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being able to wash and shower the sand off from a day spent at the beach in bathrooms nicer than many hotels I’ve stayed at. Immaculately cleaned, and offering their own lines of shampoos and soaps in each shower, most people’s pain point of cleanliness while camping is easily erased here.

Bear Lake welcomes you in every season!

After a Saturday spent kayaking in the morning and touring the depth of Bear Lake from a pontoon boat in the afternoon, we headed back to the ranch, ready for a rest from the action. But, the parking lot was full with cowboys riding horses around the lot. What the? It turns out, the “ranch” in Conestoga Ranch is not just a clever name. The grounds host a weekly rodeo on summer Saturday nights, and a popular one at that. Who can resist an authentic slice of the Old West walking distance from your humble wagon accommodations? Days in the sun and evenings cheering on cowboys are sure to work up an appetite as deep as Bear Lake itself. But, dining options in the area are beyond boring, usually slow and crowded, and lacking, well, flavor. The folks behind Conestoga Ranch must have known this, and they aimed high to put some serious food on the map. The restaurant they’ve created, set under a canvas roof with wood accents, would be a standout in any community and is a worthy destination in its own right. Currently offering lunch and dinner, options range from pizza and burgers to camping staples, such as mac and cheese. The beer and wine list is quite well rounded, too. There are plans to offer breakfast as the ranch’s popularity grows, which I expect to be sooner rather than later. Less than a month into operation many weekend are nearing a sellout this summer. Off ranch, the “strip” into Garden City is a short (less than a half mile) bike ride or drive away. Raspberry shakes are as famous as the lake itself and are not to be missed. The western shore has many access points along the way, ranging from marinas to free public beaches or private shorefront choices. For children newer to swimming, the gentle dropoff provides a safe place to play, as the crystal-clear water is less than waist-deep for several hundred feet offshore in many places. The eastern shore is much less developed, and has a much steeper and rockier drop off with several spots popular with SCUBA divers. Nearby Logan Canyon—home to Beaver Mountain ski area—adds numerous mountain biking and hiking trails to the recreational opportunities. We mountain biked at Stump Hollow on our way back to Salt Lake. The ten-mile out and back with about 1,000’ of climbing to an alpine meadow, capped off an action-packed weekend. Tasteless hotel and camping options in the Garden City area can leave much to be desired, and frankly, I’ve avoided the area for years as a result. Bear Lake—known as the Caribbean of the Rockies for its emerald blue and green waters—is a unique body of water; Conestoga Ranch is finally the place to match its setting. Nick Como escaped the skyscrapers of NYC for the tall peaks of the Wasatch. Climber, skier, canyoneer, mountain biker, and lover of food. Just don’t think of offering him pizza with pineapple on it.


Travel ]

{ Late Summer 2015 } 23

1-800-448-BEAR (2327)

Outdoor Sports Guide  

Late Summer 2015

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