Swim Locations

Great Salt Lake

Bountiful Lake (aka Bountiful Pond)

Pineview Reservoir

Deer Creek Reservoir

Utah Lake

East Canyon Reservoir

Blackridge Reservoir

Jordanelle Reservoir

Willard Bay

Echo Reservoir

Bear Lake

Known places you CANNOT/SHOULDN'T swim

Great Salt Lake

review by Gordon Gridley
Two popular swimming locations:
  1. GSL Marina – located 19 miles from downtown SLC. Off I-80 and Saltair Drive.
  2. Antelope Island Marina – Located 40 miles northwest of downtown SLC. North end of Antelope Island. Most convenient for Davis/Weber county swimmers.
Both of these locations are on Utah State Parks and require either a daily use fee ($2 for GSL Marina, or $9 for Antelope Island), or the Annual Day Pass ($75/year, but Antelope Island also charges more for the causeway pass which is an additional $15/year or $2 per day) Both locations have a hose near the boat ramp that can be used to rinse off afterward.
Hours: Daylight hours (closes 5pm in winter, 8pm in Summer)
Best time of year to swim in the Great Salt Lake is year round except from end of June thru September, due to the high water temperature and extreme numbers of brine flies. Swimming in the Great Salt Lake outside of those months and the water is quite nice. Granted its salty, but you get used to it.

  • Great practice for swimming in the ocean with the high salinity and potentially high waves/swells. If you're training for an ocean swim, the GSL is the absolute best place to be training. Not a freshwater reservoir, and definitely not the pool.
  • While there are some sailboats, the number of boats in general is extremely small compared to other large lakes.
  • Depending on your how you see things, the salinity is high. Takes getting used to, and teaches you how to swim with your mouth shut, and take quick and efficient breaths.
  • Never freezes (for winter swimmers)
  • Generally pretty clean. Rarely swim in to any trash floating in the water.
  • The Harbormaster, Dave Shearer, is very cool and accommodating to swimmers. He is extremely knowledgeable about the lake, and can help you understand what you need to do to be safe out on the water.
  • Depending on your how you see things, the salinity is high. Takes getting used to, and teaches you how to swim with your mouth shut, and take quick and efficient breaths.
  • As you get closer to summer months, the prevalence of brine flies increases and you have to be even more efficient and keeping your mouth shut.
  • Chaffing – you quickly realize your trouble spots for chaffing, and you need to apply plenty of channel grease before every swim in order to not get burned.
Swimmers who have Great Salt Lake listed as their favorite places to swim, and can be contacted if you have more questions:


review by Goody Tyler

Pineview Dam was completed in 1937 and has been providing irrigation water and fantastic recreation to Weber county residents. Pineview is located one hour north of Salt Lake City. It is popular for its fishing, boating, waterskiing and swimming. It's water is relatively clear and clean. If you accidentally swallow some of the water it won't make you sick.

Swimming Locations: The best place to swim at Pineview is in the no-wake zone similar to Wallsburg Bay at Deer Creek. The no wake zone is the area near the dam. Windsurfer Beach is a small beach area located at the south west section of the reservoir. The gates are open during daylight hours and it is free to park there. At the southeast end of the parking lot is a trail that takes you down to the beach area. Here is a map to get there from Salt Lake.

Water Quality
The water quality at pineview is good. Visibility is good. Occasionally your will see leaves and branches floating in the water, and very rarely a plastic bottle or other trash. But the quality is generally pretty good.

Hours and Cost: Sunrise to 10pm - There is no charge

Swimming Routes - Windsurfer beach to Dam route.

A loop starting at windsurfer beach along the shoreline to the dam buoys, and then along the buoy line to the south shorline, then along the southern shoreline to the no-wake buoys, then north along the no-wake buoys to the northern end, then back to windsurfer beach.  This Loop is 1.75 miles.  

Motorized boats are not allowed to create a wake in the south west end of the reservoir, but are still able to travel in the area at low speed.  On some days, it can get quite crowded with boats traveling in the area.  The best time to swim is early in the morning when not many boats are on the water.

  • Free restroom in windsurfer beach parking lot
  • Amazing sunrise view while tucked away in the mountains.
  • Low boat traffic in the mornings and no currents unless weather is on you
  • Avoid holiday weekends there.  Once sun is up and it's about 10, it gets really busy. 
  • Has a negative stereotype where a swimmer was hit by a boat and killed. 
Online Resources:

Bountiful Lake

review by Josh Green

Bountiful Lake (Pond) is a small pond located west of Legacy Highway in Bountiful. It is a popular fishing hole and there are often kayaks, paddle boards and other non-motorized watercraft on the water. Bountiful Lake is about 15 miles northwest of Salt Lake City.

Directions: Take the 500 South exit from either Interstate-15 or Legacy Highway and head west. 500 South will turn into a frontage road that runs north-south. Head north on the frontage road about 1.5 miles. The entrance to Bountiful Lake is on the left (west) side of the road. Here is a map.

Water Quality
As the water temperature gets warmer, the quality of the water deteriorates. Trash left behind by people fishing on the lake often ends up in the water. That being said, myself and many others have swam at Bountiful Lake many times and have never been sick or noticed any other ill effects from the water.  Don't drink the water!

Hours and Cost: Sunrise to 10pm - There is no charge

Swimming Routes - There are several options for swimming routes at Bountiful Lake:

Starting at the boat ramp and following the shore all the way around the lake is about 1.1 miles.
Starting at the boat ramp and swimming around the first island is about 800 yards.
Starting at the boat ramp and swimming around the second island and back is about 0.70 miles. This is the course for the Josh Green Loop Virtual Open Water Race.

Motorized boats are not allowed on the lake, but there are often kayaks and other non-motorized water craft on the water. The real hazard is the many fishing lines in the water around the shores. Water can be shallow around the islands and near the shore. The lake is stocked with various types of fish, but they do not bite (often).

  • Close proximity to Salt Lake City. 
  • Free Restroom on site 
  • Many options for swimming routes 
  • Only virtual open water race in Utah that can be done at any time.  Just follow the rules, and submit the required data and you win the trophy!
  • Buried treasure!  In 2009, one swimmer had his gold wedding band slip off his finger about 15-25 yards from the boat ramp.  If you are a scuba hobbyist and are up for finding buried treasure, "thar be gold awaitin!  Arr!"
  • Water is murky and not ideal
  • Many fishermen along the shores 
  • Shallow water around islands and near the shore
Online Resources:

Deer Creek Reservoir

review by Sue Frehse
Wallsburg Bay – located 52 miles southeast of SLC.

Wallsburg Bay is a great place to swim, if you get there early in the day. I like to get in by 9:00 and be out by the time boat traffic picks up. Wallsburg Bay is probably the safest place to swim as far as boat traffic goes. The bay has a no wake policy from the buoy line to the end of the bay. Still stay along the shore during busy times as boats can still travel in the bay. Boats do like to anchor down and is a good place for them to get out of the wind. I have never had a problem with careless boaters. I park my vehicle at the top of the Deer Creek State Park Boat ramp. There are bathrooms at the top of the ramp. Usually I spot a state park official and let them know I'm swimming Wallsburg Bay. Also swim with my SSD.

Wallsburg Bay will be to your right when you enter the water by the boat ramp. Depending on water levels, it's about a mile or so to the end of the bay. The bay is usually out of the wind, but you will encounter some boat wake coming in off the main reservoir. Water quality is good, but the closer you get to the boat ramp the more you will smell gas, exhaust from boats.

Hours: Daylight hours
Cost:  $10/day or Utah State Parks Annual Day Pass

Another option is to checkout a Utah State Park Pass from the SLC public library.  You can check out a pass with your library card.  Which means it's free, unless you return the pass late.  Most libraries have one or two on hand.  Call ahead to see if they have any available.

  • No wake zone, great for swimming without boats zooming past you.
  • Quite a distance to travel on a regular basis, if you're based in Davis county.
  • Can get pretty busy in the summer time. Better to swim early in the day or later in the evening.
  • Still should swim close to shore as Wallsburg bay still can have boat traffic, just at lower speeds.

Swimmers who can provide more information about Deer Creek:

Online resources:

Utah Lake

review by Etsuko Tijerino

Lindon Beach is located on the east side of Utah Lake and is accessible from 2000 N Orem (200 S Lindon) or 400 S Orem. It is a little hard to find because there are no signs but just keep driving along the shoreline and you will see a sandy beach with some picnic tables. The parking space is available on the opposite side of the street. There is no fee to use the beach. (Don’t get confused with Lindon Marina/ Harbor that is just a few miles north. There is a lot of boat traffic around the marina and you need to pay $5 fee.)

Lindon Beach is good for both beginner swimmers and experienced swimmers. The water around the beach is very shallow, so you could stay in 4-feet deep water if you wish, and still get a few miles of swimming done. Lindon Beach is a perfect place to practice swimming in choppy water as the water becomes quite choppy in the late afternoons during the summer. My advice is to stay in the shallow area when there are waves in the lake, unless you are an experienced swimmer. Utah Lake is nicknamed as “Killer Lake” because of the big waves. Be cautious. If you go early during the day, the water is normally pretty calm. Best time to swim is June through September. It freezes during the winter months.


  • No fee!
  • The water is typically several degrees warmer than the waters in mountain lakes.
  • No boats in shallow area, you can swim for a mile along the beach without encountering any boats or fishermen.
  • You can stand on your feet whenever you need to. Good for beginner swimmers.
  • Dogs allowed, so your faithful companion can swim, too.
  • If you are like me and get scared when you can see through the water, this is the lake for you.
  • The water is murky, so you don’t need to see anything!
  • The water is murky, not like the waters in other lakes in the mountains. Just try not to swallow the water.
  • There is no bathroom or shower but who cares?
  • If you stay until dusk during the summer months, you might get greeted by some mosquitos. Run to your car.
Online Resources:
Map of access points -> http://www.utahlakecommission.org/5.1_Recreation.pdf

If you have further questions, here are some people who have good experience swimming in Utah Lake:

Etsuko Tijerino
Nathan Nelson
James Jonsson

East Canyon Reservoir

review by Keith Alleman

East Canyon may not be a place you fall in love with, but it is a place you can settle for. It's fine. It's acceptable.  East Canyon reservoir hosts the swim leg of the East Canyon Triathlon in late-August each year (presumably.... 2013 is the first year).

Swimming Locations:
 One good spot is to swim by starting from a dirt parking lot on the northeast side of the reservoir. There is a no-wake zone here that is marked by three buoys. A lap from the parking area's shoreline out around the three buoys and back is maybe 1000m-1500m depending on water level and exact route taken.

To get to this dirt parking lot, drive to the junction of Highways 65 and 66. The parking lot is along Hwy 66 about a half-mile west of the 65/66 junction, and just before you head up a hill at the north end of the lake. If you make it to the cement parking lot, you’ve gone too far.

Water Quality

On a test swim in Ausut 2013, the water was pretty murky.  Not Utah Lake murky, but pretty murky.  Visibility might'be been 4-6 feet.

Hours and cost

For the developed areas and amenities at East Canyon State Park, the hours are 6am - 10pm and the day use fee is $9.  Putting in at the northeast corner is informal and free.


On summer days, there can be a lot of boats at the north end, outside of the no-wake zone.

Elevation:  5700'

  • There is a no-wake zone at the NE corner, and that no-wake zone doesn't have any boat ramp in it or adjacent to it, so you can perhaps expect relatively little boat traffic there.
  • There is a store at the south end of the reservoir (snacks, sports drinks) and a kiosk/building at the north end with drinking water, bathrooms

  • Popular with boaters
  • Some may argue persuasively that, compare to other mountain reservoirs, the landscape surrounding East Canyon is not particularly scenic.

Drive Time

Starting at I-80 and 1300 East in Salt Lake, to the dirt parking lot at the northeast corner of the reservoir:
  • 40-45 minute via I-80, East Canyon, Big Mountain Pass.
  • 55 minutes via I-80, I-84, Henefer.
Online Resources:


review by Kate Pettipiece

Blackridge Reservoir is a small water basin located in the Southwestern foothills of the Salt Lake Valley. It was built to provide secondary water to both Herriman and Riverton Cities, but city administrators have also made it available as an outdoor recreational facility. As work is being done in phases, Blackridge Park will eventually include grass, pavilions, playgrounds and a volleyball court. As of 2012 city officials have also begun preliminary planning for a second much larger reservoir to be located in East Herriman at the end of Juniper Crest Road, approximately 4600 West 14700 South.
Getting to Blackridge can be confusing with poor signage and lots of small roads to weave through. Recently the city established a one-way-in, one-way out, traffic pattern to help ease resident complaints about traffic congestion.
Blackridge has a nice sandy beach that makes it a great location to take along the family to play or have a picnic. There's also an underwater cement gutter and buoys that mark where the water level becomes deep offering a safer, idedifiable shallow place for younger children. The water is continually recycled which provides clean water to swim in. Given the small size of the reservoir most swim in a circular pattern following the perimeter of the pond. On busy nights and weekends the lake can be extremely crowded with families, paddleboarders, kayakers and swimming groups.

Address: 15000 South Ashland Ridge Drive (5390 W) Herriman, Utah

Hours: Seasonally 7:30am – 9:00pm (hours may change in 2013 due to resident complaints about traffic congestion)

  • It's free
  • There's paved parking
  • There's both garbage cans and toilets (portable)
  • There's no fish hooks
  • It does not allow any form of motorized watercraft
  • It offers a convenient South Valley location
  • The water, beaches and parking lot are clean and well maintained
  • It's small
  • It's popular
  • Until the new highways are built (2013-2014) it can be confusing and difficult to get to given the number of neighborhoods you drive through to find it
  • During fire season the water is often used to fight fires leaving water levels low and the reservoir a swampy un-swimmable mess
  • The view is a housing complex and not the most picturesque place to swim

Jordanelle Reservoir
review by Josh Green

Jordanelle Reservoir is a Utah State Park located between Park City and Heber City. It is a popular boating destination and boat traffic can be heavy during the warmer months.

Distance from Salt Lake City:

  • About 38 miles from Salt Lake City to Hailstone
  • About 50 miles from Salt Lake to Rock Cliff
  • About 36 miles from Salt Lake to Ross Creek
Water Quality
The water at Jordanelle is pretty clean and is very comparable to Deer Creek. It can be slightly murky, but overall water quality is good.

Hours and Cost: 
7:00am to 10pm
Rock Cliff is $7 for day use
Hailstone is $10 for day use
Annual State Parks passes are available for $75

Swimming Routes

Rock Cliff is probably the most popular area to swim. It has a long “wakeless” bay similar to Walsburg Bay at Deer Creek Reservoir. During the summer months, you will often see triathletes training here since there are triathlons that use this area for the swim portion of the race.

Hailstone is the main recreation area for Jordanelle and is also the busiest and most crowded. There are a few beaches that have “wakeless” buoys set out from the shore. Boat traffic is heavy, so if you choose to swim here, be sure to stay within the buoys, make yourself visible and keep an eye out for boats.

Ross Creek is the least developed area of Jordanelle. I have never swam here but have wanted to give it a try since boat traffic is minimal.

Boat traffic at Jordanelle can be VERY heavy. Be sure that you stay within the “wakeless” areas and be sure to make yourself visible by wearing a brightly colored cap and SaferSwimmer (or other safety device). There are often people fishing from the shores, so be sure to watch out for their fishing lines.

  • Good water quality
  • Restroom facilities available
  • Scenic swimming location
  • Day use fees are somewhat high if you are just going to swim
  • eavy boat traffic
  • Distance from Salt Lake City
Online Resources:

Bear Lake

review by Gordon Gridley

There are many good places to swim at Bear Lake:
  1. Rendezvous Beach State Park  - located at the very south end of the lake
  2. North Beach State Park (Idaho)
  3. Bear Lake Marina
The first and third of these locations are on Utah State Parks and require either a daily use fee, or the Annual Day Pass ($75/year) Both locations have a hose near the boat ramp that can be used to rinse off afterward.  The Idaho Beach, is very clean and cost effective ($5 for day pass).

Hours: Daylight hours
Best time to swim, if you plan to stick around the shoreline, is early in the morning, because boat traffic right around the marina, and on the beaches, can get congested and quite dangerous.   Bear Lake is best for doing distance training where you swim out and away from shoreline.  But that also means you should have your own support boat to help keep you safe from other boats that don't typically look for swimmers out in the middle of the lake.

  • Most beautiful water in the State.  If you've swam in Lake Tahoe, this is Utah's version of Lake Tahoe.  
  • Lake Size - Because the lake is so big, you can do a point to point swim that is very significant.  Width = 7 miles, Length = 20 miles.  You won't have as much boat congestion due to the size of the lake.  
  • The higher elevation results in cooler water temperatures.  
  • Clean water - isn't near any big cities, so trash typically is very rarely seen in the water.
  • Distance from Salt Lake City (122 miles) 
  • Sunburns - you better make sure to wear sunscreen.  Not sure why, but the sun is more intense at Bear Lake.

For more opinions or questions about Bear Lake contact:
Josh Green
James Jonsson
Joelle Beard

Online Resources:

Known places you CANNOT/SHOULD NOT swim
contributions by Keith Alleman

  • DAYBREAK LAKE. Outside of the context of a permit-holding event, public swimming is never allowed in Daybreak Lake (Source: Operator of the Daybreak Triathlon, June 2013).

  • LITTLE DELL RESERVOIR. Swimming and wading are not allowed in Little Dell (Source: site visit, June 2013).

  • STANSBURY LAKE. Swimming is allowed in the lake at Stansbury Park, north of Tooele. However, the lake is a private lake and only for the use of Stansbury Park residents and their guests. Use by others constitutes trespassing. The lake's water is reasonably clear. Boating is allowed but no gasoline engines (electric engines only). Fishing is common, so there can be the usual concern with lines and hooks near shore. The area actually consists of two bodies of water: Stansbury Lake and Mill Pond. I'm still trying to learn if the status or swimmability is different between the two. Source: http://stansburypark.org/Lake/lake.html, Date of Access June 2013.
  • DECKER LAKE. West Valley City (approx. 2500 S., 2300W, near the Maverik Center). No swimming allowed (signs are posted). Based on looking at the wading shorebirds, it's probably too shallow anyway. [site visit, June 2013]

  • Mantua Reservoir, Box Elder County, Utah - Source Gordon Gridley (via sign located at boat ramp warning about swimmer's itch) July 2015