Outdoor Recreation

Willard Bay Jet Skiing Willard Bay State Park, Box Elder County, Utah

Have we mentioned we’ve got birds?  In case you want to go in a different direction, Box Elder County is filled with great water sports locations, exciting ATV opportunities, gorgeous biking and hiking spots.  You want big fun?  We’ve got big fun.



Bird Watching

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
2155 West Forest Street
Brigham City

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge offers some of the most phenomenal waterbird watching in the western United States! The Refuge's more than 74,000 acres of marsh and upland habitats create an oasis for birds in this desert climate. From the 12-mile auto tour loop, visitors are treated to the sights and sounds of many of the 200+ species found there. The refuge is known for mind-boggling numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds from March to November.
The 55,000 American White Pelicans that nest on Great Salt Lake’s Gunnison Island — one of North America’s three largest pelican colonies — feed daily on fresh fish at the refuge. American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, and Western and Clark Grebe chicks will surely peg the “cute” meter in the early summer months. And if you’re hankering to see waterfowl in the fall, how about Tundra Swans? A mere 40,000 swans are often reported at the refuge during routine waterbird surveys each November, and numbers around Great Salt Lake can reach in excess of 50,000 birds! A refuge birding report, updated monthly, is available by calling: 435-734-6426.

Begin your visit by stopping at the Refuge's new Wildlife Education Center (visitor center), located jus, one block west of the junction of Forest Street and Interstate 15 (exit #363) at Brigham City. This new Center features interactive exhibits about birds, an auditorium, teaching lab, bookstore and more. The Refuge has special Saturday program. Guided Refuge tours are given seasonally. School groups may visit for educational field trips, but reservations are necessary. Hours are Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sunday and federal holidays.


Willard Bay State Park
900 West 650 North #A
Camping Reservations: 800-322-3770
Hours: Daily 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Built on the east side of Arthur Watkins Reservoir, Willard Bay State Park offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. The warm waters of the reservoir are ideal for water-oriented activities such as recreational boating, waterskiing, wind surfing and swimming. Facilities based at both the North and South Marinas provide boat launching, day use and camping.

Located at the North Marina; Pelican Beach, Eagle Beach and Wiper Cove offer white sandy beaches for visitors who wish to enjoy the sun. Sheltered picnic tables, barbeque grills and modern restrooms are available at each area. Also at the North Marina Cottonwood and Willow Campgrounds allow overnight camping. Both campgrounds have modern restroom and showers. Additionally Cottonwood provides full RV hookups. At the South Marina visitors will also find a campground with modern facilities.

The reservoir also provides one of Utah’s favorite warm-water fisheries. Anglers can expect to catch crappie, wiper, walleye, small mouth bass and catfish. Whether by boat or from shore, fishing opportunities offer fun and excitement for anglers of all ages.

During the holiday season visitors can enjoy the annual “Fantasy at the Bay” holiday light display located at the North Marina. The lights can be viewed nightly from Thanksgiving through New Years Day. 


Mantua Reservoir 

Mantua, Utah 

Beautiful mountain reservior located in Mantua, Utah. Perfect for playing on the beach, fishing, kayaking or recreational boating. 



There are numerous camping and picnicking opportunities throughout Box Elder County. Willard Bay State Park in the southern end of the county, to Clear Creek in the north. Each city in the county have city parks where various levels of facilities are available for a picnic. There are campgrounds throughout the county which are owned by the federal, state or private individuals. There is also dispersed camping available in the western part of the county on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management.


Box Elder County has many opportunities to wet a hook. Some of the more popular areas are Mantua Reservoir, Willard Bay State Park, Locomotive Springs, and the Bear River. There are also a few privately operated fishing ponds in the county. The variety of fish in area waters is a varied as the fishing opportunities. Trout, blue gill, walleye, crappie, wiper and catfish are just an example of the fish available in the county. Utah Fishing licenses are required for fishing and can be obtained on-line at http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/.


Throughout the county there are numerous hiking, biking, horseback riding and OHV trails. Maps of motorized trails and roads can be obtained at http://www.boxeldercounty.org/ then click on GIS/Maps and then select the area that you would like. Information on riding OHVs (Off-Highway Vehicles) in Utah can be obtained at http://stateparks.utah.gov/ohv/. More information about non-motorized trails can be obtained from the land management agency.


Opportunities for hunting small game, big game, upland game and waterfowl can be found in Box Elder County. Areas along the Great Salt Lake give great opportunities for waterfowl hunting. The mountains along the eastern, northern and western boundaries of the county offer big game hunting and upland game hunting. The western deserts offer great opportunities for small game. For more information on hunting visit Utah Wildlife Resources web page at http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/.

Wildlife Watching

Recently, public interest in wildlife-oriented activities such as photography and viewing have taken a dramatic upturn. In response to this situation, federal and state land and wildlife management agencies in Utah have formed a partnership with conservation organizations. This effort, known as the Watchable Wildlife Program, provides Utah's citizens and visitors alike a new opportunity to enjoy and better appreciate one of its greatest heritages-its wildlife. There are many areas in the county for bird watching, Willard Bay, Bear River Bird Refuge, Salt Creek and others. For more information on Utah’s Watchable Wildlife visit http://wildlife.utah.gov/watchable-wildlife/

Devil's Playground


Crystal Hot Springs


Golf Courses