Bear Lake Recreation Area
Big Rig Friendly9.8/10
Park Road Conditions9.5/10
- Clean/Well Maintained Facilities
- Large Lake
- Good AT&T Signal
- Canoe Rentals
- Covered Pavilion
- 30 & 50 Amp Sites
- No Wifi
- No Verizon Signal
- No Swimming In The Lake
- No Camp Store
Bear Lake Campground & Recreation Area
Bear Lake Campground is located in the Bear Lake Recreation Area off Interstate 4. It is nestled away in the Blackwater River State Forest. The lake itself is man-made and was constructed in 1959. It was opened for fishing in 1962. The depth of the lake varies from 8 feet to 23 feet.
The campground and recreation area is home to camping, hiking, fishing, Geocaching, a boat ramp (no gas motorboats), bird watching, mountain biking, and a whole lot more.
No Buildings Or Booths
As you pull into this campground, you will notice there are no buildings or booths to stop at and check-in. At the time you make your reservation you pick your site. There are 4 sites on your left when you enter the campground that are designated “walk-in” sites. Due to COVID-19 during our stay, these sites were closed. There was no estimate on when they would re-open. When you enter the campground you will just go straight to your site.
Ranger To The Rescue
There are camp hosts on-site that are there to assist if there is a problem. As a matter of fact when we pulled into our site and were setting up we had a problem with our electrical box. We were on our way to the camp host but saw a park ranger before we arrived.
When we explained our problem he offered to take a look at it. A few tweaks and we now had all green lights on our surge protector. Many thanks to the park ranger!!!
RV Section & Day Use Area
The campground itself (RV section) is located to the left of the main road you come in on. If you were to continue straight you would wind up in the day use parking lot near the tent section. More on that in a bit.
The sites in the center of the loop are pull through and the perimeter sites are back-ins. All sites have water/electric but no sewer. No worries though they have a dump station. The dump station even has what appeared to be similar to a gutter that swings out to place your sewer hoses in when you are dumping.
The sites are big enough that you are not right on top of your neighbor. Most are fairly level. Our site was perfectly level from side to side but we had to raise the front up just a little. It was not enough to cause a problem as we didn’t even have to unhook from the truck.
Individual Bathroom/Shower Rooms
The restrooms are located behind the dump station and dumpsters. There are two buildings with 4 restrooms although during our stay only one building was open due to Covid-19. The restrooms were handicap accessible and each had a toilet, sink, and shower. They were always clean and well maintained during our stay.
On the walkway to the restrooms between the RV section and the restroom building, there were some cool stone carvings of bears.
As you walk to the restrooms from the RV section on your left (or drive straight in from the entrance road) there is the day-use parking area and lake. There are a boat ramp and dock where you can launch your kayak, canoe, or small non-motorized boat. There is also a fishing pier that extends out into the lake.
We don’t fish (yet) but we made use of this pier by bringing our chairs down and enjoying our morning coffee watching the sunrise. When we came at night the frogs could be heard making quiet the racket…lol. Check out this sound clip below of the night sounds.
There were canoes that you could rent by stopping into the nearby ranger station. There was also a nice double sink at the edge of the parking lot. The parking lot was fairly empty during our stay but I imagine it can fill up quickly when the virus restrictions are lifted.
The tent camping section is behind the parking lot and is located close to the restrooms. The sites are spread out and each site had a picnic table.
A Large Covered Pavilion
Behind the tent section is a large covered pavilion. This would be a great place to hold a rally or gathering of any type. The pavilion had an area that was enclosed and housed a kitchen area and some rooms. This inside area was also closed due to COVID-19.
2 Hiking & 1 Mountain Bike Trail
There are two hiking trails and a mountain bike trail in this campground. We don’t mountain bike so the only thing I can tell you about this trail is it is about 6 miles long.
The other two trails start at the end of the lake at the far end of the RV section. You will need to walk across a dam to get to the start of the trails. There is a large map showing the trails path near the stone carved bears.
Which Way Should You Go?
As you come across the dam you will see the sign for the two trails. They head in opposite directions so you will need to decide which one you would like to do. If you head to the left you will be on the Sweetwater Trail. If you head to the right you will be on the Bear Lake Loop Trail.
The Sweetwater Trail
The Sweetwater Trail is approximately 1.3 miles. It takes you to another recreation area named Krull. Unfortunately, when we reached that point of the trail where you could enter Krull, there was plywood blocking the entrance due to COVID-19. The trail is a mix of several different types of terrain. There is dirt, wooden steps, and a boardwalk. It is a fairly easy trail to navigate but we would highly suggest bug spray…lol
Probably the coolest part of this trail is near the end there is a small suspension bridge that crosses a creek. It’s a little wobbly but definitely safe.
The Bear Lake Loop Trail
The other trail is the Bear Lake loop. It can be accessed by walking across the dam or walking through the tent section on the other end of the park. It is approximately 4 miles from start to finish and winds completely around the lake.
The first time we went to do the trail they had a ribbon across each entrance. Upon finding one of the campground hosts we asked why the trail was closed. He informed us they were logging in one section of the trail and they were asked to shut it down by the logging company.
We Got The OK
He then proceeded to tell us since we were there during the 4th of July weekend the logging operations were not going on. He gave us permission to walk the trail but told us to be careful. As with the Sweetwater trail, it was made up of dirt, rocks, wooded steps, and boardwalks.
We had an absolute blast camping at this recreation area. It was clean and quiet with beautiful lake views. If you are looking for a great place to camp, fish, kayak, canoe, or hike we would definitely recommend this place.
- Date Of Visit: July 2nd-4th, 2020
- Site Number: 007
- Cost: $56.70 (2 Nights & Reserve America Fees)
Check out this short video of Bear Lake Campground and recreation area.