The Ultimate Guide To Paddle Boarding Utah

Posted on November 6, 2019 by Jeff Hale

Utah is well regarded for its wide-open spaces and awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Places like Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Park are all famous hiking and mountain biking hotspots, but the Beehive State’s reputation as a world-class stand up paddle boarding (SUP) destination is severely underreported.

With so many incredibly picturesque bodies of water to enjoy from the top of a paddle board, it’s surprising that Lake Powell is the only one that comes to mind when you ask most SUP owners about place to paddle board in Utah. We’re here to set the record straight and guide you to the 10 best places to stand up paddleboard in Utah. So, start feigning sick at work so nobody will be surprised when you take a few days off to embark on the stand up paddleboarding adventure of a lifetime in beautiful Utah.

Sand hollow state park

10.  Sand Hollow State Park

This 20,000-acre park is only 15 minutes east of St. George in Hurricane -- the locals pronounce it "Her-ah-kun." It’s warm blue water and red sandstone landscape make it the quintessential Utah experience. While it’s one of the most visited parks in the state’s park system, possibly because it’s the newest state park, there’s still plenty of room for everyone in the 1,322-acre reservoir that boasts sandy beaches and warm water. The nearby dunes are popular for off-road adventures as well, making Sand Hollow a perfect camping spot for a weekend full of adventure.

Jordanelle reservoir

9. Jordanelle Reservoir

If you’re looking for a beginner’s paddle board destination that’s less than a 40-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City, you won’t do better than the Jordanelle Reservoir in Wasatch County. This 10.5-mile-long body of water can get crowded with larger vessels like boats and jet skis, especially on warm weekends. If you’re new to the sport of paddle boarding, we recommend planning your visit on a weekday morning before the water gets too choppy. But if you’re an experienced paddle boarder who can handle some occasional boat wake, you’ll be able to paddle board with your dog any day of the week.

highland glen park

8. Highland Glen Park

The pond within this public park is perfect for a lowkey weekend of family-friendly recreational paddling. While it’s one of the smallest bodies of water on our list, it’s still a great place to learn how to stand up paddle board and it’s conveniently located just 15 minutes off I-15 right between Provo and Salt Lake City. We recommend planning for a picnic and getting your paddling technique dialed here before visiting the nearby Utah Lake.

Utah Lake State Parks

7. Utah Lake State Park

Utah’s largest freshwater lake attracts a wide variety of swimmers, kayakers, boaters, and paddle boarders thanks to its proximity to Provo Airport and its average water temperature of 75 degrees. It’s size and amenities, like an RV campsite with water and power hookups, make Utah Lake the ideal family destination for a week or weekend of fun on the water. It’s fishing-friendly and the ideal area to soak up the sun with the entire family on an inflatable dock.

Mirror Lake

6. Mirror Lake

If the combination of hiking and stand up paddle boarding sound like the recipe for an epic adventure, look no further than Mirror Lake. Located at the foot of the Uinta Mountains at an elevation of 10,050 feet, the lake gets its name from its perfect reflection of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and pine trees visible from the roadside overlook as well as the shore. We recommend a day hike so you can explore everything this area offers, and don't forget your trusty iSUP Travel Bag to stow your board and all of your paddle board accessories. And don’t forget to bring your fishing gear, as Mirror Lake is home to rainbow, brook, and tiger species of trout.

Incredible view from an ISLE Discovery iSUP

5. Pineview Reservoir

If you’re interested in SUP fishing, you’re going to want to plan an early morning visit to Pineview Reservoir near Huntsville -- and bring your Sportsman iSUP. This body of water is a fertile fishing ground for the elusive tiger muskie, small and largemouth bass, bluegill, perch and crappie, rainbows, browns, cutthroat and tiger trout. If you don’t own one already, we recommend equipping your favorite fishing vessel with a Sportsman Fishing Kit-- it will be the best fishing buddy you’ve ever had.

Silver Lake Flat Reservoir
@svenddiesel spending some quality time with the kids on the ISLE Megalodon

4. Silver Lake Flat Reservoir

If driving down a small dirt road to an isolated lake surrounded by beatiful lush trees and snow-capped mountains is your idea of the perfect weekend adventure, the Silver Lake Flat Reservoir should be your top paddle boarding Utah destination. The lake is home to a variety of fish such as rainbow trout, brook trout, and arctic grayling, so you may be able to catch dinner and cook it your campsite -- so long as you plan on SUP camping at least a half-mile away from the reservoir. While you shouldn't expect to enjoy the lake by yourself on a summer weekend, you can find your moments of solitude on less crowded times of the year.

Great salt lake utah
@handmedownexperience soaking up the salt and sun on an ISLE Explorer

3. The Great Salt Lake

The additional buoyancy you can enjoy on the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere make this the state's best beginner paddle board destination. But more importantly, the water’s high saline content -- far saltier than the ocean -- does very interesting things to reflecting light. As a result, we recommend planning your paddle board trip around golden hour, sunrise or sunset, to experience this alien-like landscape in its full glory. Make sure to rinse or clean your paddle board with freshwater at the marina, otherwise, the abundance of salt could damage your board.

Provo river

2. Provo River

Experienced paddlers will find all the adventure they can handle with a 1.5-hour paddle down the small rapids and whitewater that make up the lower portion of the Provo River. We only recommend bringing an inflatable paddle board for any river paddling, as rigid epoxy SUPs are susceptible to damage in the often shallow and rocky riverbed. You can launch easily from the boat ramp just below the Deer Creek Dam and exit the water at Vivian Park, approximately 6 miles south of the dam. As with any paddling adventure on a river, don’t enter the water without your SUP leash and SUP life jacket as a safety precaution.

Lake Powell SUP
@naturetold enjoying the slot canyons on her ISLE iSUP

1. Lake Powell

Located on the border of Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell is one of the most breathtaking bodies of water in the United States. If you’ve got the time, we highly recommend renting a houseboat for a week to better explore the lake’s 2,000 miles of beautiful shoreline and seemingly endless slot canyons. First-time paddlers won’t have trouble finding guided tours through Antelope Canyon on the Arizona side of the water. In fact, if you’re visiting Powell for the first time, we recommend taking the short drive into Arizona to launch from Antelope Point Marina for access to more amenities. If you’re an experienced paddler or you’re looking for a more remote isolated experience, you can launch from boat ramps at Stateline, Clay Hills, or Bullfrog in Utah.

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