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elk swimming at bear river state park in wyoming

An elk swims at Bear River State Park. Photo: Park Facebook page

Bear River State Park is a city park in Evanston, WY. The town of Evanston is located near the border of Utah in Uinta County, only 83 miles from Salt Lake City. It’s a beautiful scenic area with the river, grassy plains and surrounded by mountains. And Evanston is known for its history and small town hospitality.

Nearby Mirror Lake is an 80-mile Scenic Byway with views of the Uinta Mountains, Bear River, pioneer trails, ghost towns, ranches and the original transcontinental railroad route.

Bear River State Park, a 324 acre day use area, was established in 1991 as a sanctuary for many of the local wildlife roaming through. And because Bear River runs through the town, its residents have endless opportunities for fishing, kayaking, swimming and other water activities.

This Wyoming state park strives to provide an ideal parks system while also promoting an active lifestyle for the town’s residents and visitors.


Bear River State Park is not only a convenient stop to stretch your legs or have a picnic. For a small park it really has a lot to offer: hiking,

biking, swimming, wildlife viewing, fishing, a state of the art Visitor Center and Museum and gorgeous views of the mountains and river.

There are also 3 horseshoe pits, 2 playgrounds, restrooms with flush toilets and many picnic tables scattered throughout the park. Three large group shelters can be reserved for weddings and other special events from May 1 until October 1.

Hiking at Bear River State Park

There are 4 miles of non motorized trails at Bear River State Park. 1.2 miles of this is paved while another 3 miles are gravel. The paved section leads to an arched footbridge that crosses over Bear River and into the natural pasture area. Overlooks here gaze onto the bison pasture and the elk pasture.

These trails also connect to additional trails within the city of Evanston, Uinta County property and part of the BEAR greenbelt project. There are also numerous geocaching sites along the way.

Here are the 2 main trails through the park:

  • Bear River State Park Loop – an easy trail, 2.7 miles long, that takes just over an hour to hike.
  • Bear River Path – also easy, this trail is 4.4 miles long and an estimated 1 hour 49 minute hike.

Biking at Bear River State Park

All trails at Bear River State Park are open for bicycles. The paved trails are maintained throughout the winter too so that you can bike (and hike) year round.

There are additional trails located on Uinta County property adjacent to the park (southeast of the park) and they also have a pump track available.

Fishing at Bear River State Park

Year round fishing is possible throughout Bear River State Park. Popular catches are rainbow, brook and brown trout. But you may also find smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, walleye, salmon, perch, Rocky Mountain whitefish and many more.

Be sure to pick up a fishing license before heading to the park.

Swimming at Bear River State Park

With 3 miles of river access running through Bear River State Park, swimming is a popular activity here during the warmer months. Please be cautious while swimming in the Spring though as the water tends to move faster at that time of the year and you can get pulled under more easily.

Winter Sports at Bear River State Park

Winter sports are available as weather (and snow) permits. The nature trails are maintained for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. And sledding is popular at Buffalo Run sledding hill located on the hillside next to the Visitor Center.

Wildlife at Bear River State Park

Visit Bear River State Park for a closeup view of wildlife, both living and stuffed. There are captive herds of elk and bison here. You can pick up a brochure inside of the Visitor Center for more information about each species and others in the area. You’ll discover many more species of wildlife inside of the Visitor Center Museum.

You may also sight a resident moose, mule deer, pronghorn antelope as well as many small mammals during your walk through the park. And keep an eye out above you for bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, great-horned owls as well as many migratory birds passing through.

Camping at Bear River State Park

While there are currently no campsites open, Bear River State Park plans to have 25 primitive tent campsites available for the Spring/Summer season 2022. Check their website for updates and any reservation information.

Pets at Bear River State Park

Pets are allowed anywhere in the park as long as they are leashed.

Visitor Center and Museum at Bear River State Park

The Visitor Center and Museum at Bear River State Park has a lot to see! They have many wildlife mounts of fish, birds, small mammals (ermine, yellow-bellied marmots, badgers and red fox) and large mammals (grizzly bears, black bears and elk).

They also have interpretive programs and information about Wyoming: its wildlife, state parks, historic sites and trails. And there is a gift shop where you can buy local souvenirs.

Special Events at Bear River State Park

There are many events held throughout the year at Bear River State Park. These special events include nature hikes, birdwatching, movies in the park, guest speakers and nature programs.

More specifically: The annual Bear River Rendezvous (held each year on the weekend before Labor Day), Kid’s Extreme Events and First Day Hike (held each year on New Year’s Day).

Park Location

Bear River State Park
601 Bear River Dr
Evanston, WY 82930
Phone: 307.380.3031


Park Hours:
8:00-10:00 May 1 – September 30
8:00-8:00 October 1 – April 30
Visitor Center Hours:
8:00-5:00 May 1 – September 30
8:00-5:00 Thursday-Monday only October 1 – April 30



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Bear River State Park: