Best Places To Kayak In Utah

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Utah, the Beehive State, and part of the Rocky Mountain states is well-known for its natural diversity. With features ranging from scorching deserts with dunes to lush pine forests in mountain valleys, and the most exquisite waterways inviting all kayakers to enjoy, beginners and experts alike.

Kayaking in Utah is a popular activity in the state enjoyed by many outdoor enthusiasts. Utah has a wide variety of beautiful kayaking spots to offer, including Utah Lake, Green River, Red Fleet Reservoir, and Mirror Lake. Utah also has kayaking clubs and schools available for all ages.

The Beehive State is undoubtedly a terrific site for outdoor sports, with as many as five national parks known as The Mighty 5. Kayaking in Utah is one of the most incredible ways to explore the state, with its stunning lakes and rivers on offer. From excellent kayaking spots to clubs and schools, find out why Utah should be your next kayaking destination!  

Kayaking In Utah

The massive state of Utah has a diverse network of lakes and rivers to discover. Utah could be considered a haven for kayakers and outdoor enthusiasts with some of the most beautiful topography to explore (including some prehistoric sightings, but we’ll get to that later).  

Before leaving the house for your kayaking adventure in Utah, it would be necessary to check the weather forecast. Usually, the seas in Utah are relatively calm; however, if the wind picks up and you’re not experienced in kayaking in those types of conditions, you might want to take a rain check and plan to go another time.

You should also make yourself aware of the state laws around kayaking in Utah and review all the necessary safety aspects. Don’t worry, though; we’ll be covering all of that later on.

Let’s get started.

The Best Kayaking Spots In Utah

Here we will help you to plan for your next kayaking getaway by listing some of the best kayaking spots in Utah:

Utah Lake

Utah Lake is Utah’s largest freshwater lake located close west of Provo, making it accessible. The water is clean and shallow, making it ideal for kayaking and swimming while taking in the landscape. Because of how close it is to Brigham Young University and its several simple places to launch from, Utah Lake is one of the most popular kayaking destinations.

This is a great area to spend the day kayaking and is especially suitable for beginners. There are beautiful vistas of the Wasatch Mountains and mountain splendor in every direction from the lake.

If you would like access to one of the public boat ramps, all you need to do is paddle north along the shoreline from the state park to Vineyard Beach, just south of Linden Marina, and you will be able to find it there.

Kayak rentals are offered in Provo, with launches at Utah Lake State Park. Kayak rentals are also available at the state park’s refreshment stand.

As a bonus, Utah Lake is a popular destination if you happen to enjoy fishing. You could have a great time catching the many different types of fish found in the lake, including white bass, channel catfish, black bass, and other panfish species.

Green River

From the outset, it is necessary to know that you will need to attain a permit to go kayaking on the Green River. However, do not let that stop you from exploring all that this beautiful location has to offer!

Although certain portions of the Green River include Class III rapids, it may be a terrific spot to paddle for kayakers of all levels of skill. The river winds through gorgeous and desolate terrain, passing past unique rock formations and steep sandstone gorges.

Green River State Park, which has the advantage of having a boat ramp and parking, can be a suitable place to launch your kayak. However, it is important to note that there is a fee to park here. The Green River travels south from here, through Labyrinth Canyon and Stillwater Canyon, to reach the Colorado River.

There are several options available for kayak rentals and kayak tours, which is excellent news if you are a little unsure about navigating the waters yourself or if you want to be sure that you do not miss any of the best spots. 

Red Fleet Reservoir

Utah keeps on getting better and better! This is a spot that you do not want to miss out on. The Red Fleet Reservoir is an immaculate location found in the Red Fleet State Park. This spot is, without doubt, a fantastic area to stop and go kayaking. Kayaking, fishing, and camping are just a few of the activities available at this incredible 750-acre scenic reservoir.

Are you ready for the best part? The dinosaur tracks – yes, you read that correctly – which date back about 200 million years, are one of the great attractions at Red Fleet. 

The Dinosaur Trackway, which runs along the lake’s eastern sides, is also a great place to go hiking. You can kayak across the reservoir to see the countless dinosaur footprints up close. Could there be better conditions for passionate kayakers?

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake is precisely how you would picture it to look. With a campground on the lakeshore and gorgeous mountain views and forests all around, it’s a terrific place to spend a couple of days.

The lake is relatively calm and peaceful, which makes it suitable for kayakers no matter their level of skill. One of the advantages of choosing Mirror lake for a kayaking trip is that motorized boats are not permitted, which makes this spot a quiet and pleasant place to kayak and fish.

The day-use area near the campground, which is located within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, is where you will be able to find a boat ramp. For those interested in a multi-outdoor activity trip, you can also hike around the lake on a level trail loop that is approximately 3 miles long.

For those interested in fishing, Mirror Lake is also home to a variety of trout species, including brook, tiger, and rainbow trout, which are readily available for a catch throughout the summer months.

Mirror Lake also offers a number of campgrounds to choose from if you want to spend the night or maybe even a few days. Some additional nearby amenities include an amphitheater where you can listen to live music and participate in other exciting activities.

Some excellent news for those without their own equipment is that kayak rentals are offered daily or weekly and can be found in towns and cities west of Mirror Lake, such as Oakley and Provo.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake, often referred to as the ‘Caribbean of the Rockies,’ is only roughly an hour’s journey northeast from Logan along the 89 highway. Because of the calcium carbonates in the water, one of the most distinguishing qualities of this freshwater lake is its lovely turquoise color.

Despite its size, Bear Lake is perfect for beginners because you are able to keep close to the edge of the water easily. Because of the large amount of space, easy launching, and the typically calm waters, Bear Lake can undoubtedly be an excellent site for both novices and experienced kayakers. 

Overall, Bear Lake really is a fantastic spot for families to kayak, with the advantage of a variety of additional activities on offer.

Kayaking Clubs And Schools In Utah

Now that you are somewhat more familiar with some of the best kayaking spots in Utah and ultimately closer to going on your next kayaking outing, you may want to consider joining one of the kayaking clubs or schools that are based in the state. 

For those with a passion for kayaking, joining a kayaking club can be a great way to connect with those who have the same interests as you. Many kayaking clubs organize trips for their members, offer advice and feedback on various kayaking spots, and some even offer training for those who are less experienced. 

For those who are excited about a kayaking adventure but are not yet feeling confident enough to head out on the waters, there are also schools that offer training to get you ready to be a kayaking expert.

There are several kayaking clubs and schools to belong to in Utah, so we will get you started by listing just a few of the popular ones:

Utah Whitewater Club

The Utah Whitewater Club is passionate about promoting the sport of kayaking. Members are welcomed regardless of their skill level and will have several opportunities to better their kayaking ability through challenges provided by the club. 

One of the club’s sole intentions is for kayakers to come together to have fun doing what they love most. Part of that is the organizing of kayaking trips. 

While the Utah Whitewater Club is obviously based in Utah, they boast of having members statewide, so you will still be able to join even if you do not live in the state.

Rapid Progression Kayak School

Based in Salt Lake, Ogden, and Logan, Rapid Progression Kayak School offers kayak training to people of all ages. The instructors at the school each have several years of kayaking experience and are therefore able to help those brand new to kayaking and those who are looking to refine their skills a little more. 

Rapid Progression Kayak School offers both private and group classes, which is excellent news for the whole family! They provide pool classes that are available to the public all year long and river classes that are available between early spring and late fall. 

For those looking to up their kayaking skills, Rapid Progression Kayak School is a great place to start. 

Kayaking Laws In Utah

Now that you are all set with some information about kayaking clubs and schools to look into, as well as some of the best kayaking spots in Utah, it is imperative to be made aware of the state laws around kayaking.

There are various kayaking laws and regulations in Utah that are essential for every paddler to know. Although it can seem a little tedious to need to go through them, understanding and ultimately adhering to the state kayaking laws will ensure that you have the best time out on your kayaking adventure. 

While most state laws around kayaking are pretty consistent, there are often a few unique regulations in each specific state. To help you settle any questions you might have, here are a few common questions and answers regarding the laws and regulations for kayaking in Utah:

Do You Need To Get A License To Kayak In Utah?

You do not need to have a license to operate a kayak in Utah. However, for those who are not residents of Utah, you will need to take a course on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Aquatic Invasive Species Education before being able to go out on the waters. 

Do Kayaks Need To Be Registered In Utah?

Thankfully the answer to this question is no. In Utah, registration is only required for motorized kayaks, so ultimately kayaking the traditional way will save you from needing to do some extra admin.

Do You Have To Wear A Life Jacket While Kayaking In Utah?

The law for kayaking in Utah requires that there be a suitably sized United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger aboard the kayak. Children 12 years old and younger need to wear their life jackets at all times whilst on the kayak. However, those older than 12 are not mandated to wear them. 

Can You Drink Alcohol On A Kayak In Utah?

This may be somewhat surprising for some, but if you are operating a non-motorized kayak, then yes, you can drink alcohol while operating it. However, it is certainly not recommended for your safety and the safety of the passengers aboard your kayak.

Drinking alcohol or being under the influence of drugs while operating a motorized kayak in Utah will result in you getting a DUI, or more specifically in the boating world, A BUI (Boating Under the Influence.)


If you’re looking for a place to go kayaking, the magnificent state of Utah has a plethora of beautiful lakes, rivers, and reservoirs that are ideal for paddling. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker seeking some whitewater difficulties or a family looking for some peaceful, flat water for beginners, Utah has a variety of options.