Causey Reservoir: The BEST place to kayak in Utah (plus 7 other activities)
If you’ve never been to or heard of Causey Reservoir then you need to put it on your bucket list this summer. Aside from Utah’s best kayaking and paddle boarding destination, it offers loads of activities fit for a day trip or weekend excursion. Check it out.
So, apparently a lot of Utahns have never even heard of Causey Reservoir. Nestled just east of Ogden, its just a quick hour drive from Salt Lake City. This long and skinny reservoir with multiple tributaries sits at 5,700 feet elevation.
The lush, green hilly landscape that surrounds the water makes for a magnificent view during your outdoor adventure. Here’s 8 activities you can enjoy at this hidden oasis.
1. Kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing
So, no motorized watercraft are allowed on Causey Reservoir at all! So, it’s the perfect location for kayaking and paddle boarding. The 142-acre reservoir has calm waters all day long and plenty of shoreline for everyone to share and explore. We used our Lifetime Kayaks but our friends had an inflatable tandem kayaks that was pretty slick too.
We arrived for our day-trip on a Friday. Around 9 a.m., the kayakers and paddle boarders started arriving, so try to get there a little bit earlier for a good parking spot. There are three main loading and unloading areas: the south end, at the top of the dam and the north end.
The reservoir is perfect for all walks of life. Our kids spent hours playing. If you don’t have kayaks, you can bring some blow up toys so they can splash around. There isn’t a main beach area but we found a cozy spot along the shoreline and set up camp with a canopy for the day.
2. Cliff jumping
On the east shoreline across from the dam, you can paddle over to some cliff next to the water. They range from around 10 feet to about 30-40 feet high. We opted to jump off the lowest cliff. The water was definitely brisk but worth the jump. My 10-year-old did it with me.
3. Rope swinging
Directly south of the cliffs, there is a huge rope swing. I wasn’t brave enough to try this one, but there were tons of teenagers having fun. It was fairly easy to access. Just climb up a little hill and grab the rope.
According to a local who we talked to, the best hours to fish on Causey Reservoir is before 9 a.m. It gets harder to fish when all the kayakers are out and about. However, the South Fork Ogden River that leads out of the dam has great fishing all day long. My husband caught some pretty good ones.
5. Crawdad hunting
Now, we didn’t actually catch any crawdads but I heard that there are some in the reservoir. Just bring a crawdad trap and throw it in the water while you’re having fun. Pull it out a few hours later and you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
At the south end of the reservoir, you’ll find the Skull Crack Trail head. It’s a 4.7-mile out and back trail that follows the shoreline of the reservoir. It ends at the tip of one of the arms of the reservoir. It’s very scenic with lots of wildflowers during the summertime.
7. Floating down the river
Aside from fishing, the South Fork Ogden River is great for rafting. Grab your kayak and head down. When the water is low, I would recommend taking a kayak and not a tube. A tube might pop on some of the rocks. My husband floated a couple of miles down river from the Lower Meadows campground. He had a blast!
There are plenty of campgrounds up the canyon on your way up to Causey Reservoir. During the summer, the campgrounds can get full, so you can try reserving them online. Here’s a list of campgrounds to choose from:
- Willows Campground
- Upper Meadows Campground
- Perception Park Campground
- Lower Meadows Campground
- South Fork Campground
- Botts Campground
- Magpie Campground
We camped at Lower Meadows Campground. There were lots of trees everywhere, a river nearby, bathrooms and water. We loved camping there and will definitely come back again.
We loved every minute of out trip to Causey Reservoir and we can’t wait to go again. What other fun outdoor kayaking destinations have you found in Utah? Leave your comments below.
Related link: Seven things to do at Flaming Gorge