Top 5 FREE Paddle Board Experiences Near Salt Lake City, UT
1.Paddling Boarding (and cliff jumping) at Causey Reservoir
The cream of the crop, the crème de la crème, Utah’s premier Paddle boarding destination HAS to be Causey Reservoir. Located in the mountains 1 hour (56 miles) from downtown Salt Lake City, Causey Reservoir is the perfect spot for a lake day. No motor vehicles are authorized to operate on the water, making for pristine paddling and floating conditions. The reservoir has 3 arms that converge on a central point. This center point is the most popular spot on the lake and offers views of other lake goers jumping off cliffs or swinging off a rope swing into the water. It is a great space to make new friends and create memories that will be the highlight of any summer. There is also plenty of space to paddle out from the center and find solace if natural beauty is your thing. Parking gets crowded, so we recommend arriving before 10 AM or after 4 PM. You can park along the road but watch out for signs to avoid getting a ticket. The water is most easily accessed at the end of the road at the southernmost part of the reservoir. Conveniently, that is also where the one restroom is located. Causey is one of the furthest options, but when you get your friends together and put on your best road trip playlist the hour goes by fast. For these reasons, Causey Reservoir is THE top paddle boarding spot in Utah. If you are planning your trip in the beginning of the fall season, there is a chance the reservoir could be closed due to weather conditions. If you need an alternative, other options of things to do in the fall.
For more information visit: https://www.visitogden.com/directory/causey-reservoir/
2. Free Floating at Tibble Fork Reservoir
Once you’ve had your fill of Causey Reservoir, look south to American Fork Canyon where you will find TIbble Fork Reservoir. Just 48 minutes (40 miles) from downtown SLC Tibble Fork Reservoir surrounds you with glorious 360 degree views of mountain peaks. You may get stopped at the canyon fee station, but if you are not using any camping facilities you do not need to pay a fee. There is a large parking lot with a bathroom, however, this lot also fills up quickly. You can also park along the road before or after the parking lot without getting a ticket. The beach area is slanted at about a 20 degree angle, just be aware if you plan to set up a home base on the beach (beach is used loosely here). There is a trail that takes you to the other side of the reservoir where you can set up a hammock in the pine trees or get away from the more crowded beach area. The far side is also better for fishing since you have less water traffic. The water can be quite chilly since it is mostly snow runoff, but on a hot summer day it’s refreshing. If the water is high enough there is also a small rope swing attached to a small tree poking out of the water.
If Tibble Fork is too full you can keep going up the road, it turns into dirt, for about 15 minutes up to Silver Lake Flat Reservoir. This spot tends to be a little less crowded and provides a little more natural solitude.
If your day of paddle boarding gets changed due to weather conditions check out the Indoor Activities page for some other fun activities to do in Salt Lake City.
3. Cruising Oquirrh Lake
The only location in the Salt Lake valley on the list, Oquirrh lake is a manmade pond in Daybreak, a mere 26 minutes (22 miles) from downtown Salt Lake. There is water access in many places, but the most convenient place to launch from is the north beach. There is plenty of space and parking is usually easy to come by. Be aware, swimming is only allowed in the designated beach areas. Paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, and other recreation is allowed throughout the lake. The water extends down from the north beach until it intersects with the rest of the lake which forms a circle. Paddle boarding at Oquirrh lake is an ideal activity for SLC residents because it is SO close and accessible. Visitors can feel like they have been transported to the east coast as the paddle past traditional architecture and small parks. All of this without the need to commit to a whole day, but able to enjoy a couple hours on the water and be on the freeway within minutes.
4. Paddling at Vineyard Beach
Once again we look south for a quick trip to Utah County. Just 37 minutes (37 miles) from downtown, this is the easiest spot to access Utah lake. It is located just a mile or two down the road from the Lindon Marina where you have to pay for access. At Vineyard Beach there is a small parking lot on the east side of the road that is usually very open. On the west, or beach side, of the road there is a small table and pavilion. Depending on how low the water is it may be a little murky and muddy at the shore. PLEASE NOTE: There can be harmful algal blooms in Utah lake. It is monitored by the Utah Government.
You can check the the status of different spots in the lake at the following website:
And for more detailed information:
Don’t let it scare you off if the algae isn’t blooming though. Vineyard beach is a popular local recreational spot. It is a close and convenient option that can get you paddling in no time. Plus, once you are done, you are a google search away from a myriad of restaurants.
5. The Perfect Day at Pebble Beach
Located only 45 minutes (33 miles) from Salt Lake City and minutes from Park City’s Historic Main Street, Pebble Beach is a great spot to get away and enjoy some paddle boarding. There are no boats and no waves, and people of all ages and abilities can enjoy their day paddle boarding and kayaking safely. Although boating is not permitted, see the Boating in Utah page to find areas this is allowed. If you are there to spectate, there is lots of space surrounding the water to relax and enjoy the sun. This area is large enough to enjoy the outdoor water activities, but small enough to keep an eye on your family. Luckily, if you don’t have your own equipment, there is a homebased daily rentals equipped with boards, paddles, and life preservers. Located near the beach is the Deer Valley Grocery Café to stop and enjoy some good food and drinks after a day in the sun. If you are wanting to spend some extra money and try something new, they also offer SUP yoga classes. The cost of classes are $50 for an individual and $35 per person for 2 to 8 people. If you choose to do one of these classes you are able to use the paddle board both before and after the class, included with the price of the class. For more information about SUP yoga class, follow the like below:
One of the benefits of the paddle boarding, is you can also feel safe by social distancing yourselves from others while still enjoying the beauty of Utah. For more ideas on what to do in Utah while still social distancing, you can take a look at the Things to Do While Social Distancing page.