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Mountainous, rough and ready – Utah is known for its deserts and sand dunes, luscious pine forests in mountain valleys. But what about water spaces for an epic paddle board session?
Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park may be famous for hiking and mountain biking, but let’s turn the attention to the idyllic and undiscovered lakes and rivers, perfect for paddle boarding.
Yes, that’s right. Even landlocked Utah has some of the most beautiful places to paddle board!
Imagine discovering breathtaking destinations in nature with almost no crowds. Well, that dream is a reality when you paddle board Utah. There are so many incredible places to paddle board in Utah just outside Salt Lake City, and further afield too.
With a similar landscape to Colorado and Arizona, paddle boarding just over the state border in Utah makes sense. Lake Powell is the most well-known spot in the Beehive State, but trust us, there are plenty more to paddle. So make sure you add these picturesque water spots to your paddle boarding hitlist!
Mountains, lakes, and reservoirs. Native American heritage and Utah's biggest cities. Northern Utah is often referred to as the “Mormon Country” and is a great place to set up base camp for great outdoor adventures.
Named after Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City, is the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere. Great Salt Lake is the perfect place for beginners to learn how to paddle board. It’s calm and sheltered, providing the best conditions for finding balance and practicing technique.
Great Salt Lake is also one of the most beautiful places to paddle board in Utah. As the name suggests, there is a high concentration of salt in the water – far more than in the ocean. This gives an even greater buoyancy and also creates a unique surface for reflecting light.
Nature lovers and anyone looking for a romantic paddle boarding session should hit up Great Salt Lake at sunset for the most incredible light show. The colors in the water are unreal!
Top tip: always remember to wash your SUP gear thoroughly after paddling here to avoid the salt causing damage to seams and materials.
Calling all SUP fishing lovers! Grab your rods and cast a line over at Pineview Reservoir. These waters are insanely fertile with the elusive tiger muskie, small and largemouth bass, bluegill, perch and crappie, rainbows, browns, cutthroat, and tiger trout, among others.
Start paddling in the early morning for the best conditions and to avoid the afternoon winds. There are a number of sandy beaches along the reservoir that are ideal to launch a stand up paddle board from.
To make the most out of the flat water and peaceful landscapes, use a SUP anchor to secure your position in the water. You’ll also need to get yourself a reliable and resourceful fishing life jacket for the trip.
Check out these equally amazing places for paddle boarding in Northern Utah:
Remote and rural. North East Utah is a high-wilderness terrain, most of which is more than a mile above sea level. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t epic bodies of water to discover by stand up paddle board.
Provo River is a popular swim spot in Utah. It sets course from the Uinta Mountains at Wall Lake and runs about 71 miles southwest to Utah Lake at the city of Provo, Utah. But we’re just going to focus on the lower section of the river.
Access the water from Deer Creek Dam and paddle down for approximately 6 miles, taking 1.5 hours, to exit at Vivian Park. You’ll come across small rapids and gentle whitewater. Obviously these sections can become more difficult after heavy rainfall.
This spot is best left to the more experienced paddlers who can handle choppy conditions and fast-moving currents. Provo River has a rocky riverbed.
So, we also recommend using inflatable paddle boards with a strong and durable military-grade PVC bottom to withstand being bashed on rough terrain. The GILI Adventure Inflatable Paddle Board is ideal for taking on adventures down Provo River!
Located 40-minutes out of Salt Lake City by car is Jordanelle Reservoir. This is a popular choice for water sports enthusiasts and weekend getaways from the city. Maybe hit this spot up mid-week if you want some less crowded paddling.
The reservoir is a 10.5-mile-long body of water that can get busy with boats, jet-skis, and other paddle boarders in peak seasons. So if you’re a beginner still learning the ropes, just be wary of your surroundings and keep your safety as a number one priority.
Mornings lend to calmer waters, and less of a crowd. We highly recommend taking your pup for a SUP paddle here. Just imagine, gliding along the peaceful waters of Jordanelle Reservoir with your best friend onboard with you… It doesn’t get much better than that!
Mirror Lake is one of Utah’s most dreamy destinations. With the Uinta Mountains in the backdrop, rising 10,050 feet, this lake is an epic spot for weekends of adventures. Pack the SUP and your hiking gear – you’re in for a real treat here!
As the name suggests, surrounding mountains and pine forests are reflected on the water like a mirror. Without a doubt, this is one of the most breathtaking places to paddle board Utah. So remember to bring a camera with you!
Fishing is also allowed here, so be sure to pack your fishing iSUP . You’ll find various species of trout in the water including rainbow, brook, and tiger.
To make the most out of Mirror Lake, opt for an inflatable paddle board. The portability and freedom will make this adventure so much easier. Hike up through the forest, inflate lakeside, and hit the Mirror Lake water.
It doesn’t stop there. Add these spots to check out with a SUP in North East Utah:
Classic Utah heritage and quintessential towns of St. George, Sanpete, and the Beaver counties. State Parks galore and other amazing bodies of water provide great stand up paddleboarding opportunities.
Utah Lake State Park is the largest freshwater lake in the state. It’s fishing-friendly and is popular with swimmers, kayakers, and water lovers. The average water temperature is 75ºF – refreshing if you fall in on the warmer summer days.
This state park is close to Provo airport. It also has an abundance of RV campsites with electric hook-up and full amenities nearby. This does mean the park can get crowded in peak seasons.
Undoubtedly, Utah Lake State Park is an excellent spot for a family vacation. The water is safe to learn beginner paddle boarding techniques and enjoy a tandem multi-person SUP with the kids.
Have you ever wanted to paddle board somewhere that looks like it’s out of a fairytale? Well then, Silver Lake Flat Reservoir is the place to go! This remote destination is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush pine forests.
Access to this serene, natural beauty spot is via a dirt road (every fairytale comes at a price) so you have to work to get here. But it’s a real adventure, and you need to get off the beaten track to be rewarded.
Silver Lake Flat Reservoir is well known in the fishing world. Combining a SUP and a fishing rod could be the perfect setup! Rainbow trout, brook trout, and arctic grayling all swim in these waters. Catch fresh and grill up on the campfire for a true escape to the wilderness.
There is a selection of campsites less than half a mile away from the water. But as we’ve mentioned, it’s popular with anglers - so you’ll be lucky to get it completely to yourself. Nevertheless, this is a peaceful spot and completely worth the time to come and paddle.
A blue space easily accessible from Salt Lake City. Highland Glen Park features a large pond in the center which is a perfect place to learn how to paddle board or teach your young kids.
The calm waters are shared with ducks and other friendly wildlife in the public park. The sandy beach is ideal for preparing a SUP and launching onto the blue water.
More advanced skill levels could use this more urban location as a quick wind down after a day in the office. Or perhaps attempt some SUP yoga and socialize with other paddle boarders.
Want to extend your trip in Central Utah? Add some of these paddle boarding spots to your checklist:
Best known for the incredible five stunning National Parks: Zion, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands. But these are the only places to draw outdoor enthusiasts to Southern Utah.
Lake Powell is the most well known lake in Utah. Situated on the Arizona and Utah border, these breathtaking scenes are perfect for an epic adventure getaway. Rent a houseboat and explore the 2,000 miles of endless canyons, sandy beaches, and shorelines.
Guided tours are available from Antelope Canyon on the Arizona side of the lake. We recommend Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks 5-hour Antelope Canyon Tour. You’ll cover approximately 6 miles of the National Park waters carving through the dramatic red rocks and gorges.
The best place to launch your SUP is also over on the Arizona side of the water at Antelope Point Marina. There are heaps of amenities and easier access points to make launching a paddle board super easy. Experienced paddlers often choose to launch from boat ramps at Stateline, Clay Hills, or Bullfrog in Utah for a more remote and isolated experience.
Iconic Utah. Sand Hollow State Park is bold and quintessential with the red sandstone dominating the landscape and deep blue waters contrasting like an inviting oasis. Prepare your action camera mounts and other top SUP accessories to capture the moment.
Located in the Zion National Park, the 1,322-acre reservoir of temperate water and sandy beaches offer so much opportunity to water lovers and paddle board explorers. The massive size of this park means you are able to escape other people and carve out your own journey on the water.
Why not make it into a camping trip? The sand dunes are rad and great for other high-adrenaline adventures. Ideal for a weekend of fun with the gang!
Want more? Check out these Southern Utah paddle boarding spots:
Haven’t got your own SUP gear yet? No problem. Utah has plenty of paddle board rental places located across the state. These are some outfitters that come with great reviews:
There are excellent paddle boarding locations across the whole of Utah. Most of the best places to explore by SUP are within the incredible National Parks. Jordanelle, Deer Creek, and Great Salt Lake are easily accessible from Salt Lake City, the state capital.
Jordanelle Reservoir is one of the best spots to paddle board close to Salt Lake City. This 10.5-mile-long body of water is only a 40-minute drive out of the city. It’s calm waters and peaceful setting make it an ideal place to escape to nature and learn how to paddle board.
Great Salt Lake, Jordanelle, Utah Lake State Park are all fantastic places for beginners to start their paddle boarding experience. The calm waters and sandy beaches make them safe, and some of the best places to learn. Once you master the basics and build up confidence, then you can explore Utah’s more remote and isolated paddle boarding locations.
Generally, yes, paddle boarding in Utah is safe - but as always, proper care must be taken. Most paddle boarding locations in Utah are lakes and reservoirs. The dangers you need to keep in mind here are the depth and temperature of the water, wildlife, and other outdoor enthusiasts. These spots are considered relatively safe across the whole of Utah.
Paddle boarding down rivers adds additional elements that you should be cautious of. Riverbeds can be rocky and shallow in places, and currents are dangerous for the less experienced paddlers.
Utah is mainly dry with a desert-like climate. Summers are long and hot, winters are short and cold. There are the classic four distinctive seasons for the Northern Hemisphere. Some people like to escape the summer heat by heading to the mountains. This is cooler and comfortable throughout July and August.
Bear Lake in Northern Utah is the cleanest and most pristine lake in Utah. The crystal clear waters will make you think you’re paddling in the Caribbean. The pure blue water is due to the calcium carbonates suspended in the lake. Without a doubt, this is one of the best places to paddle board in Utah.
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