bay, Doctor Creek offers sites with excellent lake views along with a slew of sites that are shielded by large Aspens. Of the three campgrounds near the lake, Doctor Creek is the most primitive, offering simple restrooms and no showers, but still with close access to the other, more populated areas. Doctor Creek is a great option for those looking for a little bit more solitude along the popular Fish Lake. For geocachers, there’s also an official Utah Geotour Geocache very close to this site.
“Very pretty and quiet in the fall. There were only a few people camped here and most of the aspen trees of Pando grove were turning a beautiful yellow. The campground is very close to the lake in which there is a boat ramp and places to have a picnic. The nearby shore trail also gives an easy leisurely hiking option if fishing isn’t your way of recreating.” –The Dyrt camper Alan B.
Year Round Fishing
True to its name, Fish Lake is well-known for its population of fish, in particular the 20-40 pound lake trout that have been pulled from the lake on multiple occasions. While it does boast great fishing conditions year round, ice fishing has become quite popular at the lake in recent years, due to the clarity of the water and ease of access to the lake in the winter months (the road to Fish Lake is plowed regularly). Splake (a combination between lake trout and brook trout) are especially active in the colder months.
Fish Lake species:
- Yellow Perch
- Rainbow Trout
- Splake (Lake Trout and Brook Trout)
- Brown Trout
- Lake Trout
- Kokanee Salmon
- Tiger Muskie
The Trails of Fish Lake
Besides camping, Fish Lake, Utah includes hundreds of miles of trails in and around the Fish Lake area, with several that start within the campgrounds surrounding the lake. The most notable trail accessible within campground limits is the 5-mile Pelican Canyon Trail, which starts in the Bowery Creek campground and moves through the surrounding forest before peaking atop the Fish Lake Hightop at 11,633 feet.
Fish Lake’s clear, alpine waters make it an excellent (and popular) destination for scuba diving in the summer months. The lake itself is known as one of the best places in Utah to dive, teeming with wildlife as well as underwater lava rock formations. Visitors hoping to dive should be prepared to bring their own gear, and should be extra cognizant of the water temperature, which, given the elevation of Fish Lake, can be quite cold even in the summer months. That said, the best times to dive are between July and early September, when the temperatures are typically the warmest (between 53 – 56 degrees).
The Resorts at Fish Lake
Fish Lake also offers a few different options for non-campers hoping to take in the alpine sights. Fish Lake Resort offers cabins year-round, including both deluxe cabins with up to 6 rooms and camping cabins for a more primitive setup. Fish Lake Resorts is also open year round, and is a popular destination for winter adventurers interested in ice fishing, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. The other resort skirting the lake is Bowery Haven Resort & RV Park, open from early May through the beginning of September. Bowery Bay is known for its wide variety of amenities, including bike and kayak rentals, as well as a restaurant with an excellent breakfast offering.
A Note on High Alpine Adventuring:
Even if you’ve traveled to the alpine before, it’s important to keep in mind that higher elevations mean thinner air, and thinner air means your body needs more to keep up with its environment (see: how to tell if you’re dehydrated). As well as packing additional food for your trip, you should pack some Liquid IV, the electrolyte powder that will enable you to stay hydrated during your 9,000 foot adventure.
Have you had the chance to adventure in or around Fish Lake, Utah? Let us know by sharing your trip on The Dyrt!