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Water levels high, parking limited at Bear Lake

LAKETOWN, Rich County — Water levels are high and the beaches are small at Bear Lake this year, which means less space for people to spend their hot summer days.

The water is high enough on Rendezvous Beach and North Beach that there likely won't be any parking in the sand, but people here Monday say they weren't going to let that ruin their plans.

Going to Bear Lake is a tradition for many people. Adrianna Healy, from Pocatello, has come to the lake almost every summer growing up, but she hasn’t seen it often like it is now.

“The small beaches make it more rocky, everyone has to step on all the rocks, but the bigger beaches are nice because then you don’t have to walk all the way out to the water to get waist deep,” Healy said.

She said the water was a little cold, but that her stay was actually very nice.

For the folks at Bear Lake Fun rentals, less parking could mean fewer customers, but owner Brian Hirschi remains positive.

“Last year, the beach was several hundred yards out there, way past those water trampolines,” Hirschi said. “(There) will be a little less space on the beach, but we think people will still go out on the water.”

He added the water was over 200 feet deep and there was about 110-square-miles of lake, so there’s plenty of room on the lake for people to spread out.

At the free beach area, there's virtually no shoreline past the parking area.

“I like it,” said beachgoer Iain McKay. “We have a cabin up here. We’ve been coming up here since I was a kid. For me, it’s awesome to see it full again.”

Cody Bigelow said he would rather see more beach and less stuff floating onto the beach, “but you know, Bear Lake, it’s fun no matter how it is, if it’s high or low, so it’s just great to come here with the family every year.”

Don't expect expanded beaches anytime soon. According to some estimates, another foot or two of shoreline could disappear as the water flows in from melting snow. And thanks to that runoff, the folks at Bear Lake Watch say the lake will likely continue to look full at least through August.

Hirschi has advice for those thinking of coming to Bear Lake.

“When you come up here, you’ll want to get to the beach early in the morning, especially on the weekends and holidays, probably by 10-11 in the morning," Hirschi said. "The parking lots will be full, the beaches will be full and you got to get your spot early, otherwise they’ll probably turn people away once the parking lot is full. There’s simply no more parking.”