Brendan A.

Lehi, UT

Joined August 2016

Epic! Incredibly Pretty!

This is a must-see spot. This area, really all of American Fork Canyon is among the prettiest places in Utah Valley. Go! Camp! Hike Timp!

Nice Big Campground That is Pretty Attractive

This is pretty much an ideal day-use area for big groups. There's a good amount of parking and tons of spots at Storm Mountain. This has centralized bathrooms and two large dumpsters. Far enough up the canyon to be attractive but not too far up the canyon to be hard to get to. Close to some cool hiking trails too.

Better Options Are Available

This place has a good amount of reservation spots, but it isn't far enough up the canyon to benefit from the best part of Big Cottonwood Canyon's beauty. I'd avoid this one and spend your money and effort on something else a little further up the canyon.

Big Lake + Close to Home = TRAFFIC

This isn't the prettiest lake. It is nice and big, but since it is one of the closest to Utah Valley and Salt Lake Valley, it gets a lot of traffic. Boat ramps during the summer are always very crowded. Beaches and campgrounds are decent, but the lake isn't that enjoyable. We just went boating here in September. The water was very cold! I recommend a wetsuit if you have one!

Raw Nature. Great Fishing. Wondrous Place!

The entire basin is above 10,000 feet! We hiked to Swasey Lakes and the trail crested well above 11,000 feet. Hiking and camping that high really gives you a feel of raw nature, as you have a very real danger of getting struck by lightning and the weather changes in a matter of minutes! We went over Labor Day and the weather was very variable, but not too cold. It rained off and on the whole trip. Temperature range was high 30s to high 60s. Plenty of fishing, lots of nice camping spots. We found quite a few spots around Swasey lakes to fit our group of 5 tents!

Great Year-Round Campsite

Our family comes up here 2-3 times a year and we love it up here. There is always something to do up here. You can even snowmobile on the roads up here in the winter. The fishing in the lake isn't very good though, which is a bummer. Fishing in the river is a little better. You also have the option of hiking/backpacking up to Round, Sand, & Fish Lakes which have great fishing. In my opinion the worst time to come up here is in early July. We came up for a couple of July 4ths and were astonished at how many horseflies there were all of the sudden. That, and it is terribly hot up there in the summer. We like to go up for Memorial Day and Labor Day. It feels wonderful up there then! That's just my opinion, although you are reading this review, so I guess you care about my opinion. :)

First to Review
Fantastic Mountain Biking Around Here!

This is super close to my favorite mountain bike ride in Northern Utah - The Wasatch Crest Trail. As you can tell in the pictures, this area is very lush and rich with pine trees. It stays relatively cool, even in the summer time. One of the best reasons to stay here is for the mountain biking though. There's nothing like riding a bike through deep dark forests, soaring mountains, and stretching meadows riddled with flowers. Doughnut Falls is also a very worthy destination if you don't like mountain biking. It is a family friendly hike we've done many times with a three year old, especially considering how rewarding the waterfall payoff is at the end! Highly recommend camping in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Much Prettier in the Winter!

This is a fantastic spot to go in the winter. Not only is it more beautiful (IMO) in the winter, but it gets loads of snow for snow sports, and it is right next to Powder Mountain and Snow Basin! Huntsville, which is a ten minute drive away also has an awesome field that they turn into a skating rink, which is really fun for ice hockey and normal ice skating. Great centralized location. The lake will freeze over enough to walk on or fish on. There were plenty of people ice fishing when we went.

Accessible Other-Worldly Beauty

We absolutely loved the Sol Duc Falls hike which passes through the campgrounds. It is a very easy hike (we took a two year old and he walked 50% of it) and very rewarding. The coolest part was how much you felt like you were in a different world. It almost made me feel like I was in Jurassic Park or something! Just a note: it is WA so plan on getting wet and muddy. Everything was constantly wet around Sol Duc. Plan and pack accordingly!

Breathtaking in the Winter!

This place is more well known for its summer activities like boating and the wonderful beaches that are there. We went there in the winter for a snowmobiling trip however and were blown away by how stunning it was in the winter. I highly recommend going in the winter! Less people = more peace!

Go in the Late Summer / Fall If You Want A Beach

Beautiful lake, nice beaches, but only if you go in the late summer or fall. Spring runoff makes this lake rise significantly, which completely submerged the beach we were playing on (just North of Port Ramp Marina). If you hit the season right, it won't be too busy and you'll have very long extended beaches to play on!

Not Crowded in Good Hope Bay!

Launch your boat at the Bullfrog Marina, then pick any spot on the ENTIRE LAKE! We drove a houseboat and moored/anchored in Good Hope Bay, which is a 2-3 hour houseboat ride (averaging 8.4 mph). There were quite a few beautiful canyons that had rock slides and small beaches that you could anchor a houseboat to, but those were all taken up by the time we got there. We kept wandering NE until we found Good Hope Bay, which is a bay that is as large as most Utah lakes (thinking Pineview and East Canyon). This made for ideal skiing and boarding because the bay was large enough to dissipate the waves from the passing boats. The beaches were very rocky and riddled with thorny bushes, but it was bearable in bare feet as long as you watched where you were going. The best part? We were one of only two houseboats in the entire bay, which made us feel like we had the place to ourselves!

Yummy Sand Yucky Sand

"Yummy" because of all of the sand! The sand on this beach is really fine, which makes it easier on bare feet. "Yucky" because since the sand is so fine, even small amounts of wind will kick up sand, making it get EVERYWHERE. This is mostly to be expected, except for when there's a thunderstorm or even bouts of 10-20 mph winds. When the wind picks up, the sand will be in all of your food, your tents, your ears, your drinks…

That being said, I still loved this campground because of the sheer beauty of the location. Zero city glare and mostly flat landscape makes for spectacular starry nights.