Utah/Idaho border in the upper northeastern corner of
is beautiful Bear Lake. In addition to its wonderful sporting opportunities for
boaters, skiers, and fisherman, Bear Lake allegedly is called home to a sea monster.
Said to resemble a huge brown snake, nearly 90
feet long, the legend has been around from the days when only
inhabited this area. When white settlers came to the valley, the
inhabiting the area told of how the creature had often captured and
carried away their people. Their description of the animal sounded
much like a large crocodile or a mythical dragon.
According to the many
who have spied the serpent, it has a thin head, a large mouth, and
small legs that it utilizes to move swiftly through the water.
The slithering snake like-creature has also been described as spouting
water upwards from its mouth and moving so fast through the lake, that
it leaves a wake behind, much like a boat.
Others have said they
have seen the monster crawl up onto the beach with short flipper-like
legs. Once upon the sand, it holds its head high and turning it
from side to side as it looks about.
Though many believe
the monster to be nothing more than a legend, there has been some
scientific research made into his actual existence. Findings
theorize the creature could be a descendant of a dinosaur-like
creature or sea lizard from the time when Lake Bonneville covered the
entirety of this great basin.
In the summer of
1871, a local citizen was said to have actually captured a "young”
member of the monster family near Fish Haven. This report
evidently had some credibility as it was reported in the Salt Lake
"This latter-day wonder is said to be
about twenty feet in length, with a mouth sufficiently large to
swallow a man without any difficulty, and is propelled through the
water by the action of its tail and legs."
The citizen, a
fisherman, had actually set a large trap, made especially for the
purpose of trying to capture one of the "beasts.” As to what
happened to the captured creature, no one seems to know.
If the legend of the
sea monster, itself, is not enough, another legend tells that even the
mythical Pecos Bill, the "King” of tall tales, once wrested the sea
monster, a fight that lasted for several days.
Does Bear Lake actually hold a sea monster? The debate rages on around
the campfires, but in any event, an excursion to this beautiful lake,
often called the Caribbean of the Rockies, will provide a great summer
© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America,
updated October, 2015.