Kayaking Adventures: Discovering Utah’s Turquoise Waters

Utah’s stunning Bonneville Salt Flats have captivated the imagination of adventurers since going viral on social media back in 2020. Now, these breathtaking canals have resurfaced, with kayakers and paddle boarders eagerly exploring the bright blue waters of this vast desert region. But is it safe? Let’s dive in and find out.

A Hidden Gem?

Amidst recent reports and online buzz about the Bonneville Salt Flats canals, a fascinating truth emerges. These canals, which captured the world’s attention, were actually a product of wastewater from nearby facilities owned by Intrepid Potash, a mining company. Although they have since been drained, their allure persists.

The Call of Adventure

From afar, these canals may seem like an inviting playground, but local officials warn against recreating on them. According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), these canals are industrial facilities intended exclusively for potash mining activities. Public access, swimming, floating, kayaking, and any other recreational activities within these canals are strictly prohibited.

Additionally, the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) emphasizes that parking along I-80 to access the canals is both illegal and extremely dangerous, given their proximity to the interstate highway. Safety should always be a top priority for any adventurer seeking thrills.

Exploring Utah’s Bright Blue Waters

While the Bonneville Salt Flats canals may not be open for recreation, fear not! Utah is home to numerous stunning destinations that will quench your thirst for adventure amidst bright blue waters.

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Bear Lake: A Paradise for All

With its vast beach areas and abundant water, Bear Lake is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Stretching for 20 miles along the shoreline and spanning eight miles in width, this turquoise gem owes its hue to the mineral calcium carbonate. Whether you prefer kayaking, canoeing, or boating, Bear Lake is sure to satisfy your craving for aquatic exploration.

Courtesy Adobe Stock/Via Andrew

Red Pine Lake: A Hiker’s Haven

Nestled in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Red Pine Lake is a haven for day hikers and overnight adventurers. Regarded as one of Utah’s most popular high-mountain lakes, the hike to Red Pine Lake spans 6.8 miles and takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours to complete. While the ascent is challenging, with a 1,940 ft elevation gain, the breathtaking view that awaits makes every step worthwhile. However, swimming is not permitted in this watershed area.

Summer arrives at Redpine Lake in the high country of the Wasatch Mountains in Little Cottonwood Canyon near Alta, Utah., Courtesy Getty Images/Via Salil Bhatt

The Great Salt Lake: Nature’s Wonder

Utah’s Great Salt Lake, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and the eighth largest in the world, is a veritable playground for adventurers. Boating, swimming, kayaking, hiking, and camping all find a place in this vast expanse of water. As you navigate its shimmering surface, you’ll discover that the high salt content near the shore allows you to float effortlessly, even without a life jacket. Dive into the legends of the Great Salt Lake and experience an aquatic adventure like no other.

Scenic view of the Great Salt Lake landscape at sunset, Courtesy Adobe Stock/Via Galyna Andrushko

Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit

The canals of the Bonneville Salt Flats may be off-limits, but Utah’s turquoise wonders beckon with open arms. Embark on thrilling kayaking adventures, traverse picturesque landscapes, and forge unforgettable memories. Remember, safety and respect for nature are paramount on any voyage.

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For more information on Utah’s other recreational areas and national parks, check out ABC4’s guide to Utah’s National Parks. UpStreamPaddle will provide you with comprehensive insights into the best Utah has to offer. Happy exploring!