by Tara Bone, contributing writer
An afternoon spent at the local pool on a hot day is a summer MUST for kids. Unfortunately, last summer the much-loved Logan Aquatic Center was closed, so families had to venture out to find water fun and cool off.
What they found is that from north to south, Cache Valley has beautiful water recreation spots where families can swim, kayak, canoe, paddleboard, fish, or just take in the wildlife and scenery. Below are some of those finds for your family to explore. Make summer 2021 one to remember by finding a new watering hole, or visiting a family favorite that’s close to home.
7 miles southeast of Paradise
The reservoir, completed in 1964, is a hidden mountain oasis. Operating a boat above a wakeless speed is prohibited, so the 12,800-acre-feet body of water hosts swimmers, kayakers, paddleboarders, and even cliff jumpers. It’s also an excellent fishing spot; from late August to mid-September kokanee salmon spawn and swim upriver.
HYRUM LAKE STATE PARK
Marina and campground access: 405 West 300 South, Hyrum
Beach access: 200 East 500 South, Hyrum
Take a picnic and spend all day at the beach where kids can swim and play in the water with kayaks, tubes, or paddleboards. There are updated
public facilities available. Hyrum reservoir is also popular for waterskiing and fishing.
FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD DAM PARKS
Off of US Hwy 89 in Logan at the mouth of Logan Canyon.
First Dam is the first of three dams along the Logan River. It’s a favorite place for picnicking, bird watching, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. There are fire pits available at Second Dam, which is handicap accessible, and several hiking trails start at Third Dam.
MERLIN OLSEN CENTRAL PARK
100 S 200 E, Logan
For young children, Merlin Olsen Park is a perfect place to make memories. It’s one of Logan’s oldest parks and the shallow canal running east to west across the park is a fun, free, and quick place to play for those with limited time. Kids and adults can wade together and play on nearby playground.
9000 North 5800 West, Trenton
The first water storage reservoir in Utah built by settlers in 1871, Newton Reservoir offers water recreation, fishing, picnicking, and camping off the beaten path. Motorized boating is allowed and there are no boat launching fees. The shoreline is thick with cottonwood and willow trees.
CUTLER MARSH MARINA
Take US Hwy 30 west from Logan 2.5 miles, boat launch on south side of Hwy 30, or turn north on 3200 West to access marina.
For a unique water adventure, canoe the Cutler Wetlands Maze to experience the sights and sounds of a variety of birds and wildlife. There are multiple buoy-marked trails in the marsh; see bridgerlandaudubon.org/wetlandsmaze/canoe.html for details.
Approximately 40 miles north of Logan.
Grab a tube, kayak, or paddleboard and head north of Preston, Idaho to float a stretch of the Bear River. The scenery is beautiful and wildlife sightings are frequent. The river can get busy with tubers, so hit the water in the morning.
There are also many Cache Valley swimming pools and natural hot springs to explore:
LOGAN AQUATICS CENTER
The outdoor swimming center’s leisure pool, lap pool, diving well, and two water slides are open again this summer and ready for fun! Swimming lessons and aerobic classes are back too.
5 miles north of Preston, ID; riverdaleresort.com
This natural mineral hot spring resort includes four pools, two water slides, and a variety of camping and lodging accommodations. Visitors can tube, raft, or kayak down the Bear River and get out within walking distance of the resort.
DOWNATA HOT SPRINGS
Approximately 18 miles north of Preston, ID; downatahotspings.com
Resort includes large swimming pool, hot pools, and multiple water slides — the “dragon slide” is a favorite, or try the “black hoe” for thrill seekers. Unique lodging accommodations available.
CRYSTAL HOT SPRINGS
Located in Honeyville, UT; crystalhotsprings.net
The world’s largest natural hot spring offers a variety of both cold and hot pools for swimming and soaking. The complex is open year-round and includes three hot tubs, a large soaker pool, a cooler freshwater swimming pool, two water slides, and a lap pool.