East Canyon Reservoir, Utah, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Utah - Mountainland - Ogden & Northwest -

Visitors to the Salt Lake City area will want to spend some time at East Canyon Reservoir. This 680-acre reservoir is located about 30 miles northeast of Salt Lake City on the border of the Northwest and Mountainland tourism regions. The lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating and all types of water sports. Although East Canyon Reservoir was originally dammed in 1898 and expanded several times, the current reservoir was built in 1966. It dams East Canyon Creek for irrigation and household purposes, with recreational uses playing an increasingly important role. Although technically under the ownership of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, arrangements have been made to allow the State of Utah to manage the area for recreation. East Canyon Reservoir State Park adds yet another dimension to the many recreational opportunities provided at nearby ski resorts.

The first-time visitor to Utah is amazed at the wide range of geological formations present within a small area. To the west of Salt Lake City, the Salt Flats stretch for many miles past Great Salt Lake. Immediately to the east of the city, the mountains begin to rise above the valley floor. The canyons and passes are filled with the history of settlement in Utah and places farther west. These historical areas have found a new role in providing recreation to the growing population of the Salt Lake Valley and the increasing numbers of vacationers who come here.

East Canyon Reservoir, tucked behind the northern Wasatch front, has been stocked with rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, brown trout, black crappie and cutthroat trout to delight the fisherman. The entire shoreline is public lands but access by car is limited to the eastern shore. East Canyon Reservoir State Park offers 267 acres including a boat launch, rest rooms, fish cleaning station, showers and covered pavilions with electricity. During the summer months a concession provides boat rentals and snacks. A full-service campground is open year-round and can handle RVs up to 35-feet long. The swimming area is popular and many come here to sail, wakeboard, water-ski and jet-ski

Plenty of hiking trails exist in the park. Elk, mule deer, turkey, ruffed grouse and waterfowl can be viewed along with a variety of birds and wildflowers in season. East Canyon Reservoir sees visitors in the winter months who come to ice fish, cross country ski and snowshoe. Although access is by all-weather road, the southern route is sometimes closed in winter due to snow conditions. The northern route is usually passable year round. Visitors looking for downhill ski slopes usually visit one of the nearby ski resorts in the Park City area a bit over 20 miles away.

The East Canyon Reservoir area first greeted the famed Donner party on their way to California. It is suspected that the Donner group ended up stranded in the California pass bearing their name because they chose the rough passage though the East Canyon area. The trail required much improvement before they could get their equipment through the passes, making them late in arriving at Donner Pass and causing them to be stranded. The improved trail they left likely led Brigham Young and his band of Mormon followers to the Salt Lake area. The ruts left by the wagons of pioneers can still be seen in East Canyon Reservoir State Park.

Visitors to East Canyon Reservoir area will want to follow some of the historic trail and learn the history of the Mormon settlers who built the foundations of the state they hoped to call Deseret. On the outskirts of Salt Lake City, This Is The Place Heritage Park holds a monument to the place Brigham Young rose from his sickbed and announced this would be the place for his followers to build a new life. The reconstructed village holds several authentic buildings from early pioneer settlements, along with faithful reproductions of typical village edifices. Craftsmen demonstrate old skills such as blacksmithing and tin work for visitors. Here too, visitors can view the proposed Deseret alphabet, designed to make communication easier for immigrants.

Nearby in Salt Lake City, tours are available of ornate Mormon Temples and other architecture. Those interested in the inland salt sea of Great Salt Lake can travel twenty miles west of the city to the Great Salt Lake Marina State Park. Here they can weight anchor for Antelope Island State Park and view bison, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, badgers, porcupines, jackrabbits and several species of rodents. Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake attract great numbers of migrating and nesting birds. Along the shoreline, willets, sanderlings, avocets and black-necked stilts can be observed. The island grasslands provide habitat for chuckars, burrowing owls, long-billed curlews and several species of raptors. The island park is accessible by causeway from Interstate 15.

East Canyon Reservoir visitors will likely want to visit Park City 20 miles to the south. This booming resort town is known for ski resorts and all types of winter sports. The city has become very popular with those able to enjoy a second home or ski residence. Along with the explosive real estate growth, unique shopping, art galleries, restaurants and lodgings have grown up in the area to cater to these part-time residents. There are mountain bike trails and hiking paths for summer visitors, along with golf, tennis, skateboarding and physical fitness facilities. One popular trail area, the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park, begins in Park City. This 28-mile trail for non-motorized use parallels Interstate 80 and ends at Echo Reservoir.

Fifteen miles north of East Canyon Reservoir, a unique geological feature called the Devil’s Slide can be viewed next to Interstate 84. Two parallel ridges of limestone stand in high relief against softer eroded stone to form what looks like a giant child’s slide of rock. Several similar formations in the area show the same combined effects of erosion and geological upheaval. Surrounding the East Canyon area the Wasatch National Forest provides miles of wilderness for hiking, camping and exploring. The experienced hiker will want to obtain a map from the US Forest Service of the area they wish to visit. Maps and pertinent information are available on-line.

The area around East Canyon Reservoir is prepared for the visitor with vacation rentals and guest lodgings available either in Park City or the surrounding canyons. Real estate opportunities exist in the immediate area, including 20-acre ranch lots for home building. So pack the fly rod and the bass boat and come follow the trail of the early pioneers. Explore scenic Utah and East Canyon Reservoir. You’ll come back time and time again.

Things to do at East Canyon Reservoir

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Forest
  • Shopping

Fish species found at East Canyon Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Brown Trout
  • Crappie
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

East Canyon Reservoir Photo Gallery

    East Canyon Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Utah Dept of Natural Resources

    Surface Area: 684 acres

    Shoreline Length: 10 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,690 feet

    Average Depth: 75 feet

    Maximum Depth: 197 feet

    Water Volume: 52,000 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1966

    Drainage Area: 63 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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