Deer Creek State Park
With 3,260 acres, there’s enough room for everyone to find a secluded place.
We’re standing on the highest platform of the new zip line course at Deer Creek State Park. “Beautiful, right?” says the Zipline Utah guide at the view below. Though the park is consistently in the top 10 most visited in Utah, this morning it seems still and deserted. The reservoir shimmers coolly in the sun. Mount Timp’s blue cliffs jut into the horizon beyond.
It’s a deceptively easy trip heading skyward. You seemingly zip line up the mountain in a stairs-and-switchbacks fashion. After a few photos of the vista, you turn to the next phase of the course: a 4,000-foot ride over Rainbow Bay day use area — “the longest zip line over water in the world,” the guide says. The stomach-turning (but fantastically exhilarating) zip line experience is radically different from most people’s more staid experiences at Deer Creek.
With 15 miles of canyon road on one side and the tiny towns of Charleston and Midway on the other, the vibe at Deer Creek reflects the surroundings: calm, idyllic, placid. Though the park receives large amounts of traffic, it rarely feels crowded. With 3,260 acres, there’s enough room for everyone to find a secluded place to cast a line in peace.
“We have a great fishery,” says Dawn Larsen, Deer Creek’s park manager. “We have many different species. A lot of people go for the trout, though bass are popular, and we’ve got a good walleye population, too. The fish are definitely the biggest draw fall, spring and winter.”
When summer comes around, it’s time to get wet. “We’re in the mountains, so it’s cooler up here,” Larsen says. “People come to beat the summer heat — to get out and play in the water. Boating and recreation bring in a lot of people during the summer. And when the water is low, we have great beaches, too.” There are group day use areas available for picnicking and drying off after a swim.
Don’t own your own boat? Rent one. Then go to sleep under the stars at one of Deer Creek’s campgrounds.