Utah: Deer Creek Reservoir

Another great and short get-away from the Salt Lake Valley is to take a trip up to Deer Creek Reservoir in the mountains. It is part of Deer Creek State Park. It’s not really an escape from the heat as some lakes such as Tibble Fork are, but Deer Creek Reservoir is huge!

You have a few different places to visit the lake, if you are a family with kids and you want a fun place with an obstacle course, I recommend the Deer Creek Island Resort stop which is on the east side of the lake facing west. There is also Rainbow Bay a little south of there, but that’s for rednecks. If you consider yourself a redneck, you will probably love Rainbow Bay.

We visited Deer Creek Reservoir in August of this year (2018) and we had the opportunity to visit both Rainbow Bay and Deer Creek Island Resort.

We left our home at about 1:30pm and drove all the way up to Island Resort. We waited in the long line of cars to get into the parking lot. We noticed all the cars in front of us were turning around after speaking with the attendant. Irina and I thought this was probably not a good sign, but we continued to wait in line anyway. We got to the front and were told that Island Resort had sold out, and that we should go to Rainbow Bay instead.

Deer Creek Rainbow Bay

We drove to Rainbow Bay, paid our $15 Deer Creek State Park entrance fee, we got in and there was plenty of parking and noticeably less people. We thought we hit the goldmine, but we were wrong. There is a reason fewer people visit Rainbow Bay, there is no sand or even smooth ground. There are thorns everywhere, even on the water floor, our kids, and Irina and I hated this place. We spent most of the time in our tent eating our picnic lunch.

Deer Creek Island Resort

At around 4:30pm, we decided to leave Rainbow Bay and go back to Deer Creek Island Resort to see if maybe some people had left and if we could get in. As luck would have it, they had a few openings and we were able to get in. Deer Creek Island Resort has a much smoother ground and even a little bit of sand. There are some sharp rocks closer to the water, but it’s really not too bad. We blew up our boat, we swam and we sailed around for a couple of hours.

We were a little bit too late for the obstacle course Island Aqua Park that was out on the water, it’s $15 per child on weekends and $20 per adult for an hour session, and it’s worth every dollar you pay for it. Your kids will love you for letting them go on it. On the course, you get to work your way around the course and try to do so without falling in the water. Then at the very end you get to a high point where you can jump in the water.

Lessons Learned

We learned some lessons about Deer Creek Reservoir that day. Some of these lessons I will share with you so you don’t make the same mistake we did:

  • Try to get there early, I would suggest no later than 10 or 11 in the morning, especially when the weather is really hot.
  • Avoid Rainbow Bay
  • wear plenty of sunscreen
  • bring food and drinks with you, there is a restaurant, but you are already paying $15 to get into the lake and possibly more money if you pay for Island Aqua Park.

We overall had a great day that day visiting Deer Creek Reservoir, but if we had done our research and arrived a little earlier, we would have had a spectacular day and the kids could have gone on the obstacle course as they wanted to do.


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