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7 ways to celebrate fall at Utah's Bear Lake

Courtesy of Bear Lake Visitors Bureau

Most people think of pumpkin patches and sitting around a campfire in the backyard when the cooler temps settle in. But true Utahns know that the beauty of Bear Lake doesn’t disappear with the warmer days. Between hiking, photography and fall fishing, the fun doesn’t stop at Bear Lake during autumn.

If you've never been to Bear Lake, you owe it to yourself to go. These are just a few of the things you can do there in the fall.

Bike around Bear Lake

With about 50 miles of stunning views and prime-time weather, as well as a road that doesn't have much elevation gain, the area is a favorite destination for cyclers. The best time for riding is May through October.

Courtesy of Bear Lake Visitors Bureau

Go fishing

Fall might be the best season of the year to catch a trophy cutthroat trout, lake trout or two species not found anywhere else in the world: the Bonneville whitefish and Cisco. A number of smaller lakes and streams in the area offer opportunities to catch fish in virtually any season.

Even if you don’t have a boat, it’s completely possible to catch some fish from kayaks, pontoons and float tubes. This KSL article offers some seasoned advice on the best rigs and lures to use. Don’t forget to dress for the cooler weather!

Family photos

Whether you want to hire a professional or you’re talented enough to set a timer on your camera and run into place, Bear Lake is brimming with beautiful, scenic sites perfect for family photos. Bloomington Lake near Preston, Idaho is a gorgeous spot with lots of different views, landscapes and elements for photos.

For those closer to the Utah border, Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway is stunning in the fall months and provides many gorgeous backdrops for portraits of your loved ones. If you decide to venture up to Bear Lake for photos, be sure to be courteous of hikers, bikers and of course, the nature and wildlife.

Take a hike

Lace up those hiking boots and set out on one of Bear Lake's hiking trails. They vary from Limber Pine (family-friendly, 1.5-mile loop) to the more demanding Steam Mill Hollow in Logan Canyon (11 miles round trip). No matter which one you choose, you're in for some spectacular views, historic landmarks and fresh forest scents.

Courtesy of Bear Lake Visitors Bureau

Bird watching

Many don’t realize that Bear Lake is home to a National Wildlife Refuge. A span of more than 1,760 acres is home to many birds and wildlife along the north shore of the lake. Take the family out to see sandhill cranes, herons, snowy egret, white pelicans and many ducks and geese. There are walking trails throughout the refuge, so you can be a part of nature and enjoy the wildlife.

Play a round of golf

Fall may be the most beautiful season of the year to play a cool nine holes. With three courses to choose from, golfing at Bear Lake is a completely customizable experience. The Bear Lake West Golf Course features carts, club rentals, lessons, a restaurant and a scenic lounge overlooking the lake.

Check out historic sites

The Utah and Idaho border may seem innocuous, but it’s rich with history and stories. In Montpelier, Idaho, a museum dedicated to the legend of Butch Cassidy is actually one of the only banks still standing that Cassidy and his Wild Bunch Gang robbed back in the day.

If you were ever a fan of the “Oregon Trail” game, you’ll love traveling the actual route settlers took through Bear Lake. The Oregon Trail Bear Lake Scenic Byway winds around the lake, through several small Idaho towns and ends in McCammon, Idaho. There are also many stops along the road to check out more Oregon Trail history.

There is no Eiffel Tower, but Paris, Idaho, a few miles north of the lake features a tabernacle crafted by pioneers from red sandstone quarried from the east side of the lake. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and houses a small museum with heirlooms and objects of art left by the homesteaders.

Although summer seems to be the most popular season to attend Bear Lake, don't miss the fun to be had in fall. To see all that Bear Lake has to offer in the autumn season, visit the Bear Lake Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.