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Bear Lake Monster

Bear Lake is known for its summertime fun, swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, its intense turquoise-blue color, and of course raspberry shakes. In addition to all of that, it's also home to the most notorious lake monster in Utah and Idaho, as well as the United States. The Bear Lake Monster is often found on the list of popular Cryptids and is known throughout Utah and Idaho as one of the most mysterious.


We've put together the ultimate guide to help give you all the information on The Bear Lake Monster. 

History of The Bear Lake Monster

The legend of the Bear Lake Monster begins in 1968 when Joseph C. Rich sent an article to the Deseret News saying


“The Indians say there is a monster animal that lives in the Lake that has captured and carried away Indians while in the Lake swimming; but they say it has not been seen by them for many years, not since the buffalo inhabited the valley. They represent it as being of the serpent kind, but having legs about eighteen inches long on which they sometimes crawl out of the water a short distance on the shore. They also say it spits water upwards out of its mouth.”

The newspaper article continues on by saying;

“Since the settlement of this valley, several persons have reported seeing a huge animal of some kind that they could not describe; but such persons have generally been alone when they saw it, and but little credence has been attached to the monster, and until this summer the ‘monster question’ had about died out.”


John C. Rich also reported:


“About three weeks ago (likely early July of 1868), Mr. S.M. Johnson, who lives in the east side of the lake at a place called South Eden (about halfway north along the Utah side of the lake), was going to the Round Valley settlement, six miles to the south of this place and when about halfway he saw something in the lake, which at the time, he thought to be a drowned person. The road being some distance from the water’s edge he rode to the bench, and as the waves were running pretty high he thought it would soon wash into shore. In a few minutes, two or three feet of some kind of animal that he had never seen before were raised out of the water.”

Since then there have been many other people that have come forth with including the following:

  • William Budge (May 1874)

  • Lawrence Here (1940)

  • Glade Myler (1961)

  • Ruth Bassett (July 1974)

  • Mike Havertz (1977)

  • Mark Kartin (1980)

  • Brad Chapman (June 1981)

  • Milton Sealy (1980's)

  • Darin Pugmire (1983)

  • David Sidwell (January 1987)

  • Teressa Andrus  (May 1991)

  • Robert Dallin (March 1993)

  • Justin Hall (November 1999)

  • Brian Hirschi (June 2002)

  • Erica Jameson, Jan Hollins, Rose Peters (2008)

  • Brent Bunson (2018)

Since the first recorded sighting from John C. Rich in 1986, there continue to be sightings every few years. 

What Does the Bear Lake Monster Look Like?

There are several different lake and river monsters scattered throughout the United States with descriptions ranging from giant snapping turtles, huge crocodiles, to humanoids. There have been multiple sightings of The Bear Lake Monster and while there have been some discrepancies most of the accounts have been strikingly similar. 

Most accounts describe The Bear Lake Monster as serpent-like, with a smooth, long slender body with thick, stubby, trunk-like legs, and a head that resembles a crocodile or alligator, other descriptions have said that it had a monster like body but the head resembled a cow or walrus. Most sightings agree that it moves swiftly and quickly through the water. 

How Big is the Bear Lake Monster?

The Bear Lake Monster has been reported to be between six and ninety feet long! It's often described as a gigantic serpentine beast, imagine a ninety-foot-long crocodile beast-like animal soaring through the beautiful blue waters of Bear Lake. 

Does the Bear Lake Monster Have a Name?

Every good monster has a name, right? Scotland's Loch Ness has Nessie, New York's Lake Champlain has Champ, and California's Lake Tahoe has Tessie. So what is the name of the infamous Bear Lake Monster? The name of the Bear Lake Monster is Isabella! 

Most people aren't don't know that the Bear Lake monster has a name. If you were to ask many of the locals in Garden City, they would likely tell you its name is the Bear Lake Monster, but now we know that's not right. 

The Bear Lake Monster's name was announced in 1996 during the annual Raspberry Days festival after a contest was held where local elementary kids voted to name the giant sea serpent. In the end, Isabella won out and the rest is history. 

Is the Bear Lake Monster Real?

Cryptids are animals or creatures that are believed to be real, but their existence is doubtful or suspicious. When people think of cryptids they usually think of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster, but there are in fact several cryptids that have been proven to be real. Creatures like the giant squid, platypus, and narwhal were once thought to be made-up myths but turned out to be real.


So is the Bear Lake Monster real? Well, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. So don't be surprised if it truly exists, because stranger things have happened.

Whether or not the Bear Lake monster is real or not, Bear Lake is a great place to visit. 

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