One of the really cool features of Utah Lake is the ice stacks. These are created when the waves from the lake push ice chunks up on shore in a pile. It’s sort of like drift wood, but much less permanent. We were surprised at how cool they look, and it was totally safe to view them without walking out onto the lake.
First, a word of warning. We do not recommend walking on the ice on the lake. We did not walk on the ice in the locations that we visited. It can be very dangerous. If you choose to walk on the ice, make sure to check for thickness and clarity. The clearer the ice, the better.
Northlake Park Lehi
We stopped at a few different spots to see the Ice Stacks. Luckily, we live at the north end of Utah Lake and the waves wash the ice right onto the shore. We didn’t have to walk on the lake at all, but we could still climb on the stacks a little bit.
There were huge piles of ice all along the shore. Our boys were so interested in climbing the ice stacks and holding the large chunks of ice.
To find these piles, park at Northlake Park in Lehi. Walk toward the mountains on the trail. As you curve around toward the lake, you will see a dirt trail heading through the cattails to the lake right where the paved trail heads back toward the parking lot. Take this trail to the lake and see the ice stacks.
Saratoga Springs Connector Trail
One of our favorite spots to bike, see birds, and walk is this little connector trail from the Loch Lomond neighborhood in Saratoga Springs over to the Jordan River Parkway. It is a fun spot. You can also walk right up to the lake, and see the ice stacks.
When we visited in late January 2021, it was too muddy and the water was already creeping up, so we couldn’t get very close to these ice stacks. But if you visit early when it has been cold and frozen for a while, you should be able to walk right up to them.
Park at the west end of Lake View Drive in Saratoga Springs. The connector trail starts here. Walk down toward the lake and find a spot to enjoy the ice stacks.
There is a road that runs along the lake from the Lindon Boat Harbor over to Vineyard. We love driving this section for bird watching, but this was a great spot to find stacks of ice, too. There are lots of openings along the fence where you can park and walk down to the water. So follow Vineyard Road until you see a great spot to stop.
We also found that you can park at a small parking area either at the end of Center Street in Vineyard, or at the corner of Sunset Drive and 170 South. There is a trail that walks along the edge of Utah Lake, and there are places to see the Ice Stacks.
This is where we chose not to walk on the ice to get closer because it had been warmer and the ice was very cloudy and starting to melt. But there were large stacks of ice, too.
Places to See the Ice Stacks
Here are some places, including the ones we visited, where you can see the ice stacks. I linked to a map to hopefully help you find the location easier.
- North Lake Park (Free, but a longer walk)
- Saratoga Springs Connector Trail (Free)
- Saratoga Springs Marina (Free walk-in)
- American Fork Boat Harbor (Free in winter)
- Vineyard Beach (Free)
- Utah Lake State Park – $10/vehicle or $4 walk-in or State Parks Pass
- Lincoln Beach (Free??)
- Sandy Beach (Free)
Tips for Visiting
- Wear boots or even ice cleats for climbing on the ice stacks.
- Visit when it hasn’t snowed for awhile so that the ice isn’t covered in snow.
- A clear day means nicer photos. We visited on cloudy days and the ice doesn’t shine!
- The best time to go is when it has been super cold for a long time and no snow. We went after it had been warmer and snowy, so it was harder to get close because the ground wasn’t frozen anymore.
For other free and cheap winter ideas, visit our post with tons of ideas.