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18 of the Prettiest Lakes in Wyoming for a Splendid Getaway

By | Last Updated: 13th December 2022

Wyoming is blessed with stunning landscapes like lofty mountains, surrounding greenery, and of course, beautiful lakes. Most of these natural lakes are within Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. As most of them lie at a high elevation, they require a hike to access them. The crystal clear waters and scenic surroundings attract the adventurous and non-adventurous alike. From hiking, boating, and cliff jumping to simply sitting back and taking in the views, these lakes are indeed an excellent place for a fun-filled vacation.

Lakes in Wyoming

1. Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake in Wyoming

This glacial lake is within Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming. It has gained an extended size ever since the construction of Jackson Lake Dam on the Snake River. With towering mountainous backdrops and wildflower surroundings, it appears to be one of the most picturesque water bodies in the state. Don’t miss kayaking in its pristine waters to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the place. If you’ve forgotten to carry your boats, rent one at Signal Mountain Lodge, occupying the lake’s southern end. The wildlife here is also worth mentioning, with elk and bison commonly sighted.

The lake is home to over 15 islands accessible by boat. To enjoy private time, you can head to Elk Island, the largest among these, and spend overnight at one of the primitive campsites.

Fishing: This glacial lake supports cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout, and Chinook salmon.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, water-skiing, wakeboarding, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing

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2. Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming

Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake inside Yellowstone National Park, sits at an elevation gain of about 7,700 feet. The wildlife species are abundant, and the surrounding scenic trails provide you the opportunity to spot them. You can also hop on your sailboats to explore the hydrothermal springs like West Thumb Geyser Basin and Potts Geyser Basin. Boat rentals and cruises are available at Bridge Bay Marina in Lake Village Area. At the lake’s northern shore, Steamboat Point Picnic Area offers incredible views, which you can admire while enjoying a hearty meal. However, swimming in the lake is a restricted activity due to the hydrothermal waters.

Fishing: This lake mainly consists of two fish species: native cutthroat trout and non-native lake trout.

Other Activities: Boating, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, camping, hiking, picnicking

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3. Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming

Flaming Gorge Reservoir is on the Green River in southwest Wyoming, extending to northeastern Utah. The encompassing red-rock cliffs range between 3 feet and 50 feet in height, making cliff-jumping a sought-after activity for visitors of all ages. Besides this, many also enjoy rafting to the Green River. You can rent a boat or boat slip at Buckboard Marina near McKinnon. An ideal place for a weekend getaway, you can stay overnight at one of the campsites in Firehole Canyon Campground.

Fishing: Brown trout, lake trout, channel catfish, kokanee salmon, burbot, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass populate the lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, jet-skiing, water-skiing, canoeing, sailing, tubing, rafting, paddleboarding, windsurfing, camping, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling

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4. Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake in Wyoming

Jenny Lake is one of the stunning attractions of Grand Teton National Park. It sits at the foothills of the Teton Range, boasting magnificent scenery. If in the mood for some adventure, take a shuttle boat to the mountain base and tread along the trails leading to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls. You’ll also be rewarded with gorgeous views of the lake and the nearby areas. Encountering a deer, moose, or other animals is quite common, but be careful if a black or grizzly bear is around. For overnight accommodations, you’ll find many rental cabins and campgrounds nearby.

Fishing: Some fish species commonly caught here include lake trout, brook trout, and cutthroat trout.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, wildlife watching, nature-gazing

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5. Leigh Lake

Leigh Lake in Wyoming

Leigh Lake is a pretty lake with a much quieter surrounding in Grand Teton National Park. As no roads lead to it, you will have to hike the 3.5-mile Leigh Lake Trail. It is accessible by hikers of any skill level starting from North Jenny Lake Junction, off Teton Park Road. You can also portage your kayak here to enjoy the calm waters and surroundings. As it sits at the meeting point of Paintbrush and Leigh Canyons, you’ll find several other trails here to explore.

Fishing: Spin fishing and fly fishing are ideal in this lake for catching cutthroat trout, lake trout, and mackinaw trout.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking, nature-gazing

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6. Glendo Reservoir

Glendo Reservoir in Wyoming

Glendo Reservoir flows along the North Platte River in southeastern Wyoming. The encircling Glendo State Park is a paradise for water enthusiasts. With six boat ramps available here, you can either go for a leisurely ride on your boats or have fun water-skiing. Swimming is ideal in Sandy Beach or Shelter Point Area as they are no-wake zones. Camping options around the lake are abundant, including Sandy Beach Willow Campground and Two Moon Campground. You can also enjoy observing wildlife like whitetail deer, mule deer, antelope, coyotes, and turkey.

Fishing: Glendo Reservoir offers excellent opportunities for catching largemouth bass, yellow perch, walleye, channel catfish, and black crappie.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, water-skiing, jet-skiing, paddle boarding, camping, hiking, wildlife watching

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7. Phelps Lake

Phelps Lake in Wyoming

You’ll find Phelps Lake in the southern part of Grand Teton National Park. It requires a hike from the Death Canyon Trailhead or the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve. Upon reaching it, you are sure to be mesmerized by the lofty peaks and pine forests all around. However, what makes it a favorite among visitors is the jumping rock, rising about 20 feet from the waters on the northeastern shoreline. You can enjoy plunging into the water from this rock outcropping, especially after a tiring hike in the vicinity.

Fishing: This lake supports several fish varieties like mackinaw trout, brook trout, cutthroat trout, and whitefish.

Other Activities: Swimming, camping, hiking, wildlife watching

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8. Lake Alice

Lake Alice in Wyoming

Lake Alice, located at the western section of Bridger-Teton National Forest, sits at 7,745 feet elevation. It is reachable by a trail used by hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The mighty Mt. Isabel boasts spectacular views on its northern end. At its southeast corner lie nine campsites where you can enjoy a peaceful experience within nature’s abode. You’ll also find a picnic area at the southern end.

Fishing: The fishing season in Lake Alice is from July to March. Only cutthroat trout of about 13 inches primarily dwell here.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking, picnicking

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9. String Lake

String Lake in Wyoming

Sting Lake sits at the outflow of Leigh Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Its shallow waters make it an excellent place to swim in the area. Many also enjoy paddleboarding and picnicking while enjoying the scenery. The reflection of the Teton Range falling on the calm and clear waters is a sight to behold. However, after a joyous get-together, be sure to throw the trash in the bins to avoid attracting the grizzly bears who frequent the area. There are numerous adjoining trails as well for you to enjoy exploring the scenic spots.

Fishing: Fish species like cutthroat trout and white sucker inhabit the lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, camping, hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing

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10. Half Moon Lake

Half Moon Lake in Wyoming

If you’re craving a perfect weekend getaway, you can visit Half Moon Lake within Bridger Teton National Forest. It lies nestled in a mountain pocket surrounded by pine and aspen trees. Plenty of hiking trails abound the lake, and you can also explore the inlet area just above its northeast corner. An early morning trek along the shoreline will allow you to spot deer and photograph nature at its best. Besides providing accommodation facilities, Half Moon Lake Lodge also features a marina with 21 boat slips. The lake also has an underdeveloped boat ramp from where you can access the lake with your boats. If you wish to camp here, campsites are available in Half Moon Campground.

Fishing: Anglers can expect to catch rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, whitefish, and mackinaw here.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, water-skiing, camping, hiking, wildlife watching

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11. Emma Matilda Lake

Emma Matilda Lake in Wyoming

Within Grand Teton National Park, Emma Matilda Lake attracts many hikers and backpackers to enjoy the encompassing trails. The lake itself requires hiking along a short path from the Two Ocean Lake parking area or Jackson Lake Lodge to reach it. Once you come here, you can further tread along the encompassing 11-mile Emma Matilda Loop. Don’t forget to pause at Lookout Rock to get breathtaking views of the lake and Teton Range. Spotting wildflowers, bear, deer, moose, and bald eagles along the way are a bonus. 

Fishing: No fish species are known to have been caught here.

Other Activities: Camping, hiking, wildlife viewing

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12. Bradley Lake

Bradley Lake in Wyoming

Bradley Lake in Grand Teton National Park is ideal for hiking enthusiasts, accessed only by a 5-mile loop trail. Though it does not offer many outdoor activities, many enjoy swimming in the cold waters after the hike. You might also see moose, bear, and bald eagles in the nearby areas.

Fishing: Fishing is not much prevalent in this lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, hiking, wildlife watching

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13. Boysen Reservoir

Boysen Reservoir in Wyoming

This reservoir, formed by the earth-fill Boysen Dam, flows on the Wind River in central Wyoming. Encompassed by the Boysen State Park, it offers many recreational activities. There’s a swimming beach located at Brannon Campground. You’ll also find a marina on the northern edge of the reservoir. The surrounding campgrounds offer cabins, campsites, and motorhomes to those wishing to stay here overnight. The distant Owl Creek Mountains and Wind River Canyon provide attractive viewing opportunities. 

Fishing: The lake is brimming with trout, walleye, perch, and ling. You can fish here all year round, provided you possess a fishing license.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, rafting, canoeing, wakeboarding, tubing, camping, hiking, picnicking, wildlife watching

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14. Trout Lake

Trout Lake in Wyoming

This serene, picturesque lake is accessible via a half-mile trail in Yellowstone National Forest. The towering Mount Hornaday forms an impressive background. You can enjoy a pleasant walk around it to soak in its views. Moreover, the lake is also a famous spot to observe river otters basking in the sun. Besides this, you can also see black bears and bison foraging in the nearby areas.

Fishing: This lake stays true to its name as there is plenty of large Yellowstone cutthroat trout and rainbow trout in it. Anglers enjoy fishing from the shoreline, but many also get to its deeper parts by float tubing. However, you will have to acquire boating permits to use float tubes. Though it is open for fishing from mid-June, a part of the lake near the inlet region remains closed until mid-July to protect spawning the cutthroat trout. It should be released, in case you catch it.

Other Activities: Hiking, nature gazing, wildlife viewing

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15. Surprise Lake

Surprise Lake in Wyoming

Surprise Lake is one of the two alpine lakes nestled in a scenic basin beneath the Disappointment Peak in Grand Teton National Park. You can either enjoy a day hike or plan a backpacking trip to reach it via a challenging climb of 10 miles (out and back) from Lupine Meadows Trailhead. Backcountry campsites are available near the lake but do remember to get the permits beforehand.

The trail further traverses to the second one, Amphitheater Lake. Many even prefer taking a side trail to Delta Lake for additional spectacular views. Though a strenuous hike, you will not regret it.

Fishing: The lake has a decent stock of cutthroat trout.

Other Activities: Swimming, camping, hiking, wildlife watching

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16. Lewis Lake

Lewis Lake in Wyoming

Lewis Lake is the third-largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park. It is a tranquil site, accessible by driving along a rough road. Campsites line up along its southeast shore. You can easily enter the waters with your kayaks, canoes, or motorboats from the boat-launching ramp near the camping area. But, do not forget to get your boat permits.

Fishing: Lewis Lake is excellent for fly fishing to target brown trout and lake trout during the summer and fall months. You can also boat to the 4-mile Lewis River Channel, which connects the lake with Shoshone Lake, to find more catches.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, camping, hiking

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17. Frye Lake

Frye Lake in Wyoming

Frye Lake is a reservoir in Shoshone National Forest, having an elevation of over 8400 feet. You can reach it via a scenic drive from Lander, traversing through Sinks Canyon and up the steep switchbacks. Its beauty and peacefulness attract visitors to spend overnight at the campsites, which are free of cost.

Fishing: This reservoir supports brook trout and rainbow trout that you can enjoy catching by spinning, baitcasting, or fly fishing.

Other Activities: Swimming, camping, hiking

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18. Amphitheater Lake

Amphitheater Lake in Wyoming

Amphitheater Lake sits just beneath the summit of Disappointment Peak, a quarter-mile away from Surprise Lake. Though it requires a long and strenuous hike to reach it, the sight of the pristine waters with mountainous surroundings will not disappoint you. In addition, you can also get excellent views of Jackson Hole from here. The boulders and shady trees make it an ideal place to enjoy your meals. However, do watch out for bears as they are commonly seen in the area. If you’ve enough energy left, you can also hike to the summit.

Fishing: Cutthroat trout reside in this lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking

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The beauty and serenity of these lakes are surely going to leave you spellbound once you visit them. But, the list is not limited to the ones mentioned above. If time permits, do not miss stopping by  Brooklyn lake, Green Lake, and Lily Lake for an equally surreal experience.


Best Lakes for Fishing: Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Glendo Reservoir, Boysen Reservoir

Best Lakes for Boating: Jackson Lake, Yellowstone Lake, Glendo Reservoir

Best Lakes for Camping: Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Jenny Lake, Boysen Reservoir

Best Lakes to Live On: Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Glendo Reservoir, Jackson Lake

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